Opinions expressed by <em>Entrepreneur</em> contributors are their own. </p><div> <p>There may still be a prolonged <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/business-news/how-supply-chain-issues-are-crushing-hotels-and-your/418815" rel="follow noopener" target="_self">supply chain shortage</a>, but there are plenty of <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/how-new-or-emerging-brands-can-get-big-holiday-shopping/374148" rel="follow noopener" target="_self">holiday tips and tricks</a> for ecommerce brands to win this time of year. More often than not, most tips floating around tend to focus on different types of acquisition strategies to get consumers to your site. However, I'm here today to offer up one overlooked piece of advice: look to your most <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/the-ultimate-secret-of-building-a-loyal-customer-base/358519" rel="follow noopener" target="_self">loyal customers</a> to reach your goals.
Your most loyal customers will be turning to you during the holidays, and you should be doing the same for them as a merchant. Remove any friction while creating new opportunities for your loyal customers to share their favorite products with friends and family.
With everyone in the spirit of giving, there is no better time to promote, package and offer products as gifts. A great way to flip your marketing funnel and build from your most loyal customer base, we’ve seen brands executing this strategy in a few impactful ways.
1. Promote giftable subscriptions
Arguably the lowest hanging fruit to optimize your holiday shopping products is to offer the option to “gift” their next subscription order. Take Methodical Coffee, for example! Traditionally, if a customer has too much coffee, a brand would allow them to skip or pause their next order in their customer account portal. However, in addition to those standard subscription preferences, Methodical Coffee allows customers to gift their next month’s subscription order to a friend. Holiday season shopping is a phenomenal opportunity to introduce and educate this option to your subscriber base.
Another game-changing holiday program we are seeing is giftable subscriptions. Brands such as Scott’s Flowers are leveraging maximum billing cycle subscription programs to encourage customers to gift three or six-month subscriptions to their loved ones. After receiving three months’ worth of flowers, the recipient could receive an email or SMS notification asking if they would like to opt into a full subscription. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!
2. Offer extra loyalty points for gifting
Loyalty and rewards programs can be strategically positioned to boost referrals this time of year. Over-communicate to your subscriber base that they will be rewarded for gifting products to their friends. The more product referred, the more credits are received. Go further to allow customers to exercise those credits however they wish — setting up the ideal brand experience!
3. Allow customers to customize bundles
71% of consumers expect brands to deliver more personalized interactions. What better way to provide personalized experiences than through an interactive and customizable bundle experience? Loyal customers looking to share your product with their friends may want to pick their go-to flavors or favorite colors. Offering discounted variety packs during the holiday is a great way to gain exposure across your product line.
4. Discounting can be a win-win
Margins don’t always have to suffer from holiday promotions. Instead of discounting your standard subscription program, offer a greater discount on larger quantities shipped less frequently to save on excessive shipping costs. Taking a note out of Slate Milk’s playbook: they ran a promotion to all subscribers who were receiving packs of 24 cans of Slate milk every month with a significant discount if they switched to 48 packs bimonthly. A win-win situation, with Slate Milk saving on shipping and the customer saving on the overall cost.
5. Get in the spirit of giving
One last note we often see in the ecommerce space year-round that translates nicely during holidays is charitable donations. Companies that donate a percentage of proceeds to charitable organizations tend to see less churn and higher LTV. Consumers care where their dollars go, and they want to contribute to a greater purpose and mission.
While acquiring new customers with holiday discounts is important, it’s equally as important to lean into your subscriber or membership base. This time of year is an excellent opportunity to come through and leave lasting impressions on your loyal customers. We are confident the tips outlined above will positively affect your short and long-term business goals, just as it has for many other brands.
Bonus holiday season tip: get creative with one-time add ons
Don’t forget the bow on top, literally. We strongly recommend brands suggest gift wrapping-themed one-time add-ons such as tote bags, branded wrapping paper or gift boxes. This is a great way to increase order value, hedge shipping costs and introduce another opportunity to build brand awareness to a greater audience.