How to Keep Holiday Cheer From Turning Into Holiday Churn

Understand different shopping styles

For most retailers, the holidays are not merely the busiest shopping time; they can also determine just how good (or bad) a year is going to be. The number one problem? Churn. Five minutes after they check out, shoppers who were thrilled with their amazing bargains have already forgotten you exist.

Given that the biggest discounts typically land on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s not surprising that these shoppers would be more fickle—they’re looking for the best deals, not necessarily the best stores. But there are ways to reduce churn to a trickle and convert fleeting bargain hunters into fierce loyalists who shop with your brand over the course of the year.

By analyzing more than $1.5 trillion in spend, Cardlytics sees that holiday shoppers fall into four distinct segments: Early Birds, Black Friday Warriors, Last-Minute Shoppers, and Consistent Shoppers. Winning each group’s loyalty requires a different strategy, so it pays to understand their unique habits and needs. Building these strategies into your plan will get customers to return in the upcoming year and holiday seasons to come.

Up your ecommerce game

While retail foot traffic has been on a steady decline for the past three years, online sales continue to climb. Last year, the share of holiday dollars spent online increased by nearly 4 percent, and more than 15 percent of all online purchases happened during the week before Christmas. Omnichannel retailers who offer discounts on standard shipping early in the holiday season and free express shipping as the holiday approaches are more likely to see repeat customers.

Double down on bargain hunters

Despite the fact that money spent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday is declining year over year, this weekend still accounts for 20 percent of all holiday sales. Black Friday Warriors also have the highest average transaction size, averaging more than $60 per purchase. Rewarding loyal bargain hunters by sending them even deeper discounts via email offers, along with shareable discounts they can pass on to their friends, will keep them coming back and reducing churn.

Give procrastinators a break

Nearly a third of all shoppers leave the bulk of their purchases to the last week of the holiday season (you know who you are…self included). But, they spend an average of $800 over the holiday season, making Last-Minute Shoppers the second most valuable group after Consistent Shoppers. Cut them some slack by extending retail store hours, offering discounts on expedited shipping and guaranteed delivery dates.

Ramp up your loyalty programs

Perhaps the single best way to keep holiday shoppers from fleeing is to reward them for coming back. Loyalty programs—like those Cardlytics offers via its native bank channel—help build brand affinity and encourage multiple purchases. The consumers you win over during the holiday will be more likely to make purchases during the rest of the year.

Prepare for the year to come

After all your hard work to acquire customers during the holidays and win their advocacy, it’s time to prepare for the next 12 months, including capturing early holiday shoppers in 2017. Last year, 10 percent of all holiday shopping dollars were spent at least a week before Black Friday. Retailers who ran early marketing campaigns experienced 1.4 percent year-over-year growth; those who didn’t saw a 2.2 percent drop. For 2017, starting your holiday campaign in early November can help capture more of those Early Bird dollars.

Armed with knowledge about how your customers have spent in the past—with you or without you—will help you identify your brand’s most likely buyers. From there, you can reach those custom audiences with highly-relevant campaigns, then measure the impact those campaigns have on actual in-store and online spend.

Turning holiday shopper loyalty into year-round loyalty can be difficult. But, executing multiple marketing campaigns throughout the season, targeted to each type of shopper, will keep you cheering instead of churning long after the holidays are over.

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