With the holidays finally over, retailers can get a much needed break (only it’s almost tax season, but let’s not go there yet). The army of shoppers has retreated for the moment and is resting before for the next big attack, a.k.a. Valentine’s Day. Your store is nice and quiet.
Except… maybe a bit too quiet?
After the hustle-and-bustle of the pre-Christmas rush, the post-holiday lull may seem disconcertingly quiet. Instead of the stomping feet of customers, or the delightful ping of a new order arriving in your ecommerce store, you get deep, echoing silence.
Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. Compared to December, January often brings a small decline in sales for retailers.
However, if you’re not happy sitting around and waiting for sales to pick up again, there are a few tricks you can use to ensure your store, whether virtual or brick-and-mortar, is never empty.
It’s common knowledge that attracting a new customer is up to five times more expensive than retaining an old one. A lesser-known fact is that repeat customers tend to spend more on their second purchase than on their first one.
But do you regard all those holiday shoppers as old customers, or just a one-time fling?
According to research by Crazyegg, 50% more people shop at brands they’ve never tried before during the holiday rush. However, another study by OMI indicates that 80% of holiday shoppers will never shop again at a store they’ve not been to previously.
50% more people shop at brands they’ve never tried before during the holiday rush. However, another study by OMI indicates that 80% of holiday shoppers will never shop again at a store they’ve not been to previously
This looks like a massive missed opportunity. After all, you’ve already done most of the work when you got all those customers into your store. They chose your store for a reason during the holiday rush. Why not give them another reason to return?
That all looks well on paper. But how to get people to actually return to your store?
People tend to have short memories, especially when they try to recall things they did in a hurry. Where did I buy that cute sweater? Which store had the discount on the coffee pods? The whole pre-holiday shopping rush usually blends into one big mess of confusing memories.
Even if they had a great experience at your shop, you can’t expect your one-time customers to remember you weeks later on their own accord. Why not remind them?
A couple of weeks after their purchase, send your customers a follow up email or text. Ask if they’re happy with the product they bought at your store, and find out if they have any feedback for you.
Make sure to sound genuine in your message. Unsolicited, generic messages can get quickly labelled as spam and are forgotten in the blink of an eye. Showing a real, genuine interest in how a customer feels about their purchase can make all the difference.
If your customer replies to your message, don’t ignore it. Whatever they say, thank them for their response. If they mention a problem, do your best to solve it and reassure your customer that you’re taking their feedback seriously.
Next time the customer needs something that your store sells, they’ll have its name at the forefront of their mind along with a good feeling about it.
Alternatively, you can ask your customers to share their follow up feedback with you via a short online survey. It’s faster and more convenient than typing in free text, and the data you get will be easier to analyze.
Busy customers may not want to spend time fumbling with surveys. To overcome that, you can offer an incentive, like entering all respondents into a sweepstakes. The chance to win something great, for example a gift card to your store, will most likely enhance customers’ willingness to respond.
In addition to reminding one-time customers of your store’s existence, you also get valuable feedback that can help you improve your business. Classic case of two birds and one stone.
Everyone loves deals. In your follow up message, you may want to offer your customers a special deal. A discount on their next purchase or a BOGO offer will help entice them to visit your shop once again.
Even better, you can offer a personalized deal. How about a discount on a complementary product? Or, if the product they bought needs occasional refills, like a coffee pod machine or an electric toothbrush, you can create a deal for those. These types of products generate regular purchases. Make sure your customers buy their supplies from you.
Social media is an important part of many people’s lives. If people are using wifi in your store, or your ecommerce business has a login/signup process, why not ask them to log in via their social media accounts?
That way, your store will show up on your customers’ news feed, allowing all their friends to see where they are. This is a great opportunity for a free word-of-mouth campaign, with virtually no effort from your part.
But there’s more. Their check-in leaves a digital footprint with loads of data you can later use for retargeting, special offers, follow up, and much more.
Although the holidays are over, people who flocked to your store during the pre-holiday craziness are still out there. Turning them into regular customers will help diminish or even completely eliminate the post-holiday sales lull.
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