How to use loyalty marketing to turn new holiday foot traffic into loyal repeat customers

October 27, 2017

This post is part of our 2017 Holiday Planning series. Read the entire series here on the Clover blog, and check back for more tips and tactics.

For many small business owners the holiday season is the time of year when a singular goal becomes the driving force behind everything one does: use the big crowds to maximize revenue; get it while the getting’s good, so to speak.

But aside from the fact that there are simply more shoppers out and about, there’s one more interesting characteristic about the holiday season that many small business owners can be at risk of overlooking: the fact that during the holiday season, many small businesses will see a greater number of new customers walk through their doors than any other time of the year.

Knowing this, many savvy proprietors are implementing plans to capture those new faces and turn them into repeat customers throughout the coming new year. Given the fact that it’s cheaper to keep a current customer than bring in a new one, the holiday season is the perfect time to implement a new loyalty marketing program.

Below, we’ve outlined five steps to success in launching a loyalty program during the holiday season:

  1. Invest in contemporary technology. Many SMBs think implementing a loyalty program is as simple as printing up some punch cards and a few table tents and calling it a day. But to compete on the level of national chains in the minds of the customer, consider investing in a mobile loyalty program. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable options in the marketplace today that bring the customer the convenience of never having to carry a card together with the measurability of an integrated, cloud-based system, offering proprietors the slick marketing capabilities and measurability needed to make an impact the bottom line.
  1. Offer a signup incentive. When it comes to getting a holiday customer to perform a simple task, there’s often no better way than to offer them a little something for their effort. Cut through the dizzying array of holiday shopping activity in the customer’s mind by offering a worthwhile discount or a gift of real value to incentivize joining your loyalty program.
  1. Determine points or punch. For many first-time loyalty marketers, deciding between a frequency-based (punches) or value-based (points) program can be a tough call. However, follow this rule of thumb that applies in most cases: for low-ticket, high-frequency businesses (coffee shops, pizza by the slice) choose punches to encourage more frequent trips. For higher-ticket, lower-frequency businesses (high-end boutiques, jewelry stores) go with points to encourage a larger spend per ticket per visit.
  1. Promote your program. Sometimes, your marketing needs marketing if anyone’s going to hear about it–and that means getting creatively active on social, sending attractive, value-add email blasts, and going loud and proud about your program in-store. Imperative to a good loyalty marketing promotion is an enthusiastic group of engaged employees: in-store staff should be trained on the ins, outs, and benefits of the program and incentivized to sign up customers as frequently as possible in order to capitalize on that increased holiday foot traffic.
  1. Use what you learn. Once you get your program up and running, you’ll be glad you sprung for today’s loyalty tech rather than some dusty old punch cards. Use your program’s dashboard to dig into analytics and see what’s working and what could be tweaked to your advantage. These analytics-based insights can help you adjust promotions, price points, and product offerings in the new year to capitalize on your new crop of regulars.

While the holiday season is certainly the time to implement programs and promo to bring as many new customers through the door as possible while maximizing their spend, don’t forget to capitalize on all those new faces by implementing a loyalty program. Putting in the loyalty marketing leg work during the busy holiday season can be the key to the holiday rush paying off recurring dividends well into the new year and beyond.

Make every new customer who walks through your door a regular customer that returns time and time again with Clover Rewards. Rewards connects you to customers through their mobile phones to draw them back to your business with special offers and rewards they’ll love.

[image: Grand Central Holiday Fair 2014 by Metropolitan Transportation Authority on flickr]

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