TECHNOLOGY

Customer loyalty is key to driving holiday season sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

As retailers gear up for the biggest shopping seasons of the year, they are stepping up their customer loyalty game to encourage repeat traffic both in-store and online.

To earn customer loyalty, it’s critical for retailers to safeguard and protect personal information (76%); reward them with personalized discounts or special offers (73%); and interact with them through their preferred communication channel (55%), according to “Building Loyalty with Dynamic Shoppers,” a study from Valassis.

These strategies, in addition to consistent interaction throughout the year, will also pay off as the crucial back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons approach. For example, 73% of consumers typically shop retailers who have reached out to them throughout the year. Only 27% said they shop new retailers during key time periods (holidays, back-to-school, etc.).

These initiatives will help retailers attract and retain customers for the long-term, which is important as 34% of all respondents have just one preferred retailer for each purchase category. The stakes are even higher among Millennials (47%) and millennial parents (57%).

The best way to connect with shoppers is through advertising and promotions. Nearly three-fourths (73%) of consumers admitted they can be swayed by advertised promotions and sales for where to shop and what to buy. Forty-seven percent of consumers said receiving an offer will drive them to visit a store or website they don’t typically shop.

Print ads also encourage 44% of customers to go online and make a purchase from that retailer. This is higher for Millennials (58%) and Millennial parents (72%).

Staying abreast of these trends, 76% of retailers plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018, according to a separate study by RetailMeNot.

“The competitive retail climate has made it crucial for brands to differentiate and prove their value to customers,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “There are a number of variables that impact a consumer’s decision on where to shop. Discounts, offers, communication frequency, channel of engagement and more, all play a role in determining which brands become preferred retailers and reap the rewards of a loyal customer base.”

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