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8 Workflows Brands Can Implement To Increase Customer Loyalty This Holiday Season


Fostering long-term relationships with your customers is key to sustaining growth and success. And what better time to reinforce those connections than before and during the holiday season, when intent to buy is high.

In collaboration with Attentive, Recharge and Okendo, we hosted a live event covering the eight workflows brands can implement to boost customer retention and lifetime value.  Feel free to watch the replay of the event or read the full transcription below.  Let's dive in!

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

We want to take a few minutes and have a quick chat to set the scene and share a little bit about what we're all seeing in the market today with regards to consumer spending and how brands should be thinking about adapting their strategies to increase customer retention. So I'm curious to hear from each panelist. 

The first question is, how do you think consumer spending will change this holiday season and how will brands need to tailor their strategies accordingly? Adena, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Adena Merabi, Okendo

So we all know that customer expectations are so high right now, and at the same time, we also know that there's going to be a huge boost in online traffic this holiday season. So the big question is, how do you capitalize on this traffic as a brand?  

You'll want to look at how you're acquiring customers, how you're converting them, and then also how you're retaining them in the long term. So during the acquisition phase, brands should be looking at implementing things like surveys. And one of the most popular use cases would be something like a post-purchase channel attribution or net promoter score survey. You can use information taken from these survey results to funnel more money into your best performing acquisition channel, or maybe to ask your brand promoters to refer a friend or refer someone in their network.

And that leads me into looking at building a customer referral program. Using a tool like Friendbuy and turning your happy customers into referrers. There’s no better marketing channel than your happy customers. So incentivize your customers via discounts, coupons, or points to refer their friends or family members to buy from you. So not only does that have a significant impact in acquiring more customers, but this also encourages the referrer to come back and buy from you again using their incentive.

Another one of the biggest tips I can give you is to add star ratings into your Google Shopping ads. Adding this social proof really allows you to use this channel as effectively as possible, and it helps you convert more sales through your ads. 

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

I think the ability to capitalize on that magic moment when a customer leaves a positive review, that's the best time to say, hey, by the way, we have a referral program. Carina, I would love to hear from you as well. 

Carina Shahin, Attentive

I can see in the chat a little bit everyone is saying there's going to be a little bit less spending, maybe people are gonna be a little bit pickier, but overall, as a shopper myself, I think that you're gonna have to get really creative and talking. 

All those points Adena mentioned will be absolutely huge. Make sure that you're planning for things ahead of time to get ahead of all of this. So start your holiday campaigns right now. Have A/B testing so you can see what's going to work better, and maybe try different offers. That's always something that I would recommend.

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

Great recommendations. So how can businesses leverage customer data and analytics to personalize the holiday shopping experience and drive sales? Carina, I would love to hear your thoughts as well on this. 

Carina Shahin, Attentive

Yeah, so there's so much that you can do here, but I think some really quick and easy ones that you can start with would be using past purchasing data, whether it's a new or returning customer, to speak more one-to-one based on their conversion journey with the brand. So an example would be a non-purchaser, maybe send them your best offer just to get them to be a first time converter, and you can even link to one of your best offers just to give them inspiration. 

And then for previous purchasers, offer early access to promotions based on subscribers that purchased during your last holiday promotion. This is such an easy journey and campaign to set up, but it's also showing your loyalty and gratefulness to that consumer, and they're gonna reflect that loyalty back to you.

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

I love that idea. That's such a low hanging fruit that kind of seems obvious, but it's really helpful to hear it. What are some strategies for creating a seamless omnichannel experience for customers during the holiday shopping period? Kevin would love to hear from you. 

Kevin Lew, Recharge

I think the first aspect of looking at omnichannel of course is ensuring your tech stack is working well together. Every channel you set up and every new funnel you're setting up is testing your operational flow, from interest to purchase and to product out. So, ensure an integration is doing what it actually says it does. There's so many edge cases that can break these types of workflows down. So you kind of wanna plan for a buffer to allow for manual adjustments and cleanup and testing. 

In addition to that, one thing with applications and platforms is more is not always more. Sometimes a handful of powerfully integrated apps that offer a seamless workflow is a lot better than 15 apps that standalone on their own. Not that that doesn't work, but just every time you add another level of complexity in, you're adding another point of failure, right? So just make sure that you're taking responsibility for what that process actually looks like end to end.

And then I think this has been mentioned earlier, but you know, while most consumers are doing their holiday shopping online and actually I would say, regardless of the pinch this holiday season, I do think that this is still the best time of year for people to buy. We've been trained this way and our businesses have been trained this way. So right now your top product should be made available in your physical locations in addition to what's online. So you want to offer yourself that kind of brand visibility.

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

I completely agree with everything you just said Kevin. I think it's super important to make sure that your tech stack integrates well. This really does help, specifically for brands who have an email service provider or sms provider, making sure that those platforms integrate with your other technologies. Like your referral or loyalty platform. 

 And I think it's really all about keeping customers informed, especially if they're part of your loyalty program. You can use email or SMS to keep loyalty members informed about their rewards, personalized offers, and upcoming holiday promotions.

 I just saw a question in the chat around, should we boost the offers during the holidays? And the answer is absolutely. Yes. One of the things that I've seen work really, really well is if you have a referral program where the evergreen offer is give 20, get 20 maybe just for BFCM, increase that offer to $50 and you'll see an influx of new referrals. You can capitalize on those new customers and invite them to join your loyalty program or submit a review if they had a great experience with the product that they purchased. So think about how you would want to reward your loyal customers during this really high value time. 

And now that we have an idea for the holiday season that everyone is kind of facing ahead, let's get into the eight workflows you can implement tomorrow to prepare for the holiday season. Carina, the floor is yours to take us through our first two workflows. 

Carina Shahin, Attentive

Amazing, thank you Sam. And thank you all again for joining today. So I really do love talking about these loyalty programs because I am such an avid shopper. I think I've said that two times already, but I love when I experience these types of workflows and campaigns in real life. 

One of my personal favorite ways to show a consumer like myself, especially during the holiday season, just how grateful you are for their loyalty is by giving their referral code link to them for easy distribution to friends. That's such an easy low hanging fruit opportunity. And only about 3% of subscribers right now are in our loyalty segment, and that presents a massive opportunity to identify loyal subscribers and target them with specific messaging. So when you're thinking about the customer lifetime value in SMS, it's really important to take a step back, think through the full subscriber lifecycle to understand how each stage and each subscriber works in support of your customer lifetime value and marketing goals.

So once a customer makes a purchase, take a moment to send a thank you message and build that brand affinity with your customer. After a set amount of time, you can use this opportunity to educate your subscribers on your loyalty or rewards program so that they can sign up for it.

Customers also that have purchased more than two times are prime candidates for referrals and really strong advocates for your brand. I have personally shared so many referral codes and links to my friends and family, especially when it comes to the holiday season. We get a group chat set up, we're sharing different things, from really positive experiences with brands and things that we love to buy, and they end up loving the items as well. And this just becomes a cycle of sharing referral links and purchasing. 

This is a super easy journey to set up with the Attentive and Friendbuy integration and it's also had really incredible performance with over 20% conversion rate. 

Workflow 1

Alright, now let's go into the next workflow. So there's also a lot of creative ways to make your post-purchase flows engaging and super personalized, which obviously helps build on that customer loyalty. So another favorite of mine is the post-purchase review request that you can send via Attentive and Okendo. With this integration, merchants can increase reviews and social engagement via SMS and even email to effectively engage your customers in a more personalized way. So all that zero party data that's collected from Okendo through the reviews and the survey responses is synced within Attentive. And that can be used to create dynamic customer segments within Attentive, to send all that super personalized communication. 

So for example, you can send an SMS message with something like, thank you so much for purchasing a hundred chocolate bars, let us know what you think of your order and we're gonna give you 10% off on your next purchase. There are a few chocolate lovers in this chat, so I don't doubt that a hundred bars will be bought. But this is always such a fun surprise for me to get messages like this. And I notice that not a lot of it is happening. But when I get a text message like this, I immediately leave a review and I already start planning what my next purchase with the brand is going to be. You can also keep this journey going as you follow the workflow. But if someone is gonna leave an outstanding review, you can segment the reviewers within Attentive so that you message consumers that maybe have left a four or five star review on that specific product. You can send them another SMS saying ‘thank you so much for your review’. Again, ask if they would like to subscribe to that product with our Recharge integration. From there, then you can send SMS or email updates on their subscription, which helps enhance the engagement and increases subscriber lifetime value. So this is another really great way to build that brand advocacy and customer loyalty. 

Workflow 2

Now I will hand it over to the incredible Kevin to go into some of his favorite workflows. 

Kevin Lew, Recharge

Thanks so much Carina. I'm gonna build off a lot of the integrations you talked about into Recharge. I think the main theme you'll keep hearing here in my presentation and others today is that more customer engagement is a path to improve customer attention. The more authentic that your messaging comes off, the better. And we build that off subscription data. 

So subscribers on average stick around a lot longer, with an average in 2022 of 45% retention rate after six months. So that means six purchases on average per subscription, amongst the data that we've looked at. So that is largely defined by the subscription experience that you're delivering after they check out. And I think we focus so much on acquisition, we don't think enough about what is the entire subscription product that you're offering, and it's a lot more than the product that you're shipping and they're receiving. Experience has a huge impact on this retention rate and should be considered part of your subscription product. That's the general theme here. 

One of the things that I've talked about in previous presentations and you've heard around the industry is transactional notifications, for example, are a big part of that subscription experience. That includes upcoming order notifications, upcoming shipment notifications, charge failure notifications. All of these are opportunities to engage your customer about something that they're already invested in. And those have a very high open rate and a high conversion rate when you ask them to do things. But backing up, I'll actually challenge that a little bit, by saying thoughtfully segmented marketing messages can be just as effective as transaction notifications when they're informed with quality data. So it allows you to do things like dividing your efforts between subscribers and non-subscribers and or acquisition versus preferences of each group. Obviously I think everyone here understands segmentation, but I really want to drive in if you develop good workflows of how data is shared between your platforms, in this case between Recharge and Attentive, that allows you to build some interesting workflows in these examples here. 

So the workflow below expands on how you can leverage subscription data to deliver a personalized message that extends your customer LTV. So in this case, we're looking to target subscribers who've made it to a certain amount of charges and convert them into advocates. So you get that virality with your business in addition to the quality of your product that you're delivering and now retaining your customers with. So let's say in this example, data shows that you received the greatest fall off after the checkout and that first recurring charge, those are your classic subscription gamers that take advantage of that subscribe and save discount. Then after that month, you get between month one and two, you find that customers tend to not fall out. They tend to stay six months, eight months, whatever the drop off falls off and you can get that data right out of Recharge.

So at that point, you see this is a stable customer who's likely an advocate and a fan of my product. This is a great time to target them with a message to become a loyalty advocate. You can see in the dashboard this customer made it to three charges in Recharge. That means three purchases on a given subscription. Then what you can then do is dive into Attentive and look at the subscriber's activity. They receive event data from Recharge on the customer subscription. And then you can create a new segment where the subscriber was charged three times over a course of time. 

So the result now is I'm able to create a campaign that's targeted towards customers on their third order and send them an advocate signup link. Very simple workflow here, right? But very powerful because it's informed in getting to the right base of customers you want right away.

Workflow 3
Workflow 3B

Up next, the idea is that you're building your retention strategy with customer subscription data. So again, send the right offers and messaging to the right customer at the right time. So in this second example, we're gonna go a little earlier into the subscription stage and say maybe your drop offs actually tend to happen between month one and two, and then after that they tend to stabilize. At that point, you may actually instead say, ‘Hey, I'd like to engage this audience with a review request via an Okendo link.” And at this point, I wanna segment and target customers specifically for an SMS campaign to get those positive reviews to increase the virality of my segment. And all you need to do in this case is the same kind of concept. You've seen a customer, in this case they've had a second charge. You create a segment in Attentive where the subscription's been charged two times. And then you can then send them a targeted message for an Okendo review. 

The general theme here is if you have easy to monitor and manage workflows, you can actually also inspect what you expect here and measure the success of these campaigns. These are all assumptions, right? We're working in an uncertain environment as you head into the holiday season and you want to validate your learning as quickly as possible. So look at the success of these campaigns after you send them and hop back into these workflows, and create a new segment. Maybe you'll find it's actually the fourth charge that's the perfect time to get that positive review. Or maybe you get a lot of bad reviews in the first month, but they stabilize later. Keep iterating, just because something failed one time doesn't mean you can't modify it. 

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I'm actually gonna hand it over to Adena from Okendo who can show how you can leverage the data from these new reviews into powerful workflows that drive sales. 

Adena Merabi, Okendo

I'll be talking about workflow five, which shows how to ask your five star positive reviewers to subscribe via SMS or email to the product that they reviewed. So you know that these customers are happy with your product, so they are more likely to reuse the product and subscribe and potentially save, especially if there is an incentive for them to continue their loyalty with you. So this will help set you up for more recurring revenue from your five star happy customers. 

Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 10.01.35 AM

This leads me into workflow six, text product recommendations based on customer attributes and survey responses. In this example below, you can see that they're collecting a lot of customer attributes in their reviews. They're collecting information around skin type, skin tone, undertone, concern, and age range. And these customer attributes are a really great way to collect zero party data and you can use that data to  
Help new customers make purchasing decisions based on your existing customers with similar characteristics. 

Below is an example of a survey from our client Emblem, where they are asking what type of jewelry their customers wear regularly. And these customer attributes pull into Okendo customer profiles and get synced over to Attentive and can be used for segmentation as well. Next Below is the workflow in Attentive based on Okendo survey data. So here you can see Emblem is sending their shopper a product recommendation and coupon to get them to come back to the site for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can do holiday specific offers or coupons based on the survey or attribute data. 

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And with that, I will pass it on to Sam from Friendbuy. 

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy 

Thanks Adena! I'll be sharing our final two workflows for today. The first one I'll be covering is how to reward customers through your loyalty program for signing up for emails and texts. So it seems like an obvious thing to be able to incorporate into your loyalty program, but the key as Kevin mentioned earlier, is to make sure that you have the right integrations enabled to actually accomplish this. So for this workflow, I'll be demonstrating how to implement this with Friendbuy and Attentive. So once you have the Friendbuy and Attentive integration installed, it's really a one click integration. You can go into your Friendbuy account and set up the earning event. We provide an Attentive subscription earning event out of the box. So all you'll need to do is select the subscription type, whether it's signing up for texts or emails, and then confirm how many points you want to reward your customer for signing up. And in this example, we're showing how you can reward customers for signing up for tips, and we'll be giving 10 points for completing this action. But you can set up as many points as you'd like for this action. It's a pretty valuable action, so I might recommend at least 50 points. So once that has been all set up, you let the magic happen, the customer will enter their phone number into an Attentive signup unit. 

Below is an example from a mutual customer of Friendbuy and Attentive and Okendo, ILIA Beauty. So once the customer enters their phone number into the Attentive signup unit, a new subscriber profile is created in Attentive, pending that double opt-in from the customer to make sure that they do in fact want to receive text messages. 

Next you'll want to set up a journey in Attentive to let this customer know that they've earned a reward through the loyalty program for signing up for texts. So to do that, you'll go into Attentive, create a new Journey, and the trigger is signed up for texts. You'll wanna welcome them as a new subscriber first, as that is a best practice for SMS. At the same time you can let them know that they've earned loyalty points for subscribing  to those texts and drive them back to their loyalty member dashboard to see what they can redeem those points for or how they can continue to earn more rewards.

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The next workflow we'll review is allowing customers to redeem points for a free gift with their next subscription order. For this workflow, you can use Friendbuy’s integration with Recharge (another one click easy integration). The first step is to set up the business rules for customers to redeem points for a free product in your Friendbuy account. And you can configure rules like picking the product that you want to offer for the free gift. You can easily search for any product in your inventory with this integration. So you can just enter the SKU that you want or you can search for a specific SKU and we have those available through the integration. And then you can decide the number of points a customer needs to redeem for that gift. So the below shows an example where it takes 500 points to redeem a free gift. So once the reward rules have been set up, you can watch some more magic happen. The customer can actually log into their account, see how many points they have available to redeem, view their member tier status and redeem points for a dollar off discount or a free product like the cozy glow candle for example. 

The customer will click to redeem and then they'll receive an email confirming that the free product has actually been applied to their next scheduled delivery. No action is needed on their part, this is all completely automated.

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 And that concludes the workflow review section for today. I did see a couple of questions come in, so we'll now spend a few minutes answering those. Let's see, a question from Jonathan for Carina. Carina, we all know that SMS marketing goes crazy in the holiday season and there's a lot of noise. What do you suggest to help your brand stand out in all that chaos? 

Carina Shahin, Attentive

That is such a great question and I'm glad it was asked. But what I think that you can do to stand out there are a few different things, but really use all of the data that you can collect from all of the partners I'm speaking with today. And even just collect from asking some of your subscribers so that you are segmenting their subscriber profile and sending them really specific and personalized messages. So for example, you can even use two-way journeys with an Attentive and maybe send out a message that says, ‘Hey, what's your favorite type of jewelry? Is it A) rings  or B) necklaces?’ And your subscriber can respond saying it's A) rings. And now moving forward you have that data stored in their subscriber profile and you can send them certain information specifically on rings. So when you get those text messages during the holiday times, but I know it's about rings, something that I wanna buy right now, it's gonna be a lot more personalized and you're gonna get that engagement. You can also find what channels they are interacting with the most. So is it email, is it SMS? Is it social?  Or all of the above? 

Really arm those channels with specific messaging to get them to convert and work the channels that give them the most engagement too. So maybe you can set up a journey where you send out an SMS, but if they don't respond after a certain time delay, trigger an email, and continue those journeys to see where they are converting. You can also A/B test with different messages and different offers and see what's getting people to convert, and make sure that you're sending messages at the right time. And also not too often so you don't want a text message going out at 4:00 AM waking someone up on a work day. 

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy

I subscribe to CB2 texts and I get my CB2 texts at 10:42 AM on a Saturday, which they know that's when I'm ready to shop and I love that. Alright, next question from Allie for Adena, we see our rewards program flourishing and being used a lot, but referrals just lag behind no matter what we do. What can we do to increase them during the holiday season? 

Adena Merabi, Okendo

That is a great question. One of the biggest tips I can give you Allie and, and the rest of the audience is to ask your five star or four star reviewers to refer a friend or a family member. Clearly you're getting a ton of sales already, right? You're getting a boost in traffic, you're getting a boost in conversions, which means you're going to be sending all of those customers review request emails or text messages. You should definitely utilize a post-review module by asking those people to refer a friend or a family member and give them an incentive. Incentives really go a long way. 

I mentioned this earlier, but it doesn't only help your new shoppers come and buy from you, but it also helps your existing customers who have sent a referral come back and buy from you again. So give that a try, see how it works.

Samantha Samuels, Friendbuy 

Yeah, I think that's an excellent answer, Adena. I think having that kind of double-sided incentive works really, really well. Having a reward for the original advocate who's sharing and then an incentive for that referred friend who's going on to make their first purchase. We typically see too that the referred friend incentive should be a little bit sweeter than your everyday like new customer offer, because they're actually being referred by somebody. And then we typically see that referred friends have  a three to four times higher lifetime value than other customers that are just coming to your site.

Next question, a question from Daniel for me, so how do you find the right balance of increasing referral offers while giving points to a consumer so that  it doesn't sink too deeply into the margins? 

I would say two things to that. Number one, I would really determine the maximum CPA, your target CPA that you can afford while maintaining those healthy margins. And that will give you a pretty good guideline to work with in terms of setting up your reward structure. And then what I've also seen works really well is implementing a tiered referral system. So offer higher rewards for customers to refer multiple friends who achieve certain milestones. So this incentivizes customers to refer more and could lead more to a more sustainable referral program.

And with that, thank you all so, so much for tuning in and to all of our panelists today. We hope you walked away with some good ideas of workflows you can go and implement tomorrow to improve customer loyalty.

This originally appeared on Friendbuy and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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