Christmas comes once a year. So do other holidays. On those days you get an influx of customers. Traffic may be such that you actually struggle to cope to fulfill orders. Are you aware that there are some businesses out there that make up to 20% or more of their annual income on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way of turning these seasonal customers into loyal year-round customers? Hi, my name is Francisco and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency. In this article, I am going to give you tips on how to properly manage seasonal customers so that they keep coming back to your business. The post is divided into the following sections;
What are Seasonal Customers?
Most businesses witness an influx of customers at certain key holiday points during the course of the year. Perhaps it’s towards Christmas. Or maybe you get an influx around Thanksgiving. Maybe you get another huge influx of customers around Black Friday.
Seasonal customers are customers whose purchases are made in relation to certain holidays or events. In most instances, these customers will not come back to make another purchase. And therein lies the problem.
Acquiring new customers is not easy. It can cost a business at least 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to make a sale to an existing customer. That’s one of the reasons why businesses around the world are always on the hunt for ways through which to boost customer loyalty. That’s something that I have previously written.
Add to that the fact that conversion rates for eCommerce average as low as 2% and you will see why it’s important to turn seasonal customers into year round customers. Every relationship that you build with a customer is an asset for you business. So, how can you turn seasonal customers into loyal year round customers?
How to Turn Seasonal Customers Into Loyal Customers
I have complied the tips below to help businesses build lifelong positive relationships with their customer. These tips are mainly geared towards eCommerce. However, they will work equally well if you run a brick and mortar business. So, what can you do to extend the relationship that your business has with seasonal customers?
1. Offer great customer service
I have been working with eCommerce businesses for over a decade. Yet the one thing that surprises me is that most people are so fixated on marketing that they forget where it all begins! Building a lifelong relationship with your customers begins with great customer service.
People do not come to your business because they like you. They come because they are looking to have a need fulfilled. It’s their assumption that you are going to be able to properly and professionally take care of your side of the bargain. So, good service is where it all begins as far as building long relations with your customers is concerned.
What do customers expect?
I recently published an article in which I talk about how good customer service can get you more sales and better reviews. In that article, I summarized some of the things that you need to do to give your customers the satisfaction that they are looking for. The following are a few of the essential points of good customer service;
- Competitive pricing
- Friendly staff
- Prompt shipping
- Google communication
- A friendly returns policy
- Responding to customer queries
People come back when treated right
Those are some of the essential things that you customers will be looking for when they interact with your business. Good customer service is the starting point of everything that’s mentioned here. Being able to meet each of those expectations means you will be able to turn a seasonal customer into a loyal year round customer.
Simply put, a person will come back if you treat them right and if they get what they are looking for. Do the opposite, and they will lambast you on Yelp, Google and Facebook.
Now, that’s not something that you can look forward to. In fact, a drop in a star on Yelp can be enough to trigger a drop of up to 9% in profit for some businesses. So you want to always be in good books with your customers.
2. Send them a thank you email immediately after a purchase
Let’s say that somebody has landed on your eCommerce platform on Black Friday from Google or Facebook and they make a purchase. What happens afterwards? Do you allow them to go on their way without bothering to foster the relationship? That’s what most businesses do, unfortunately.
Now, that’s not the way to build a long lasting relationship with a customer. What you need to do is to try as much as is possible to turn the one time purchase into an ongoing interaction. A starting point for that is to send them a thank you email soon after they have made the purchase.
That’s assuming that you have collecting emails from your customers a priority. That’s easy enough for eCommerce businesses to do. Emails are usually collected as part of the checkout process. Even if you run a brick and mortar business, you should strive to collect contact details from your customers. It’s something that you need to impress on your staff.
Automate the process
It may seem like a chore to send thank you emails to each of your customers. What do you do if you deal with hundreds of customers every day? Well, the good news is that you can largely automate the process of sending out emails to your customers and prospects.
I have previously written on 5 email marketing automation tools that will increase sales for eCommerce businesses. Some of the tools that I profiled in that article are Mailchimp, GetResponse and Mailjet. Feel free to check them out. But what does email automation mean?
Well, it simply means you can schedule to have emails automatically sent out a certain amount of time after somebody has checked out from your store. This scheduling makes life really simple for you. It means you don’t have to worry about individually penning each email to your customers.
Put an incentive into the thank you email
Is a thank you email enough to turn seasonal customers into loyal year long customers? Probably not! While some people may appreciate the effort, chances are high that most will not even open your email. To get them to come back to your shop you need to offer your customers some incentive for doing so.
As an example, you can offer them a 10% discount on their next purchase. That way, you can be sure that they will have your business in mind the next time that they need to buy something.
A number of the email marketing tools that are out there offer shoppable emails. What this means is that people will be able to make purchases directly from their emails. This vastly increases your chances of getting them to buy one more time from you.
3. Run a customer loyalty program
Customer loyalty reward programs are another good way through which you can turn seasonal customers into lifelong customers for your business. But how does this work? Lets’ assume that it’s Christmas and somebody has landed on your site from Google.
They make a purchase and set out to leave. But, before they do so, why not offer them an incentive for joining a customer loyalty program? Maybe you will reward them with a discount. Many shops out there run customer loyalty rewards programs.
Even traditional physical shops do so. Most shops offer customers customer cards in one form or the other. As a customer makes a purchase, they are rewarded with “points.” These points can then be redeemed for a reward.
That’s a great tip for ensuring that people who land on your website do not simply leave. Once they have joined your customer loyalty rewards program, they will keep coming back because they wish to benefit from the program.
Human beings are well known for wanting free things. You can take advantage of that trait to build the relationship with your customer. If somebody knows that they will be rewarded for shopping from you, they will keep coming back to make more purchases.
Whatever the eCommerce software that you may be running, there are a lot of apps to help you create and run rewards programs. Check out my article on the best WooCommerce plugins to help increase sales. I talk about the WooCommerce Points and Rewards tool. That’s really useful for doing what we are talking about here.
4. Gather feedback from your customers
Getting feedback is another great way through which you can foster a lifelong relationship with seasonal customers. The idea is that by getting them to review your business, you cement your brand’s image in their minds. It ensures that the next time that they wish to make a purchase, they will think about you.
Why feedback is important
There are a number of forms of feedback out there. You can ask your customers to give you a review upon checkout. If you join an online review company such as Shopper Approved, the process gets automated.
These reviews are important. Today, up to 90% of shoppers will first consult online reviews before making a purchase. So, you need to be as positively represented as is possible on Yelp, Facebook, Google and on other platforms.
Gathering and displaying feedback on your site is a good way of boosting your business’s trust standing. It gives people the confidence that they need to buy from you. It also helps you reduce the damage that's caused by abandoned carts.
That trust is crucial as far as retaining seasonal customers is concerned. If someone believes you are a bona-fide business that’s capable of fulfilling your end of the bargain, they are much more likely to come back to you the next time that they need to buy something.
5. Have a live chat tool on your eCommerce platform
I recently published an article in which I talk about the best Live Chat tools for eCommerce. I have another article in which I talk about how the Facebook Messenger Live Chat can be a game changer for eCommerce.
Integrating a Live Chat tool on your eCommerce platform is crucial, not only in terms of giving you the chance to convince seasonal customers to become regular customers, but also in terms of convincing people to buy from you.
People always have questions about potential purchases. One worry is that your products may not be exactly what they are looking for. Having a Live Chat tool gives you the chance to convince them to take the plunge. It also allows you to collect important contact details, including emails. You can use these later to try and convince people to buy from you.
The Facebook Live Chat tool is particularly useful. It ensures that chats with your customers are not restricted to your website. Instead they can continue in Messenger, on Instagram and on Facebook. Again, it’s a good way of extending the interaction with your customers. That’s one way of fostering the relationship between you and your customers.
Those are some of the best ways to turn seasonal customers into loyal year long customers. Should you be able to attain that objective, then your business will have achieved massive growth in one fell swoop. But, to get there, there are a number of things that you can do.
All of the steps outlined here are geared towards fostering your business' relationship with the seasonal customer. They need to know that you care and that they can count on you. From there, it won’t be too hard to convince them to come back to make another purchase.