- October 10, 2012
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By: Mark Dority, Director of Marketing
Statistics aren’t needed to know that, by and large, the holiday season brings with it a wave of warm-and-fuzzy altruism that makes a lot of people much more likely to treat each other with more kindness, ramp up their charitable efforts, and engage in a spirit of giving.
Need them or not, however, the numbers are there: a recent survey by the American Red Cross found that 7 out of 10 respondents plan to give as much or more to charity as they did the previous year. 93% of respondents had given to charity during the 2010 holidays and 91% were planning to give during the 2011 year-end season. It will be interesting to see how the 2012 holiday season fares, but that’s for another post.
During the run-up to the holidays, retailers, whether brick-and-mortar or online, pull out all the stops to entice consumers into spending big during the last five weeks of the year. And research supports this: according to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales represented 19.5% of total retail sales in 2011 and are expected to rise by over 4% this year to $586 billion. A successful holiday season sets the retailer up for the following year. A poor holiday season, and, well, you know the rest.
Following Customers’ Charitable Instincts During the Holiday Season – to Deeper Engagement
The year-end confluence of increased generosity and interaction between retailers and consumers presents an excellent opportunity for retailers: offer loyalty programs that incorporate causes to strengthen their relationships with their customers– which can simultaneously boost ROI on their corporate philanthropy efforts.
Cone’s 2010 Holiday Trend Tracker found that 89% of consumers want companies to support causes during the holidays and, even more significantly, that 79% of consumers want to be personally engaged in those companies’ charitable efforts.
So what does that tell you?
It tells us that during the holiday season, when so many consumers are willing to help those less fortunate, is an excellent time for retailers to build deeper and longer-lasting loyalty among their customers by following those customers’ humanitarian lead – and allowing them to donate their unredeemed points and other rewards to causes that matter to them. Retailers who implement traditional loyalty programs miss out on this opportunity.
A Happier Holiday for Retailers, their Customers and the Causes they Support
Every year, retailers that sell the toys, electronic gadgets, jewelry, housewares, clothing and countless other goods that consumers give as gifts to family and friends often roll out reward programs meant to draw customers back for more purchases.
These are the types of programs most consumers are familiar with: if they spend $X amount or purchase X particular product, they get a gift card, store credit, coupons or loyalty points worth $Y. But that’s no longer the only driver or differentiator when it comes to customer loyalty programs.
If retailers harness the seasonal spirit and reward loyal customers for their purchases by making it easy for them to support the causes they care about, they can drive a circle of meaningful engagement that makes for a happier holiday all around and a customer loyalty bond that lasts all year.
Image credit: seanmcgrath