The holiday shopping season is an important time for business owners for several reasons. There’s the obvious benefit of increased sales. And it’s also a time when foot traffic to in-store locations increases as does web traffic to retail sites. This flurry of activity of is good for business owners now, but properly handled, business owners can turn holiday shoppers into loyal customers for a brand. This article will show how business owners should use their increased exposure during the holidays to improve customer loyalty.
The holidays are time for business owners to impress new consumers as well as old customers. Though the holiday shopping season brings a lot of foot traffic to stores but much of it comes from customers who are already fans of a brand. Loyalty360 reported that 66 percent of US consumers plan to shop for gifts at their favorite retailers during the holiday season and 44 percent plan to give gifts purchased from brands they are loyal to. With so many repeat customer returning for holiday shopping, business owners can’t afford to alienate them with poor customer service nor should they miss the opportunity to wow the consumer.
Though using the holiday season to boost customer loyalty sounds obvious, it’s much easier said than done. With more orders to fill and more customers to help, it’s understandable that businesses struggle to keep everyone happy. According to a recent study from Bond Brand Loyalty, most consumers feel that retailers fail to meet the challenge.
“Less than one-third of consumers think customer service is better during the holidays. This is a great opportunity for brands to invest in unique differentiators, like VIP shopping events, gift wrapping, valet parking and loyalty member privileges,” stated Rob Daniel, from Bond Brand Loyalty, in a report on the study from Loyalty360.
One way business owners can build loyalty during the holidays is by offering reward programs. According to the study, reward programs influence holiday shopping behavior in multiple ways. First, 42 percent of US consumers plan to use loyalty points to fund their holiday shopping, and more importantly, 41 percent will shop at retailers and brands where they can earn such points.
In a way, reward and loyalty programs offer consumers extra value when they buy gifts for others. It’s like getting a gift for his or her self. Many businesses that sell gift cards use a similar tactic when they give free gift cards when a customer buys a certain amount in gift cards. Even small things gifts, such as ornaments, that businesses can give away will leave an impression that will remain beyond the holidays.
“The study reveals some interesting findings that clearly highlight the importance of building meaningful engagement and experiences with digitally empowered customers,” Bob Macdonald, President & CEO of Bond Brand Loyalty, added. “Brands that deliver a differentiated and consistent shopping experience across all channels will not only come out on top this season, they will build trust, advocacy, and long-lasting brand loyalty for months and years to come.”
Business owners should try to create a pleasant and memorable experience for customers at every step of the buying process. This means the website should be easy to use and provide all the information the customer is looking for. It means having adequate customer service to handle all issues that arise in a timely manner. It means fast service for online and in-store customers, and much more.
If a business can find a way to leave a positive impression in the minds of consumers at Christmas time, those positive feelings will carry over into future years. As has been mentioned in the past on this site, there is a tremendous long term value in creating loyal customers. Business owners should seize this opportunity to foster loyalty in their customers. For more tips on how to do that, read this article on creating loyal customers in the digital age.