The holiday shopping season is here, which means that eCommerce merchants are preparing for the influx of first-time visitors to their online store. But what will happen to these new customers after the holiday excitement dies down?
According to a Magento report, retailers gain up to 59 percent more customers during the holiday season. This is a huge opportunity for online retailers to convert first-time buyers into lifelong customers to drive up revenue all year long.
To impress first-time eCommerce holiday shoppers and keep them loyal to your brand, you need to create exceptional customer experiences for them. Consider the following tips to help you engage your new holiday shoppers and transform them into lifelong customers.
1.) Be Authentic and Attentive
Smaller eCommerce stores may not always be able to compete with Amazon’s insanely low prices, but they can gain a competitive edge by being authentic and attentive to their customers.
It’s much easier for small- and medium-sized brands to forge meaningful relationships with their customers compared to big-box retailers. Use this to your advantage during the holidays by engaging with customers on social media, listening carefully to their comments and replying to them.
Halo Top, an ice cream brand, is great at this. They monitor their brand mentions and reply to everyone who mentions them in an Instagram post. Customers love the acknowledgment, and Halo Top engages its customers, further inspiring loyalty to its brand.
2.) Identify the Right Tools
Let’s face it. Providing an exceptional customer experience requires significant planning and work. Yet, delivering a consistent brand experience is essential if you want to retain customers and grow your eCommerce store.
The solution lies in leveraging the right marketing tools. Online shopping has become increasingly sophisticated, and brands that don’t invest in robust marketing strategies are destined to lose valuable customers and fall behind the competition.
For example, social listening tools will let you know what people are saying about your brand, allowing you to engage with them at the right time. Other tools will automate your processes and streamline your marketing efforts, improving customer experience across the board. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal to remain competitive in the future.
3.) Collect and Manage Data
Digital marketers have the tendency to be data junkies. The only problem is that with so much data at our fingertips these days, it can become extremely difficult to collect and manage it all.
These days, customers expect you to know them. That’s why they have given up their information in exchange for a personalized experience. Without effective data management, you can’t meet their needs.
To improve your marketing performance, you need to know which data is important to collect and how it will help you grow your business. Keep this data secure, and clean out your database regularly to ensure that you aren’t acting upon bad metrics.
4.) Provide a Unified Brand Experience
Low prices are no longer enough to satisfy your customers. Now, they expect top-notch service across multiple devices and channels as well.
To meet their growing expectations, you need to provide a total brand experience from the beginning of the customer journey to the end. Fail to do so, and shoppers will bounce to your competitors.
Develop a distinct brand voice and be consistent with your tone and style. Remember that every customer touchpoint is an opportunity to convey your message to boost your customer’s overall experience.
5.) Reward Shoppers’ Loyalty
If you want to turn first-time shoppers into loyal customers, you need to give them a reason to revisit your site. One way to do this is by rewarding them for choosing your brand for their holiday shopping needs.
Designing a loyalty program can seem daunting, but it is extremely effective at driving up customer lifetime value. Just look at Starbucks’s My Starbucks Rewards or Amazon Prime to see the benefits of a good loyalty program.
For the best results, make your email marketing and your loyalty program work together. Send first-time customers promotional emails about your loyalty program and encourage them to sign up by teasing exclusive coupons and deals.
You can also boost customer loyalty by segmenting your customers by purchase data and rewarding your most loyal shoppers with exclusive VIP offers.
6.) Outperform the Competition
Your holiday marketing campaigns may convince first-timers to buy from you during the holidays, but what is stopping them from choosing your competitors when they make their next purchase?
To inspire brand loyalty and retain new customers, you need to know how your store stacks up against peers in your industry. With a regular competitive analysis, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and find ways to overtake them.
If you’re short on time, use a free competitive analysis tool that will uncover this valuable competitor data for you. Check your competitor metrics once a quarter to ensure that you aren’t falling behind in the marketplace.
7.) Offer Incentives
A good product and exceptional customer service aren’t always enough to keep customers shopping at your eCommerce store. Even if the experience was memorable, new holiday shoppers won’t return if you don’t give them a good incentive to do so.
This holiday season, consider using coupon codes to generate post-holiday sales. For example, give holiday shoppers discount codes for them to use in the month of January. Then, take a tip from West Elm and hold “friends and family” discount events throughout the year to keep them coming back for more.
8.) Be Quick to Respond
When a customer gets in touch with your business, how quickly do you respond? Not only do customers expect your eCommerce store to have multi-channel customer service, but they also expect a timely response.
To help you balance phone, email and live-chat inquiries, plan out your responses to commonly asked questions. This will save you time and give you the chance to create a carefully thought-out response that conveys the right message.
Don’t forget to collect data from every interaction. Conversational data can reveal valuable insight that can improve your customer service and help you retain new customers.
As many eCommerce merchants know, their loyal customers are the most profitable. The holidays will likely bring an influx of first-time buyers to your eCommerce store, presenting a key opportunity to transform them into loyal customers who will reward you with a lifetime of business.