In June, I had the opportunity to speak about preparing for the holidays with Matt Pillar from Integrated Solutions for Retailers. I know it’s warm outside and the general consensus is it’s too early to talk about holiday shopping, but the truth is for retailers, they’ve already been planning for many months. At Hallmark Business Connections, we find holiday prep for our clients starts earlier every year because retailers now have to win earlier in the year to see true long-term success. The holiday shopping experience now starts well before the traditional Black Friday timeframe. The sooner you win the holiday shopper, the less likely those consumers will shop somewhere else.
Winning a customer year round, is one of the easiest ways to ensure their holiday shopping will be directed at you. When a business is the trusted source for customers from January through September, that natural loyalty plays big dividends come holiday time. Investing in ongoing customer experience and loyalty is always a wise investment.
Finally, customer loyalty can diminish quickly if customers feel special offers aren’t directly for them. Make sure your loyal customers are rewarded with offers that are worthy of their existing commitment to your brand. It’s all about winning customers for life. This is the renewed focus of retailers who not only want to satisfy and retain current customers, but also grow their base through customer advocacy, referrals and word of mouth marketing.
Check out my tips for gaining lifetime customer loyalty, as well as my advice and promotions for Q4 in the Integrated Solutions for Retailers Q&A.