In the build up to Christmas many retailers will be focusing on getting as many sales as possible and providing the best possible experience for their customers before the big day. Once Christmas is over and we move into the sales period, many retailers rely on just the price cuts to gain revenue and consequently place the customer experience at the bottom of priorities.
But how many retailers really understand how many of their customers buy at full price in the run up to Christmas and will purchase again in sale period opposed to their number of one-time sales customers?
If a large proportion of those who buy during sales period are those that buy items at full price during the rest of the year, ensuring they receive the right experience at all times is the key to high retention and loyalty.
On the flip side, those new customers you acquire during sale period could well move on to be full price buyers in the long term if they are given a good experience during their first purchase, no matter what discount they are given.
With this in mind, here are our top 10 tips to using the sales period to increase retention and loyalty as well as revenue by placing the customer at the heart of the buying experience.
1. Segment your database into those customers who have bought items at full price and those that only ever buy from you during the sales period. Set up your Electronic Customer Relationship Management (ECRM) program to send two different sets of emails before and during sale period to those segments.
2. One week before your sale period, send an exclusive ‘sneak peek’ sale email to your full price customers highlighting items featured in the sale that match the items they have bought from you recently. On sale start day send another email to launch the sale and give an exclusive discount to your loyal customers or offer free delivery on all sale items during sale period.
3. On sale launch day send an email to your sale only buyers with no special offer but just highlighting the great savings and deals to be made during the sales period.
4. Send each segment sale reminder emails twice a week throughout the sales period with special offers tailored to previous items they have bought or viewed/added to basket on the site. Switch between product focused and editorial content. Customers still want to engage with the brand when buying in sale as well as getting the discount!
5. Ensure all new customers you win during sales period are welcomed properly and given the best possible delivery and post purchase communication. Make sure you bring them into your ECRM program for future engagement.
6. Select key items from your sale and invite significant bloggers to style the ‘best of the sale’ using them. Feature the content on your site as you go into the sale and include across your website and email campaigns as engaging and inspirational sale content.
7. Ensure that you encourage as many reviews as possible on all items you sell pre-Christmas through post purchase correspondence and on flyers within your packaging. The rise in reviews will help sell products during sale period.
8. Encourage sale buyers to engage on social media and share pictures of their sale purchases. You could perhaps run a competition where those sharing their sale items can win the chance to do a trolley dash in store or online on the last day of sale. Again, feature this content on your site and in editorial emails as inspiration to others.
9. Ensure you maintain your high standards of delivery and packaging for sale items. One bad delivery experience can put a full price buyer off for life.
10. Ensure you keep on top of stock levels and remove all those out of stock items from the site immediately. There really is nothing worse for your customers than seeing a great deal online and not being able to purchase.
Of course, there are many other ways you can keep delivering a tailored experience to your customers. However, these are the areas that will have the most impact on the buying experience during the sales period that will not cost you extra budget when you are slashing margin.
Remember, your customers demand a seamless brand experience at all times from you.