It’s that time of year again. Time for mistletoe, hot cocoa, and hordes of consumers looking to reap a harvest of discounts at the retailer’s expense. Yes, it’s the holiday shopping season, and as consumers rush to take advantage of special holiday deals, retailers should be thinking about how they can continue building the relationships with consumers beyond this season.
More than discounts
Price shoppers show a loyalty only to the lowest price. This is a reality that to their detriment, many retailers ignore. If you want to hold a customer longer than the life of your discount circular you have to go beyond price. You need to dig into the shopping experience to present real and additional value to the customer. This could be express-checkouts for loyalty club members, early openings, or special shopping events, or a better focus on customer service. It could mean a free coat check, or hot cup of coffee. It does not have to be a lot, as long as it’s more than what the regular customer is getting or what your competition is doing.
Invest in the relationship
Do you know who they are shopping for? Have you sent communications for great shopping ideas for wives, kids, or clients? You have a great conversation starter with the holiday season, so use it. Use email as a way to figure out who they need to purchase for, and help them make good decisions. Add value by taking the work off of their hands. You could also have your store manager or head of customer service send out personal messages to your most loyal customers. It is OK to just say thank you! It does not have to be an offer, or coupon, to make it worth sending. I know I have not gotten a thank you card in a long time, because the last time I got one, it stuck out to me.
Get them on your ticket
Your discounts should be tied to a loyalty program, so you can extend your reach on these customers after the holidays. Sign them up if they are not on board, and if they are, offer a separate set of discounts. A proper orientation program should be developed to get your new customers on the right path for future purchases. Starting right after the holiday, your program should work to get them back in the store or on the Website within 30 days. A proper orientation program should combine offers, processes and promises, and mission statements in a series of communications. Work through all the value propositions, so you can engage on multiple levels. Show them what is means to do business with you, not just the next deal.