Despite the COVID crisis, the retail sector has remained robust. The ONS reported that retail sales rose by 1.5% between August and September, and were 5.5% higher than levels in February.
With Christmas just around the corner, the peak shopping season is in full force. Ecommerce is expected to account for a much larger percentage of sales than usual due to the pandemic, with 73% of customers looking to buy primarily online. The Christmas season will undoubtedly be a period of intense activity.
Pricing your products lower than your competitors may seem to be the natural move to make more sales this season, but this just leads to a race to the bottom. You’re stuck reducing profits at a time when you’re spending more on marketing.
This is why Christmas is an ideal time to focus on more than just sales; it’s perfect for creating long-term emotional connections between your business and your customers. In the end, they’ll be more likely to return to shop again.
This blog will give you tips for Christmas ecommerce and will show you how to set your business up for holiday success.
Sustain peak period success into the new year by downloading our Crunch time guide
Christmas in retail: The background
Christmas in retail is a crucial time of year not just for businesses, but for shoppers as well. It’s so crucial Google reported that 22% of consumers were thinking about Christmas purchases between three to six months before the start of the Christmas season. Despite the current economic downturn, a huge 87% of people are still doing significant shopping for Christmas. The overwhelming number of customers who are still willing to carry on with Christmas as usual just goes to show how important the season is and, by extension, the businesses vying for their attention.
However, the pandemic has had some effect on the way that consumers shop. 53% of survey respondents said that they would be on the lookout for Christmas deals this time around to save money. As well as being associated with deals, Christmas is a time to prove to customers that you’re worthy of their trust well into 2021.
Building long-term loyalty from your Christmas retail and ecommerce campaigns
Rather than driving your own prices into the ground to compete with your competitors, use other methods to make your business stand out in the crowded retail market. Encouraging brand loyalty by improving customer experience is one way to do this. This can be done through three main methods: Personalization, experience and word of mouth promotion.
All too often, customers complain about faceless brands and companies that don’t care about them or their purchase experience. By showing your customers that you know them and their preferences using personalization, you can create brand loyalty. In fact, 65% of shoppers reported being loyal to the brands that sent them personalized offers. 61% reported that they would be loyal if they received personalized product recommendations.
Using a loyalty program, send personalized emails to let shoppers know how many points they have to spend with you in their account. This kind of email compels customers to open them before other promotional emails from different brands as it contains information personalized to them.
For example, Tower London sends out emails that do exactly this. They tell customers how many points they have in their account as well as their loyalty tier, compelling them to shop with the business again.
Because of the crowded nature of the retail market at Christmas, most brands find it difficult to be heard amongst the noise. Experiential marketing can be used to set your business apart from the others. This year alone, experiential marketing was ranked the most successful marketing tactic for industry professionals.
Using a loyalty program, separate your top tier customers to give them experiential rewards, even online. Astrid and Miyu gave all of their members 24-hour early access to their huge sitewide sale. This results in an increase in not only sales but also customer loyalty.
WOM marketing is one of the best ways to establish trust quickly between your brand and new customers. 92% of consumers globally reported that they trust WOM recommendations from friends and family over any other form of marketing. This means that you can set your brand apart at this time of year by creating an experience that makes shoppers want to recommend your business to their friends. In turn, this allows you to increase sales and acquire more customers.
Using a referral program, give rewards to your loyal customers that recommend you and to the new customers. For example, at Waterdrop, in exchange for a WOM referral, they gift their customers 500 loyalty points, half the points required for a free gift. This gives more value to your customers’ opinions, while allowing your brand to stand out to new customers who have been recommended by friends and family.
With Christmas being such a busy time of year, it’s important to remember that there are ways to compete without driving prices through the floor. Improving your customer relationships by increasing personalization, customer experience, and WOM engagement is an excellent way to keep sales high throughout 2021. For more useful tips, download our webinar recording.
About the author
Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.