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Consumers in the U.S. could spend more than $1 trillion this holiday season – a 5.8% percent increase from last year, and the strongest growth since 2011[1].

Numbers like this leave little room for loyalty error at such a crucial time – a time when growing shopping lists and busy social calendars create more stress for shoppers.


Win your Customers' loyalty by giving them what they really want this Christmas: a personal and easy shopping experience.

Follow our 12 Global Best Practices to grow loyalty and sales during the holidays:

1.The ‘most wonderful time of the year’ is the most wonderful time to use your data.

  • For example, data shows that many loyal upmarket shoppers buy from wine rather than supermarkets during the Holidays. We know who these Customers are, so let's prepare to win more of their Christmas share by personalising offers based on insights.

2.Provide Customers with their usual Christmas shopping list, highlighting all the new things we offer this year and noting any lines that have been changed or replaced.

3.Send holiday cards to loyal Customers, with a message of gratitude and appreciation. Never include a selling message in this Holiday greeting card.

4.Gift a proper unconditional Thank You to loyal Customers - give a box of chocolates, a gift card, a poinsettia, or a free turkey. A personal delivery from store management makes it that much more special.

5.Offer a sneak preview (as targeted and personalised as much as possible) of any planned promotions or discounts on Holiday products (including when and how much).

  • This helps to relieve some of the stress of planning Christmas lists and helps Customers organise best times for shopping.

6.Use the coupons at the register to highlight those seasonal lines that Customers are most loyal to, or the core categories of the season.

7.Introduce new items to loyal Customers first via exclusive ‘Holiday Party’ shopping evenings. This helps not only to give recognition and say ‘thank you’, but to encourage your best Customers to try something new and become advocates for your brands and experiences.

8.Open the prime slots for online services to loyal Customers, or provide them with early access to book delivery times. (Historically, the online delivery service is stretched around the holidays, leaving some loyal Customers disappointed).

9.Look after your employees, too. Send them a holiday card, or give them a chance to sample new Holiday products.

10.Deploy headquarters staff into the stores to help with holiday traffic for a day—or even longer. Tesco famously used an approach called ‘TWIST’ (This Week In Stores), which not only gives needed support to stores, but also gives corporate teams a reality check by putting them face-to-face with Customers.

11.Ask Customers themselves. Crowdsourcing is a new phenomenon where Customers can vote and influence retailer decisions – can we use this channel to help us find new sales ideas for Christmas?

12.Don’t personalise everything. (Wait, why not?!) Send a message of peace and goodwill to all of your Customers. Create an institutional message of gratitude instead of a selling message using our above-the-line media.

  • This typically generates measurable 'earned media' and favourable brand cachet.
  • The holidays are a great time for brand and image building!
[1] https://qz.com/1452783/us-holiday-sales-2018-to-exceed-1-trillion-for-first-time/

[This is the fourth in a series of articles advocating the voice of the Customer in the highly competitive food-retail industry. David Ciancio is Global Customer Strategist for dunnhumby, a pioneer in Customer data science, serving the world's most Customer-centric brands in a number of industries, including retail. David has 48 years experience in retail, 25 of which were in Store Management. He can be reached at David.Ciancio@dunnhumby.com].

Treating Customers differently based on their 'profitability' is counter-productive to building loyalty and toward creating a healthy retail Customer Experience.


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