Head of Marketing LoyaltyLion
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Black Friday is not all about acquisition

21st Nov 2019
Head of Marketing LoyaltyLion
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For retailers the world over, the last few weeks have likely been entirely focused on preparing for Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM). Whether that's ensuring that your site won't break under the weight of increased traffic, or assessing your fulfilment methods to make sure you can deliver on all those orders. From a marketing perspective, the chances are that customer retention has slipped to the back of your mind, with all eyes on acquisition techniques to win as many new customers as possible over the coming peak period. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly given the growth of the shopping event in recent years, Black Friday Cyber Monday 2018 was a huge success with online sales jumping 23.6%. This year is set to be a similar story, with analysts predicting that retailers will make $7.5 billion on Black Friday alone. Putting a solid acquisition strategy in place will help you get the biggest piece of that pie, however you may be missing out on a larger chunk of BFCM revenue if you neglect your existing customers.

Customer loyalty during BFCM 

You might expect your shoppers to be more fickle during BFCM, with all the distractions of slashed prices and promotions. However, recent research shows that your shoppers are actually more likely to be loyal during sales periods. When consumers were asked whether they would be more or less likely to return to stores they've purchased from before during peak period, 46% said they would be more likely to, and 34% said they would be just as likely to. The average shopper does in fact prefer to return to shops they know and love during BFCM.

Consumers also displayed a preference for stores they have already collected a points balance with. 80% said that during Black Friday Cyber Monday, they would be more likely or just as likely to shop with stores they already had points collected during the sales. Those customers enrolled in your loyalty program are highly likely to come back to you rather than your competitors during the peak season.

The value of your existing customers 

This propensity for customers to be loyal during BFCM is good news for a couple of reasons:

Customers who are already engaged

At any time of the year, your existing customers are actually the most valuable to your store. Loyal customers who join programs are 47% more likely to return and purchase a second time. The average basket size of a customer that uses a loyalty reward in a purchase is also 39% greater.

Engaging your existing customers well ahead of Black Friday is key, and success relies on giving your customers genuine reasons to return to you during the peak period. You can do this in a number of ways, from points statements and reward available reminders, to bonus point or double points promotions.

While you're working on your pre-BFCM engagement, you should also remind customers why you're the right store for them. 65% of consumers say that they buy on the basis of their beliefs. Your emails, social media channels and website can all be used to remind existing customers that you believe in the same things that they do, whether that's sustainable packaging, cruelty-free products or even a lower carbon footprint. This is also the time to let them know that your rewards program can help them to act on those values, for example allowing members to redeem points they earn during BFCM against charitable donations, or trees planted. Take every chance to highlight to your engaged customers, that you share their personal values, and you will outshine any discount or special offer that your competitors can muster.

Customers who are at-risk

Almsot all brands suffer from a large pool of at-risk customers. These are customers who have shopped with you before, but not returned to make their next purchase within an expected timeframe. These customers represent a huge revenue opportunity over BFCM. They already know your brand and therefore have already built a level of trust, so they will be more cost-effective to convert than entirely new customers.

Remind these shoppers that they have a pre-existing relationship with your brand, and that you recognise and acknowledge them as individuals - not just another BFCM metric. This can be done via surprise and delight techniques. For example, credit them with extra points they can redeem over the holiday period, or move them into a higher tier of your loyalty program so they can unlock better rewards. Remind them why they shopped with you in the first place and give them something to come back to during the peak period. 

Customers who are willling to act as advocates

It's easy to assume that during Black Friday Cyber Monday, customers are in a hurry scouring for deals and have little time to stop and act as advocates. However, data shows that customers are actually often more inclined to make referrals or leave product reviews during the discounting period. 25% of consumers surveyed said that they are more likely to refer a friend during the sales period, and 48% of consumers surveyed said that they are just as likely to. Similarly, 21% are more likely to take the time to leave a review, and a further 49% are just as likely to.  

Given that these customers are willing to advocate for your brand during the busiest period of the year, take every opportunity to ask them to do so. Put incentives in place that motivate these positive csutomer behaviours - for example awarding points for reviews, referrals and social media likes and shares. This will help you to create more user generated content and to build trust, which will in turn deliver more qualified traffic to your site, more cost-effectively.

Black Friday Cyber Monday 2019 is almost upon us and if you focus on retention and acquisition in equal parts, then it could be your best peak yet. Although it is a prime time for acquiring new customers, it is also an essential time for engaging existing ones. Build on the connections and relationships with your existing customers and not only will you prevent them from being drawn away by the competition, but you will encourage a higher average spend over BFCM, and a higher lifetime value well into the new year.

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