Holiday Loyalty Program Checklist
Break out the eggnog and mistletoe, it’s that time of year again. Retailers around the country are scaling up for the holiday season and between hiring temporary help and adjusting your inventory, it’s a great time to begin thinking about how you can leverage your loyalty program to increase seasonal traffic and vice versa. In this post, learn about some of the best ways to plot and build the ultimate holiday loyalty program.
Before we get started, there are some important considerations to keep in mind as you go about figuring out which strategies are right for you. To start, there are three things you can set your watch by: Potential customers are looking for the best deals. Holiday shoppers are very short on time and attention. And there is going to be LOTS of competition for your products and services.
That said, it’s not all bad news. Shoppers are also far more open to engaging new or unfamiliar brands during this time of year. The holiday season generally yields uncommonly high foot (and click) traffic. And finally, there are a long list of ways that you can use your loyalty program to capture shoppers far beyond the end of your fiscal year.
In order to get the most out of your holiday loyalty campaigns, you’ll want to start with a plan that includes goals, methods, and metrics. You want to drive revenues, but don’t want to do it at the cost of annihilating your bottom line.
Most organization will do fine with this three-fold approach to measuring loyalty program KPIs during this period:
- Measure the rate at which you were you able recoup the value of applied holiday discounts by getting something in return – ie. new program members. Compare the customer lifetime value of the members you gain over the holidays with the amount you spent in marketing based discounts.
- Ensure that you retain customers beyond the holiday shopping season. What percentage of the customers that shopped with you over the holidays return within 90 days?
- Understand how you can use seasonal data to drive YOY seasonal growth. Which marketing efforts showed the best return on investment?
Now that you understand what customers are looking for from your holiday loyalty program and what to measure, let’s get started on building it!
Instant Join Rewards
The sheer increase in traffic most stores see over the holiday season means that you’re going to be seeing a lot of new faces: We want to capitalize on these opportunities by onboarding as many of them as we can into your loyalty program. One of the smartest strategies for incentivizing new membership (all year long) is the application of instant rewards to a customer’s account, simply for signing up.
While customers can use these discounts immediately, it also means that you’ve gotten them to take the first (and very often, most difficult) step in converting them to into a loyal customer – using their benefits for the first time. One in three customers end up using benefits on additional items, versus discounting their current order, amplifying your average order value and giving you an overall larger share of their holiday purchasing budget.
Loss Leaders and Points Multipliers
Most stores tends to have some holiday “loss leaders” – less profitable items that drive traffic, but don’t necessarily pay the bills. As the pressure to stay competitive with similar businesses increases over the last couple of months of the year, progressively deeper discounts inevitably follow. Staying competitive in this model means an uncomfortable game of ‘chicken’, wherein the lowest bidder gains share, but at what cost?
Points programs use a value-added approach to keep you out of the red by leveraging incentives to stay competitive instead of unsustainably discounted products. In short, you can not only get the customer, but you can keep them coming back over a longer period of time.
There are an almost infinite number of ways to tackle this problem, but point and loyalty dollar multipliers are a great place to start.
Idea: Holiday Giving Multipliers – Get in on the holiday spirit by rewarding customers who are purchasing products for holiday giving with double or even triple points.
Social Media Advertising
Overall, social media activity increases by about 26% during the holidays: When you consider Facebook’s almost 1.7 billion users, that’s a lot of eye balls. The holidays are a great time to engage customers with content relating to your loyalty and club program benefits.
Don’t forget to activate both existing club members with list based social media remarketing and potential new members with “boosted posts” and the like. Tie both back to incentives for added signup benefits like point and loyalty dollar multipliers.
Here’s some smart targeting ideas to get the most from your advertising dollar:
- Target customers who have purchased from you in the past, but are not yet part of your loyalty program to pick off some low hanging fruit.
- Use Facebook’s pixel snippet to track loyalty program signups, instead of just measuring online purchases. Remember that the customer path to purchase is not always a straight line. Shoppers may join your program and come back at a later date.
- Build custom “look-a-like” audiences based on your existing subscriber list to help reach people who have similar shopper profiles and purchasing behavior as current members.
How are you informing shoppers about what they have to gain from joining your loyalty program? Are you waiting until the point of purchase or are you letting people know, as they shop? Loyalty program merchandising can have an incredibly potent effect in influencing which products your customers select and help increase average order value throughout the holiday season.
Whether you’re online or instore, let people know that they can get great deals by joining your loyalty program. This can come from in-store counter-top display, as well as UI on your website including banners, pop-ups, and opt-ins.
Virtually anyone can become an ambassador for your loyalty program through email, social media, or text. This can become a particularly effective strategy during the holiday season as it provides a quick and easy way for you to get the word out about your holiday promotions and for shoppers to earn steep discounts.
Strategically speaking, there are a number of great reason to invest in long term affiliate programs:
- Whatever you give away in discounts, will be offset by free word-of-mouth marketing you’ll receive.
- Brand ambassadors who share your program in this way tend to be social influencers, meaning that the opinion they maintain about products and services, holds more weight that your average customer.
- Ambassador programs have the dual effect of building brand recognition and driving the bottom line. Even if a potential new customer doesn’t visit you right away, a recommendation from from a trusted source lingers for a very long time.
Holiday Landing Page
Use limited-time holiday themed landing pages to build loyalty program membership during this period. The page itself may differ from your normal landing pages in that it features a festive design. However, it should also contain exclusive holiday-based rewards for new members who sign up during this time of year. This may include special discounts or incentives like “free holiday shipping” on orders that meet a certain threshold.
Be sure to add these pages to your marketing calendar for social media, but if you want to give your program an extra boost, we recommend adding “Promotion Extensions” to your existing Google Ad Words campaigns. Promotion Extensions are highly clickable and tend to convert at a significantly higher rate due to their unique look with in SERPs.
Holiday Loyalty Program Remarketing
The holidays are likely one of the most highly trafficked times of year for your business, whether online or at your brick and mortar locations. Customers are actively shopping available discounts and competition can be fierce. They want to find the best deals, in just the right color, shape, and size.
Competition for these customers is high, which means that you’re probably driving traffic from some unusual sources. Remarketing to customers who have viewed particular pages on your website isn’t unusual. During the holidays, we would suggest replacing your existing ads with ones advertising a special holiday discount when these products are purchased through your seasonal loyalty program.
Members who might never otherwise buy a children’s product are now purchasing gifts for their nieces and nephews, students, or to give away as donations. While you don’t want to market to these customers all year long, a seasonal remarketing campaign could push them to buy from you when they have other events, such as baby showers, birthdays, and graduations.
Give All Year Long
For those with seasonal or rotating products, use your loyalty program to build monthly subscription programs that last all year long. Wine and beer clubs are an excellent example here, but subscriptions can also be used in most aspects of entertainment, including movie theaters, cigar clubs, game halls, cannabis dispensaries, airlines, gun clubs, etc.
Get Your Game On
Gamification is one of the hottest marketing trends of the past couple of years. That popularity can be leveraged for seasonal competitions and in-app purchases. Either way, building gamification elements into your website can yield the same incredible results. If you already have an app, but haven’t built loyalty programs in yet, check out the bLoyal SDK to get going.
Here are some fun ways to build gamification into your seasonal loyalty program:
- Provide fun holiday-themed badges for people who purchase items in each of departments.
- Give instant rewards for loyalty program members who reach a certain spending threshold
- Build holiday themed club levels, such as “Grinch”, “Frosty”, and “Santa”. (Hint: No one wants to be a Grinch)
The Gift of Loyalty Giving
Gift card giving skyrockets during the holidays. Preload points onto loyalty enabled gift cards so that the recipient is encouraged to join your program on their first visit. Creating card envelopes that explain your card’s added benefit can be a great built in marketing tool.
One of the most important actions you can take to continue growing holiday traffic is to better understand what’s driving it. This is important for the long term, but real-time insights can help you make iterative changes, as well. If you want actionable insight from the top of your holiday funnel all the way down to the point of sale, try integrating with data visualization and business intelligence tools such as power BI, to tell better stories about how these programs are driving your fourth quarter revenues.
As the holiday season draws to a close, you’re likely bracing for the upcoming winter months and a significant decrease in traffic to your stores. While business is strong, try offering point and dollar value multipliers that mature after the first of the year and are only good for a limited period of time.
These can have a valuable impact in getting your sales moving again after the post holiday slow-down.
If you’re looking to build omnichannel loyalty marketing into your business, we can help. To schedule a bLoyal demo, simple request one at the top of this page. If you’d like to reach one of our team, you can email us directly at email@example.com