Fostering customer loyalty this holiday season
Following a tumultuous two years, the upcoming holiday shopping season will be a crucial one for local retailers trying to regain some much-needed momentum. But customers are still managing their budgets very carefully to mitigate the current economic uncertainty. This has contributed to 61% of consumers globally joining a loyalty programme to get discounts for their holiday shopping. South African retailers must capitalise on this trend and ensure their loyalty strategies are ready if they are to maximise the opportunities to be had for the expected shopping spike during December.
“Even though saving money has always been important for local shoppers, it is more so the case this year. Brands must therefore ensure that any special discounts available for the next few weeks are visible to loyalty customers and non-members to act as incentive to join their programmes. Now, more than ever, people will turn to loyalty programmes to save a few rands and to benefit from value-adds such as bundle deals or other promotions,” says Nic Roets, International consultant at customer loyalty specialist LoyaltyPlus.
Discounts are important, but retailers must think beyond price cuts. They are just as keen on improving the bottom line as customers are to save money. With this in mind, brands must also focus on delivering a good experience. The benefit of this is that if a customer has a great shopping experience during the festive season, they are likely to continue using the retailer in the new year and beyond.
“Part of this could entail creating in-store holiday experiences for families to enjoy. This could help get shoppers into the buying spirit, especially if there are gift ideas going along with these experiences. Brands also need to consider collaborating with one another as a great way to create a compelling value proposition for customers under one roof.”
However, it is critically important for retailers to understand that while the holiday season is great to benefit from a surge in sales, it must be used as the basis to foster loyalty growth throughout the year. After all, customer loyalty is perennial and not annual, and must not be treated as such.
“This means that stores must look at ways of capitalising on the loyalty and good sentiment they are building up over December to create a lasting experience. The empathy many brands have shown in these difficult times must continue to drive marketing strategies. Fostering this sense of togetherness must remain an important component to keep in the loyalty mix, especially when the January and February blues strike,” concludes Roets.