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Driving Return Visits

6 Ways to Turn Holiday Traffic into Repeat Customers

We knew it was coming, whether we call it Q4 or OND or any other name for the biggest, highest-revenue season of the year.

No big surprise, right?

This year, though, the time is ripe for a full-fledged refresh, so that you can capitalize long-term on this short-term burst of activity in your shops and restaurants. You aren’t surprised that the season is upon us. But you can, in turn, deliver surprises to the people who walk through your door these next few weeks, so that they’ll want to walk through it again and again from January all the way through to September next year.

How, exactly, can you do that? How can you turn a seasonal shopper or guest into a regular? What can you do now, to develop repeat customers?

Here are six ideas for driving return visits. Plant the seeds now – and reap what you sow next year.

Loyalty Program: The Holiday Version

Create a holiday-themed loyalty program, such as a unique offering for each of the 12 days of Christmas. One day, highlight your best-selling Sauvignon Blanc of the year and offer it at a discount by the case. Another day, set up a friendly competition of your perennial best-selling sparkling wines of the season and “crown” the winner. Another day, feature stocking stuffers of mini- or half-bottles and incentivize visitors to stock up. And so on, for all 12 days.

Encourage customers to come in three or four times during the 12 days, so that they get used to the idea of stopping by and finding something new. Don’t forget to capture visitors’ name and/or email and enter it into your CRM in order to reward them and follow through once the holiday season dies down.

Piggyback on Bigger Events Outside Your Own Venue

There’s foot traffic. There’s driving traffic. And then there’s redirecting traffic from a high-volume event nearby. Be present and visible, especially if you’re part of the same neighborhood. Orient visitors toward your own door with incentives like gift card redemption and bring-a-friend referral rewards.

Share and Share Alike

If there was ever a time to task an enthusiastic team member with social media management, it’s the holiday season. Particularly if your seasonal loyalty program involves incentives to share, link, like and tag (which it should), you’ll want someone you trust to stay on top of the social game, pretty much around the clock. Share your own posts authentically and with spirit and be prepared to re-share theirs. Reward your own store or restaurant’s top influencers.

Bundles and Fixed Price

Create fixed price offerings by combining “high-low” offerings during the holiday season only, like the year’s most-ordered menu item with a glass of this season’s most popular splurge wine. Bundle special gift packs together with a tasting experience with a chef or sommelier or an insider tour of the cellar.

Gift Cards
Maybe you’ve already built a BOGO program around “Get a $10 gift card for yourself for every $100 gift card you buy” and that’s a perfect start. This year, expand it further. Offer opportunities to “redeem by bonus” in ways that align with your EOY goals. Use your gift card by December 31, for example, and receive 10% off your purchase. Note: The more gift card redemption you can drive by December 31, the more revenue you can recognize this year and the less liability you see for deferred revenue that carries over into the new year.

Leverage Email Lists
“Gift” your email list members by tailoring your messages and your special promotions to them. Segment your list by their buying patterns and customize an offer that reflects their preferences. Incentivize them to forward the email to friends who also sign up during the holiday season. Track results and document the rewards that are given and redeemed. Then cycle those results and rewards back into your email list messaging, particularly after the holidays, to keep the story engaging and moving forward. Invite new members (and the current members who “recruited” them) to a special Thank You event in January.

Implementing ways to drive return visits during the busiest and most lucrative quarter of the year makes good business sense. Traffic in your store or restaurant is at its highest, and it’s your time to shine. Take advantage of the attention to deliver an exceptional customer experience, and you’ll be rewarded by turning a “new” friend into a friendly, familiar face.

For tips on making the most of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as part of your strategy to initial and repeat traffic your way, check out “Winning at Holiday Sales.” 



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