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Unprepared Ep 45 - Ways To Retain Customers After Black Friday and Cyber Monday with Fiona Stevens

Timestamps:

  • [00:00] - Intro
  • [00:35] - Retaining customers after BFCM
  • [01:20] - Creating a content hub
  • [02:51] - Increase customer engagement 
  • [03:25] - The best way to run a program 
  • [04:41] - Using insights from customers
  • [06:20] - Be clear with your values
  • [08:58] - Where to find Fiona

Resources:

Key Points:

  • Brands spend a lot on acquisitions every Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM) and want to figure out how to turn the customers into lifetime customers.
  • Building relationships that last is the key to getting more money to existing customers to come back and shop your brand. 
  • Brands should keep their customers close by creating a great content hub in which people keep checking in even when they don’t have to buy anything. 
  • A lot of brands focus on content hubs this 2020 because physical shops have been closing. 
  • Producing content makes it easier to run any marketing channel. It powers your social media, influencers can take part in that content hub, it drives SEO, and more.
  • Another way to keep it more than just a transaction is to find a way to make your customers engage on larger programs.
  • For example, you can give your customers some points not just for purchase but also when they like and share your social media posts, if they just follow you, when creating an account, customer referrals, etc.
  • Make it clear to your customers that it's not just about buying but also about continual engagement. 
  • Customers can also build a larger point balance they can use for the next purchase when they engage in your programs.
  • This can lead to rewards like discounts, experiential rewards, early access to holiday sales, product tests, donations, and more.
  • It's about making your customers feel valued and being a part of something bigger than just the transaction. 
  • Avoid running a loyalty program that is driven back to how much money a customer has given the brand over time. 
  • When you reach out to your loyal customers, if you have a loyalty program in place, it's easy to see who your top purchasers are. 
  • Ask your customers directly about what they want. Get insights to drive content, new tiers of giveaways, etc. 
  • It's easy to understand your most loyal customers, but most brands don't do it quite enough. Go deeper than the surface to see who your best customers are. 
  • Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they are buying and who they are buying from.
  • It can be difficult to change a brand’s whole operation based on a certain value if they don’t operate that way when they started. 
  • But there can be quick ways to show your customers your values or support a certain cause like going green. 
  • In Shopify's blog post, they announced that they're going to offset the carbon footprint from the sales from BFCM by planting a tree. 
  • Shopify’s move is outside the box, but it shows that they care and it's not always about your customer’s order.
  • Your brand may not be able to compete with big Ecommerce like Amazon, but if you have a customer that believes the same thing you're supporting then you're much more likely to retain that customer.

Transcript:

Chase Clymer  

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Unprepared. I'm your host, Chase Clymer. And today we're welcoming to the show Fiona from LoyaltyLion. How are you doing today?

Fiona Stevens  

I'm good, how are you?

Chase Clymer  

I'm doing fantastic. Don't worry, I screw up way more than you ever will. So let's just keep it rolling. 

Awesome. So today's, the topic of today's episode is customer retention which I believe by the time this episode comes out, will be pretty top of mind for people after probably spending a bunch of money on new customers during the holidays. 

So without further ado, the show is yours.

Fiona Stevens  

Perfect. Thank you. I see I think you've hit the nail on the head there. We have so many people who spend a lot on acquisition during Black Friday, Cyber Monday.

And then it's like, well, what do I do with these customers? What do I...how do I turn these people into more lifetime value? People that come back and shop with me again? 

And also a bigger question, how do I get more money out of the existing customers that I've got to come back and shop with me during Black Friday as well? It's a pretty big question. 

So I think the first thing that I would say is just focusing on more than just transactions. Like it's great when someone comes and buys from you. But it's about so much more than that. It's about building these relationships that last. 

So and how can you keep your customers really, really close so that when they do go to make a purchase, you're right at the top of their minds? And I think there are a few ways to do that. 

The first that I've seen going really well with some new brands recently is building out a really great content hub.

So we saw a lot of people focusing on this over 2020 when they had quite some physical stores and they couldn't see their customers so much. They started shifting experience online and creating these amazing content hubs are my favorite.

Chase Clymer  

I mean, that's where this show came from. Well, what can I do to just do more? And then this like weird little quick video series came about.

Fiona Stevens  

Yeah, it's amazing. My favorite is a brand called Astronomy. They're a jewelry brand here in the UK. And the content they've produced has been fantastic. 

They've got things like playlists that I actually look at myself when I want some motivation. They've got interviews with their CEOs, they've got virtual styling sessions, they've got the lip guides. 

They've got this whole hub of stuff that just makes you want to keep checking in and seeing what's new, what's there. 

And that gives you a reason to go back and engage with them in-between purchases when you're not even thinking of buying anything.

Chase Clymer  

Not only that, it gives you, if you're the brand that's producing this ancillary content, that is definitely what your customers want. It's the same type of app, it's content that would be consumed by your customer avatar. 

It gives you a reason to send that email campaign or to send that text message campaign. Producing content makes it so much easier to run any other marketing channel.

Fiona Stevens  

Hundred percent. It powers everything. It powers your social media, it powers getting influencers to take part in that content hub, it can be a part of your influencer marketing, it drives your SEO. It's, yeah, huge to everything I would say. Absolutely. 

And, yeah, and then another way to keep it about more than just transactions is, if you have a large program or anything like that in place, find more ways to get people to engage with it. 

So don't just give them points for a purchase. Give them points, if they like your social media posts, if they share your social media posts, or if they just follow you. Give them points for creating an account, give them points for a referral or a review. 

You know, just make it really clear that it's not just about them buying from you. It's about continual engagement. And that way, they also build up a much bigger points balance, so they're going to get to their next purchase far, far sooner, which is great. 

And then leading on from that point obviously leads to rewards. And it doesn't just have to be a discount, it doesn't just have to be money off that next transaction. 

We're seeing so many brands work with kind of experiential rewards now. So someone builds up a certain points balance and suddenly they have access to those virtual styling sessions that I mentioned. 

Or they might have early access to sales. So I know a lot of people and customers are actually doing early access to Black Friday sales, Christmas sales, and even the New Year sales. 

And invitations to test products, you know? Make someone feel really special by giving them an invite to test out the latest thing that you're launching. 

It's just making people feel part of something bigger. Making them feel really valued. And that all comes from again, making it bigger than just the transaction.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, I can only agree there. I think that if your loyalty program is pretty much driven back to how much money have you given our brand over time, that is so transactional. And that's not the best way to run your marketing. It should definitely be conversational. 

So when you're reaching out to your loyal customers, which if you have a loyalty program in place, it's pretty easy to see who your top purchasers are. 

In Shopify, it's ridiculously easy to see your top purchasers are. You can reach out to those people and say, "Hey, what do you guys want? What would you like to see?" You know what I mean?

One, it can give you some amazing insights into your customers. You can use those insights to drive content. You can use it to drive new tiers of cool things to give away during your loyalty program. 

I just can't preach it enough that you should. If people aren't giving you money, you should ask them why and then they're giving you a lot of it, you should definitely listen.

Fiona Stevens  

Yeah, hundred percent. And I think that's something we just don't see people do enough is segmenting their customers. You've got your most loyal ones. And that can be quite misleading sometimes as well. 

You might think that somebody who has placed the biggest order is your best customer or somebody who has shopped for the most is your best customer. But both of those could be misleading. 

You know, the person with the biggest daughter could have returned 99% of that order, and be of no value to you. Conversely, the person that has shopped with you loads and loads could be shopping only when you have a sale or only when you discount. 

So it's really...it's quite like I say, it's really easy to understand your most loyal customers, but it's something I don't think people are doing quite enough of at this point.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, definitely, you got to go a little bit just deeper than the surface to make sure that the...because there's always the top-level KPIs can always be misleading. Just regardless, if we're talking about loyalty, we're talking about sales, you could talk about traffic, like, "Oh, yeah, our traffic's through the roof." 

But then you look at the metrics, and it's like everyone's bouncing. So you're driving the wrong type of traffic. So you're actually that's actually a failing marketing campaign. So you know, I mean, that's the power of analytics is you can kind of spin it in any way you want.

Fiona Stevens  

Yeah, it's easy to get these vanity metrics telling the story that you want, isn't that?

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. Is there anything else tied back to customer retention, that I forgot to ask you about or you wanted to share?

Fiona Stevens  

Yeah, it ties back slightly into the non-transactional thing. But the other thing that I would really say is important to retaining your existing customers, and the new ones that you've just acquired are making it really clear what your values are. 

I mean, consumers are becoming so much more conscious about what they buy, and who they buy it from. And we've done some research that showed that actually, it has only increased over the past six months as well. 

And so it's obviously changing your whole business to operationally work around a certain belief is difficult if you are not set up that way. 

So if, for example, you want to stand for being really green or being really sustainable, it's going to take a little while for you to switch your whole operation to that. 

But there's some sort of quick wins you can do to really show your community and your customers what you stand for as a brand and prove to them that they want to shop with you. 

So a couple of really nice examples, and there's a pet food brand at the garden keeper, and they actually through their belly rub reward program, people can redeem those belly rubs for planting a tree or for donations to a dog shelter instead of a discount. 

So it's just again, it's just saying, hey, we're a brand, and this is what we believe in and you believe in the same thing so you should shop with us again and again.

Chase Clymer  

I think that's fantastic. I've also seen Shopify actually...so they announced about a week ago. So during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, they did some math and they're going to offset the carbon footprint from the sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday by planting a tree. 

They did the math, I can try to find the article and link to it. But I thought that was pretty cool. It's a little outside the box way to show that you care and it's kind of an indirect way. I don't know. 

But I just thought that was a cool way to think about it. So it's not always about your customer order has to be what's giving back.

Fiona Stevens  

Yeah, exactly. I think that's only gonna become more important to retaining customers. It's the thing that will get someone shopping with you over Amazon because you may not be able to win on convenience, you may not be able to win on next day shipping, and that kind of thing. 

But if somebody knows that you believe in the same things, and you're supporting a cause that they care about, then you're much more likely to retain them as a customer.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, the way that you went against Amazon is having top-notch customer service and having values, and having an actual brand. 

Because Amazon's, Amazon basics is not a brand. It's just a convenience, you know what I mean?

So if you can win with being more than just the product, that's how you're going to separate yourself from all these convenient ways to shop currently. 

If someone's interested in learning more about LoyaltyLion, and the stuff that you shared today, how did they get ahold of you?

Fiona Stevens  

And so feel free to follow me on LinkedIn, Fiona Stevens at LoyaltyLion, and or you can head to our website or blog and just go loyaltylion.com. 

And you'll find all sorts of resources there. We have our Hall of Fame that has a whole range of examples of the best loyalty programs out there at the moment, or there's regular content that will help you just base that retention a little bit more.

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Fiona Stevens  

Thanks for having me.