Turn One Time Shoppers into Year-Round CustomersMany retailers see some customers only once a year: during the holiday rush. Personally, I know there are a few stores I visit only when I’m looking for last-minute gifts. By taking certain measures now, you can increase the chances that your once-a-year customers will return well before the next holiday season.The first step is to get their contact information. Then you can use a range of tactics to encourage them to visit you again throughout the year.

Do right now

The first thing you need to do is to capture their contact information:

  • As you ring up their purchases, ask customers if you can add them to your email or text messaging list.
  • Hold a drawing for a product or gift certificate and use the entry forms to collect email addresses, mobile phone numbers, or social media handles.
  • Post signs that invite customers to send a text message to take advantage of a tempting offer.
  • Conduct a quick poll and ask customers to include their contact information with their responses.
  • Invite shoppers to sign up for a special event and ask them to include their email addresses or cell phone numbers.
Do later

When things slow down, spend some time developing ways to take advantage of the information you collected:

  • Launch text messaging campaigns and include plenty of offers to keep customers coming back.
  • Send regular emails with store updates, new product arrivals, and coupons.
  • Use text and email to send links to your website.
  • Urge customers to sign up for a loyalty program that offers increasingly valuable awards as their purchases mount.
  • Encourage customers to follow your store through social media, which can provide more points of regular contact.
  • Customize your messaging for different segments of your customer base. For example, a clothing store might send different messages to teen girls, teen boys, adult women, and adult men.

An online messaging platform can help you manage your contact lists and distribute your emails and texts. These services also make it easy to segment your lists, send multimedia messages, and post updates to your social media pages. Remember, contacting customers without their permission can do more harm than good, so always ask if you can send messages when you collect their contact information. Provide a way for them to opt out of your list.

Want to learn more about reaching consumers? Here are other articles about text messaging, email, and social media . Do you have any other tips for collecting and using customer contact information? Let us know in comments.