5 Tips to Boost Customer Engagement from Black Friday to New Year's

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Tis the season for celebration, giving, and...shopping! As Black Friday approaches and Cyber Monday nears, consumers are thinking of how to score the best deals possible, while retailers focus on delivering the best possible customer experience. Here are five tips to help boost your customer engagement and increase retention during the holiday shopping season:
Customer Engagement

Tis the season for celebration, giving, and...shopping! As Black Friday approaches and Cyber Monday nears, consumers are thinking of how to score the best deals possible, while retailers focus on delivering the best possible customer experience.

Here are five tips to help boost your customer engagement and increase retention during the holiday shopping season:

1. Inspire Feedback with Incentives
Consumers expect businesses to tailor experiences to them and invest in their needs. Receiving feedback during the holidays serves as a valuable tool for companies to help enable personalized experiences. Give your audience a reason to engage with your brand and offer feedback by offering exclusive holiday promotions and deals in exchange for their email addresses or an answer to a question or two about their experiences.

2. Provide Holiday-Themed Content and Targeted SEO
More and more consumers are avoiding the large crowds in stores and shopping online and from their smartphones. Last year's Black Friday saw sales total $1.2 billion and the number of purchases made via mobile tripled from the previous year. With more consumers flocking to websites, companies must ensure their content that is well curated and managed. This can have an extremely positive impact on a company's profitability, customer retention, and brand recognition. Content creation should also change during the holiday season since people search for different content during this time. Providing online holiday guides or lists geared toward their specific regions may be helpful. Also, identify the types of content and keywords customers are in search of during this time. For example, a grocery chain may benefit from incorporating key search phrases like, "holiday recipes" and a department store may serve up a promotion to consumers to search for "holiday gifts."

3. Promote Your Loyalty Program
The holiday shopping season attracts new and old customers alike, so now is the time to promote your loyalty program and capture customer information. Offer an incentive to encourage shoppers to register. And remember to follow up after the holidays to thank new members for joining and to outline the rewards. Make sure they're specific, unique, and tangible

4. Encourage Gift Card Conversion
Gift card sales in 2013 surpassed $118 billion and the market is expected to grow in excess of $140 billion by 2016. That's a lot of cards and many consumers keep them stashed in their wallets, often forgetting their existence until spring. Last year Starbucks aimed to encourage immediate redemption and lock in new customers via mobile when the company asked customers to convert their gift cards into virtual payment systems. This move connected them through the Starbucks app and facilitated more rapid redemption of the cards.

5. Step up the Post-Holiday Campaign
After the holiday rush and sales come to an end, your marketing and communications outreach should not. Plan your post-holiday campaign now and establish initiatives to propel long-lasting programs. Last year Walgreens, for example, created an in-store and social media campaign called "7 Resolutions for Real Life." The campaign promoted seven beauty and healthcare products to help start the New Year off on the right track.These types of programs can be appealing ways for marketers to take advantage of the fact that consumers will be using their billions in gift cards after the holiday season.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION