When it comes to building customer loyalty, the holiday shopping season is always tough but this year will be even tougher.
Between rising inflation on basic goods and many brands offering discounts and incentives to try to move products, engaging your customers will be more important than ever.
According to our holiday shopping survey last year, 80% of consumers are more likely to sign up for a brand’s loyalty program during the holiday season if it means they will earn additional discounts throughout the year.
And 81% of consumers shop with brands during the holiday season because they are members of their loyalty programs.
But while having a great loyalty program is critical, you’re going to need ways to amplify your program. So, how can you increase customer engagement and deliver unforgettable brand experiences during the holiday shopping season?
We recently surveyed nearly 1,600 U.S. consumers to learn how incentives will influence their shopping plans and habits heading into the 2022 holiday season.
Brands That Offer Incentives This Holiday Season Will See the Best Results
When we asked consumers about incentives like sweepstakes, contests and rebates, their responses were overwhelming.
Consider that 83% of consumers agree that during the holiday season they’re more likely to engage with brands that offer incentives over brands that don’t.
Not only are most consumers likely to engage with a brand that offers an incentive, but this shows that for many consumers, this could be what it takes to make that first contact.
That’s significant. In fact, 82% agree that they’re more likely to engage with a brand for the first time that a brand offers an incentive.
The survey also found that not only have 78% of consumers engaged with a brand’s incentive during a holiday and/or major event, but 70% have also made a first-time purchase with a brand as a result.
While the majority of consumers would participate, it starts to skew younger, meaning that if brands want to attract a younger demographic, these incentives could make sense.
For example, 84% of 18-29-year-olds have participated in a brand incentive during the holiday season. Then it is 82% for 30-44, 78% for 45-60 and 61% for over 60.
So, what are consumers looking for?
What Are Consumers Looking For From Incentives?
Most consumers expect brands to offer incentives, especially during the all-important holiday season. The three top factors that motivate consumers to participate in a brand incentive during the holiday season are:
- It’s easy to participate in (61%)
- I’m guaranteed to win something (47%)
- It’s personalized to me (30%)
- There are many winners and prizes/rewards (29%)
- It’s interactive and feels like a game (26%)
Consumers also shared what prizes/rewards motivate them to participate in brand incentives during the holiday season:
- Chance to win a cash prize (55%)
- Chance to win products from the brand (54%)
- Coupon code or discount (47%)
- Chance to win a big-ticket item (car, television, etc.) 34%
- Chance to win a trip/vacation (22%)
While it’s clear what would motivate consumers to engage, it’s also critical to understand where they prefer to engage. When asked what channels consumers used to participate in a brand’s promotion during a holiday and/or major event, they answered:
- Brand’s website (62%)
- Email (50%)
- Brand’s mobile app (50%)
- In-store events (45%)
- Social media (37%)
- SMS (24%)
- Product packaging/mail-in (21%)
- Phone call (11%)
If you offer consumers any of these incentives, they are not only likely to participate, but will also engage with your brand, share data and their experiences on social media.
What Do Brands Receive When They Offer Incentives During the Holiday Season?
As we saw in the above section, consumers are willing to engage more with brands that offer these incentives through the right channels. While personalization is critical, data is harder and harder to get for brands.
But incentives present brands with great opportunities to collect data to further personalize customer relationships and build more loyalty down the road. Here are the different types of personal data shoppers will share with your brand when they engage with a holiday season incentive:
- Email (74%)
- Name (62%)
- Gender (42%)
- Birthday (41%)
- Phone number (37%)
- Buying preferences (31%)
- Social media handles (18%)
- Home address (18%)
Let’s focus on three of these stats.
While many consumers aren’t willing to share personal information, our data shows a third of consumers would share buying preferences in exchange for an incentive during the holiday season.
Email isn’t that surprising, but it’s crucial data for brands to collect.
When consumers give their email addresses for the chance to win something or get something, they are going to give you an accurate address. They’re not going to give you a fake one.
Phone number is a surprising one here at 37% and can be useful if brands want to have people opt-in to SMS campaigns.
And the buying preferences figure is important because it translates to “gold” for brands. You can use this incredibly valuable data to create customized experiences for your best customers across all touch points.
Data helps brands understand when to communicate to consumers, what channels to use and what messages resonate best but engagement is still challenging, especially on social media.
According to our 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study, only 17% of loyal consumers said they’d post about their favorite brands using their hashtags/handles.
But this recent data shows more than half (54%) of consumers would follow your brand on social pages in exchange for an incentive as part of a loyalty program.
That stat shows clear support for brands using incentives to engage consumers during the holiday season.
Consumers were asked which ways they’d be willing to engage with a brand on social media in exchange for an incentive (e.g., discount code, gift card, free item, chance to win sweepstakes) during the holiday season.
Here’s how they responded:
- Follow the brand on its social media pages (54%)
- Comment on the brand’s social media post (46%)
- Reshare a post from the brand (35%)
- Tag friends in a comment on a brand’s social post (28%)
- Direct/private messages with the brand on social media (25%)
- Use a brand’s hashtag or @mention them in your post (23%)
Additional Incentives Can Amplify Customer Loyalty This Holiday Season
Loyalty is hard and it’s even harder around the holidays.
Brands that offer incentives tied to their loyalty programs this holiday season will be ahead of brands that don’t.
Most consumers will engage with brands this holiday season that offer incentives. And in exchange, many consumers are willing to offer key personal data such as phone numbers and buying preferences.
If you’d like to learn how you can amplify your loyalty program with incentives like sweepstakes, UGC contests, trivia and more, please reach out to our customer engagement experts here any time.
Survey Methodology: Clarus Commerce surveyed 1,598 U.S. consumers 18 and older in September 2022.