Post-Purchase Engagement: Holiday Shoppers to Loyal Customers

Published: | By Nina Petrov

One cannot overstate the importance of the holiday season for business owners. It accounts for a substantial portion of a retailer’s annual income and allows valuable insights into market trends.

It’s also an important way to learn any new consumer behaviors based on holiday shopping patterns, and is THE time to acquire new loyal customers and potential brand ambassadors. 

The shopping experience provided then has a lasting impact on future customer relationships.



Therefore, while you should not neglect everyday post-purchase customer engagement and efficient marketing methods, we’ll focus on the experience, specifically during the holiday season and in its aftermath. 

Tailoring Post-Purchase Communications: A Personalized Approach 

Rather than have customers feeling like just another statistic in a brand’s Excel file, building a personal connection that will keep them coming back for more is essential. Here is what you can do:



  • Leveraging purchase history for cross-selling 

Depending on the customer’s purchase history during the holiday season, tailor your future emails so that the message is more likely to entice them to make another purchase. 

It is a splendid opportunity for cross-selling — selling products that complement those items the customer had already purchased. 

For example, scarves, gloves, or hats that match a purchased winter leather coat or boots.

Likewise, if they’ve bought smart light bulbs, you could sell a subscription to music or video streaming services that integrate with the device. 

Opportunities for cross-selling are boundless and limited only by the marketer’s creativity.

Another way to score on purchase history data is through unique discounts. It is usually best to focus on categories the customer has already shown interest in and those they’ve viewed but decided not to purchase. 

Related to this, you could give the customer priority access to new products in these categories. 

Moreover, you can track purchase history from your CRM, regardless of whether you are selling products or services. 

For example, suppose you are running a yoga studio.

In that case, you can review user activity from your yoga studio software and campaign toward customers who book a class as part of their holiday resolutions - but don’t follow through later.

An alternative approach to emails based on purchase history is implementing an automated system to send reminders for those products due for replenishment, considering the buyer’s purchase cycle. 

It could be gourmet foods like artisanal chocolates or sweets - an email reminder can prompt a repurchase for other occasions. 

Another example: if they’ve bought items like winter-themed lipstick or holiday special edition makeup, they might need replenishment. 

To reduce the need for manual intervention, save time using an email subject line generator tool.

  • Personalizing the post-holiday shopping experience 




Personalized ‘thank you’ or birthday messages are always a good idea.

You can reference items they bought during the holidays to seize another cross-selling opportunity or suggest items from the same/similar category.

Sending a customized holiday season recap, highlighting popular items, customer favorites, or trends they participated in, can be an effective strategy. 

It demonstrates that you value and pay attention to their preferences, reinforces positive memories, or may even encourage customers to share interesting insights or fun facts in the recap (like the most gifted item of the season) on social media, increasing your brand’s reach.

Organizing holiday events is bound to drive sales, and you can use such events to turn first-time shoppers into regular customers. 

Send ‘thank you’ messages, including specific details or highlights to show genuine appreciation, as well as photos or videos from the event, primarily if they feature or are relevant to the customer. 

Use them to offer early access or VIP invitations to upcoming sales or events, personalized recommendations, special discounts, etc.

Innovative Loyalty Programs 

These programs are a cornerstone strategy in customer retention, holiday or no holiday. They offer rewards, discounts, and a variety of other incentives to convert one-time shoppers into year-round regulars. 



  • Harnessing holiday spirit in loyalty programs 

You can leverage holidays effectively to get customers to join your loyalty program.

Use holiday-themed interfaces and communications to make joining the loyalty program and earning rewards a joyous festive experience. 

Customize rewards to align with holiday themes, such as exclusive Christmas or Hanukkah-themed gifts or discounts. 

Once they’ve joined your loyalty program, offer points or special rewards for actions like sharing a holiday-themed post on social media or participating in a holiday event. 

Yes, we’ve already mentioned special events, but hosting online or in-store events on specific dates exclusive to loyalty members, such as early access to holiday sales or even virtual holiday-themed workshops, can drive customer engagement through the roof.

Provide timely notifications about events, holiday deals, unique loyalty points earning opportunities, and countdowns to major shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

Create an online community with a specialized platform like Circle or Mighty Networks to host the notifications, foster interaction between club members, and gather valuable feedback.

  • Incentives for sustained engagement: Beyond the holiday rush 

You’ve engaged them enough to join the program, but you also want to keep the customers shopping at your store throughout the holiday season and later on. 

Here are the incentives that encourage repeat purchases during the holidays (but can also be extrapolated for any time of the year).

For starters, allow loyalty members to preview and purchase holiday collections before the general public. 

As a bonus when shopping for items, provide complimentary gift wrapping or expedited shipping for last-minute holiday purchases.

Create a sense of urgency with limited-time holiday sales exclusive to loyalty program members, and offer extra loyalty points or ever-useful special discounts during specific holiday events, such as a ‘Double Points Day’ during the festive season.

You can also create special loyalty program tiers that apply only during the holidays. 

Again, you can motivate first-time buyers to move through the ranks with the promise of early access or discounts and high-value rewards at the top tiers, like a special holiday getaway or a luxury holiday gift basket. 

Elevating Customer Service After the Holiday Rush 




Exceptional customer service is a critical factor in ensuring customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

It’s a good idea to introduce training programs before the holiday season, focusing on common holiday scenarios and equipping employees with the skills and knowledge to handle them effectively. 

Holiday times are busy, and customer service must adapt to handle customer needs within a shorter timeframe than usual. 

It’s a good idea to analyze historical data in terms of online and in-store customer traffic to identify popular products, peak shopping times, and trends in customer behavior specific to the holiday season. This knowledge allows for proactive staffing. 

You also may give customer service representatives greater leeway to make decisions on refunds, replacements, or compensations without needing higher-level approval. 

You must be able to rely on them, so ensure that frontline employees have immediate access to necessary resources, including product information, policy details, and escalation procedures.

Additionally, you should set up dedicated teams or channels for specific customer queries and complaints typical of the holiday season.

Holidays are also a time of stress and excitement. Therefore, you must emphasize the value of empathy, patience, and communication skills among your employees. 

Embracing Technology for the Holiday Shopping Experience 



Nowadays, you must use technology creatively to provide the most shopping advantages and have the customers eager for sustained interaction with your brand. Have in mind the following:

  • Interactive online tools

Holiday gift finders and product quizzes are a great addition to any business’ website, spanning diverse industries from retail, wholesale frames, and electronics to home decor and beyond.

Holiday gift finder is a tool where customers can input details about the recipient, such as age, interests, or relationship, as well as their budget, to receive tailored gift suggestions. 

On the other hand, quizzes can recommend products based on the user's answers. 

You could theme around finding the perfect holiday gift for themselves or others. Incorporate rich media, like images and videos, to make them more engaging and entertaining.

Whether we’re talking about gift finders or quizzes, some guidelines apply to both:

    • The results must provide relevant recommendations, helping customers discover products they might not have found otherwise.
    • The interfaces must be user-friendly, with clear options and an intuitive layout to guide first-time visitors smoothly through the gift-finding process. 
    • Recommended gifts must lead directly to their purchase pages. 
    • Users should be able to save gift ideas to their wish list or share them via social media or email. Generally, encourage users to share results on social media, increasing brand exposure and potentially attracting more first-time visitors.
  • AI chatbots: Revolutionizing customer interaction

No matter how much you invest in your customer service team, you’ll find it helpful to have an AI chatbot immediately respond to customer inquiries and manage a large volume of simultaneous interactions.

Chatbots can understand and respond to complex queries, guiding customers through product selection, offering holiday gift advice, and even providing styling tips or usage ideas.

They can learn from customer interactions, continuously improving their responses and recommendations, which is great for customer retention.

  • Simplifying payments and checkout

Offering a variety of payment methods, including credit/debit cards, digital wallets (like Apple Pay or Google Wallet), and buy-now-pay-later services, caters to the preferences of a diverse customer base.

You’ll want to ensure that all payment methods are secure to maintain customer trust. Also, maintain transparency with easy access to order tracking and timely updates about their purchases. 

Once their product has arrived, make the checkout process alluring and work in your favor by Incorporating tools like autofill for saved customer information and one-click purchasing options.

Streamline the process for returns and exchanges to accommodate post-holiday needs and enhance customer satisfaction.

  • Other tips for using technology

    • With the increasing use of smartphones for shopping, ensuring your website is mobile-optimized, including easy-to-use mobile interfaces and fast loading times, is essential.
    • You can offer an app with exclusive app-only deals or features to encourage app downloads, leading to increased engagement and repeat purchases.
    • Suppose your budget allows it, and you’ve found after careful research that it will gain you sufficient ROI. In that case, you may even consider utilizing AR (augmented reality) tech to enable customers to virtually try on products like clothing, accessories, or even makeup from the comfort of their homes and visualize how decorations or furniture would look in those homes. 
    • Use social media and partner with the right influencers. Amplifying your brand on social media and influencers’ reach can go a long way toward building long-lasting customer relationships.


Creating a shopping experience so satisfying and memorable that customers cannot help but return and then using the right strategies to foster further engagement is the way to go.

And you can adapt these strategies throughout the year to ensure long-lasting brand loyalty. Good luck and happy holidays!

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