7 Tactics to Convert First-Time Holiday Buyers into Repeat Purchasers

Every marketer knows that the holiday season is hugely important. But while the short-term implications of holiday traffic are well-understood, sometimes the long-term potential is less appreciated.  

A recent Sailthru survey found that 24 percent of marketers expect the holidays to be responsible for more than 40 percent of their annual revenue. That revenue is coming from two groups of customers. The first are those who are already familiar with your brand and have successfully purchased from you before. But that same Sailthru survey found that a full 32 percent of holiday traffic comes from newbies – people who’ve never shopped with you before. Seventy-seven percent of those marketers said the best way to build a relationship with those newcomers is via email.

Brands need to nurture these new customers. The way they do that should be different from the way they communicate with established brand loyalists. By making the most of interest from new customers, brands can use the holiday season to lay the foundation for sustainable, profitable growth that powers them well beyond 2018. Here are some ways to appeal to new holiday customers throughout their shopping experience and prime them for a repeat purchase.

Make sure you’re mobile-ready

A loyal customer might be a bit forgiving if your mobile experience is a little wonky. They already know they like you, your product, and your service. A first-time buyer has much less to go on. If your mobile experience – like any other part of your customer experience – is shoddy, they’ll assume the rest of your operation is in similar shape.

Highlight your top sellers

Those new to your site won’t initially have any idea of the full range of products you offer. So make sure shoppers see your best-selling items right up front, and include products known to do particularly well at converting first-time shoppers.

Deploy your loyalty program

Holiday competition is fierce. Once a customer has found what they want, it’s probably available pretty much anywhere, and likely with a discount. An offer of loyalty points, or to level up a new customer who purchases at a certain threshold within a certain period of time, can persuade a new customer to choose you over your competitor.

Upgrade your abandoned cart messaging

Rescuing abandoned carts shouldn’t be about hitting the customer over the head with the same old reminders. Emails stressing urgency and low inventory almost always a good idea, but it could be that the customer just isn’t that crazy about the item they’ve abandoned, and are still shopping. Include recommendations in abandoned cart messages, and give yourself – and your customer – another chance to hit on the perfect item.

Be smart about checkout

If something goes wrong during the checkout process, you want to be well-positioned to rescue that sale. The very first thing you should ask for during checkout is your customer’s email. It’s best to do this on a relatively blank screen, with few distractions.

Establish a great onboarding stream

When a new shopper signs up for your email or downloads your app, make sure they’re greeted with a great onboarding experience. Use your onboarding stream to introduce your customer to the brand, show them around your app, get them excited about your loyalty program, and make offers that are exclusive to new members.

Use transactional emails to cross-sell

During the holidays, the deluge of emails received by pretty much everyone tends to depress overall open rates. But transactional emails – those that confirm an order, show that it’s shipped, and when it will arrive – tend to maintain high open rates. Capitalize on shopper interest by including other marketing messages in transactional emails. Highlight items in an abandoned cart, or to make recommendations for other products that might appeal.

Yes, the holidays are stressful for shoppers, which means, basically, everyone. But they’re also a great time for discovery. These strategies will help your brand become a go-to source among holiday shoppers chancing upon it for the first time.