The holidays are a great time to thank your best customers for their patronage throughout the year. It’s especially important to reach out to one of your most engaged groups of repeat customers and source of highest lifetime value: the customers currently enrolled in your loyalty program. And with 69% of customers reporting they’d prefer to do their holiday shopping at businesses where they can accumulate loyalty points or rewards, it’s safe to say they feel the same.
But as loyalty programs continue to evolve, it’s important to understand changing consumer expectations, and commit resources to differentiating your program. This should also apply to your holiday loyalty promotions, as your business will be competing with lots of others for the time and attention of your customers during this hectic season. But, with the right mix, you can win their attention and holiday shopping dollars. It’s vital to remember that it costs six times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one, so it’s prudent for local businesses to invest more in this area.
Mail them a handwritten holiday card. This small effort can go a long way in winning over the hearts of your loyal customers. Leverage your past interactions or notes about their interests or challenges, stored in your CRM, to personalize as much as possible.
Motivate them to check out your holiday offerings (products and services) by giving them with some extra “points” for those that come in-store on the day or week that new product and services lines are unveiled. Or, to those who share seasonal promotions via social networks. Have them email you with a link and their loyalty info, so you can ensure these bonus points are applied.
Offer a personal shopper, or make it easy for loyalty members to create wish lists, that they can share on social. Award points when they create a list and when others use their shortlink and make a transaction.
Hold a workshop or create a resource that will help them succeed during the holiday season. Whether a gift-wrapping lesson, holiday party checklist, best host or hostess gift ideas, they’ll appreciate the help when they need it most.
Segment for greater personalization. Utilize data from payment tracking to segment loyalty members by average purchase amounts. Create a gift guide based around this data, so it’s tailored to their normal buying behavior. They’ll be more likely to make a purchase, if all the options are viable and within their budget.
Send your loyalty members a $5 gift card to use at your business that is valid until 12/24 or through the end of the year. Do the math and adjust the amount, as you see fit. For businesses with larger projects or more expensive products you can always increase the value. This can help get them started, and chances are they’ll end up spending much more than the gift card amount.
If your program is structured in tiers, send out a standings email, perhaps with an extra incentive such as double points, to motivate them to reach the next level before the end of the year to enjoy the additional benefits in the coming year.
Do a surprise contest or giveaway, and award the prize to one (or a few!) different active members of your loyalty program, selected at random. Be sure to promote this heavily; what better incentive to join a free program than the chance to win prizes without having to jump through any hoops, or even signing up!
Create special events for various segments: A party for biggest spenders, frequent shoppers and advocates. Personal shoppers during VIP hours with a first look at exclusive collections or let them be the first to shop a sale. Tailor to your business, or offer a girl’s night out where they can get beauty treatments and cocktails.
Partner with other local businesses to offer a special gift. This will also remind them of the importance of supporting local business for the community, and make it a team effort! And while you’re at it, try offering reciprocal benefits at other businesses, and vice-versa for loyalty members.
Bonus: Think ahead to next year. Crowdsource your 2017 holiday content by giving gifts or bonus points to customers who take photos and videos of recipients opening gifts they’ve purchased from your business over the holidays. Ask them to share on social with a specific, festive hashtag that includes your business name. Combine them to make an endearing promotional video next holiday season. Make sure you include permission to use the content in your terms, so there are no surprises.