Ho ho ho! Google searches show that the UK starts Christmas earlier than any other country. Interest picks up as early as August and begins to rise steeply at the end of October, just before Black Friday, with the trend continuing into December. And according to retail experts, UK consumers are doing their Christmas shopping earlier than ever before. Retailers can make the most of this trend by engaging their customers months before the festive period, says relationship marketing platform Optimove.
Optimove’s data shows that customers who make their first purchase with a brand during the Christmas season are 19% less likely to make a second purchase than customers who make their first purchase at any other time of the year.
“Retailers have traditionally seen the Christmas period as the 'golden quarter' – a key time to acquire new customers by slashing prices,” Pini Yakuel, CEO of Optimove, commented.
“The holiday season has become a discounter’s paradise, with retailers trying to bring in new spenders. But retailers need to adjust their strategies to focus on existing customers, and on retaining new customers before and after Christmas.
“Existing customers will only make 17% more purchases with their favourite brands during the Christmas season than the rest of the year, with new customers making 50% more.
“But if this extra 50% over Christmas doesn’t continue with your brand, you should focus on increasing that 17% in the months before Christmas, ensuring that these customers continue to return.
“Retailers can reach out to customers in the peak shopping months leading up to Christmas, such as August and October. Using data to find ideas for conversation starters that will engage each customer and keep them coming back will help to ensure longevity.
“Key data can be used to divide the customer base into different groups and specific promotions and rewards can be targeted to different types of customer, depending on their personal taste and response. Finding the best suited offer will help to charm customers and keep them coming back.
“As for the shoppers that are acquired during Christmas, marketers should focus on turning them into repeat customers, with similarly targeted rewards throughout the rest of the year.”