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How to Use a Loyalty Program to Skip the Post Holiday Lull

  • 8 min
  • December 18, 2018

Guest Blogger: Since 2010, Annex Cloud has provided more than 250 leading brands and retailers with the ability to engage tens of millions of customers one-to-one at scale. Annex Cloud’s customer marketing platform provides fully integrated Customer Loyalty, Referral Marketing, and User Generated Content solutions. Each solution works together to optimize the customer journey and deliver a unified customer experience, a greater quantity and quality of referrals and content, and more high-quality and resilient customer relationships.

A lot of retailers see a dip in their sales in January. Customers’ wallets are feeling a little empty after the holidays, and they’re more focused on their New Year’s resolutions than shopping. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 4 ways to use your customer loyalty program to skip the post holiday lull, without relying exclusively on discounting.

Capitalize on New Year’s Resolutions

As much as I cringe saying this, January is all about “new year, new you.” As customers dive into 2019, they are focused on getting fit, eating right, and tackling a whole host of other self-improvement goals.

A loyalty program is a great opportunity to tailor messaging to focus on self-improvement and capitalize on New Year’s resolutions to spur more sales. Even if your brand or products aren’t traditionally in the health and wellness space, the growth of the self-care industry may give you the perfect in.

Create a loyalty campaign that focuses on customer achievements. Resolutions are all about achieving goals. You can capitalize on this mindset by creating tiers your customers can reach as they buy more and engage more with your brand.  In order to really make an impact on revenue, every customer touch-point needs to reinforce your self-improvement message. From your website to email campaigns, in store, and in advertising, consistently remind customers what they are working toward, both personally and in relation to your loyalty program.

You can also tailor your rewards to appeal to your customers’ New Year’s resolutions. Instead of focusing on coupons or discounts, offer them exclusive self-care related products. For your higher tiered customers, give them experiential rewards that align with their self-improvement goals and your brand.   

Create Urgency With Point Expirations and Limited-Time Offers

When sales are dropping, urgency is a great way to push customers to purchase. It will take a little bit of planning ahead, but structuring your holiday loyalty campaigns so that points expire early in the year is a great way to boost site traffic and sales in January.

With this strategy, clear communication and a thoughtful approach are key. You don’t want your customers to feel like they are being taken advantage of.

Create holiday loyalty campaigns that offer more points than your standard loyalty incentives. But, clearly communicate the expiration calendar. You can also stagger point expirations throughout January and February and use this as an opportunity to remind customers and draw them back to your site.

If you don’t want to change the expiration rate of your points, you can build urgency through limited time rewards. For a limited time, lower the number of points a customer needs for a specific high-value reward. Or offer limited quantities of unique rewards such as exclusive gifts or experiential opportunities.

Market Loyalty Programs to Customers Who Received Gift Cards Over the Holidays

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Holiday Survey, gift cards are likely to be the most purchased gift this year. And, the average spend on gift cards is expected to increase by $25 from last year. The recipients of gift cards are a primed audience to drives sales early in the year. Using your loyalty program, you can create the incentives they need to spend those gift cards quickly instead of holding on to them.

Getting customers to spend their gift cards doesn’t just mean you’re getting rid of your liability; it often means more sales. Studies show that 75% of customers overspend the value of their gift cards.

Incorporate a loyalty program call to action in your e-gift card emails to drive registration. And, offer more points when customers use their gift cards early in the year.

Use Loyalty to Build Engagement Which Will Pay Off Later

Launching strong loyalty campaigns early in the year helps build engagement and sales in January, but it also sets you up for long-term growth. After the holidays, customers are burnt-out on messages that focus on sales and buying more.  

Your loyalty program offers a channel to continue the conversation with customers, without focusing exclusively on purchasing. Use the beginning of the year to focus your communication on other opportunities that enrich the customer experience.

Ask customers to share their feedback via ratings and reviews, share pictures of friends and families enjoying their gifts around the holidays, and participate in your community discussions online or on social media. Using loyalty incentives will get customers to participate and drive some site traffic which will make a small contribution to revenue early in the year. But, the bigger goal of this engagement is to set you up for success throughout the year. When you make customers feel like you are invested in the relationship for more than just the sale, you build a stronger relationship. This translates to higher customer retention and ultimately higher lifetime value.

 

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