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How Can My Brand Rebound During This Holiday Season and Start Strong in 2021

This year will be remembered for many things and, hopefully, we won’t experience another one like it.

For retailers, most have experienced a negative impact to their revenue lines.

Many are trying to recover and focus on the impending holiday season.

If you’re a retailer, use this holiday period not just to recover with improved results, but as a springboard to a more promising 2021.


Put Your Struggles Aside and Focus on Value

Many retailers have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown in the first half of 2020. Although some were likely to go under without the pandemic, it certainly accelerated the demise of some of our retail brethren.

Plus, it made the rest of us evaluate and rethink our entire approach to retailing, ecommerce, and customer loyalty.

What we noticed is those most equipped for an ecommerce onslaught discovered a mechanism to capture some of their lost in-store transactions. And brands already ecommerce-savvy found a gold mine from new customers who could no longer make trips to their favorite stores.

Retailers that went above and beyond to provide added convenience and value for consumers reaped the rewards.

To get off on the right foot this holiday season and set yourself up for 2021, focus on delivering better value, benefits, convenience, and surprise rewards to both loyalty program members and non-members.

That extra effort now will be noticed by your customers and pay off throughout 2021.


Simplify and Make it Convenient for Consumers

If there is one thing retailers learned quickly during the pandemic is consumers want convenience, now more than ever. Therefore, brands need to find ways to make it easier to do business with them and incorporate these consumer-facing efficiencies into every part of their customer experience.

So, what do you do if you are a retailer who had to shut down for three or more months?

What can you do to test and optimize new strategies during the traditionally “Sale”-focused holiday season?

What can you learn that will help you start 2021 in a full sprint to deliver the best year ever?

If you noticed a spike in ecommerce and mobile transactions, how do you sustain volume via those channels during this holiday season and ongoing, as consumers return to your stores?

If you gain new customers during this holiday period, how do you keep them coming back? And what strategies can you deploy to maximize the customers who have stayed loyal?

Even if you’re a brand that’s been able to maintain or excel during these troubling times, don’t take your customers for granted.

It’s time to double down during this holiday season to ensure an amazing 2021.

Since the pandemic spread quickly across the nation in March, there has been a massive shift toward ecommerce, which has turned the shopping pyramid on its head.

Make sure your online shopping process is seamless, quick, and easy because instead of brick-and-mortar leading the way, now it’s ecommerce.

The dramatic rise in ecommerce and BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) has prompted some retail experts to speculate these online purchasing trends formed during the pandemic might be here to stay.

If you haven’t already, rethink your ecommerce selling process before the full swing of the holiday season so you can take advantage of the millions of consumers who will shop online.


Rethink Your Loyalty Program

Evaluate your loyalty program to identify opportunities to increase benefits in a meaningful and unique manner.

Identify what your customers really want because they are willing to pay for program benefits that have value.

Our 2020 Premium Loyalty Data Study shows that 70% of consumers would pay to join a premium loyalty program if their favorite retailer offered one and the benefits were valuable.

70% of consumers would pay to join a premium loyalty program if their favorite retailer offered one and the benefits were valuable

Also, at our recent webinar featuring Forrester, 66% of respondents said they have revamped their loyalty programs in 2020. So, if you’re not in that majority, it’s time to get started.

If you don’t know what your customers want, don’t be afraid to test some customer-friendly strategies/tactics.

If you want to find a partner to help you achieve any of these goals, choose one that has an incentive to ensure you succeed.

Look for a partner that carries zero implementation fees, that will do all the heavy lifting to free up your staff so you won’t require extra resources.


Consumers Want Better Relationships with Their Favorite Brands

Even with a slight dip, the growth in ecommerce/BOPUS/Delivery is here to stay. Pre-pandemic conditions won’t return and this is the new normal, according to Sucharita Kodali, VP, Principal Analyst, at Forrester.

Consumer behavior has shifted and online shopping has come to the foreground.

This reality has created a fairer and more even playing field for all retailers, so the opportunities to build loyalty are there.

While there are seemingly limitless consumer options, you can seize this opportunity to create loyalty through compelling programs that offer instant benefits and value.

Loyalty programs can serve as key differentiators and the reality we’re in now is like a “new beginning” for retailers. It’s your chance to strengthen your customer relationships that benefit you in the long term.

Consumers enjoy loyalty programs that offer discounts, but there are other key elements that should be considered.

According to Sucharita, 65% of consumers will join a loyalty program that offers instant discounts.

65% of consumers will join a loyalty program that offers instant discounts

For loyalty program members, the opportunity to offer feedback to a brand is a win-win because they disclose key insights that company officials can leverage to enhance the program.

Now is the time for retailers to try new things and find new ways to spark customer engagement.

Make it easier for loyalty members to do these things via online ordering and curbside pickup.

Adding a premium tier onto a traditional loyalty program would appeal to consumers, especially the top 10% of a brands most valuable and loyal customers.

As well as surprise & delight benefits.

Ask your customers to recognize deserving store associates because this will increase engagement and incentivize your employees to go above and beyond in customer service.

Consumers want a better relationship and more benefits from brands they love–and they’re willing to pay a fee for enhanced experiences.

Clarus’ Premium Loyalty Data Study clearly shows that one of the main reasons more consumers aren’t members of premium loyalty programs is because their favorite retailers don’t offer them.


Make Your Holiday Season Launch Point for 2021

This holiday season will be unlike any previous one for many reasons.

The stakes are high, so take advantage of this opportunity to make this holiday season a launch point for 2021.

Don’t invest all your money and resources with a vendor who isn’t willing to invest with you.

Don’t just “sale” your way through it.

With so many options out there and with consumers looking for value and convenience, do the right thing: Thrill your customers!

This will lay the foundation for even stronger relationships next year and beyond.


Carlos Dunlap-Beard

Carlos has spent the past 25 years cultivating a rich background in B2C/B2B engagement strategies, direct marketing, business development, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, data analysis and strategic marketing through several key posts within Loyalty Marketing agencies. A proven marketing strategist and consumer engagement thought leader, Carlos has authored dozens of articles, blogs, and webinars on various topics focused around program design, customer experience, member engagement and loyalty marketing best practices. He has also been featured in numerous publications and spoken at many conferences and events. In his free time, Carlos likes to play golf whenever the weather allows, travel with his lovely bride Alicia (occasionally with some or all of their 4 girls), read, write, hang out at the gym, cook/grill for his family and drink bourbon.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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