Marketing de retención en tiempos de recesión

Retention Marketing in Times of Recession

By: Jenny Izaguirre

This month began the frantic race for World Singles Day (11/11) and Black Friday / Cyber ​​Monday (11/25 to 11/28) for all physical and online stores, with one difference: this year these dates come with inflation and recession threats.

In recent months, the most famous economists and investors such as Michael Burry and Ray Dalio have been warning of the possibility of a recession and an economic crisis, and this has been confirmed by the IMF in its latest statements ; but how can this affect your online business?

In this article we will talk step by step about the customer retention strategies that you can use from now on for Single's Day , Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, and for this last quarter of the year.

It is no secret to anyone that the world economies have been very busy in the last 2 years; and that the United States and Europe have seen levels of inflation that have not been seen for decades, a wave of layoffs mainly in the technology sector, and rises in interest rates that have reduced the purchasing power of the population.

This situation will cause millions of buyers to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday (BFCM) offers to buy their Christmas gifts and even goods, which they do not know if they will be able to buy in 2023 if the crisis worsens.

This is a golden opportunity to implement customer retention strategies for the coming months, which you can then continue to use as you continue to retain more and more buyers.

Let's start by clearing up some basics:

What is retention marketing?

They are all those marketing strategies and programs aimed at generating more than one sale for the same customer and making them come back to buy from our business at least 3 times.

When we talk about retention marketing, we mean strengthening the relationship you have with your customers so that you can extend their "Lifetime value"; that is, the economic value that this client will generate for you over time.

It is essential to remember that acquiring a new customer is always more expensive (at least 5 times) than retaining an existing customer, and that is why our funnels or sales funnels must have a solid retention strategy.

What is World Singles Day or Single's day?

Singles' Day originated in China in 1993, as an anti-Valentine's Day response from the singles society in China; That is why they celebrate it on the 11th of the 11th month. With exponential growth, today is the most important date for online and offline sales, surpassing even Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday together. Not only because of the size of the Chinese market but also because of its prices.

In 2021, during the 24 hours of sales, there were $139 billion in sales, almost 828 million buyers on mobile devices and only Alibaba registered sales in the order of $38 billion; that is, in just 24 hours, the Chinese bought more than what is generated in sales for the rest of the year.

Why is Black Friday / Cyber ​​Monday so important?

Although the origins of the term Black Friday have varied in meaning from its first appearance in 1951, to its current use of peak sales season for the retail sector, BFCM represents the start of the best sales season for many retailers, saving your year (and often your business) with the sales made this season.

In the case of the US, BFCM began in physical stores, which offer sales the day after Thanksgiving, to clear inventory before adding new inventory for Christmas sales, which are then settled on Boxing Day (December 26). ).

This commercial tradition (strategy) then passed to online stores and has spread throughout the world, and has even been adopted by service vendors and digital products such as App Sumo, which offers software license discounts on these dates.

This year, BFCM will be held from November 24 to 28.

What is Boxing Day?

Boxing day is another of the most important dates for the North American markets; In fact, in Canada, Boxing Day (December 26) is an official holiday throughout the country.

Although this date is not known in the rest of the world, it is the day on which people go to the stores to change or return Christmas gifts that they did not like or serve, and also, it is the day on which that stores liquidate all their remaining Christmas inventory.

So if you didn't know about Boxing Day, then you already have an additional reason to prepare your offers and promotions.

Three Kings Day or Befana

If you sell outside the US and Canada, this date interests you. On January 6, Latin America, Spain and Italy celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men or the Befana, who bring gifts for children.

In the case of Spain, this date is even more important than Christmas for the delivery of gifts to the little ones at home. In Italy, it has the same meaning, but the one who brings the gifts is a funny little witch, called: Befana .

So this is yet another opportunity to generate sales for your business.


That said, it is time to put into practice 5 retention marketing strategies that you can apply in times of crisis:

1. Plan strategies that generate at least 3 sales in the same client, as a minimum:

Most online advertising campaigns are aimed at getting a single sale from many new customers; which results in very high costs for your business. Once that customer buys, they don't come back, so you launch another campaign to attract more new customers , repeating the cycle.

The problem is that campaigns to new clients are always more expensive and keep you in an eternal cycle of ads without ROI (return on your investment).

On the other hand, when your strategy is aimed at creating a long-term relationship with your client, your marketing costs decrease and you can perfect your definition of the ideal client; In addition to getting your most loyal customers to advertise "free" for you, every time they recommend your services or products.

Ok, but... How do I plan for the same customer to buy from me more than once?

The phrase that you should always keep in mind is that "for the client to return you must build a relationship with him."

I will use the analogy of couples. First they get to know each other, they like each other, one of the two invites them on a first date, if everything goes well, they both agree to go on a second date, if everything goes well, a third and so on until the relationship grows and it is natural that those 2 people stay together.

If we take this to the world of commerce, your client first "knows you" through your campaigns and ads, which generate interest in entering your business. After seeing your business, your products and feeling that they can trust you, the customer makes their first purchase. Using the analogy above, this first purchase represents the "first date."

From then on, it's vital that you keep the conversation open and ongoing to keep the customer coming back. Think about the following: what is the reason why you return to that place where you usually buy: customer service, price, product quality, company values, other?

The answer will help you create your own retention strategy; However, here are some ideas:

1. Make sure that the experience of visiting your business and buying is flawless, without obstacles, without errors, without links that do not work, with a fast purchase process from start to finish, etc. The easier your store journey and checkout process is, the more likely it is that the customer will make the purchase.

2. In your package, add the note and a small detail to thank you for the trust placed in your business. This small recognition can range from a postcard with a discount for your next purchase or an invitation to try X product on your next purchase at a discount.

3. Your post-sale service must also be impeccable, so that you maintain the trust of your client. You can send an email to confirm that you have received your order and that you are satisfied with it.

4. If your business is physical, in the post-sale, you can offer product adjustments (in the case of clothing or jewelry) to adapt it to the customer's size, or you can try the product so that the customer leaves sure that it works.

5. The customer won't remember your name, but they will never forget the way you treated them, so your customer service must be 5 stars. Many businesses make the mistake of not answering questions on social media or on their contact forms, or don't even have contact information on their web pages.

Allbirds is a shoe brand that started by selling a few pairs on Shopify that, after years of work, have become listed on the New York Stock Exchange. They are an example of excellence in customer service and how your customers will talk about you and the way you made them feel.

This shopper posted on his LinkedIn profile that his dog had eaten one of his Allbirds shoes the day after he received them. In his post, he says that he contacted the company to see if they could give him a discount on another pair of shoes.

The company, instead of giving him a discount, gave him a 100% refund of his money, and asked him not to bother with the dog. The man, surprised, used that refund to buy another pair of shoes and published his story on his social networks to tell his good experience.

After the 1st purchase:

Invite them to try your new product by sending them a free sample or an exclusive discount code for customers who have already purchased from your store.

To make it more special, you can send them this code in the form of a QR that takes them to a landing page only for customers who have that code. If you can personalize the page with their name, even better.

When the customer has placed their order, send them a small detail such as stickers, a pen with your store's logo, a free sample or something that complements the product they just bought, with a small note thanking them for trusting you and your business.

Include this customer in your subscriber list for your email marketing campaigns for customers who make 2 purchases and send them valuable content, which may include:

  • Tips to use, take advantage of or take care of your product much better. For example: if you have a makeup store: send them tips to maintain their brushes and brushes. If you sell tech products, send them content with tips and tricks.
  • Promotions, offers.
  • Information on social commitment activities of your company. For example: If you donate part of your earnings to environmental protection, tell your client how you use that money they give to help the planet.

Come on, go for the 3rd purchase!

If your client made it this far, well congratulations, you are about to retain your client's loyalty! Now, it is very important that you maintain the relationship with a customer service in pre, during and post sale.

At this point, the relationship with your client is more established, so you can ask him to help you in certain aspects of the business such as: helping you select a design for a new collection, or a new logo for your store or which charity should be the next beneficiary of your social works.

The idea is that the client feels part of the mission of your business and as a courtesy you can publicly thank them for their purchase, you can invite them to personally attend with you to deliver those donations, thus, in addition to distorting the relationship, you involve them in your social mission.

You must include these clients in a special, personalized email list that really adds value and benefit to them.

With his 3rd purchase, offer him to be your brand ambassador and give him a personalized discount code that he can share with his friends and social networks to receive a small commission on each sale.

The options are endless, you should only use the ones that best suit your business, your product and the objective of your marketing strategy.

Certainly the retargeting features of Facebook and Google Ads are very powerful, but without a clear strategy, content, and data from the people who have already purchased your product, your retargeting campaigns for those customers will be less efficient. The idea is to retain those who have already entered your sales funnel.

Email marketing is a very powerful tool when it comes to connecting with your buyer, but it must add value because if you only send sales promotions, your emails will be "spam"; Or you will only connect with the customer who only buys if you give them something else in return.

Here is a complete guide for you to learn how to do email marketing like a professional.

2. Build a community

In times of crisis, fear seizes people and uncertainty makes them only go to places, people and businesses that generate trust and express their support and empathy in difficult times.

The messages and texts of your website, your social networks and even your personal networks must be in accordance with the moment and demonstrate the solidarity of your brand. Use empathy as a way to connect with your customers on a human level and not just on a business level.

In recent years, the health crisis has caused companies around the world to use messages of solidarity, empathy, motivation, unity and more. One of them was IKEA, which decided to remind us that our home is our safe place.

If you have a small business, show your day to day on social networks, your challenges as an entrepreneur, your concerns, habits, advice, celebrate your successes and show your work for the social cause you support.

This will generate a connection with your audience as it will show you as a company that is closer to the common citizen, who has good days and bad days, and who are vulnerable to situations beyond their control.

In a recession, businesses like yours also suffer, so you could show some of those challenges to your audience.

3. Generate value for your customers:

In periods of economic crisis, the first thing that people eliminate are unnecessary expenses; so the competition will be tough if your brand has not previously connected and retained the audience.

Keep in mind that, in a recession, many continue to buy from those suppliers that generate value for them, either because of the quality and durability of their products, because of the attention, or because of the empathy that we have talked about previously.

Carry out an analysis of your business and your products to identify which of them can provide the most value in periods of economic crisis.

Your promotions should be aimed at meeting the needs of: shelter, security, protection, support, motivation, entertainment, relief, and other emotions associated with periods of crisis and uncertainty.

Ask yourself how your products or services satisfy those emotions and solve a problem for your customers. You can use Maslow's pyramid as a basis to understand what are the most essential needs of consumers:

Image courtesy of: From J. Finkelstein, translated by Mikel Salazar González - Based on: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, by J. Finkelstein )

4. Start your campaigns before everyone else:

On high sales dates such as BFCM, Halloween, Christmas, Father's or Mother's Day, online advertising increases considerably in price, especially if you sell to the US market, and your business will have to compete for the attention of potential customers with brands and larger businesses in the market.

Our recommendation is that you start your campaigns and ads days or weeks before your competition, and that you extend your promotions until several days later. In this way you will be saving on advertising costs and you will generate sales without the pressure of having the dates very close.

If your advertising is exclusively online and your budget is not very high, you can run the ad campaigns the days before and reduce them the day before or the day of the date to be celebrated. For example: Christmas or BFCM.

As part of your corporate message, you can announce to your customers that your promotion is “extended” until a given date, so they can buy your products with the confidence that they still have promotional prices.

5. It offers payment facilities:

Purchasing power decreases in times of economic crisis, so you can offer installment payments without interest, or discounts for those who pay in cash.

If you have an online store with Shopify and use Shopify Payments, Paypal, Klarna, among others, you can program the installment payment function for your store, so that the buyer can make the purchase with monthly payments.

Likewise, there are different payment providers that offer financing plans for 6, 12 and 24 months without interest, with which you could make commercial alliances.

If digital products and online courses are your thing, Hotmart allows you to add installment payments to as many months as you want to offer.

If you have a physical business, you can offer discounts to people who pay with debit cards instead of paying with a credit card.

Offer gift cards that can be redeemed without a time limit, and (depending on your business model) you can accept older models of your products , which you can redeem for discount coupons. H&M offers this service as part of its message of commitment to the environment.

You can offer cheaper shipping with standard services that take a few more days for delivery, but save them a few bucks on their purchase.

These are some ideas, but creativity will be your best ally when creating campaigns during difficult times.

My greatest recommendation is always to work your retention campaigns with experts who support you with different strategies and tools that adapt to your business, and that you test the results of different scenarios and campaigns so that you can define your strategy based on data and not only to sales.

If you liked this guide, leave us your comments below.

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