Now Halloween is all done and dusted and the John Lewis Christmas ad has been unveiled – the festive season is most definitely on its way! Last month, research company Mintel chivied the retail sector into action by announcing its Christmas 2014 forecasts. The problem is that so much is focused around the frenzy in December, it’s easy to forget that, with a little bit of investment, the festive period can help boost your sales all year round.
It’s not just about the price
The problem with Christmas is that every Tom, Dick and Harry sees it as a marketing opportunity. John Lewis spend millions tugging at the heart strings, M&S go to town with a few supermodels and a crazy fairytale plot and weekly sales figures blur our ability to focus on the bigger picture.
Inevitably, the tendency is to behave like panic sellers stacking it high and selling it cheap. Of course, this may attract a few bargain hunters, but, unless you’re a budget brand and can sustain your rock bottom prices, expect to be dumped like a lump of hot coal as normal trading resumes. The key is knowing who your customers are and seeing Christmas as the start of a beautiful relationship with them, not just an office fling!
Get personal at Christmas!
With more and more of us shopping and interacting online, capturing data about customers has never been easier. But, in the Christmas rush it’s easy to forget about the data. Web personalisation specialist Qubit calculated that UK businesses lost £1.5bn last Christmas by neglecting to adopt an online strategy that took a tailored approach to customers.
Of 170 retailers surveyed by KPMG, only 8 per cent collected information on shoppers’ tastes and preferences during their Christmas period. As a result, the multiple e-mails they bombarded their customers with in the week before Christmas probably contained a whole load of irrelevant information- a right turn off no doubt!
Just a little bit of segmentation and targeted marketing not only boosts sales, it also helps you stay on the right side of your customers, which, in the long term builds brand loyalty and leads to more sales!
Give ’em a little bit more
Competition is certainly fiercest at Christmas, but if you can’t beat your competitors on price, then fear not! They say you can’t buy love, and the same goes in business. True loyalty it’s about a better all round experience. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customer at this hectic time of year and think about what they really want.
The guys at House of Fraser did just that with a bit of data mining to see how they could give their customers a better experience this Christmas. What they noticed was that more and more customers were ordering online and then collecting in store. Martin Francis, online trading director at the department store saw this as an opportunity for “further customer engagement and brand loyalty,” by adding fitting rooms next to the collection points in store. Customers could then collect their items, try them on and, if necessary, return them immediately. No complicated return packaging or extra trips into town. Customers may even spend a little more in store when they’re collecting their orders, so everyone’s a winner!
A customer is for life!
And when the frantic Christmas panic is over, don’t forget to keep the relationship going. If things have gone well, you’ll have a whole list of new customers who you can now start to chat to. Without the haze of tinsel and fake snow, you can really get to know your new friends and tell them about the wonderful ways you can improve their lives! With any luck, by next Christmas they’ll be doing the marketing for you!
If you’d like a little extra help to plan your customer loyalty strategy, then give us a call. We’re never too busy to chat, even at Christmas! You can call on 01892 541111, email or visit our design agency studio in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.