Top 3 hacks to turn one-off holiday shoppers into regulars

It’s official – travel is back. After two years of lockdowns and travel bans, the world is opening up again. People are finally able to don their swimming costumes and shell-ebrate the good times!

More than 80% of American adults intend to travel this summer, and 45% said they would travel more than once. 

Why is this relevant for your ecommerce store? Well, with holiday plans, comes holiday shopping. Whether it’s sunglasses, sandals or a new suitcase – most people see a holiday as the perfect time to refresh their wardrobe and treat themselves.

And this is even more likely to be the case this year, as consumers haven’t touched those holiday wardrobes in a good while. Shopping lists will be long, and that’s before you consider all the holiday essentials such as sun cream, after sun, travel shampoos, and so on and so forth…

But with every opportunity, there comes a challenge. In this case, there are three. 

  • Summer holiday shoppers tend to be looking for one-off purchases to get them through their vacations. This means you’re going to spend the same amount to acquire these shoppers as any others, despite the fact that their lifetime value could work out much lower. This may give you a brilliant spike in sales over the summer, but it doesn’t give you sustainable growth.
  • Competition is back to its peak. Not only are you now competing with other online stores selling similar products, but offline retail is back in play and many of your holiday shoppers will be tempted to make ad hoc, in-store purchases as and when they see them.
  • The cost-of-living crisis that we’re currently living through. Many shoppers will find that due to rising living costs their disposable income has shrunk since they booked their holiday. Big plans for holiday shopping lists might become a little more measured as a result as people make do with what they already have.

So, how can you tackle these challenges and make sure you’re fully ready to cash in on summer travel? Read on to find out. 

Get the right customers through the door by showing what you have in common 👯

Today, conscious consumerism continues to be hot on the agenda. 90% of millennials will buy from a brand if they believe their social and environmental claims. And they will absolutely boycott brands that are found guilty of “greenwashing”. This shift in behavior will apply to holiday shopping as well. 

This gives you a great opportunity to attract new customers through emotional connections. You can stand out from all the other stores selling similar products to you by showing shoppers that you’re emotionally aligned with them, and by telling them the story of your brand values. 

The most powerful thing you can do is give shoppers the chance to support the causes they care about, just by shopping with your brand. For example, dog food brands offering loyalty program members the chance to redeem points for charitable donations to dog shelters. When brands use their loyalty programs to reflect the values they claim to live by, it resonates with customers and helps to differentiate from competitors.

Make sure that your most valuable customers get a first class ticket  ✈️

The best way to make sure that customers think of you first when they do their holiday shopping is to make them feel recognized as an individual. Your most valuable customers should be getting a first class experience, and if you’re not sure what that looks like then here are some ideas:

  • Give them access to early access to sales or new product lines. Launching a new range of sunglasses, or a new scent of suncream? Let your VIP customers know first.
  • Treat VIP customers with other experiential perks, such as free shipping, or free gifts included with their purchases. These small things cost you little if you only deploy them to customers with the highest lifetime value, but they will surprise and delight your shoppers, driving repeat purchases. You can also use free gifts as a way to shift excess inventory – double win. 
  • One brand that does this brilliantly is Skinnydip – their loyalty program is tier-based, and gives customers the opportunity to unlock these experiences as they spend more and accumulate more points. Program members who make it to the Boarding tier get free delivery days and early access to sales and promotions. Those who make it even further up to the ‘take off’ tier can unlock even more perks, like exclusive access to Skinnydip events!
How to retain holiday shoppers. Loyalty tiers example

Don’t settle for a summer romance – build longer-term relationships with holiday shoppers 💞

Foster long-term relationships by turning your holiday shoppers into a community of customers. If you do this effectively, your customers will return and engage with your brand over and over again – even when they’re not making a purchase.

One of our favourite examples of building a great customer community is Australian skincare brand, Esmi Skin Minerals. They have a similar tiered approach to Skinnydip, but the difference is that their top tier is actually locked – customers can’t see what benefits they’ll get until they reach the elusive black tier, and this just motivates them to try and get there.

Once shoppers become part of the final tier, they become even more of an insider, with the ability to contribute to product discussions and focus groups. This top tier then becomes its own customer community, where shoppers can interact with other customers who share the same interests and want to talk about similar products. 

How to retain holiday shoppers. Loyalty tiers example

“In a short period of time, we have already seen customers move through to our highest value loyalty tiers and have set a foundation to continue to elevate our loyalty offering.”

Sha Foster-Ho, Head of Acquisition @ Esmi Skin Minerals

Another benefit of growing your customer community is that you’ll create more brand advocates. Their reviews and recommendations are the most powerful ammunition for convincing new shoppers to spend with you.

You could easily encourage referrals or reviews by incentivizing these actions with loyalty points to reward your advocates. And don’t be shy about asking your community members to interact with your brand on social media!

Incentivize their likes, shares and follows with points, and you’ll soon find that you’re expanding your reach organically. You could even try a holiday hashtag competition to start the conversation. 

The return of summer travel is an amazing opportunity to build connections with new customers while delighting your existing ones. Make sure you give yourself the best chance of retaining your holiday shoppers once those post holiday blues start to sink in. Implement the tactics above, and dedicate some time to planning your approach before the holidays hit.  

To learn more about how you can build valuable relationships with your customers, enroll in our (totally free) LoyaltyLion Academy

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About the author

Georgie Walsh

Georgie is the Content Marketing Manager at LoyaltyLion. Georgie has spent most of her 6+ years marketing in B2B companies, and has developed a huge passion for bringing B2B voices alive through engaging copy and memorable storytelling.