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Posted on Fri 7th Nov, 2014 in: Industry Comment, Public Relations, Social Media by Emma Lister

We say it every year, but the festive period keeps getting longer, as brands start their aggressive marketing campaigns earlier, and 2014 is no exception. Nearly three quarters of UK retailers believe that this Christmas will bring better trading than last year due to the improved economy and a heightened customer confidence. But whilst it's important to capture the attention of consumers in this very busy spending period, marketers know that when Christmas is over, the real challenge is encouraging new customers to keep coming back. Research on fashion retailers has found that shoppers who have been acquired in the Christmas period have a 7.3% lower average order size than those who shop there on an average day, but have a 4.1% higher average lifetime value than people shopping outside the festive season. So basically, they spend less in the short-term but more in the long-term. So it's vital that retailers create smart campaigns post-Christmas, to target these new customers acquired over the festive period and convert them into loyal shoppers. This will boost retention rates and help the business thrive. Here are some useful tips for marketers to increase customer loyalty. Rewards, rewards, rewards Although January discounts will no doubt be in operation, special personalised offers for new shoppers e.g. where they are given their own promotional code, can encourage them to buy again and again. Remind them of abandoned transactions We're all guilty of leaving full shopping baskets online that we haven't taken to the check-out. Some shoppers specifically leave these carts until retailers offer them special discounts to help them complete the purchase. Therefore, by reminding new customers of these items, they are more likely to finish the order. Thank yous Thank yous go a long way. By acknowledging and responding to consumers' purchases and giving them exclusive content or money off future purchases, you're making them feel special and helping to build trust and new relationships. Thank yous can be implemented through social media, by post or email bulletins to get them engaged. Recommendations Get personal with the customer by recommending products they are likely to purchase. For example, if you're a clothing retailer you could recommend specific outfits based on the styles or colours they have chosen when shopping for their Christmas outfits. I know from my own personal experiences that by January retailers have forgotten all about my festive purchases. I receive the usual sales email bulletins they send to all of their other customers, without any consideration for the types of products I like to buy. Brands are now able to utilise a lot more data than ever before. So they should put it to good use and make their marketing personal!   All of these tips should be implemented in January but need to be in the planning process now. Marketers need to have a smart retention campaign in place which they can execute as soon as the Christmas period is over.

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