10 Customer Loyalty Marketing Tips for the 2018 Holiday Season

by Sean Ogino | Customer Loyalty

holiday loyalty

With the holidays coming up fast, now is the time to finalize and implement your customer loyalty marketing strategy. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales are expected to hit an all-time high of $720 billion in revenue, a 5% increase since last year. That being said, e-commerce and retail brands are doing everything possible to best position themselves for success this holiday season.

With so much competition across so many channels, retailers everywhere have looming questions about their approach. How do we reduce discounting? How do we get more members to redeem their rewards points? Can we get our shoppers to purchase early? Don’t worry, we’re here to help with our top recommendations for the busiest shopping season of the year.

1. Holiday Marketing Checklist

Now is the time to make a list…and check it twice. The holiday season is a busy time with a lot of competing deadlines for marketing teams. It’s important to break down action items and key deadlines ahead of time so you don’t miss anything. Things like in-store promotional graphics, email strategies, your social media calendar, and holiday event logistics all have to be well thought out. How much should I invest in paid media? How often should I post my holiday specials on social media? All of these questions should be answered and planned out in advance so you’re ready to hit the ground running on Cyber Weekend!

Holiday Experiences

2. In-Store Holiday Experiences

Tying in holiday themes with retail can help many potential customers get into the buying spirit. Try hosting a holiday shopping experience with things like free apple cider, in-store loyalty specials, and maybe an appearance from Santa! Who knows, but make it unique and true to your brand experience.

3. Holiday Refer-a-Friend

When customers are sincerely happy about their purchases, they love telling their friends. And we love hearing about these products because we often rely on peer recognition to validate our purchases. Implementing a holiday-friendly way of offering personalized incentives helps aid those referrals. By offering both pre-purchase and post-purchase referrals, you’re giving potential customers more opportunity to leverage those savings. We have found that referred customers have a higher average order value and repeat purchase rate compared to other customers.

4. Online Exclusive Shopping Event

Cyber Weekend is the largest annual online shopping event with retailers scurrying to figure out which promotions make the most sense. And you’re probably thinking, “How can we compete with these insane discounts during the cyber weekend?” Though it’s not an easy task, it can be done. By creating your very own online shopping experience with special point rewards and personalized gifts, you can lower your reliance on discounting while promoting a fun user experience specific to your brand.

5. Holiday-Specific Rewards for Members

This is a great strategy that can be implemented in-store or online. But either way, it’s highly recommended. Offer double points or surprise holiday gifts to rewards customers. Maybe free expedited holiday shipping to higher tiered loyalty members for last minute shoppers? You have plenty of options, but make sure it’s practical to the season and your business.

Loyalty Rewards6. Gift Cards for Loyalty Rewards

By offering gift cards as a special holiday loyalty reward, you give customers an opportunity to directly earn a reward they can use as a gift. Now is the time to begin offering that to your loyal customers so that they’re ready to give them as stocking stuffers in December. This strategy can help you increase your point redemption rate as well as your customer referrals.

7. Early Season Rewards Events

Believe it or not, creating loyalty for the Christmas shopping season doesn’t only happen during the holidays. It’s about creating and nurturing that relationship early. By hosting loyalty events throughout the year for occasions like Memorial Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, your customers can accrue more points to redeem for your big holiday promotions! You can also structure your holiday loyalty campaign to load up point-earning opportunities early in the season. Offer more points throughout November and leading into Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And then, use December to focus your loyalty campaigns on encouraging your customers to use their loyalty points towards their Christmas shopping.

8. Surprise & Delight with Holiday Spirit

Though it can tough to figure out a unique way to surprise your customers, it can make all the difference around the holidays. And since there’s no defined format, surprises big or small are encouraged. Zappos once bought 1,000 gift boxes for an entire town around the holidays as an act of good customer service. It can also be as simple as giving out “holiday spirit” in the form of 100 free points to all rewards members. In any form, giving back to your customers can create loyalty without heavily discounting your products.

9. Points for Charitable Purposes

Since it’s the season of giving, it’s important to give back in any way that you can. But make it personal to your business and make it count. Offer an incentive to your customers that allow them to spend their points on a charity that your brand is passionate about. So say you’re a clothing company and your customer has earned enough points for a free shirt, they could opt to give that shirt to someone in need. By offering that incentive, your brand and customers can find a way to collaborate and give back. Whatever your product is, consider a way of giving back that speaks to your company ethos.

Holiday Wish List

10. Holiday Wish List or Registry

This time it’s up to your customers to make the list. But it’s up to you to give them the tools to do so. Consider creating a wish list feature on your website that can be shared so your customers know exactly what to buy for their loved ones! Target.com has a great wish list feature—it allows everyone to pick out their favorite products before the holiday season. You can also incorporate loyalty into your holiday wish lists by rewarding customers who create and share their wish lists. You could also offer more points when customers buy products off of a friend’s wish list to create a win-win not only for your customers but for your business as well.

There are so many ways to increase loyalty and conversions aside from just discounting. By reviewing your options and implementing a customer loyalty marketing plan, you can expect great results this holiday season. Have any questions about loyalty or how to strategize your marketing efforts? Let Annex Cloud guide you through the process and help you build a true relationship with your customers. Contact us today with any of your holiday questions!

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