How to Drastically Improve Your Post-Holiday Customer Retention Rate

The holiday season is the most profitable time of the year for businesses all over the world. Statistics from Black Friday and Cyber Monday show that consumers are spending more money online than ever before. Cumulative online sales from November 1st to December 2nd reached an all-time high of 81.5 billion dollars!

If you’re a business owner, you likely received a significant spike in online sales this year, and those numbers will continue to rise as we reach 2020. Those immediate sales are great for a fast profit, but retaining consumers long after the holiday decorations are back up in the attic can have a massive impact on the success of your business.

Retaining the customers you already have can save you money on acquisition costs, build trust in your industry, and grow your business. Research shows that 68 percent of customers that leave a business will never go back. Similarly, 80 percent of those consumers said the company could have done something that would have changed their minds. In other words, these people want to stay loyal to the business they like; but you have to give them a reason to stay.

With that thought in mind, we are going to take a look at several ways you can drastically improve your post-holiday customer retention rate. Let’s dive in!

Create a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are an excellent way to convince customers that your business is worth visiting all year long. You can reward consumers for being loyal to your brand in several ways. One of the most common ways is with a punch card via your online app or on-site.

Brick and mortar establishments, like McDonald’s, use physical punch cards as a way to reward loyal customers. For example, let’s say someone bought 6 coffees, they would earn one coffee for free. Establishments using old punch cards have revamped their strategy to make earning and using loyalty points more accessible than ever before.

The tedious system that required you to carry a separate card in your wallet has now been simplified into this on your smartphone:

You can use a similar system to encourage holiday shoppers to come back after their first visit. Instead of working on a “per-product” basis, you can create a rewards point system where consumers get a percentage of what they spent back into their account as a credit.

These systems work because when a customer comes in to redeem their loyalty points, there’s a good chance they are going to spend more than the cost of the free item. For example, when someone goes to McDonald’s to redeem their free coffee, they will probably order a hash brown, a pricy breakfast sandwich, and maybe even an orange juice. McDonald’s ends up making more money in the long run for rewarding their customers.

Try to experiment with different loyalty programs until you find something that suits the needs of your consumers and your business strategy.

Set and Exceed Expectations

Everything in life relies heavily on expectations, and the relationship between businesses and consumers is no different. Put yourself in the shoes of average consumers. Companies make promises and set extremely high bars for themselves. If they do okay, but don’t reach the expectations they set, the customer is going to feel disappointed.

When you’re working on your marketing strategy during the holidays, think about the promises you’re making to consumers. If you’re telling them that they are going to get the best product with a laundry list of features, you need to deliver on that promise.

Here’s a simple way to exceed expectations. Offer consumers a lead magnet for signing up with your email list. After they sign up, send them the magnet that encouraged them to subscribe. If the quality of the piece is excellent, you’ve met their expectations. Now you can exceed their expectations by sending them a 35 percent discount off of their first purchase. Small gestures like this go a long way towards improving your retention rate and customer satisfaction.

Segment Your Holiday Shoppers

Email marketing is, without a doubt, one of the most effective tools you have at your disposal when it comes to keeping customers interested in your business. It’s no mere coincidence that email marketing has the highest return on investment, a staggering 3,800 percent, but it also features the highest open rate percentage of any marketing strategy. The average email open rate across all industries is estimated to be 22.68 percent!

Holiday shoppers love getting special discounts and friendly reminders about your limited time promotions. If you’re holding a massive Christmas sale over the weekend, you can encourage consumers to sign up for your email list, where you can nurture them further and encourage repeat visits to your website. Here’s a simplified version of an average drip campaign:

As you can see, these campaigns always start with a welcome email, which should occur immediately after a sign up for your email list. If the consumer opens and responds to your email, they will get a second email that matches the behavior they exhibited during the previous email.

You can use these emails to educate your customers, build rapport, or lead them to other aspects of your business, like your social media profiles. These campaigns take some effort, but this aspect of personalization is crucial for improving your retention rate.

Fine-Tune Customer Service

During the holiday season, you’ll have plenty of first-time customers visiting your site, purchasing your products, and signing up for your email list. You never want your audience to feel like they are blindly going through the process. A stellar customer support team can make the difference when it comes to how many of those consumers stick around after the holidays.

Imagine the frustration of going to a website to take advantage of a Black Friday offer, only to find that there is no way to contact customer support unless you email them. There’s a note below the contact form that tells users that it could be two to four days before they get a response. How many of those people do you think are going to stick around and not feel extremely frustrated? The odds are slim to none.

During September and October, you should work towards beefing up your support team and educating them on holiday specials, questions they will likely face, and allowing them time to practice in a live environment. These steps will ensure that your support team is sharp, aware, and ready to help the flood of holiday tickets that are bound for your live chat software queue.

Engage and Build Trust on Social Media

Finally, you should continue engaging with your customers on social media during the holiday season. Consumers want to shop with businesses they find relatable, and your content, posts, and shares will help build your brand identity. When the holiday season wraps up for the year, you want to continue delivering relevant posts and updates for your followers. The more interactive your content, the better.

One of the best ways we have found to engage with our customers on social media is by creating contests using a WordPress plugin like RafflePress. This tool allows you to create shareable giveaways that you can promote on social media for more growth and retention. We create rules that enable our customers to learn more about our business, like following us on other social media platforms or signing up for our email list.

Additionally, we allow consumers an extra entry if they share our post and tag three of their friends. The idea is to spread brand awareness and show consumers that even after all of the holiday festivities, we are still interested in engaging with our audience.


We are quickly approaching 2020, and the New Year may have passed by the time you read this piece. If so, you have nothing to worry about because these tips can help you with customer retention year long. The key to maximizing your retention rate is by continuing these steps year long and making adjustments when the holiday season comes around again next year.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.