04 Dec 12

How to Gain Holiday Customers and Keep Them Coming Back for More

Welcome to the busiest season of the year for businesses big and small alike. Here are some ways to encourage product gifting, and a few ideas to keep that holiday rush coming back for more.

Keep the gift recipient in mind

At this time of the year, your customers are not buying for themselves ... they’re buying for their friends and family. Encouraging customers to gift your product is a great strategy during the holidays because when your customers give your items as presents, the gift introduces you to a new customer. It’s the best possible form of word-of-mouth recommendation!

As you head into the holiday shopping season, try and imagine who your customers might be buying for:

  • Friends

  • Parents

  • In-laws

  • Grandparents

  • Teenagers

  • Children

  • Babies

  • Hostesses

  • Coworkers and managers

  • White elephant gift exchanges

What items do you create that can be presented as gifts for any or all of the above recipients?

Provide gift suggestions

This is the season to use your email list. A lot of people don’t know what to buy for presents, and they struggle to think of new gift ideas each year. Help your customers shop! Create a holiday gift guide using items from your store or marketplace.

Market like the big guns

In my very first year of business, I started watching holiday advertisements in my Sunday newspaper. I used my favorite big businesses as an example and asked:

  • How do they advertise for the major shopping holidays of the year (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas)?

  • What makes those advertisements irresistible?

  • How far in advance of the holiday do these businesses start advertising?

  • When does the weather-related merchandising begin to shift for the upcoming season?

These big businesses are leaving all of their fabulous marketing strategy right on the table in front of you, tucked neatly inside your Sunday newspaper. Decode it!

  • Why are their holiday ads so appealing?

  • What images are commanding your attention and influencing your shopping list?

  • Which sales are irresistible and why?

  • What is compelling you to put down your morning cup of coffee, get dress, and drive directly to the shopping mall?

There’s marketing gold in the answers to those questions! Mine it accordingly.

Host a private sale

Last week, I hosted the Energy Shop’s third annual Friday before Black Friday sale. It is, by far, my biggest sales weekend of the year. I build stock for it, and customers have come to anticipate it. For this sale, I offer a 40% discount (my wholesale pricing). At that rate, I still get paid for my time and turn a business profit.

This is how I run the sale:

Thursday night: The customers on my email list get an exclusive invitation to the sale. Since stock is limited, my list gets first dibs. I am sure to let my list know that they are getting the jump on the crowd.

Friday before Black Friday: I publicly announce the sale via social media. This year, I promoted the sale announcement on Facebook for $20. As I’m writing this, the announcement has been seen by 11,412 people (and counting).

Sunday before Black Friday: I make a “Last Chance!” announcement via email, Facebook, and Twitter.

The results: Approximately 60 sales and $800 profit in three days (after cost of materials and fees).

The sale allows me to clear out old inventory and prep for the New Year, where I’ll ring in new designs and replenish my storefront. The Friday before Black Friday is a special event in my shop; it’s a weekend I look forward to all business-year long.

Offer Free Shipping

Free shipping has tested as one of the very best sales you can offer your customers. People simply don’t like the added amount at check-out; it’s not a fun surprise! I always offer free shipping in December, and my products already come gift-wrapped. If a customer wants to ship my bracelets to five of their friends, I’m more than happy to eat the shipping costs.

Calculate what this would actually cost your business, and see if you can swing it. Because of the price of my products, free shipping only equals a 10% discount off of every order ... that’s completely doable for me. How much would free shipping cost you?

Bundle an Assortment

Would it be possible to bundle 5-10 of your best-selling items and offer those at a group discount? I keep an assortment of small gifts in my closet during the holiday season so that I can create hostess bags or gifts for friends at a moment’s notice. I find these types of bundles irresistible, and many of your customers will too.

Here’s wishing you a very successful holiday season. Until next time~

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She offers free marketing tools for your online storefront that are designed to help you get paid to be ... you.

Additional Resources

Picture Credit : Peace Education Center

Posted by: Lisa Jacobs

Posted in: marketing , selling

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