The Holiday Come-Down: How to Keep Shoppers Consistent

The last several months have been all about piping hot sales and fresh holiday bakes. But now that the holiday hype has cooled down, businesses need to prepare to face a new challenge: keeping sales up to avoid dips in conversions and revenue.

The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas generates as much as 40% of annual revenue for some brands. But with so many sales occurring in such a short period of time, the post-holiday period traditionally experiences a lull in conversions. 

Generally speaking, Q1 is like a sugar hangover for holiday shoppers. Just like how you’d suffer a stomach ache after overindulging in baked goods and sweet treats, customers who made gift purchases all through the holiday season are sick over shopping. While a shopping binge is always followed by a spending detox, this recovery period can sometimes be bad for business. The key to keeping sales high following the holidays: get those with a sweet tooth to come back for seconds!

While the last thing any brand wants to do is hear customers say, “No thank you,” you’ll want to be careful with how you approach your post-holiday marketing strategies. Because what’s worse than an abandoned cart? Force-feeding a stuffed customer, of course. From a team that knows exactly how to get customers asking for a second slice, here are a few tips to keep shoppers consistent following the holiday come-down. 



Table of Contents:

  1. Convert Your First-Time Holiday Shoppers into Year-Round Customers
  2. Give Your Site a Well-Deserved Makeover
  3. Inventory and Clearance
  4. New Drops, Please!
  5. Budget for the New Year
  6. Amp Up Customer Service
  7. Retargeting and More Retargeting – Did We Mention Retargeting?
  8. Shoppers Eat Up Email Campaigns
  9. Social Media – The Chef’s Kiss
  10. Upsell, Cross-Sell, and Everything in Between
  11. Review Customer Feedback – Even If It’s Bitter
  12. Don’t Coast Through the Holiday Come-Down – Keep Pushing Your Marketing Efforts with CAKE!


Convert Your First-Time Holiday Shoppers into Year-Round Customers

There’s nothing more savory than customer loyalty and returning shoppers. But for many brands, the uptick in holiday sales is due to many first (and one-time) purchasers. Regardless of a consumer’s satisfaction with a product or service, we sadly do not see many of them return after the holidays – what a waste! 

These first-time buyers don’t have to spoil at the end of the holiday season. With the right marketing efforts, you can actually convert new buyers into year-round customers. Try retargeting these first-time buyers with incentives to get them hungry for more. Consider discounts, free gifts, or free shipping for a repeat purchase. Whatever you choose to offer, phrase this retargeting a little something like this: “Come back for seconds to get a special offer!” 

Another way to convert first-time purchasers into consistent shoppers is to build customer loyalty. Incentivize and market your loyalty programs and consider some kind of rewards system for those who join. Show your new customers that there is value in becoming a loyal customer – it’s a win for them as much as it is for you!

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Give Your Site a Well-Deserved Makeover

Let’s face it: The holiday come-down doesn’t look good on anyone. Between long travel days, late nights celebrating, and far too many Christmas cookies, we are all a bit tired, frazzled, and maybe carrying a little extra holiday weight. But even if you’re not looking and feeling your best (nothing a few New Year’s resolutions can’t fix) doesn’t mean your site has to. 

Just like we are all in need of some well-deserved self-care, websites are also in desperate need of a post-holiday makeover. 

Many brands make updates to their sites prior to the holidays to ensure they can handle increased traffic. It’s equally as important, though, that your site is also prepared for post-holiday traffic relative to the inevitable returns and exchanges. There are several things you will need to check:

  • Loading Speed
  • Navigation
  • Site Design

Regardless of the season, users expect a seamless user experience. So, you’ll want to make sure your site is up to par to guarantee satisfaction. 

Other things to consider are updating your site design to accommodate new campaigns for Valentine’s Day, Black History Month, or any other celebration that calls for a sale! Introducing a new sale is always our go-to pro-tip to keeping customers incentivized to make a purchase. While making your site updates, feature these new sales on your homepage and throughout your landing pages with banners, countdowns, and pop-up reminders. 

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Inventory and Clearance

Speaking of sales…Q1 clearance sales are also a great way to get rid of leftover holiday inventory. But, “clearance” is somewhat of a sticky-sweet word. While this translates to steep discounts, clearance sales leave users feeling like your brand is just giving away unwanted junk. Regardless, refreshing and clearing out stale inventory is a must. 

Completing inventory checks prior to the holidays – and attempting to project the exact amount of each item to order in advance – is often a risky and sticky situation. Inaccurate forecasting and unexpected sale slumps ultimately lead to a good bit of leftovers on your plate. If something you expected to sell doesn’t perform well, the excess needs to be cleared following the holidays to make up for losses. 

Here’s where clearance comes in: Clear out your leftover holiday inventory by bundling items or offering deep discounts on these items. The bottom line is you want them to sell so you don’t lose out on too much or more than you already have. You could even offer these items as “free gifts” with orders. 

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New Drops, Please! 

You know your customers best. So, if you feel like your audience may not be interested in a “bargain” on unwanted inventory, consider releasing a new product, instead. For customers who are already more than familiar with your products, a new drop offers them a refresh and retake on your inventory.

Build up anticipation about a new drop with your social media platforms and mailing list. Feature posts and campaigns that hint towards your next move. Play up the secrecy and mystery leading up to the drop to keep your shoppers guessing with teasers like, “Coming Soon…” or “Get Ready for Something New!” This generates excitement amongst your shoppers and gets them anxious about making another purchase. 

While this may equate to some loss from your holiday inventory, you may have an easier time driving purchases to make up for it with new products, rather than offer a steal on those that were left behind or picked over. 

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Budget for the New Year

Preparing for the sometimes inevitable slumps in sales is always a good idea. You may have already set aside a bigger budget for Q1 than Q4 to account for reduced competition and lower rates of spending. This is a good move – it gives you a bit of wiggle room and more to work with. You can put this budget towards new marketing strategies and re-targeting campaigns in an attempt to revamp your sales. Going forward, this is a super proactive approach that you’ll thank us for later. 

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Amp Up Customer Service

To account for and attend to returns and exchanges as well as customers’ concerns, questions, and complaints, it’s important to keep your customer service up and running during the holiday comedown – especially on social media. Address and resolve all your customers’ requests, if possible. Whatever you do, don’t go dark and be unresponsive. This will translate to poor reviews and customer dissatisfaction, which will really hurt business in the long run. 

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Retargeting and More Retargeting – Did We Mention Retargeting? 

We cannot stress this enough: Retargeting efforts are your very best friend this time of year. Target past purchasers and abandoned cart shoppers who were interested but didn’t make a purchase. Enticing them back to your products will be key to making loyal customers out of prospective buyers. 

To successfully execute a retargeting campaign following the holidays, feature items they showed interest in as a part of your efforts to try and re-engage. Offering a special deal on this product is another great way to win these potential customers over. It lets them know you haven’t forgotten them and are keeping track of what they noticed. 

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Shoppers Eat Up Email Campaigns

As shoppers are now getting back to work and possibly tracking any returns or exchanges they have made from the holidays, this means they’ll likely be checking their inbox more frequently. Use this to your advantage. Email customers with a new campaign welcoming the New Year, thanking them for their businesses, and attempting to engage their interest in a new product, special offer, or a customer loyalty rewards program. Whatever you are offering, make sure it is a strong enough incentive to bring them back to your site during the come-down period. 

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Social Media – The Chef’s Kiss

In the words of Dua Lipa, “Don’t stop now!” Following the holidays, brands often go dark on social media. We get it; sales are low and times are slow. Use this radio silence to your advantage. Keep posting and campaigning, engage with your customers, ask them to post photos and reviews of your products, or even create a new trending hashtag like #holidaygiftreviews with your brand name. 

The last thing you want to do is stop your social media activity altogether. Now is the best time to reach and re-engage users, and social media is your golden ticket. 

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Upsell, Cross-Sell, and Everything In Between 

Upselling and cross-selling are the fraternal twins of retargeting; they’re equally as effective but a bit different in their appearance and method. Choose which of the two you think will best serve your brand, or try both!

Upselling: When upselling to customers, use their past-purchase data and info to project what your target audience would be interested in buying in the future. Essentially, you’ll want to find similar or alike items to the one they have already bought. Then, offer them a discount they can’t refuse on this product. The way to phrase this messaging is something along the lines of, “Based on your last purchase, we think you’d like this. Save 15% on this item with code XYZ.” If you are featuring a new and improved version of something a customer has already purchased, encourage them to upgrade. 

Cross-Selling: Cross-selling is, essentially, attempting to sell an additional item that complements a previous purchase. If a customer purchased a product that has related or complementary accessories, feature these additional items in your email campaign with a discount and messaging like, “Because you purchased X, you may need Y and Z. Shop these items and take 10% OFF on us with code XYZ.” 

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Review Customer Feedback – Even If It’s Bitter!

Even the most experienced bakers have their bad days. After all, not every cake can be a masterpiece! But there is a lot that can be learned from past mistakes if you take the time to reflect on your bake. The same goes for brands.

Analyze your data and customer reviews from the previous and holiday season. What worked? What didn’t? What were some shared customer complaints? What were customers most satisfied with? 

After you’ve sifted through your performance stats and customer feedback, make changes accordingly. We know it can be hard to take criticism, but this is often the best way to learn and succeed in the future. Show your customers you are dedicated to improving their buyer experience and that your brand values their business enough to change. 

How you recover from a setback will determine your customer loyalty in the future. A strong and dedicated recovery strategy fuels customer satisfaction later. 

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Don’t Coast Through the Holiday Comedown – Keep Pushing Your Marketing Efforts with CAKE!

Think these strategies are enough for you to make it through Q1? We’re just getting started! For a seamless transition from the holiday peak-shopping season to, now, the quiet first quarter, entrust the team at CAKE to take care of all your eComm marketing needs! To get started crafting your perfect strategy, contact CakeCommerce.

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