Tips for better customer engagement before, during, and after the holiday shopping season

Each year, the holidays spark a surge in consumer shopping. Customers will be flocking to your brand (and your competitors) with their wallets open, ready to spend, looking for good products and great deals. Meanwhile, your business leaders expect to see healthy boosts in customer growth and revenue during this busy time. Marketers will do their best to attract new customers, re-engage existing customers, and provide the frictionless, satisfying shopping experiences that will encourage shoppers to buy and win their loyalty for the long haul. For you, the holidays aren’t a time for whimsical inspiration or pie-in-the-sky marketing ideas. It’s a time to exercise your expertise and creativity to drive conversions, grow your database of customers, and make a positive impact on the bottom line.

You need a holiday customer engagement strategy that delivers real business results. This guide is designed to give you the proven tips, insights, and marketing tactics leveraged by real-life brands to ensure customer growth and revenue during the critical holiday season.

Pre-Holiday Tips

Whether it’s playing sports, performing on a stage, or even just giving a presentation to your team, often your performance during the moments that matter are influenced by how you prepared before the big event. The same is true for your holiday customer engagement efforts. If you want to achieve great success during the holidays, you’ll have to put in some preparation beforehand to maximize your results. Here are a few pre-holiday tips to set you up for success.

Test your discounting in advance


Test discounts across different segments and channels so you can determine which audiences are most price sensitive, and which channels offer the best conversion. This will help you avoid over-discounting and eroding your margins during the holidays.


Fine-tune your automations


Automations will be essential in helping you deliver 1:1 personalized experiences across all channels at scale. Test automations early on to work out any kinks, and optimize accordingly. That way, you’re not having to course correct during — or worse, after — the big shopping days.


Lean into progressive profiling


Progressive profiling before the holidays will help you gather vital first-party data to improve your ability to personalize your customer’s shopping experience during and after the holidays. Start early to gradually collect information from your customers over time, rather than asking for too much info at once.


Take advantage of holiday wishlists


Setting up a wishlist is simple and can open up more opportunities for engagement with customers and prospects — many of whom will be “window shopping” or gathering gift ideas. Letting customers save items reduces friction and increases the likelihood they’ll return later to complete a purchase. 


During-the-Holidays Tips

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, that final day for express shipping before Christmas, and everything in between — there are so many days throughout the bustling holiday shopping season when customers will be clamoring to get their hands on your goods or services. Once you’ve done the groundwork to prepare for these moments, you’ll next need to focus on maximizing your marketing performance during those days. Here are a few tips to make sure you drive the best results possible.

Create and deliver experiences that give value


Many customers will be buying from your brand. But if the experience is merely transactional, they might forget you the minute they click “Buy Now.” Give them something in exchange for shopping with you that they can’t get anywhere else — smooth and frictionless checkout; highly relevant personalization; priority customer service (e.g., free returns, free shipping); or any other perk that makes them feel special.


Target limited-time holiday customers


Some customers shop with your brand only during the holidays. Make the most of your limited-time holiday customers and use segmentation to treat these audiences accordingly. For example, you’ll have lastminute shoppers, back-again shoppers, and your loyal customers who are only active during the holidays. Use personalized discounts or incentives to reach this special group of customers


Go omnichannel to meet customers wherever they’re at


During the holidays, you can’t afford to miss an opportunity to engage. Maximize the breadth of channels you use in your marketing strategy so you can reach the widest audience possible. But don’t stop there — ensure your channels (and data) are fully unified so customers can have a consistent and seamless holiday shopping experience with your brand even as they move from channel to channel.



Post-Holiday Tips

The holidays may have been a success, and perhaps you hit all your key metrics and goals — but that isn’t the end of the season for you. You still have the opportunity to further accelerate business results. You can keep the success rolling with a strong post-holiday customer engagement strategy to retain the customers you gained and maximize revenue after the big shopping days have passed. Consider the following tips:

Leverage referrals to grow your contacts


Referral programs like a “refer-a-friend” campaign can have a massive impact on customer growth. You’ve done your job at delivering a world-class shopping experience. Use incentives like limited-time coupons or reward points to drive referrals.

Reward holiday shoppers to foster long-term loyalty


Your holiday shoppers could have chosen any brand to shop with, but they chose yours. Reward these customers with meaningful engagements and experiences that bring them back to shop with your brand again. For example, thank new and returning shoppers with a personalized voucher or coupon. Offer early access to post-holiday sales events, or even exclusive seasonal items — anything that makes them feel valued and special.


Prioritize retention and nurturing your new customers


Your relationship with newly won holiday customers will be in its early stages, so you’ll want to make a good impression. Navigate any returns with grace, making them as easy and frictionless as possible so that customers are likely to come back to your brand. Extend new customers’ journey with engagement that continues the conversation — think post-purchase reviews, invitations to join loyalty programs, newsletter sign-ups, and more.


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