Why Your Current Customers Are the Solution to Your Holiday Sales Goals


Focusing too much of your attention and marketing budget on acquiring new customers to drive your holiday sales goals can be a dangerous trap. Customer acquisition can be costly and those costs can spike as much as 25 percent during the holiday season, according to Martech Advisor.

Take Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) weekend, for example. By some estimates, retailers spend as much as a quarter of their entire annual digital budget on it alone trying to attract new customers. And 63 percent of this spend can go directly to Black Friday itself.

It’s tempting to want to continuously acquire new customers, especially during the big holiday shopping season, and it can be difficult to take a step back and remember the people you already know who can help you grow your business—your current customers and prospects. But it’s likely your best bet since new research shows focusing on acquiring new customers during the holidays may not be the best use of your company’s time or resources.

On average, 48 percent of the BFCM sales made by 12 leading ecommerce brands in 2018 came from customers who first engaged with their brands between January 2017 and October 2018. What’s more, these customers spent more than customers who were first active with the brand in Q4 of 2018.

Brands that used their owned marketing channels (i.e., email) to tap into their existing customers and prospects throughout 2018 successfully drove sales during the most competitive time of the year.


Setting Expectations For Your Holiday Sales Goals

Setting realistic expectations for how much revenue your existing customers and prospects will generate come holiday season is important as you plan out your marketing activities and your budget. And it pays to focus on those customers and prospects who’ve been engaged with your brand longer since they tend to drive a higher percentage of revenue during the holiday season, according to new research.

When the Customer Relationship Started % of BFCM 2018 Sales (*brands studied
At any point prior to BFCM (2018) 18-53%
6 months prior to BFCM (2018) 3-16%
6-12 months prior to BFCM (2018) 4-18%
More than 12 months prior to BFCM (2018) 9-35%

No matter which way you slice the data, the smallest percentage of BFCM sales came from customers and prospects who engaged with the brands most recently for the first time. In some cases, a brand saw as little as three percent of its BFCM sales come from customers or prospects who first engaged with their brand within six months of BFCM.


2 Simple Ways to Engage Your Customers and Prospects Before Q4

Looking for some simple, straightforward ways to engage with your current and customers and prospects before Q4 in an impactful way? Here are two ways you can do just that:

  1. Use the summer holiday season to your advantage.

The summer holiday season is coming up soon (think July 4th and Labor Day), which gives you a great opportunity to send relevant messages to your existing customers and prospects to keep your business top of mind. You may find you end up converting many of your prospects even earlier than BFCM weekend, which presents you with an opportunity to nurture them with messages as you would a potential repeat customer rather than a prospect leading up to BFCM weekend.  

  1. Segment your list.

Speaking of repeat purchasers, now is a great time to create a segment of customers who’ve purchased from you at any point during the year if you haven’t already done so. A repeat purchase segment not only helps keep your brand top of mind throughout the year among those customers who’ve already made a purchase, but it also allows you to efficiently reach them with relevant messages tailored just for them (i.e., special offers for making their next purchase, alerts on when a particular product of interest may be back in stock, automated messages to win back customers who haven’t purchased in a while, etc.).

The most efficient brands are zigging when everyone else is zagging. Instead of spending heavily through paid media channels to acquire new customers, the more strategic brands are leveraging their owned marketing channels to deepen their customer relationships and grow their businesses, saving both time and money during this pivotal sales period.


Want to learn more about how you can engage your audience throughout the year to boost BFCM sales this year? Check out this new research.

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