How to Turn First-time Festive Buyers into Repeat Customers

An estimated 13% of all sales in the UK happen in December, according to PCR. That’s nearly £42 billion of worth of sales. In sectors such a health and beauty or electronics that figure is likely to be even more.

This means that retailers see a peak in the number of new customers introduced to their stores and websites during the festive period.

But as the New Year slides into view, the challenge for retailers is how to retain these new customers. Typically only 20% of them will go on to purchase again, according to the Online Marketing Institute.

In this blog post, we take a look at the strategies retailers can use to convert a first-time, festive buyer into a repeat customer.

Think past the first purchase

Make sure your welcome email campaigns are suitable for gift buyers and keep them hooked well after their gift is given.

Ask them whether it was well-received, invite them to review your service, and always take the opportunity to find out more about them.

Remember to include incentives that will bring them back to browse your website and track what they do with behavioural targeting technology. This is a tactic which will enable you to learn more about what they like and re-target them in the future.

We really loved this heart-warming example from Uncommon Goods who shared the satisfaction gift buyers got from giving their products to friends and family.


Repeat customer uncommon goods

Show them your year-round appeal

It’s hard to recommend products when all you know about your new customers is what they’ve bought at Christmas.

So, instead show them what others like about your brand all-year-round. Send them emails featuring your annual crowdsourced bestsellers, top-rated buys, items that have received awards or been featured in the press.

Remember, if they’re very new to the brand then they’ve got a whole year to catch-up on. Show them what they’ve missed. Always use social proof to show exactly why your brand’s not just for Christmas but loved by others throughout the year.

We love this example of customer reviews that showcase Links’ year-round appeal.


Repeat customer links

Gifts aren’t just for Christmas

Remember that Christmas isn’t the only time customers buy for others. There are birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s and Easter.

By looking at what new customers during the festive period you can start to determine what events might be relevant all year round.

You should continue to measure the conversion rates from different types of seasonal events and segment your database accordingly.

It’s easy to set up automated email reminders for events, it’s getting the data that’s tricky. One way to get a better understanding of their gift buying habits is to simply ask them.

You could send a email that them asks them for special gifting dates are such as friends and family birthdays, or which seasonal events are most of interest to them. Or use a targeted overlay when first-time shoppers return to your site.

Perhaps throw in an added incentive, such as a discount on these dates, to improve the chances of engagement—you are asking for personal information after all.

And remember to ask them about their own birthday. Use it to send them a birthday message with an incentive to treat themselves on their special day.


Get them to spoil themselves

After everyone’s opened their gifts and stuffed themselves silly people can find themselves twiddling their thumbs over the festive period.

Many people turn to browsing online which means the Christmas break is the perfect time to re-target new customers and secure their ongoing custom.

It’s a great time to encourage new customers to find and buy the gifts they didn’t receive this year tempting them with a bit of self-indulgence.

This cheeky example by HautLook caught our eye last year.


Repeat customer Hautelook

Give a little extra

Always target these new, seasonal customers with exclusive offers for your January sale.

Feature the most competitive price-points and products that are known to be great introductions to the brand. Consider introducing an extra special offer to get them to make that all-important second purchase. It’ll be an investment which will pay for itself in the long term.

And remember timing is everything. Retarget new customers in January while their last customer experience is still fresh in their minds.

IWOOT promote a double discount on sale items alongside a low free delivery threshold which recaptures the attention of potential second-time purchasers.

Repeat customer IWOOT

Don’t be shy!

If festive buyers fail to return especially during the sales then act fast! Don’t leave it until it’s too late to try and secure their custom again. You want them to purchase as soon as possible.

Don’t be shy in offering them an incentive to browse your website during a time when budgets might be tight such as just after Christmas. And remember that these campaigns can always be automated and targeted especially at potential second-time buyers.

We like this example by eBay which recaptures lost attention with a timely incentive.


If you follow all of these tips you stand the best chance of generating repeat customers from festive first-time buyers. People who wouldn’t have given your brand a second look before Christmas.

And it really is worth investing the time and money on building repeat custom. Research by Adobe shows that if you can get a customer to buy for a second time they are up to nine times more likely to repeatedly purchase in the future.

So, if you want to build on the great work you’ve done, now’s the time to focus on your customer retention strategy.

How to Create a Killer Festive Marketing Strategy. Get the guide.