Preventing the Dreaded Holiday Churn

10/03/2017 03:08 pm ET Updated Oct 04, 2017

By Dani Cushion, CMO at Cardlytics

Every holiday season, retailers dedicate a hefty marketing budget to reaching shoppers. But, once the gift buying fanfare has died down, every retailer is faced with the same challenge – keeping the holiday shoppers that spent with them during the season.

Unlike other shoppers, holiday shoppers are hyper-focused, usually looking for one of two things: the best deal and/or the perfect gift. Because of this, brand loyalty among the holiday shopper crowd often dissipates as soon as their gift list is done.

Once the gift buying fanfare has died down, every retailer is faced with the same challenge – keeping the holiday shoppers that spent with them during the season.

So, how can retailers continue to engage holiday shoppers after the season is over? Here are three key tactics that retailers can execute to keep increased holiday traffic going all year along.

Don’t miss out on growing online spend

While it’s important to note that a majority of holiday spend (82%) still takes place in-store, online channels continue to grow year over year. From 2015 to 2016, we saw that online brick & mortars (the online channel for retailers with a physical store) grew 4%. Within the same time period, online-only retailers grew 16%. This demonstrates a real shift in purchase behavior. Consumers not only want the convenience of purchasing their holiday gifts online, but they want the same convenience for their other shopping needs the rest of the year. Retailers offering online shopping and shipping discounts throughout the year can continue to capture dollars from this channel, post-holiday.

Incentivize their loyalty

While extreme couponing isn’t for everyone, this does not negate that all consumers still want a good deal. And, in this tech-heavy world, consumers are getting increasingly savvy at finding them. On the other side of the coin, retailers are feeling pressured to offer deeper discounts to compete, often at the sake of profit margins.

Another way to reach today’s deal hunters is through cash-back loyalty programs. Cash-back deals, offered within the native bank channel, give consumers a percentage of cash back on purchases with brands they like, based on their purchase behavior. These deals are much easier than coupon clipping, as it simply requires the consumer to activate the deal within their online or mobile banking platform, then shop at the brand using the card associated with that account. The cash-back reward is automatically deposited to the card account, after the person shops with the brand.

The advantage of targeting consumers within their native bank channel is that retailers can catch them while they’re already thinking about spending and saving money. And, because the deals are hyper-targeted based on past purchase behavior, retailers only reach consumers most likely to spend with their brand.

Give them a reason to come back

While the holiday shopping season is the biggest consumer spending event of the year, it’s not the only spending event of the year. It’s important for retailers to keep their brand top of mind and give consumers a reason to shop again, even after holiday shopping is done. Retailers can encourage immediate post-holiday traffic by offering “holiday hangover” deals just after the holiday concludes. Right after the holiday ends is a perfect time to encourage consumers to come back, as they’re likely still vacationing and have extra down time for retail shopping. The previously mentioned cash-back rewards programs also work well for stimulating year-round traffic, as it encourages return trips during both holiday spend events and non-holiday spend events.

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