How To Convert Holiday Shoppers Into Loyal Year-Round Customers

Holiday shoppers

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It is so important to convert holiday shoppers into loyal customers because you have so many more bodies walking through your doors after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

When I was starting out as a retail manager, I had a new sales guy who was killing it two weeks in a row. Everything he touched turned to gold.

He had done an exceptional job with one couple who were chairs of a big fundraising party in Orange County. It was a western theme, and they were so thrilled with how they looked in their new attire that they told everyone to “Go see Daniel.”

The big night came and went and Daniel felt on top of the world; his commission check for that month helped him buy a car.

The next month, however, he really struggled. The other guys on the sales team ribbed him by singing "The Party's Over" when they got a big sale and Daniel didn’t. Daniel had been lulled into believing there would always be plenty of shoppers coming into the store to see him.

That is exactly what can happen during the holiday season for brick-and-mortar retailers. They have so much traffic that they forget to consciously look for ways for those holiday shoppers to become everyday shoppers.

The key is to remain in front of those customers and remind them on a regular basis you are there for them.

How To Convert Your Brick-and-Mortar Holiday Shoppers into Everyday Shoppers

Customer Service. Even when it is busy, you have to greet everyone who enters your store, you have to find a way to engage them at some point early before you pitch product to a new customer. You also have to thank existing customers for shopping with you. And remember customer service means giving the right product recommendations on a person-by-person basis so you increase conversion rate of lookers to buyers. All shoppers should be offered to join your customer loyalty program after they purchase something. Then you can be retargeting those customers who have given you money in the lean months of January and February.

Have your customers check in with Facebook to use your Wi-Fi. When shoppers check in on Facebook using your Wi-Fi as a guest, their friends can discover your business by seeing the story in their News Feed. You can also have them like your page across their favorite social media platforms at the same time. More check-ins and engagement with your page improve how it ranks in Search and the Nearby tab. 

Email list. It’s been said it costs seven times as much to attract a new customer as it costs to retain an old one. People who have purchased from you are much more likely to buy from you again. For that reason, you must make it a habit to get every single buyer onto your list.  Once they do, they have given you their permission to be contacted. Because of this, your regular emails will end up in their inbox. Make sure to follow a holiday marketing email schedule like the one I describe here.

Be religious about follow-ups. Many retailers offer some type of special order, customization, or personalized product that requires additional time to create, even after the shopping season. If that’s you, send those customers an email the day they order that confirms the expected timetable which should always include additional time to help manage expectations. Then once a week send them an update even if there’s no update...and especially if there is any delay; they need to know you are on top of it. When the product arrives, carefully check it over; you don’t want the purchaser to have any surprises. Call them and arrange a time you can present it, or if you are going to ship the item, let them know the shipping date and give them tracking information. So many retailers fail to provide any follow-up and instead of enjoying word-of-mouth marketing, they have raving complaints. The best customer retention strategies include not being afraid to give bad news, keeping them informed, and managing their expectations.

Store tour. Shoppers arrive in boutiques with nothing more than curiosity and discover products towering over them. It is a new plane; they don’t understand the language, where products are, or where to look.  Left alone, they try and figure out what the store offers. That is why it is so important to give a store tour. For example, "Is this your first time in the store?" "Yes," answers the customer. "May I give you a brief store tour?" Once they answer yes again, take 2-3 minutes and give them an overview while developing rapport. While they may only be looking for a specific item for the holidays, they’ll remember other products for future needs. My interactive, virtual retail sales training program SalesRX details how to create a compelling store tour. 

Rewards program. It's great to get your in-store shopping visitors to buy from you and reward first-time buyers with perks but marketing has to be deeper if you want to gain repeat purchases. Your rewards program has to have benefits more than a discount promotion. Consider an advanced look at new product, special events, and rewards for being loyal to your brand throughout the year.

In Sum

It’s great to have a bunch of first-time buyers flood your store during the holiday season. Make plans to convert them into loyal customers during your holiday preparations.

Remember the best way to turn any shopper into a word-of-mouth marketing machine is to provide an exceptional customer experience, one that for those 10-15 minutes makes them feel hopeful and glad they came into your store. They’ll come back and become repeat customers throughout the year due to the personal connection they made with your sales team. And that's what builds revenue.
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