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How to Attract and Retain Seasonal Gift Givers (Even After the Holidays Are Over)


Black Friday and Cyber Monday offered a strong start to the holiday season, coming in among the biggest U.S. shopping days ever. Consumers spent a whopping $840 million through 10 a.m. on Cyber Monday 2017 alone, equivalent to a 16.9 percent year-over-year growth.

With first-time buyers accounting for more than 70 percent of holiday shoppers, retailers have a newly captive audience during this time of year. But getting those shoppers to buy is only half the battle. In fact, January 1 is when the real fun begins.  

Extending the Benefits of the Holiday Season

We’re all well aware of the benefits the holiday season brings to retailers, but what happens after December is over? While no one can expect to maintain holiday season sales throughout the year, there is a lot that you can do to extend the benefits of the holiday season into January and beyond.

Continuing to drive sales year-round is all about personalizing messages and understanding consumer preferences. And when it comes to doing so for first-time shoppers who buy during the holiday season, one of the best strategies is to identify “gift givers,” or people buying items as gifts for their friends and family.

To identify your gift givers, search for people who purchased a gift card, entered different addresses for billing and shipping or checked a “this is a gift” box. Additionally, look at the purchase history for repeat buyers to filter for anyone who buys only during common gift giving times, such as around the holidays, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s or Father’s Day.

Once you identify this audience, there are several steps you can take to personalize their experience and keep them coming back. For example, you can:

1) Incentivize Gift Givers to Treat Themselves

It might be the season of giving, but everyone deserves to treat themselves now and then too. Encourage your gift giver audience to treat themselves with targeted post-purchase messaging.

For example, you might use language like “Treat Yourself” or feature your best-selling products as a way of getting your gift buyers to see a broader range of products.

2) Target Gift Givers Strategically Throughout the Year

Some of your gift givers may never purchase for themselves — but they do have people in their lives who love your products. In these cases, regularly emailing this audience with new offers and product updates is a sure way to get them to unsubscribe. But what if you engaged with them strategically based on when they might need to buy a gift again? Now that’s a completely different story.

To target gift givers strategically throughout the year, consider sending special emails during common gift giving times (e.g. Valentine’s Day) and offering a “gift reminder” service by using triggered emails to send reminders based on a date these gift givers input, such as a birthday or anniversary.

3) Take Advantage of Wishlists

If you plan to target gift givers throughout the year strategically, then it pays to create wishlists that can help those gift givers decide what to buy.

According to NRF, wishlists will continue to inspire gift ideas in 2018 and beyond, with a quarter of shoppers using online wishlists to identify gift ideas for their loved ones. These lists not only make shopping convenient for gift givers, but they can also provide insight into what your customers want and how shoppers engage with your products.

Turning Gift Givers Into Year Round Customers

Keeping gift givers happy ― especially after the holiday season is over — will ultimately require a hyper-level of personalization. This might mean sending fewer communications during the “off” months and re-engaging strategically. Ultimately, if you can identify your gift givers and what they’re shopping for, then you can tailor your communications and email campaigns accordingly to keep them coming back year-round.


Jared Blank is Senior Vice President, Data Analysis and Insights at Bluecore.


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