It’s that time of year again - merchants across the globe are frantically working to get ready for what promises to be the biggest Black friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) yet. Online sales over the 2018 discount period jumped 23.6% year on year, and analysts predict that this year retailers will pull in as much as $7.5 billion on Black Friday.
With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the majority of retailers will be focusing on their acquisition strategies, trying to win as many new customers as possible during the discounting period.
Merchants could certainly be forgiven for prioritising acquisition on the basis that customer behavior will be fickle, and loyalty rare during this period. When we consider the fact that consumers store up their purchases to the end of November in order to shop around and find the best deals available, it’s easy to see why acquisition abounds and retention seems a lesser priority during BFCM.
However, new research shows that in fact, focusing on retention over BFCM could be lucrative, as customers have a higher propensity to be loyal during discounting periods such as BFCM.
Can Customers Be Loyal Over Black Friday Cyber Monday?
When asked whether they would be more or less likely to return to stores they’ve shopped with before during BFCM, 46% of consumers said they would be more likely to, and a further 34% said they would be just as likely to. Moreover, 45% said they would be more likely to shop with stores where they have already collected a loyalty points balance, with a further 35% saying they would be just as likely to.
With shoppers demonstrating that they do prefer to shop with stores they know and love during sales periods, retailers need to ensure that they are making time for retention. The stores that maximise the value of their existing customer base will be the ones that win over the 2019 holiday period.
So how can you ensure that you’re driving revenue from your existing customer base during Black Friday Cyber Monday?
Remind Your Customers What You Have in Common
There’s no question that every other brand out there is going to do their best to turn your customers’ heads during Black Friday Cyber Monday. That’s why it’s so important to remind your shoppers why they chose you to shop with in the first place.
68% of consumers state that their loyalty is motivated by the knowledge that a brand shares the same values as them. Take every opportunity to remind them that you’re aligned on those values before and during BFCM - whether that’s within your schedule of promotional emails, or by adding new rewards to your loyalty program that align with what they believe in. For example, apparel retailer, Stay Wildish allows you to redeem your points in exchange for planting trees, rather than discounts or other benefits.
Reminding your customers that shopping with you can be an emotionally rewarding experience is key to ensuring they don’t get distracted by the competition over BFCM.
Encourage Advocacy From Existing Customers
Ensure that you’re giving your existing customers every opportunity to act as advocates during Black Friday Cyber Monday. The good news is that your shoppers are just as happy to take the time to leave product reviews and refer friends and family during BFCM as they are at any other time of the year.
48% of consumers state that they are equally likely to take the time to refer a friend during the sales period, and 23% are more likely to. Similarly 49% are just as likely to review products and stores during BFCM, with 21% being more likely to.
Ahead of the sales period, put incentives in place to encourage referrals and reviews from your existing customers. For example, you might motivate these positive behaviors with points for your loyalty program. This won’t just help you to drive more qualified traffic during BFCM, but it will also help you lower your holiday acquisition costs and drive more revenue from your existing customer base.
Re-Engage Those Who Have Become At-Risk
Finally, before you start worrying about all the new customers out there during Black Friday Cyber Monday, stop and take a look at how many at-risk shoppers you have in your existing customer base. At-risk customers have shopped with you before - potentially multiple times - but have not returned to make their next purchase within the timeframe you would have expected. They have made the decision to shop with you before, so you have a headstart in encouraging them to shop with you again.
Your at-risk customers might need a prompt to return to your store, however with only 19% of consumers saying that they are less likely to open emails during BFCM, you can be confident that they will at least see your communications. Take this opportunity to segment and get in touch with your at-risk customers. Remind them of the points or rewards they have waiting to be redeemed if they shop with you again, recommend them products based on their past purchases, and take every chance to show them that you know and value them as individual customers. It costs five times less to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, so start BFCM by targeting those who already know you.
Black Friday Cyber Monday is just around the corner, and while it is a perfect opportunity to acquire new customers, it is also a key moment to build on the connections and relationships you have with your existing shopper base. Retaining and driving revenue from these loyal customers could be the key to your best BFCM yet.
Access the full Black Friday Cyber Monday consumer research conducted by LoyaltyLion here.
LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they want a fully customised loyalty program that is proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend.