5 Tips for Engaging Past Customers for Holiday Sales Success
In episode #209 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I share 5 tips for engaging past customers to give yourself the best chance at sales success during the holiday season. Of course, you always want to be trying to acquire new customers, but retaining your past customers is more efficient and also most cost-effective when it comes to marketing spend. And this year, when predictions for holiday sales are feeling a little uncertain, you’ll want to expend the most effort on the people who already know and love your brand.
I’ll be covering:
- Why it’s important to engage past customers for the holidays
- 5 tips for engaging past customers, even as we enter November
- Why to continue this focus in 2023 and beyond
Check out the transcript below.
Welcome to the Joy Joya Podcast, where “jewelry is joy”, and everyone is encouraged to add more polish and sparkle to the world. With topics ranging from marketing tips to business development, best practices, and beyond, this is the go-to podcast for ambitious jewelry industry dreamers like you. Hi, I’m your host Laryssa Wirstiuk. Through this podcast, I aim to empower and inspire jewelry entrepreneurs and professionals, so they can thrive while adding more beauty to the world. I’m passionate about digital marketing for jewelry brands, and I’m excited to share my passion with you. As we all know “jewelry is joy”, so I’ll gladly seize any opportunity to talk about it.
This is episode #209. And today I’m going to be sharing my five tips for engaging your past customers to give yourself the best chance at sales success during the holiday season. Of course, you always want to be trying to acquire new customers, but retaining your past customers is one of the more efficient and most cost effective ways to spend your marketing budget. This year when predictions around holiday sales are feeling a little bit uncertain and unknown, you’ll really want to expend the most effort on the people who already know, love, and trust your brand. I’ll be covering: 1) why it’s important to engage past customers for the holidays; 2) five tips for engaging past customers even as we enter into November; and 3) why to continue this focus in 2023 and beyond.
But before we get to the solid gold of this episode, I’d like to take a moment to remind you that this podcast has both an audio and video component. So you can either listen on your favorite podcast platform or watch on YouTube by searching Joy Joya. I love creating this content as my act of service to you, my awesome listeners and viewers, and you can always support the podcast for free by taking the time not only to subscribe, but also to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other jewelry dreamers find it too. I want to read my favorite review of the week. So in a comment on YouTube Laskii says, “Thank you for making this video! Helps digital marketers with research for the jewelry markets to see what is trending (:” Thank you, I really appreciate that. And I do notice that whenever I have episodes about trends, that those tend to resonate really well with my audience. So I’m gonna make sure I continue putting out episodes like that. If you leave a review, I might read it on a future episode. So please let me know what you think about this one or about any other major takeaways you’ve had recently.
In this segment of the podcast, I give out my Sparkle Award for the week. So during this segment, I highlight a jewelry brand that’s impressing me with their marketing. This is also interactive, so you can visit sparkleaward.com to nominate a jewelry brand that’s inspiring you these days, and I might feature your submission on a future podcast episode. This week’s Sparkle Award goes to Cast, a San Francisco based fine jewelry brand that I’ve been following for a few months, but one article I saw about them from Women’s Wear Daily piqued my interest and made me say what’s going on with this brand. So they only just launched online last year. They’re super new to the marketplace. And the business focuses on showcasing female artists like Kristy Ford, Lauren Harwell Godfrey, and others through collaborations and exclusive collections. So last week, they actually opened a 500 square foot Instagram worthy store in the Bay Area. And in this exclusive interview with Women’s Wear Daily, the co founders Eric Ryan and Rachel Skelly explained, “Think jubilant colors, welcoming vibes and people oriented service.” Local shoppers who come into this brick and mortar store may even have an advantage over shopping online because the store owners plan to really put the very latest offerings in store before landing on the website. So that’s really a unique approach to incentivize people to coming into the store. These two co-founders actually come from outside of the jewelry industry, so they have a unique perspective and approach. Eric originally started Method, which is a soap company. He also worked on the vitamin brand Olly and then Welly Health, which was trying to disrupt over-the-counter pharmacy space. So these pursuits might sound completely unrelated to the jewelry industry, but in his eyes, he sees jewelry as just another industry that’s ripe for disruption. So some ways that they are really trying to be different with their business model and their store. They hired stylists instead of what they’re calling salespeople. Shoppers are getting a menu of prices up front. So there’s no mystery behind the like, take it out of the case, reveal the tag the price tag, and have like a moment of awkwardness around pricing. So they get to actually peruse the menu of prices while they are sipping a beverage. Trying on jewelry is really encouraged. And there’s even a sensory experience in store courtesy of a partnership they have with a perfume perfumery based in Paris and New York. So they’re really trying to build in some unique elements into this store experience that maybe are not part of that traditional jewelry store shopping experience that people have and really challenging those assumptions about what the experience will be. If you know me, you know that I love disruptors, and I love that they’re taking inspiration from other industries. I can’t wait to see what they’ve got planned next. As I mentioned, you can visit sparkleaward.com to nominate a jewelry brand that’s inspiring you these days, and I might feature your submission on a future podcast episode.
So let’s discuss some recent news related to jewelry or marketing. If you want the links to these articles, check out the show notes. The first article comes from retailbrew.com. And it’s called, “It’s not too late to test a live-shopping strategy for the holidays”. So if you’re a regular listener, or viewer, you may remember from Episode 205, I explained that live stream shopping is a holiday marketing trend. Definitely a lot of jewelry brands are starting it this year if they haven’t already done it before. And you may have listened to that episode and thought, Oh, well, I wish I had done that. But now what do I do? Well, the good news is that it’s not too late to try it even if you are late to the game. This person quoted in this article from Retail Brew Dutta Satadip, Chief Customer Officer at the CX automation platform Active Campaign, said “Today the cost of producing a good product demo, which is basically what live stream is, is relatively low. And it’s a great opportunity for small and medium sized businesses to bring traffic directly onto their site.” Holiday sales these like early Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales, extending the discounting season into October. I don’t know how effective of a means of differentiation this can be during the overwhelming holiday season. It’s almost expected from consumers. But it doesn’t mean that that’s going to help you differentiate your brand, you’re just going to be fighting with discounting with your competitors, their traditional holiday calendar, obviously out of the window. So what can you do that’s really going to differentiate your brand? Engage your target customers help you communicate your brand story. Live shopping events, especially during the holiday season, when you’re highlighting gifts for different people like mom, dad, significant others, that can really be one way to have that intimate, personalized, engaging, entertaining, trust building experience with the people who you want to buy from you. Also, if if you’re new to this, start by just featuring your core products. Start with that until you have a better understanding of how successful these events can be for you until you can feel more comfortable with executing on them. And the best thing about doing the live stream videos is that you can and definitely should repurpose and reuse that live stream asset. So whether that means publishing the video on a product page on your website, posting it to your Instagram feed, putting on your YouTube channel – make sure you’re really making the most of that effort that you’re putting into the actual live stream. My main takeaway from this article, and in general is please, please, please, please, I’m begging you. Please try live stream shopping. It’s a low barrier to entry and it’s not too late to get started. Thank you for that listening to my public service announcement.
The next article comes from JCK, and it’s called “The RealReal Predicts This Year’s Gift Giving Will Focus On ‘Elevated Classics'”. So, this definitely caught my eye. Because I know that the resale market is becoming super hot. All of these brands are launching…brands in apparel, in luxury, and fashion are launching resale programs. Consumers want value, they want prestige, they want quality, but at an affordable price point. And resale can oftentimes satisfy a lot of that need and desire. So if you’re not familiar with The RealReal, it’s an online and brick and mortar marketplace for staff authenticated luxury consignment. So they are really capitalizing on this move to resale and what consumers want. So they shared their predictions for what consumers will be buying for the holidays. They think that shoppers will be gravitating toward what they call “elevated classics”. So luxury items from all the heritage brands like Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef and Arpels. And Bulgari in particular is already showing a 60% increase in sales compared to last quarter. So there’s that element. I know that if you listening and viewing have your own independent brand that probably sounds discouraging to you that that is what consumers are gravitating toward. But hear me out, keep listening. I want you to know that consumers are getting more comfortable with gifting resale. They’re shopping earlier to find that perfect, unique piece because if it’s a one of a kind, it’s going to take time to look for that. Within the second hand market, consumers are all also shopping for “it” pieces such as charms, pendants, brooches and unbranded fine jewelry. My main takeaway for this, from this and why it’s relevant to you, no matter what kind of jewelry products you sell. I think this speaks to the fact that customers are looking for unique items. We’re no longer in the time where like a gift in a blue box from a new gift in a blue box from Tiffany was like the ultimate Christmas item, I know there was a period in my life where the people around me, that would have been like the ultimate gift for them. Now, yes, there are people who want those prestige, luxury products. And that’s what we’re seeing with the rise in the Cartier, etc. But I think even more so than that, consumers are looking for things that are unique, have a story, really have giftable value. And that they’re kind of difficult to find. You have to hunt for them. And so even though this data is particularly focused on the resale market, what I’m taking from it is that they want individuality, but also add a good value. And when I say value, I don’t mean price. So I don’t mean like we’re discounting here, I just mean that they see that whatever it is they are finding and deciding is the right perfect, unique, interesting, story driven gift – the price is worth what they’re getting. And they see that there’s a value to whatever money it is that they’re spending. So I think there’s a lot to kind of digest and think about here and how does it relate to your products in your brand. Just stuff to think about for what consumers are looking for.
And the last article comes from Retail Dive, and it’s called “Consumers to shop more in stores this holiday: survey”. So on this podcast, in the past few episodes, I’ve talked a little bit about predictions for consumer behavior for the holidays this year, but I haven’t really touched on consumer behavior as it relates to ecommerce versus brick and mortar experience. A JLL survey of 1080 consumers found that 63.2% of consumers plan to do at least some of their shopping in stores this year up from 58% last year. This is followed by more than 55% who plan to shop with an online-only retailer and 49% ordering online from a brick and mortar store. So this year, more people are shopping in store than online. It makes a lot of sense. I think there’s a little more comfort about being out in the physical world post COVID being, you know, a little scarier, let’s say last year, a little more uncertainty around that. So there’s an opening of the world that people are feeling more comfortable. But other reasons that consumers are wanting to shop in store: they want to view products before purchasing them. I think there is a little bit of a fatigue around ecommerce shopping, and around having to return a lot of things because you don’t really know what you’re gonna get in many cases, to, they just enjoy the store environment and experience, especially around the holidays. There’s a lot of thought that goes into holiday merchandising and decorating in store. And sometimes that can just put you in a festive mood. And three, they want to avoid shipping delays and headaches and any associated costs with that. So most people who do engage in the ecommerce shopping – they are planning to save it for Black Friday, Cyber Monday weekend, or any sort of related discounting days around that because they believe it’s easier to find deals on specific things that they’re looking for. It’s more efficient. My main takeaway from this is, even if you don’t have a brick and mortar presence, or some kind of physical, in-person presence, I’d look for ways to get in front of your target customers in person any way you can, whether that’s through a trunk show, pop up, exclusive party, etcetera because more consumers are feeling comfortable shopping that way this year. For more information about any of these articles, check out the links that I provide in the show notes.
So let’s get into the main content of the episode. Why is it important to engage your past customers for the holidays? I mean, it is a little bit late in the game for kind of adding something to your marketing mix for the holidays. But I think in some small ways you can dig into this or double down on it if you are not focused on specifically engaging your past customers. So it’s something that you can add at this point in time. I would say this year, some sources are projecting an increase in holiday retail sales from 2021. One statistic I saw from Deloitte was like 4-6% compared to 2021. But I mentioned in a previous episode that not all marketers are feeling optimistic about this year. It’s something I’ve just heard among other marketers that I chat with.
Many of them are increasing their promotional activity this year because they have anxiety that inflation and other factors are going to affect consumer spending on holiday gifts. They’re pessimistic about the potential for profits during the holidays. So who knows? Who really knows? We’re not going to know until the holiday season is over. The predictions are all over the place. Only you as a business owner can get a sense of how your customers are responding to promotions.
Given all of this uncertainty, it is important to focus on a sure thing, and the sure thing is past customers who already know, like, and trust you. This is a very general, sweeping statistic. But it is true that the cost to acquire a new customer can be about five times more than retaining an existing customer. So cost wise it’s in your best interest to tackle that low-hanging fruit, the people who are already there, who already know you. In addition, consumers this year, any year doesn’t matter the year are very busy and overwhelmed during the holiday season. They don’t often have time to learn about new brands, venture into new shopping frontiers, research new products. So if you, the brand that they already know, like, and trust, can make shopping easy and convenient for them, then it’s truly a no brainer, easy sell.
So what are my five tips for engaging your past customers even as we head into November and we’re really getting into kind of the thick of the holiday sale season? Number one, send a personalized note. This can either be in an email specifically to them or in a handwritten card and ask them some version of this question, “What can we do to make holiday shopping easier and more convenient for you this year?” And you can also add to that, “Who are you shopping for?” Those two questions, just even asking them, shows a concern and care for your customers that a lot of other brands are not showing. And like a genuine care that you want to help. And if the person you’re writing to actually engages back and gives you a response, you can truly provide a personalized experience to them, and you’ve opened a conversation for something to potentially happen. And if it doesn’t result in a sale, you’ve probably earned yourself a customer for the long term, because now they realize the level of customer support that you are truly committed to. You need to, in this messaging, whatever you choose to say, however you choose to word it, turn the messaging away from yourself, turn the messaging away from your products, put the focus on the customer and their needs. Also, don’t forget or feel shy about following up and let them know that you’re here to help whenever they need assistance. No matter when that may be, no matter what that entails. Many people wait until the last minute to order. I’m sure you know that at this point. Not all jewelry business owners are able to fulfill at the last minute, and that’s okay. But you still may be able to support that last-minute shopper with something like a gift card. Or maybe you have some in-stock items in your back pocket that are easy to ship quickly. So instead of being annoyed by customers who shop at the last minute, know that there are going to be those customers no matter what. So instead of being annoyed, be prepared and actually change your mindset around it be excited and ready to help them because they will always be there. Be ready to provide that exceptional customer experience. And maybe in this messaging, when you are sending them these questions, you could remind them about something that you connected on in the past, look at their purchase history and maybe compliment them on something they’ve bought, or make personalized recommendations based on maybe the average price point of what they buy, their tastes, what they gravitate toward, maybe information they’ve shared with you in the past. Again, the goal of this is to make their experience as easy, fun and painless as possible. Okay, so that was that was one tip, that was just tip number one.
Let’s get into tip number two. Host an event. Doesn’t have to be an in-person one, though that will be great. Probably difficult to organize last minute. Virtual is also great, depends on your resources, who your target customer is, make sure that this event is exclusive and only geared toward past customers. And I would definitely add some kind of community or social element to this event, so that the customers can not only connect with you and your brand, but can also somehow connect with each other and bond over their mutual love of their brand. And continually communicate the exclusive element of it, share gratitude that they are customers past customers, share gratitude that they are attending and make it about them, make it about something fun for them. So they can leave that event and be so excited about it, that they can’t even help but tell their friends how much fun they had at this event and how special they feel for being a part of it. So what would such an event look like for your brand?
My third tip is in 2023. So you don’t have to do this right, exactly now, but I would recommend kind of planting the seeds for it. Launch a customer advisory team. So I talk more about this fancy term customer advisory team in Episode #131. I’ll link that in the show notes. But basically, it’s like a board or a VIP group of customers that have purchased a lot from you that you trust, that have shared honest feedback with you in the past that they really felt involved with your brand. They follow you on social media. They’re really engaged with your content. You want to wrangle up these customers, and you want to invite them to join the customer advisory team. Now, to give you some time to think strategically about this, I would not actually launch it until 2023. But guess what? Thanksgiving, the holidays is a great time to find a reason to talk to these customers and give them a preview or like a save the date invite of what you are hoping to launch and to invite them to. So you can pitch it like it’s your holiday gift to them. Since they should get kind of special perks, maybe exclusive, sneak peeks at new products, first looks, maybe they do get special discounts. But now’s a great time to like, tell them your intention about what you want to do. And, hey, it’s another excuse to engage with them right around the holiday season. And then in 2023, have a plan to actually launch this group. And again, to learn more about what this all means and entails check out episode 131 of the podcast.
Okay, tip number four: proactively show that you’re addressing any sort of questions and complaints from past customers. No, business is perfect. Everyone sometimes has a disgruntled customer, maybe not even disgruntled, but they have an issue. Something gets lost in shipping, whatever it may be, it may not even be your fault. But stuff happens. People get upset. It’s just the nature of being a business owner. So you don’t have to be perfect. But you have to proactively show that with your past customers, you’re addressing questions and complaints. So you can share updates and answers to FAQs in email campaigns on your website and social media posts. Publicly respond to product reviews or business reviews on whatever platform, review platform you that you use. Don’t hide behind those things, don’t ignore them, be really like transparent about them and do everything you can to make it right. I mean, this is just the foundation of good customer service. Because that’s not only going to impact the one to one interaction that you have with that customer, but it will have ripple effects to all the people who have purchased from you or who will purchase from you in the future. So be really proactive about addressing those things and learn from them as a business owner and implement change based on the feedback that you get.
Number five, definitely. I mean, this is probably no surprise. But those past customers should get something special. If you are not a brand that does discounts, find ways to bring value, maybe it’s that they get access to like a special giftable product bundle with special holiday packaging that no one else would have access to. Or even an exclusive product that you’re launching just for your past customers or even early for your past customers, gifts with purchase. Whatever makes sense for you or that you feel would be a value add to the products that you already sell.
Invite your past customers either personally in a segmented email campaign and a handwritten note in a social media DM, tell them that this is just for them, and then encourage them to shop. And perhaps you may even want to do some kind of live stream shopping event about this promo perk and only invite as I mentioned before those past VIP customers to take advantage of it.
Okay, so now that I’ve shared my five tips, why will it be important to continue this focus on engaging on retaining your customers in 2023 and beyond? Marketing in the jewelry industry is very competitive. It’s hard to stand out in the sea of sparkle. Yes, you can continue seeking out new customers. But engaging with your past customers is always going to be the path of least resistance. It’s always going to be the most effective and efficient way to spend your marketing budget. And it’ll be the most gratifying and satisfying as well because you’ll really be connecting with the people who are true lovers and advocates of your brand. So make them feel valued. Don’t ever take them for granted. And they’ll not only come back, but they’ll also tell their friends and family members about you and your business. And just a side note tip for the new customers that you do acquire during the holiday season because I’m hoping you acquire a ton, it will be so important to not forget about them after you engage them as customers this holiday, so you will be remarketing to them regularly through your email campaigns through your social media posts. Even maybe through personalized one on one communications so that they will continue to be your customers outside of the holiday season and will hopefully purchase from you again next year during the holidays. And you can check out episode #152 for that, which I’ll also link in the show notes.
What did you think? What steps are you taking to court your past customers this holiday season or will you be taking? You can always email me Laryssa that’s firstname.lastname@example.org. If you love this podcast, please share it with a friend who’d appreciate it. And don’t forget to subscribe as well as leave a review on Apple Podcasts to purchase a signed copy of my book jewelry marketing Joy visit JoyJoya.com/book for more information. Thanks for listening. Remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For more information about working with Joy Joya, visit joyjoya.com where you can sign up to download our free eBooks about various topics in jewelry marketing
Transcribed by https://otter.ai