With Black Friday, Boxing Day, and the final Friday before Christmas seeing year-over-year spend increases, the holiday season is an excellent opportunity to grow your brand.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching, which means the busy holiday shopping season is just getting started. Whether you have a booth at a local Christmas market or you're offering significant discounts at your store, you will likely meet shoppers who have never purchased from you before.
Customers naturally build loyalty to specific brands over others and, as a small business owner, creating a plan to turn these holiday shoppers into repeat customers should be a priority.
Lockdown your marketing plan
Regardless of your business or your industry, you should have a plan for the holiday season. For example, with lots of ice cream on its menu, Eva's Original Chimneys creates an annual marketing calendar with seasonal flavours, competitions, and promotions to drive interest in the colder months. During the holiday season, they provide promo cards with purchases to encourage repeat customers.
The owner, Kristin, recommends that you "start planning your promotions early and use social media, mobile POS system, and email to drive awareness about your promotions." In the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, most Canadians will have started their shopping lists and begun searching for the perfect items. Make sure you have inventory, staff schedules, and promotional materials ready for the holiday rush.
If you're going to have a pop-up or a booth at a holiday market, add a personal touch to your customers' purchases that will bring them back. Kristin adds swing tags with information about their store locations and special offers that encourage repeat visits, such as pre-loaded gift cards or promotional items.
Offer exceptional customer service
While you should be providing outstanding customer service all year round, it's especially important during the holidays. Many holiday shoppers will be making their first purchases from your store, so it's an excellent opportunity to make a first impression through your customer service.
Moneris merchant, Tartistry, aims to make every customer interaction warm and memorable. "During the holiday season, we never look at the interaction with a first-time customer as a sale but rather as a conversation," says Stephen, Tartistry's owner.
They start by establishing processes to streamline their orders so that they can focus their attention on the customer and deliver a consistent experience. "Since we attend a lot of holiday markets, we map our daily requirements from ingredients to staffing so that we can plan months," he says. They pre-order raw ingredients for their tarts, so that they have everything to fulfill customer orders. "The extra love, care, and pride that goes into making our tarts should be put towards our customers too."
Tartistry also hires additional staff during the holidays to help with pop-ups and unplanned rushes to their store. By having extra support during the holiday rush, you can continue to provide high-quality service and create a meaningful connection with your new customers to keep them coming back.
Keep the checkout line moving with mobile POS system
Long checkout lines can be frustrating during the holiday season. Keeping them moving during this busy time is an excellent way to offer exceptional customer service and make a lasting final impression. A mobile POS system is an effective way to combat long checkout lines and enhance the overall customer experience.
Digital wallets like Apple Pay® and Google Pay™ are some of the most convenient payment methods, so your customers can be out the door as quickly as possible. With a Moneris POS terminal, you can easily accept the payment types customers frequently use during the season, including chip and pin.
When customers are in a rush, long lines can deter them from shopping at your stores. With a mobile POS system, you can also create a "line busting" station to help improve your checkout speed. Line busting is the process of shortening your checkout line by allowing customers to pay at an area away from the central checkout.
Bring them back with a promo
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to help encourage repeat customers, especially new holiday shoppers. Most shoppers look for deals during the busiest season of the year since it’s most likely that they are purchasing gifts for other people. By offering a coupon or promotional card, you can provide an incentive for customers to treat themselves the next time they're in your store or shopping on your website. Whether it’s a gift with purchase or a percentage discount on their next purchase, it could be what pulls them back!
For 6ixman, there's nothing more valuable than a returning customer. “With every single purchase, we add a coupon for up to 20% to 25% off on next order,” says Alex, the owner of 6ixman. It costs more to acquire a new customer at any other time of the year, so it’s an excellent opportunity to invest in promotional cards or coupons in exchange for a lifelong customer.
During the holiday season, you may want to consider having a more open loyalty program so that seasonal shoppers can take advantage of the deals. It could mean extending the expiry date of your promo card or providing a coupon with no strings attached. 6ixman does the latter, and it has been their single most effective method for acquiring repeat customers.
Create your repeat-customers plan today
You can start with a promotional tool that you feel would appeal to your customers and encourage them to come back. With 70% of Canadians more likely to shop at a business when they have a promo card, you can build a base of repeat-customers to help increase traffic in-store and online. Promo cards can be customized for your business and work on existing Moneris POS terminals, so you don't have to add any equipment. What's more, you can order trial-sized quantities (as few as 50 cards) if you'd like to test-drive them this holiday season.
For more information on encouraging repeat customers, be sure to read Tips for Implementing a Successful Promo Card Campaign at Your Business.
The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed. APPLE PAY is a trademark of Apple Inc. registered in the U.S. and other countries. GOOGLE PAY is a trademark of Google LLC.