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As the shopping frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday came to a close, many businesses are left wondering how to continue to engage with their customers and retain them throughout the holiday season and beyond.
Fortunately, ReferralCandy asked leading Shopify agency experts in the ecommerce industry to weigh in on the matter, offering their tips and strategies for how to best retain customers after the holiday sales. These professionals, who have a wealth of experience in helping merchants, know firsthand the best practices for retaining customers and building loyalty.
BFCM 2022 overview
The holidays are often the busiest shopping season of the year, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest shopping days. And during this time, retailers have an opportunity to gain a lot of new customers. A record-setting Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend in 2022 has brought $7.5 billion in sales, leading to a 19% increase in sales from the$6.3 billion during Shopify’s BFCM weekend in 2021.
Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify has stated: “This year, Black Friday Cyber Monday showed us once again that consumers are voting with their wallets to support the independent brands they love. We saw record level shopping happening across all channels this weekend, proving businesses that meet their customers where they are, whether that’s online or in-person, will earn their loyalty in return.”
Even though it is the busiest time of the year for online retailers, the challenge for many businesses isn’t just about attracting customers during the busy shopping period - it’s about ensuring that customers stick around and make repeat purchases. Retaining customers is a critical part of any successful online business, so it’s important to have a strategy in place to keep customers engaged and interested in your products and services. Here are a few tips and strategies that our experts from ecommerce agencies have used in the past to achieve success.
Expert insights on how to retain customers after the holiday sales
Excellent customer support
Regina Ongkiko from LTVplus assured us that the most important thing brands need to do is to continuously deliver excellent customer support. And we couldn’t agree more, as creating a strong customer support system is a great way to ensure customers keep coming back, even after the promotional period is over. Regina says:
“During BFCM, online consumers are ready, willing, and able to shop. They know massive deals are going to drop, and they prepare early for it. As a result, BFCM usually brings in an influx of new customers for ecommerce brands. When new customers turn into repeat customers, they actually generate 44% of brands’ total revenue. As business owners, you probably already know that acquisition is not the end game—it’s just the beginning.”
So how do you ensure your customer support is top-notch? Here are a few tips from Regina:
- Set up and implement customer support channels where your audience is. You don’t need to be present everywhere—just the channels that matter.
- Create a comprehensive knowledge base or FAQ section so customers can quickly find possible solutions to their queries.
- Regularly optimize your support team’s skills.
- Outsource a highly skilled and dedicated team to take care of hiring, training, and managing your entire customer support operations. For example, LTVplus has actually helped Divbrands hit more than $600,000 in revenue with dedicated live chat agents. Easy Treezy was also able to experience a 60% revenue increase in one holiday season thanks to a dedicated customer experience team.
Focus on email marketing
Every marketer and ecommerce business owner knows how important it is to use email campaigns to keep customers informed and engaged, especially after BFCM sales. Douglas J. Darroch, a Managing Director at Renaissance Digital Marketing shared his strategy with us:
“The best way to retain customers after Black Friday/Cyber Monday is going to be a focus on email marketing. The first thing you should do is create an abandoned cart flow specifically for everyone who didn't convert during the BFCM weekend. As long as the expected shipping times will allow them to still receive their products before Christmas, continue sending them extraordinary offers. A vast majority of your advertising dollars are not going to immediately convert, and this is the best way to follow up with everyone that was highly interested in your” store.
He suggests Shopify brands run a post-holiday sale for the month of January as it is traditionally one of the slowest months of the year for many retail stores. Offering all of your new customers from the holidays a special offer for January to keep them returning to your store after the holidays and beyond is crucial because most customers that buy a second time from a new brand they have never shopped with before usually do so within the first 30 days.
Creating a positive customer journey
Merchants should focus on personalizing their approach and offering personalized deals, discounts, and other incentives to customers. Additionally, customers should be provided with customized experiences, such as personalized emails, survey reminders, personalized product recommendations, and more. By creating a positive customer journey, companies can ensure that customers come back for more and continue to purchase products and services.
Rhiannon Davies is Client Strategy Manager at andzen.co. We asked him to share his thoughts on this strategy, and here’s what we’ve got:
“The Customer Journey is a big part of BFCM and planning needs to start before the holiday season. BFCM is the perfect time to build your customer list with the influx of traffic to your website, so make sure you increase the number of data capture forms on your site and capture all of those newly acquired customers with email addresses and phone numbers.”
And now that you've grown your customer list, what do you do with it post-BFCM? Rhiannon says that customer segmentation should be a big part of your overall email/SMS marketing strategy, so after BFCM be sure to create dedicated campaigns with targeted messaging that speaks to each cohort:
“You no doubt will have customers who did purchase and those who didn't purchase during this period, so be sure to send future campaigns that are enticing to those separate audiences. Use your marketing $ wisely, if you paid to acquire customers or traffic during this holiday season, make the most of CLV and repeat purchases with retargeting campaigns both email, SMS, and paid ads. As much as we would love to provide some examples we don't have enough turnaround time but hope the above is helpful.”
Remarketing through paid ads
This is an incredibly effective strategy to retain customers after Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This type of advertising allows businesses to reach out to the same customers multiple times with targeted, personalized messaging. By running ads to the same audience, brands can remind customers of their products and services, and encourage them to come back and make additional purchases. With remarketing, you can increase customer loyalty and engagement, which will lead to more sales and more satisfied customers. Brian Roisentul - Founder and CEO at BSR Digital shares his opinion on remarketing through paid ads:
“You’ll be able to build audiences for those who bought during BFCM to retarget them with something that will make sense for them (ie. more of what they bought, or other products that they might be interested in), depending on each industry and products you offer. This should be a separate ad set or campaign, to try to win them back.”
Taking Meta Ads as an example, Brian offers different campaign types you could use here:
- Conversions: in case you’d like to control the message and/or products you’ll offer
- Catalog Sales: it’ll show each user the products they’re most likely to buy, according to the data Meta’s AI has on them. You can also configure a product set with add-ons to the core product, if you have one, or push come categories you know they likely didn’t buy during BFCM.
- Reach: although it’s not a campaign we’d typically use to get conversions, it comes in handy to get cheap eyeballs if you provide it with a qualified audience: in this case, people who bought during BFCM.
Customer retention strategy that actually works
There are a number of effective strategies that are essential for any business to maintain growth and profitability. So we’ve asked our experts to share their success stories and best practices for retaining customers that worked well for their clients.
Caroline Campbell, a Marketing Manager & Team Lead at Email Broadcast expounds on how to keep customers coming back to your brand via value-adding content:
“At Email Broadcast, we follow a rule called “Give, Give, Ask.” When you give your customers more than you’re asking of them, you’ll build trust and a good relationship. You’ll also establish yourself as an expert, authority, or good friend. With your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales message, you’re asking your customers or prospects for a sale. With your next two or three messages, you need to reward them and provide something of value.”
Caroline shared an example for her client in the aesthetic medicine industry, and here are the steps they took for value-adding content:
November 2021: Launched a Black Friday promotion, which went over very well and drove big business results for our client.
December 2021: Launched a value-add message about a few of our client’s favorite things to help with holiday shopping. The message did NOT ask for a sale or even link solely to the product on our client’s website.
January 2022: Launched another value-add message about New Year’s skin goals and how to create a “glow-up” plan of your own.
And the results speak for themselves:
- The November message had the highest open rate of the year up to that month, plus exceeded sales projections.
- Then they launched the December message… and its open rate was 27% higher than the message offering a promotion. And its click rate was 52% higher than November’s message.
- The upward trend continued in January, too, with an open rate even 5% higher than December’s increase.
What does this mean? It means that our client not only attracted existing and new customers during Black Friday, but—more importantly—retained these customers AND increased engagement with them over the following months.
Pro tips for customer retention
To make sure you get all of your customers coming back to you after the BFCM sale, we asked Duran Inci, a CEO at Optimum7.com to share his thoughts and expert tips on this:
“Black Friday and Cyber Monday are major shopping events that can help businesses increase their sales and attract new customers. However, the success of these events doesn’t end when the sales are over. In order to retain customers and keep them coming back, it’s important for businesses to focus on providing excellent customer service and building long-term relationships with their clients.”
Here are some extra tips for retaining customers after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from Duran:
- Follow up with customers to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchases. Send them an email or call them to ask if they’re happy with the products they bought and if they have any questions or concerns. This not only shows that you care about their satisfaction, but it also gives you an opportunity to address any issues they may have and resolve them quickly.
- Offer additional support and resources. After the sale is over, continue to provide customers with valuable information and resources that can help them make the most of their purchases. This can include user guides, tutorials, and other materials that can help them get the most out of their products.
- Offer special discounts and promotions. One way to retain customers is to offer them special discounts and promotions that are only available to returning customers. This can be a great incentive for them to come back to your business and make additional purchases.
- Engage with customers on social media. Social media is a great way to connect with customers and keep them engaged with your business. Use social media platforms to share valuable content, respond to customer comments and questions, and provide updates about new products and promotions.
When optimizing customer service, merchants should also look into enhancing their returns journey. A survey found that 95% of customers agree that a negative return experience will make them less likely to shop from a brand again.
To build trust and boost customer loyalty, you need to make the returns journey simple and effortless. Consider using tools like PostCo to automate the returns process:
- Incorporate a user-friendly returns portal to offer frictionless, self-serviced returns. This way, customers can handle the entire process on their own, without having to go through a lengthy customer support process
- Offer instant exchanges and bonus store credits. This not only helps to resolve the issue quickly, but also incentivizes customers to shop from your store again.
By making the returns journey a positive experience, you can create happy customers and build long-lasting relationships with them.
The bottom line is that the success of post-Black Friday Cyber Monday sales depends on how well you can retain your customers. It's important to continuously offer special promotions, discounts, customer service, and exclusive offers. Utilizing these strategies, our Shopify experts were able to help their clients increase their customer retention after their Cyber Monday sale. This increase in customer retention was a key factor in their success, and it can be a key factor in yours as well. With a bit of planning and creative thinking, you can ensure that your post-holiday sales are a success.