Strategies to Bring Black Friday and Cyber Monday Customers Back
For marketers, the holiday season can feel like finals week. Good work certainly matters throughout the year — but it’s the homestretch that matters most. Retailers make up to 40% of their annual sales during the holiday season and those that fail to capitalize don’t have the option of making it up at summer school. Retention is like your most important final exam, which means that bringing Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers back is a must.
Yes, BFCM is an opportunity to acquire a large number of new customers in a very short timeframe. But it is also an opportunity to set your sales table for the next year. Cultivating relationships with those shoppers who will keep coming back in spring, summer and beyond will only boost their customer lifetime value.
In other words: BFCM is a potential retention bonanza, which our Black Friday data really highlighted.
Of course, retention is a broad concept. Ideally, you want to convert as many customers as possible into brand loyalists. But who those customers are — how frequently they buy and how much they spend — can be just as important.
Unfortunately, many retailers lack the capacity to make those distinctions. Failing to bring back BFCM customers results in unfocused campaigns and lost revenue.
Learning how to make those distinctions is central to any strategy to retain holiday shoppers.
The importance of identification
According to our BFCM benchmarks from 2022, 37% of last year’s Black Friday shoppers were first-timers. This means that come Black Friday, a huge number of people will be interacting with your brand for the very first time. Customer lifetime value can be cumulative; each one of them is a potential lifelong brand loyalist. But — and this is the important part — you need to know who they are before that can happen.
Identify who has come to your site
Identification refers to the percentage of website shoppers who can be identified by an attribute tied back to a unified profile. Examples include email addresses, phone numbers, and login names, just to name a few.
Ultimately, identification is ultimately the foundation of all personalized customer experiences. Matching site traffic with existing data profiles, retailers can optimize the entire site experience for everyone, whether you’re bringing BFCM customers back or seeing them for the first time.
Segment customers based on Black Friday and Cyber Monday behavior
Ideally, this process will be set in motion even before the customer arrives at your site. Building a lookalike model of last year’s holiday shoppers on social media can make it much easier to determine purchase intent once a customer arrives at your website.
Once your potential customers are properly segmented, you can work on trying to secure their emails. Targeted pop-up prompts can work wonders here, especially when the deal is sweetened with a discount.
Don’t hesitate to have fun with the process. We’ve found that the engagement rate on gamified spinner lead capture campaigns is 150% higher than it is on standard captures.
Monitor and optimize marketing efforts
Collectively and one-by-one, the emails you acquire during the holiday shopping season will help you optimize your marketing efforts as you bring Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers back in the future. Each email represents another chance — or, really hundreds of chances, assuming the customer stays subscribed — to personalize the entire shopping experience.
As you fine-tune your copy, layout, and product recommendations, you’ll gain indispensable insights into what works for each customer.
Maximizing post-holiday engagement
As with any relationship, the first weeks and months after first contact are crucial. You’ve identified a new customer, which is exciting! Next comes the hard work of deepening the relationship: building customer loyalty and increasing customer lifetime.
Bring Black Friday and Cyber Monday customers back with personalized promotions
In the short-term, that could mean offering exclusive post-BFCM deals within personalized email and mobile campaigns. These need not be the same for every customer. Where one might be tempted by a 10% discount, another might be just fine with free shipping. Segmenting your audience by discount affinity can teach you the optimal way to court each customer while preserving margins.
Ideally, this degree of personalization will pervade every step of the customer journey. At this point, personalized recommendations are a baseline consumer expectation, and getting it right — reading the tea leaves of past consumer behavior to predict what they’ll want now — can pay massive dividends when you bring back BFCM customers.
The power of loyalty programs
A few months post-BFCM, you’ll have a much clearer sense of who your new loyalists are. You might think your efforts would then be better spent cultivating new loyalists.
In fact, customer loyalty is often the financial bread and butter of any enterprise, and in a marketing environment as competitive as this one they need to be continually cultivated. Rewards points work great on this front, as do members-only products and promotions.
Remember: 36% of customers will return to a brand after a positive experience, even if cheaper alternatives are readily available (and on the internet, they most likely are).
Creating a seamless omnichannel experience
In 2023, the distinctions between marketing channels — in-store, SMS, social, on-site, app — has effectively collapsed. Consumers navigate the physical and digital worlds fluidly. Without even consciously thinking about it, a consumer might check their texts and emails and do a quick scroll through Instagram, all in the space of 30 seconds while waiting in line. Understanding this is crucial for bringing back BFCM customers.
Optimizing mobile app engagement
With that in mind, the importance of optimizing mobile app engagement cannot be overstressed. The first rule of our omnichannel world is that customers expect effortlessness at every turn, so that even a slight glitch can send them spinning into the arms of a competitor.
SMS might be even more important on this front. Per research from SMS Comparison, text messages have an open rate of 98% — nearly six times higher than the average marketing email.
Connecting online and in-store shopping experiences
Of course, omnichannel means not just optimizing digital channels but turning digital and in-store operations into one unified, well-oiled machine. Simply on the strength of the email addresses acquired during BFCM a retailer can identify when a shopper has made a purchase at one of their stores and work proactively to capitalize on the encounter.
And don’t forget social media interaction. Something as innocuous as failing to respond to a customer’s posted complaint can hurt customer loyalty.
Frequently asked questions
How do you ensure new Black Friday customers come back?
In order to bring BFCM customers back, you must first identify them. Segment them by potential product intent and work proactively to secure their email addresses. Then create a feedback loop of engagement through personalized recommendations, discounts, and more. Fine-tune your processes and strive to continually optimize.
How do you retain customers after Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals?
As part of your strategy to retain holiday shoppers, monitor their interests and work proactively to meet them. Dynamic product recommendations and personalized cross-channel marketing efforts also help build and maintain loyalty long after the pharmacy stops playing holiday music.
How can I maximize post-BFCM engagement with existing customers during the holiday season?
Use the knowledge you have already to target them across channels. One way to bring back BFCM customers is to re-engage them with personalized recommendations based on last year’s purchases (or almost-purchases). You already have a foot in the door, For increasing customer lifetime value, that’s a strong start — particularly in light of the fact that the open rate of non-buyer lifecycle emails significantly outperforms that of typical batch-and-blast campaign sends.
How can I use data-driven insights to improve my customer retention strategy after BFCM?
In the omnichannel marketing environment, everything connects to everything else—a product looked at but not purchased links up with a discount email opened but not acted upon, which links up with an in-store purchase, an engagement on social media, on and on and on. Done correctly, your BFCM retention efforts should lead to a proliferation of data-points over the coming months. What discounts work for which customer-segment? What creative leads to higher click-through? These questions, answered at scale, will tell you precisely what you need to know to keep each segment of your audience happy.