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For a lot of businesses—especially in the retail and ecommerce sector—the holiday season can be make or break. To maximize your sales this holiday season, segment your audience based on lifecycle stage and past behavior and provide a smarter, better, more relevant brand experience.

For a lot of businesses—especially in the retail and ecommerce sector—the holiday season can be make or break. Execute successfully and you’ll have a successful year; underperform and you’ll find your business in dire straits. That makes having the right tools and tactics on hand essential.

To maximize your sales this holiday season, make a point of investing in your repeat customer engagement strategy instead of doubling down on new customer acquisition. While investment in new customer acquisition often far exceeds investment in retention, the fact is that your repeat customers are your most valuable audience during the holidays—they spend more, transact at a higher frequency, and purchase more items than new customers. They are also 25x less expensive to retain than attracting a new customer.

Take advantage of this by segmenting your audience based on lifecycle stage and past behavior to maximize your holiday sales across every audience. By catering to your existing customers and serving up more relevant and valuable brand experiences, you can deepen their relationship with your brand and increase sales to boot.

Not sure where to start? Check out these suggested holiday customer segments and corresponding campaigns to reach them effectively.

1. Loyalists

Every brand has a subset of customers who drive a majority share of their revenue—in the mobile gaming world, for instance, they’re known as “whales.” These loyalists are one of your greatest opportunities to drive increased revenue during the holidays. Developing an engagement strategy that rewards your loyalists is one of your greatest opportunities to drive increased revenue during the holidays. They have higher conversion rates, require less marketing and yield higher profits.

It’s important to provide this segment early access to your holiday promotions, since they’re more likely to purchase at a high frequency and buy multiple items. By targeting them early, you can increase loyalist purchase conversion by offering them early access to new or discounted items, making it more likely they’ll find items that catch their fancy (and have inventory) and providing a bigger window of time for them to make repeat purchases during the remainder of the holiday season.

You can also drive sales among this audience by offering them higher-touch customer service. Make them feel like valued customers—which they are!—and cater to them with personalized experiences sure to deepen an already strong relationship.

2. Lapsed Holiday Customers

Another smart way to boost sales? Re-engage customers who have bought from you during past holiday seasons. They’re an important cohort to tap into, since they’ve already successfully converted and made a holiday purchase before- plus, they’re already familiar with your offering, your site (or app) navigation, and have an idea of what they want and how you can provide it. Send them a holiday product recommendation campaign personalized to reflect previously purchased items or categories.

3. Non-Openers

Just because a customer doesn’t open an email or interact with a push notification doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not interested in your message. With the barrage of promotional outreach that most consumers receive during the holiday season, it’s easy for someone to miss and overlook messages—even ones that might actually be of interest. Consider using Canvas to resend a successful message to users who didn’t engage at a later time and with a different subject line. You’ll give them a second chance to engage and provide your team with new insight into whether it was the subject line or the body of the message itself that drove engagement.

4. Geo-Specific

Different regions have different climates, cultures and traditions...and different holiday shipping deadlines. Speak to users in different parts of the world in a targeted, one-to-one way by using location targeting to segment your audience based on region. When you provide a more thoughtful, personalized customer experience, you can rest easy knowing everyone’s aware of when they need to place their orders by if they want their gifts by Christmas or Hanukkah or the holiday that matters to them.

5. Unhappy Customers

The holidays are a great opportunity to invest in your customer experience and reactivate your unhappy or lapsed customers. According to Forrester, leaders in improving customer experience grow revenue faster than customer experience laggards, drive higher brand preference, and can charge more for their products. Leverage the holidays to demonstrate how much you value your customers by offering a seamless and rewarding experience. Use custom attributes to identify customers who previously left a complaint or bad review in the last six months, or haven’t made a purchase during that time, and make it up to them with early access to sales, promotions and customer service. Ensure that you are sending them high-value messages and highlight how you can make their life easier during the holidays.

Your Holiday Segmentation Checklist

Got all that? Let’s go through the list one more time, just so you don’t forget anything:

  • Identify your loyalists and offer them early access to new items, limited edition or holiday sales
  • Send product recommendations to past holiday customers based on their items or categories purchased
  • Reactivate unhappy customers with early access or special promotions
  • Retarget non-openers with a new subject line or copy for the same message
  • Segment users by location to alert them to holiday shipping deadlines

Interested in learning more about how to leverage customer segmentation effectively? Check out our look at Dynamic Segmentation 101.