Ecommerce brands spend a lot of time, effort, and money on optimization for the year-end holiday blitz that starts on Black Friday. You and your new customers are so focused on the sale of an item or two that you’re likely both not thinking about the brand. So, you’ll get a good bump in sales in the short term but risk losing out on recurring, long-term opportunities.

Make the most of your significant investment by turning these shoppers into repeat customers by reminding them of your brand, your experience, and your value-adds.

Make the most of that investment by turning it into a pathway to future success and recurring revenue. Let’s look at how you can do that.

Extend Loyalty

Odds are you collected email addresses with each new purchase and emailed out a follow-up receipt. Email is an unbelievably powerful tool, and you should rely on it for your recurring revenue plans.

The first way to use your email list is to enroll everyone in a free loyalty program — with a clear opt-out in the first email. It’s a proven nurture technique that allows you to build rewards and gamify your sales process, plus you can focus on this list when things are slow in other quarters.

Make sure you provide a clear benefit for the loyalty program and display it on your website. Reiterate whatever deals you offer loyalty members on your main page and during price discussions, or show them how much they’ll save in ads.

This path is designed to focus on both new and existing steady shoppers to keep them coming back for more.

Email New Deals

Your Black Friday shoppers were likely the big deal hunters who looked at 20 different sites that day before landing in your cart. They’re an amazing group, and they spent $5.03 billion in online sales alone in 2017. They’ll stand in line for a good deal or wake up early to get your best items before they run out.

At their heart, they want the best price for the best product. These shoppers also respond to incentives that are exclusive — or at least that most people won’t get. They’re your perfect email target when you’ve got a big promotion.

You’ll get a slightly better boost by making the deal feel exclusive to loyalty members or by increasing the amount they save when they share the discount and sales info with others.

Simplify Your Store

While we’re thinking of different holiday shoppers, there’s another core group: the people that leave it all to the last minute. They want something good, and they want it right now. In most years, they’ll account for a bit more than 25% of holiday shopping sales.

You can capture this market during the holiday season by making it easy to buy from you with fewer steps and simpler signup to get deals or discounts.

Turn that into continued success by continually refining your process and notifying customers when things get easier. This can be a quick email that simply thanks them for past purchases and says that you’ll automatically use the best coupon on their next purchase when they’re logged in — no codes or expiration dates to try and remember.

If you’re cutting requirements down for different things, such as reducing the amount they need to spend to get free shipping, make a note of that in email and on the site too.

Brand Messages and Follow-ups

This section might be the most work, but it can have long-term benefits.

You need to create something that’s branded. It can be a free gift or product, or it might be a free report that shows customers how to make the most of what they’ve purchased. Keep it industry-specific and focused on your branding, even if the tips don’t involve your products.

Get a little creative, especially if you’re competing in a dropship model. Why not give out an eBook on 10 creative ways to repurpose gifts or a quick how-to with craft ideas for common items you sell?

Visual reminders are a wonderful way to keep customers engaged and further your branding. Plus, these options give you a chance to be useful, which can increase the likelihood of continued sales.

Focus on What’s Next

Three things typically come after a holiday sale if you do nothing:

  1. Nothing.
  2. Returns.
  3. Repeat customers.

In most cases, #1 and #2 are the most common outcomes. We’ve already touched on #1, so let’s look at #2 in a larger context.

You’ll likely get some returns soon — or emails about returns if you don’t accept them. This is time to focus on your customer experience. Help people resolve their issues and remedy mistakes you’ve made as quickly and nicely as possible.

You don’t have to give away the store to everyone with a complaint, but you should work to address problems and make people happy whenever possible and reasonable.

Customer satisfaction efforts give you the perfect pivot to “What’s next.” That can be replacing a faulty item and giving a coupon for the next shipping cart. Or, you could simply ask what you can do better next time they shop with you. These interactions allow you to tell the customer you want their business again and get clues on how to achieve it.

If your responses and support talk about next time, it primes the customer for there to be a next time.

Thank Your Returning Customers

No holiday shopping season is complete without a few folks who shopped your ecommerce store yet again. Send them a little something special as a “Thank You,” because they really do deserve it.

If you want to score points with them and potentially reach new leads, include something with a hashtag and ask for people to send you pictures. Depending on your freebie or your coupon, you can ask to see them using a product or service, or simply offer to make their “Thank You” deal even bigger if they tweet about it.

Free and fun are always a fantastic way to go when thanking the customers that keep your business running.