Giving Back: How to Reward Loyal Customers This Holiday Season

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As we move into December, most people are thinking about one thing: the holidays. While there are many holiday traditions, one of the best practices is the act of expressing gratitude. If you’re a small business owner, the number one thing you have to be grateful for during the holidays? Your customers.

The holiday season is a great time to say “thank you,” show some appreciation and give thanks for your most loyal customers by giving back to them.

Here are three ways to reward your customers this holiday season (and a few companies setting the example for rewarding customer loyalty):

Give early access to new products or services

Chances are, you’ve got a few new products or services up your sleeve for the new year. And your most loyal customers are likely to a) be the people most excited by your new products or services, and b) be the people most likely to purchase your new products or services.

So why not create a win-win situation and give them a sneak peek?

Giving your most loyal customers early access to your new products and services is a win for both them and you. For your customers, they get the opportunity to experience a new product or service from a brand they love before its fully released to the public, which is exciting. For you as a business owner, it’s even more of a win. Not only do you get a head start on sales, but you can also get feedback on your product or service before you launch, which can help you identify any potential issues before you release it to the public.

The early access strategy is also great if you’re having a large holiday sale. Every year, Nordstrom gives their most loyal customers – Nordstrom cardholders – early access to their Anniversary Sale, giving them the opportunity to get first grabs on the most in-demand merchandise during the sale. The cardholders were certainly excited about the early access – so many of their customers logged in to access the sale they actually crashed the Nordstrom website.

Offer exclusive holiday discounts

The holidays can be an expensive time. Between shopping for holiday gifts, preparing holiday meals, and traveling to see out-of-town friends and family, many people can quickly find themselves spending more than they’d like. That includes your customers.

So why not lighten the load a bit and put more money back into your loyal customers’ pockets in the form of exclusive holiday discounts?

There’s no better time of year to offer discounts than the holidays. Your customers have a ton of shopping to do – and if you want them to do that shopping with you, you need to make it worth their while.

Discounts are such a popular strategy during the holiday season that if you don’t offer any deals, even your most loyal customers will be tempted to search out a competitor that will. So even though you’re offering your products or services at a discounted rate, the discount protects your brand from the business lost if your holiday prices couldn’t stack up with the competition.

Holiday discounts also serve another purpose – they show your customers you care about lightening their load this holiday season. This can go a long way in showing them that because they’re loyal and committed to your company, you’re loyal and committed to them, as well.

A company who has used discounts to reward their most loyal customers with great success is Sephora, the world’s largest beauty retailer. Every year, Sephora offers a 20% off promotion for VIB and VIB Rouge members (customers who spend over $350 or $1000 per calendar year) right in time for the holidays. Since the company rarely offers discounts, this special “thank you” to the store’s most dedicated customers drives major sales for Sephora – and leaves their customers feeling appreciated and valued.

Add value – for free

The entire purpose of a business is to provide value to your customers. But most of the time, that value comes at a price.

So if you want to show your loyal customers how much you value them this holiday season, why not come up with ways to add value for free?

Products and services aren’t the only way you can add value to your customers. Brainstorm ways you can add value to your customers – without asking them for anything in return.

For example, let’s say you own a technology company and recently released a new product that’s a little confusing to get up and running. In order to add value – at no cost to your customers – you could create a video tutorial that walks them through exactly how to get their new product set up and deal with any technical issues. Or let’s say you own a spa. You could create an ebook that details how to unwind from the stress of the holiday season – and include some at-home treatments inspired by your services in the spa.

Or, if you wanted to tie the free value you’re offering back to holiday sales, you could put together a holiday gift guide. This guide could give your loyal shoppers ideas on what to buy for all the special people in their life (like their spouse, parents, or children) – and include images and links to your products. Major retailers like Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target use holiday gift guides to help their customers with holiday shopping – and drive sales in the process.

The holidays are a great time to reward your loyal customers – and ensure they’ll continue to be loyal customers in the New Year.