How to increase the value of new customers that bought during BFCM

by Michael P. Hill

How to increase the value of new customers that bought during BFCM

Previously, we took a look at some of the basics of lifetime value and cost to acquire — and how this affects your business — but assuming you were able to successfully acquire new customers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, how can you increase the value of these customers and get them to buy again (and again)?

The discount dilemma 

One of the first challenges you’ll face in turning these customers into repeat purchasers is if, like most merchants on BFCM, you offered a substantial discount.

Most BFCM shoppers expect — and demand — steep discounts on Black Friday, so one of the first challenges can be to get them out of that mindset and get them to buy with lower — or no — discounts.

Repeated discounts can often erase profits and even cause you to go into “debt” to make a sale, so be sure to run the numbers carefully compared with your advertising costs and any overhead and other expenses.

Repeat sales

If your store is likely to generate repeat sales, then you may be able to take a larger “hit” on the first order just to acquire the customer — and make up for it with future orders at more standard pricing. If you have particularly high margins, you can continue to offer discounts.

Moving forward

However, if your margins are narrow or you simply can’t justify “giving away the farm,” another strategy can be to wean your customers off heavy discounts over a period of time by gradually pulling back on discounts and letting your products speak for themselves.

It’s also not entirely unheard of to stop discounting altogether, especially if you are able to effectively communicate your products’ value added propositions and unique features.

Avoiding discounting outside of the BFCM (or even during that time period) is also another way to enforce the quality and prestige of your brand and products.

That said, generating repeat business off of BFCM buyers obviously also requires offering products that they want and need well into the future of their relationship with you.

For some product lines this is easy — especially ones that are relatively inexpensive “impulse” buys or ones which enhance your main product. This can mean a small or extensive expansion of your product line — which can be quite an investment in time and money.

For stores already carrying a large variety of products, think creatively about how you can present other products to shoppers, and illustrate why they’re worth picking up. Maybe they complement or expand upon their past purchases, or enhance the functionality of their original order. For apparel shops, accessories are an obvious choice, and for many types of shop, some kind of irresistible gadget, knick-knack or gift idea can trigger additional purchases.

In most cases, the more enticing and value-added these types of products are, the more likely you can market them to your BFCM customers — and get them to buy at smaller or no discount.

If your store has a smaller selection of products, this could require the larger undertaking of new product development or sourcing to ensure you have an enticing lineup of inventory to generate future sales — and not all store owners are equipped to do this.

For stores not able to actively create new products or that do not lend themselves to large inventories, promotions to encourage repeat customers should obviously focus on any of the products you do have.

Alternatives to standard repeat orders

If this isn’t an option, however (or let’s say your store only has one product), alternative strategies could be to encourage customers to buy one or more additional of the same product either as gifts or, if appropriate based on what you sell, for their home, office, second homes, travel or other scenarios.

Customer LTV

You can also focus on “spread the word” incentives — soliciting reviews or social engagement with your brand — since happy customers can be the best form of advertising, and are likely to know others who might find your products or services useful.

The gift givers effect

Finally, keep in mind that many BFCM shoppers may be buying gifts for someone else and may have little or no use for your products themselves, so marketing to them won’t always be effective (imagine pushing ads for climbing gear or action figures to grandma).

If you do have alternative or broader product lines that might interest almost anyone, consider focusing marketing on these, particularly on orders that are likely to be given as gifts.

If the recipient of the gift is more likely to become your actual repeat customer, you’ll need to think creatively about reaching them and having them opt-in to hearing from you.

Some ideas include:

  • Packaging inserts that include your website and contact info, and/or showcase accessories or add-on products
  • Coupons or offers for future orders (since they will place the order directly themselves, this is most likely a valid “opt in”)
  • Provide links to your website for product instruction manuals, guides, tips or a link to your blog so you can “cookie” them for remarketing purposes and possibly capture an email address or new order
  • Set up a product registration process (this is most effective for higher priced items and if you can offer an incentive such as an extended warranty period or even free gift)
  • A follow up direct mail campaign to shipping addresses (subject to privacy regulations and policies)

Keep in mind that, in most jurisdictions, you may need to get explicit permission from the recipient to contact them with marketing materials, especially via email.

The advantage, however, of obtaining the recipients’ contact information is that this essentially eliminates the CTA expense. Even if you do need to spend some additional money on marketing to recipients, it is often much less expensive and worth the new customer acquisition.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.