Leveraging Holiday Customers throughout 2009

If you’re like most eCommerce companies, you saw the biggest boost in traffic and revenue during the Christmas season. So how do you leverage those customers and get them to visit you throughout 2009?

1. Anticipate what they want. One of the things that Amazon does best is suggest additional items for you to buy based on the current item you’re buying. It’s a straightforward strategy. Amazon reasons that if you want a book on knitting sweaters, you might like that book on knitting shawls, since that’s what other people bought as well. Don’t have a system in place that can help you cross-reference what people buy? An eCommerce consultant like Blue Acorn can help with that.

2. Remind them about what they want. Suggesting additional items at the time of purchase is smart, but how do you get all those Christmas customers to come back first? Remind them about your company through email marketing. Include incentives (coupons, free shipping, etc.) to get them to click through to your site.

A great way to get people’s attention is to craft emails around appropriate holidays. One client that we manage email marketing for is an online retailer BoozinGear.com – which sells officially licensed clothing, hats, and other gear with logos from beer and liquor brands. One holiday that’s especially important for this client is Saint Patty’s Day, since it’s a big drinking holiday and people like to show off their gear.

Social media can also be helpful with this. Twitter about products, or include specials on Facebook fan pages (see how Papa John’s leveraged this idea).

3. Ask them what else they want. What better way to cater to a customer than by conducting a survey? Conduct it through your email marketing client, like Constant Contact. Ask questions: what were your last three purchases on line? What products do you wish were available from our company? What do you look for when buying from an online retailer? Make the questions specific to your particular company. If you don’t want to conduct a formal survey, these are questions you can ask via social mediums, like Twitter.

4. Give them what they want. We’re not just talking about products—that’s a given. We’re talking about what they want in terms of customer service, shipping, ease of use. Are they a repeat customer who would like an automatic shipment of that special skin cream every quarter? Great. Give them that flexibility. Do they want to see what that tea kettle looks like in different colors? Fantastic. Make sure they can change the color with a click of a mouse. Would they like the ability to have a wish list that they can share with family and friends? Set one up.

Do you have other ideas for leveraging holiday customers throughout the year? We’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments thread.



  1. I tried to comment on my blog via trackback, but it didn’t show up here: http://blog.wisdomtap.com/2009/02/are-holiday-customers-different.html.

    Anyways – the gist of my post is that why not use demographic information of your customers to personalize offers, assuming that privacy concerns have been taken care of. For e.g., offer special gift offers around the time of their wedding anniversary.

    • Robyn

      I think that’s a great idea, Vijay. Thanks for the comment!