3 ways to turn Christmas customers into year-round regulars
The Christmas period is well and truly underway, and for retailers and small businesses, it’s the busiest time of the year. However, the inevitable January slow-down that is destined to follow can be somewhat disheartening for those still on the high from the end of year rush.
Store numbers are sky-high in the lead up to Christmas and Aussies are more likely to spend in December than any other time of the year.
In fact, in November, the National Retail Association predicted that Christmas would top the $50bn mark this year. With so many customers eager to stuff their stockings, franchisees are rushing to show off their new products and tried and tested favourites.
However, when the dust settles and boxing sales grind to a halt, franchisees may find the sales dip hits their bottom-line hard. Melissa Haywood, head of printing and marketing solutions company Vistaprint Australia said now is the perfect time to get a head start on 2020.
“Christmas season is a great time to develop a successful marketing campaign,” she told Inside Franchise Business.
“General excitement around the holidays and an increased focus on consumer purchasing make for a great time to re-connect with your customers on a personal level.”
We sat down with the print and marketing expert to discuss how franchisees can turn casual Christmas customers to high-value regulars. Here’s her three tops tips for making the most of the holiday period.
1. Join the conversation
The end of year period is a time of great excitement, but it’s also a perfect opportunity for business owners to get in on the action. Melissa suggests franchisees use the holiday sentiment to open a dialogue with new customers, encouraging them to subscribe to the brand vision.
“Attempt to capitalise on the cheerful sentiment, get creative with your branding and use this time to be playful with any online content, especially on social media, whilst spirits are high,” she said.
“Joining the conversation on social media will give you a great advantage. You will see many businesses running competitions and jumping on the gifting band-wagon. Create shareworthy content by jumping on popular themes, for example advent and ‘Christmas countdowns’ – you could consider using the ‘twelve days of Christmas’ conversation as a mechanic to keep your followers engaged, as well as exposing them to new offers and products available.”
The Vistaprint head also encouraged franchisees to introduce holiday-themed newsletters, branded merchandising and flyers.
“Getting creative on a local level are all great ways to make the most of this period and create positive sentiment around your brand.”
2. Spring clean
While franchisees may want to plug the latest and greatest stock they have on-hand, Christmas also presents a rare opportunity to reset. Focusing on making the most money you can over the period is one way to approach Christmas, however it can leave you a little stranded come the new year.
“In a practical sense, Christmas is a great time for a ‘spring clean’ of any existing product or services that you are looking to rid of,” Haywood said.
“Use your marketing materials to create last-minute, exclusive promotions which will clear any stock ahead of the new year.”
3. Don’t overlook existing customers
An influx of foot traffic to all major retail precincts will inevitably drive new customers to your store, but that doesn’t discredit your existing clientele.
Remember, it is far easier and more cost-effective to maintain a current customer than it is to acquire a new one. Haywood confirmed that the best value clients are the ones that bring their friends.
“Don’t overlook your existing loyal customers while chasing new ones,” she said.
“It is key to maintain the relationship with your established customers in order to ensure retention. Give these key customers the recognition they deserve through tactics such as surveying them about their experience and asking for their feedback. This will let them know they are valued and will increase progressive word-of-mouth.”
From an outside perspective, it’s easy to assume an increase in new customers will drive brand recognition in the future, but in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, stores can easily fly under the radar and out of mind come 2020.
If you want to turn Christmas customers into regulars, you must stay connected, open and approachable, regardless of whether it is a new or existing client.
“The festive period is full of emotions, campaigns, marketing materials and of course, end of year offers,” Haywood said.
“Make sure to get in on the spiked hype that encompasses the Christmas season. Take advantage of the creative techniques you can utilise within your marketing approach to draw new eyes towards your business and keep old and new consumers alike coming back for more year-round!”