This post is part 2 of a 2-part series on the busiest time of the year for beverage alcohol sales: October-November-December (OND). For part 1, which covers effective merchandising and pricing strategies for the holidays, click here: Making the Most out of October-November-December: Part 1.
Loyalty Clubs & Marketing
Capture what you can: focus on growing your loyalty program
Growing the size of your loyalty program (and keeping info up-to-date) is something that you and your team should strive to do on a year-round basis, but during OND there should be an increased focus on generating sign-ups. Then, you can begin your efforts to convert each new member into a happy and loyal customer (more on that in the next section).
Once you have captured someone’s email address and opened a direct line of communication between you and your customer—one that takes place outside the 4 walls of your store—you can offer perks like exclusive discounts and keep them updated with new offers, product recommendations, tasting event invitations.
There is no shortage of different methods for growing your loyalty programs, such as offering a small discount for new members, but one common tactic is by providing incentives or awards for the cashiers that sign up the most members each week. Another method is by increasing the value of a referral during the holiday season—if you reward a member $10 for each new referral, consider doubling it during the holidays. Similarly, to incentivize new members to take advantage of the referrals they’ve been given during OND, you could have a special holiday referral program where the amount a new member can save doubles.
Additionally, one of the best ways to grow your loyalty program in this day and age is to host events, tastings and promotions that are of genuine interest to your customers and capture their information that way. Hosting interesting in-store events and tastings are a great way to grow a community of loyal shoppers, not only because you can capture their information when they sign up, but because of the the relationship you can build with customers during these times. (Stay tuned for a future blog post where we will dive into experiential marketing ideas for liquor retailers!)
Make it personal: personalized messaging and offers go a long way
Beyond just notifying your loyalty club members and email list subscribers of deals and promotions, you can also create a ‘profile’ of each customer by using the information they provide combined with attributes such as purchase history and how frequently they shop.
Armed with this information, you can send highly-effective personalized emails to different segments of customers in order to increase the conversion rate of your email campaigns. For example, segmenting your lists around different product categories based on each customer’s purchase history can help you reach the right customer, with the right message, at the right time.
For example, creating segments of customers like attributes like purchase history or how frequently they shop you can create segments of loyalty club members that receive personalized messaging and offers that the data indicates they would most likely enjoy.
Offering personalized offers and exclusive pricing to your loyalty club members is another way to make the experience of shopping from your store feel more personal and made-to-order. You could use the same data you used to segment your communication, such as purchase history and frequently purchased items, plus other data points like date of last visit or date of birth, and then use this to build the criteria for personalized offers and recommendations.
Here are two simple examples of personalized offers you can create based on what your data tells you about a customer: you could offer someone a discount on their favorite item the week before a major holiday, or offer them a discount on a higher-end product a step above what they usually purchase. Both are ways to attract them to come back in the store, albeit using different tactics.
Wrapping it All Up with Great Customer Service
Let us conclude by reiterating the importance of providing great service and an enjoyable shopping experience. The quality of this experience, based on the perceived level of customer service you provide to a customer, will ultimately be the deciding factor on whether seasonal shoppers decide to return after the holidays.
This doesn’t just include the customer service a shopper receives in store, but includes the pre- and post-purchase interactions they have with your store. Once someone joins a loyalty program, you can take steps to make them a happy customer by influencing them throughout the entire customer journey, not just when they’re inside your store.
That said, not everyone will want to join your loyalty club, and that is okay. As long as you focus on providing great customer service and bringing value to potential customers, aided by analytics and engagement tools, you are on the right path to making the most of OND and increasing the customer lifetime value of holiday shoppers.