There is (almost) no better way to increase retention and customer lifetime value than to really appreciate your best customers. Revenue from the top ten percent of customers can make up half of your revenues. Top customers’ average order value can be double that of your average customer and top customer buy six times more often.
To get these frequent shoppers jazzed, advocating for your brand and potentially placing an extra order or two, start by sending some love their way. A little surprise and delight goes a long way in building emotional brand connections. And being top of mind doesn't hurt with the holiday season coming up.
Here are some simple ways to delight and surprise your best customers:
1. Amazon coffee mugs at Christmas
One of the first customer appreciation gifts I remember receiving was a coffee mug from Amazon. This must have been in 1995 when Amazon was still just an online bookstore. For Christmas they sent their best customers, or perhaps all their customers, a coffee mug as a thank you for being an early customer. I am not sure they sent this mug to all customers or only to their top customers, but I still remember it and carry a special place in my heart for Amazon almost ten years later. Of course I am a little disappointed that after year two I never again received a gift even though I continue to spend big money with the company. If they had some type of analytical marketing in place that would show them who their best customers are, they could see who it would be worth it to send a customer appreciation gift. Ahem...
2. LinkedIn customer appreciation messages
When LinkedIn, the professional social network, sent out congratulatory notes to their top users last year, it created quite the buzz. Many of the users who were recognized as the top 1% or top 10% most viewed were so flattered that they shared the news via social media profile resulting in much free publicity for LinkedIn. Sometimes simply recognizing people as good customers is all it takes!
3. Zendesk anniversary gifts and tweets
Zendesk, a cloud based helpdesk solution used by thousands of mom and pop shops (and some larger companies), sends its customers a t-shirt on the day of their Zenniversary. The Zenniversary is the anniversary of the date a customer signed up to Zendesk. The t-shirt comes with a public congratulatory tweet, which often receives enthusiastic response from the recipient. There is no reason why ecommerce companies couldn’t reward their top customers in a similar way.
4. SnapEngage cup cakes
Great, personalized gifts to send your top customers are these customized cupcakes sent first (as far as I know) from a company SnapEngage to another company Desk.com (which is now part of Salesforce.com). The Desk.com people liked the cupcake idea so much that they too started to send personalized cup cakes to their partners and customers. The picture below is from a giant cupcake they sent to their customer Instagram when Instagram was acquired by Facebook. I can assure you that a giant cupcake will surely bring a smile on your customers’ faces and will be remembered for a long time.
5. Seventeen photo style contest
Handing out awards to users or customers is a well-known tactic in business-to-business marketing. This example is from Marketo, a marketing automation company, but practically all large technology companies do this. In the world of ecommerce, you might want to reward users for posting an awesome picture of their outfit ‘in the wild’. Of course many retailers have caught on and are doing Instagram and Pinterest contests like this. What would be even more awesome would be to recognize consumers for their actions (like wearing your outfit in a stylish way) without having them to enter any contest. Surprise and delight galore!
If you have appreciated your customers, or if you have been appreciated as a customer in fun and creative ways, please let us know. Much appreciated!