Written by Michael Keenan

April 30, 2020

In an era of massive eCommerce sales growth and increasing competition online, a one-time sale is simply not enough. 

In fact, did you know it costs 5-10 times more to attract new customers than to keep current ones satisfied? It makes sense to put more effort into retaining one-off seasonal shoppers so they can become lifelong customers. 

But catering to today’s consumer takes understanding of their individual needs, wants, and circumstances. Ultimately, the more you impact their experience, the more likely they’ll impact your profit. 

So, to turn seasonal shoppers into lifelong customers, apply one of all 10 of the following tactics to build loyalty and drive more sales. 

1. Nurture the relationship through Chat Marketing

Learning how to use Chat Marketing is essential  to build closer ties with one-time seasonal shoppers. This refers to using email, Messenger, and SMS to improve communication with shoppers during their journey. 

While it can seem intimidating, eCommerce marketers must develop omnichannel skills to build relationships with one-time shoppers. Remember, a better relationship will help keep customers around, and in turn, encourage them to become lifelong customers. 

According to Invesp, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain, on average, 89% of customers, compared to 33% of those with weak omnichannel strategies. But how do you engage with these new customers? 

Consider sending these types of content:

  • Educational: These include blog posts, webinars or videos that help customers solve problems related to the purchase. Whatever you can send to help customers master your product and come back for more. For example, if you sell gym apparel, you could start a podcast featuring fitness influencers and trainers with workout tips and routines.
  • Entertaining: This type of content includes funny videos, memes, or interesting stories that keeps customers engaged with your company. 
  • Culture: If your brand has a strong following and messaging people resonate with, you can connect with one-time shoppers by discussing relevant topics with them in Messenger or email. 
  • Special deals: Customers may be reluctant to hand over their contact information to your company. To help encourage them, you can send occasional discounts and deals to customers who subscribe to your lists. 

When you use Chat Marketing to connect with seasonal shoppers, you can build a tie with them that leads to longer-term relationships. Tools like ManyChat give you the ability to easily manage conversations across SMS, Facebook Messenger, and email, all in one place. Giving you the opportunity to make more sales for your store. 

2. Exceed customer expectations

Live chat

Live Chat opens up a direct line of communication between website visitors and your business. Rather than talk with someone on the phone or write an email, shoppers can have a conversation with you inside the chat window in your store. 

Live Chat bridges the gap between the in-store experience and online shopping. For example, you can strike up a conversation, offer help, and get to know the person on the other side, creating a positive experience that can foster a long-term relationship. 

For example, you can use Live Chat to help a shopper find better products to suit their needs.

SMS conversation in Live Chat

With ManyChat, you can open up a conversation through Messenger or through SMS Live Chat. There’s a great conversion rate optimization with Live Chat that can boost sales, build brand equity, and help collect information on customers and prospects to serve them a more personalized experience. 

Personalization

If you want to turn one-time shoppers into long-term customers, ask yourself how you can personalize their experience from the first touchpoint. When you tailor an experience to your customers liking, you make shoppers feel comfortable with your brand and more likely to return your website.  

I’m Guillem, the Key Account Manager at CRISP Studio — a leading Shopify and Shopify Plus Solution provider in Spain and Europe.

At CRISP Studio, a leading Shopify and Shopify Plus Solutions provider in Europe, on-site personalization and Facebook ad targeting are key strategies they use to turn seasonal shoppers into permanent customers. “On-site personalization is something you can no longer ignore,” Guillem Hernandez, the studio’s Key Account Manager, explains, “the products a customer adds to their cart or browsed in your store gives you an idea about their preferences.”

“By personalizing shopping suggestions with related products; online merchants can show them under shoppers even if they are not frequent visitors,” Guillem adds, “this tactic ultimately shows results such as an increase in customer loyalty and more return traffic.”

To improve on-site personalization, look to products such as LimeSpot Personalizer

Personalization Tool

These apps use AI to match product attributes to shoppers behaviors and global trends to make the best product recommendations to encourage the sale. You can find it for free in the Shopify App store, and the app also integrates with WooCommerce and BigCommerce. 

Cross-sell complementary products

Cross-selling will always be your best friend when trying to reduce customer churn, especially for seasonal shoppers. A cross sell happens when a customer buys a product that complements their initial purchase. 

For many eCommerce shops, such as Bidinis Bags, suggesting complementary products has become best practice for retaining long-term customers. “What works well for us is segmenting customers by the type of product they purchased from us,” explains Caterina Bidini, Bidinis Bags Owner and Designer, “it’s allowed us to map out complementary products we suggest through targeted and personalized emails.”

For instance , if a shopper purchases a small coin purse from Bidinis, Caterina will end up suggesting a larger handbag or clutch with matching leather. The company also provides shoppers with tips on caring for their products per season, which has helped increase sales from seasonal shoppers. 

3. Promote a customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are a surefire way to keep one-time shoppers around longer. According to Neilsen, 84% of consumers say they stick with a company that offers a loyalty program. With that, 66% of customers claim earning rewards influence their buying behavior

A customer loyalty program can make shoppers feel special and help build a connection between them and your brand. You can send points or rewards for special occasions like birthdays or other life milestones, depending on how much information you collect. The more personalized you get, the more likely they’ll come back to your store and shop. 

When a one-time shopper is browsing your site, make your loyalty program prominent. You can set up a Modal widget on product pages or Add to Cart pages to capture seasonal shoppers information in your store. Offer a discount or some incentive to get people to sign up. 

Sign up for customer loyalty program pop up

In ManyChat, you can easily create the message, timing, and placement and add it to the store. Then, continue to nurture the relationship with them through Messenger, SMS, and email.

4. Send retargeting ads

Sometimes seasonal shoppers may not be convinced to buy more from your store. They may stop responding to your promos or go cold on your list. One way to help get them back into your ecosystem is through retargeting ads. 

Retargeting ads come in a few forms, but for Facebook marketing you can focus on two types:

  1. Sponsored messages: Paid messages you can send out through ManyChat to everyone who has messaged your Facebook page through your bot or Live Chat. This includes people who have unsubscribed, but doesn’t include people who have blocked your page.
  2. Facebook dynamic ads: Dynamic ads show each viewer the most relevant products and ad creative across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network or Messenger, based on the actions they’ve taken on your site or app.

Retargeting ads help you reach those shoppers who already know you. Consider personalizing these ads for each customer automatically. You can use this as a opportunity to showcase new products to seasonal shoppers, and encourage them to come back to your store.

Get more return shoppers with automated lead generation flows and better customer engagement using ManyChat. It’s free to get started.

5. Send discounts on recurring orders

A simple way to get people back into your shop is by offering discounts on products they’ll likely order again. It’s a strategy that Calloway Cook, the President of Illuminate Labs, uses to turn seasonal shoppers into lifelong customers. 

“I always suggest offering a significant discount for customers who subscribe to monthly shipments of your product,” she explains, “Most companies offer somewhere in the range of 40% on the first shipment, and 15% on all future shipments indefinitely. That’s huge savings for customers, and we’ve seen a huge boost in sales as a result.”

Take Dr.Axe, an online nutrition retailer, for example. The company offers products at a regular price, but gives shoppers the “Subscribe & Save” option for 15% off and free shipping. 

eCommerce example of discounts for subscription orders

There are plenty of products you can sell as a subscriptions, including:

  • Undergarments and necessities: which covers everything from underwear to socks, razors, and dental care. 
  • Clothing: products in this category includes shirts, jeans, shoes. 
  • Baby products: such as diapers and toys.
  • Food: such as groceries and supplements.
  • Beauty products: including skincare, makeup, and shampoo.

A subscription service can make a customer’s life easier and help build loyalty for your brand. Because customers keep receiving your products regularly, they’ll likely build a connection to them and stick around longer than one season. 

6. Create a post-purchase follow up experience

Earning a repeat customer is all about making sure they have a positive first experience with your business. 

Meaghan Brophy, a Retail Analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com recommends a few ways to bolster sales revenue and increase customer lifetime value: 

  1. Clear communication after the order is placed: Once shoppers place an order, they should get an itemized confirmation email with the products they purchased including photos and a cost breakdown, along with estimated fulfillment and shipping times, and any relevant information on return or exchange policies. 
  2. Easy order tracking: Once the order is fulfilled, shoppers should get another notification communicating the order on its way, along with a tracking link and estimated arrival time. 
  3. Post-purchase feedback: After the customer receives their items, send a survey to collect information on their shopping experience and satisfaction with the products. This step is crucial because it will provide you valuable feedback, and because you don’t want to start marketing to a customer who has had a bad experience. 
  4. Carefully crafted follow-up campaigns: One of the biggest mistakes commerce businesses make is incorporating new customers into their regular marketing campaign messages before they have even received their first order. Take the time to ensure new shoppers have a positive first experience before asking them to purchase more.

To learn how to create a post-purchase follow-up step-by-step using ManyChat, check How to Create A Powerful Post-Purchase Follow-Up Sequence

7. Expand your product line

One way for eCommerce stores to turn infrequent shoppers into lifelong customers is by pivoting their products. Retailers who sell season-based or event-based apparel or products, can look to alternative uses of their products. 

iHeartRaves, a print clothing company focused on festival fashion, had to shift during COVID-19 after events were postponed around the country. CEO Brian Lim explains how the $30M a year retailer is handling the shift. “We sell fashion items to attendees of music festivals,” Brian explains, “these events are being canceled or postponed all around the country and even throughout the world as COVID-19 spreads.”

Even without the virus, the company sells festival clothing only during the warmer months of the year. To create more revenue for the company, Brian describes, “first, we’re shifting our marketing from mostly festival clothing to other uses of our apparel such as lingerie or loungewear.”

If your products are sold by season, consider other ways shoppers can use your products throughout the year. You could also add new items to your store to create new offerings you can send to shoppers year round.  

8. Create an enjoyable unboxing experience

When a customer’s package arrives, it should be branded and packaged with additional resources like product care instructions, catalog, or anything that informs the customer about your brand. 

Take Sunday For Dogs, a freeze dried dog food company, for example. The company includes a newspaper insert called The Sunday Paper which covers dog health, customer stories, and other entertaining content. 


People are drawn to products and packaging that look good. A study from 2013 found that attractive packaging provokes the reward-seeking areas of the brain associated with impulse buying. In short, consider product presentation if you want to make a positive impact on a seasonal shoppers future purchasing decisions.

9. Build a community around your brand

One way to keep seasonal shoppers engaged throughout the year is by building a community around your brand. You could send shoppers the same Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday sales over and over again, but so is every other company.

In saturated verticals like discount retail or beauty, it’s hard to cut through the noise. However, a community can help engage shoppers and keep your brand top of mind. 

Jono Bacon, a community and collaboration consultant, author and speaker, advocates building a community to keep infrequent shoppers engaged year-round. “Communities are at the intersection of psychology and collaboration,” he describes, “if brands can build a simple, lightweight, and productivity community that generates spirit and belonging, they can keep seasonal shoppers engaged and generate amazing results.”

Frank Body’s built a community around women (or as the brand refers to as “babes”) who want to show their natural selves, and enjoy their beauty products. Frank Body promotes different challenges for their community in a fun, exciting way that encourages shoppers to stick around. 

Frank Body community challenge sign up page

In an industry dominated by influencers and celebrities, this type of community is rare. 

The result of their community-feels? Annual sales of $20M and counting.

10. Launch a “spin to win” campaign in your Messenger bot

Spin to win lets visitors in your store subscribe to your Messenger bot for a chance to win discounts or prizes. Use this type of campaign to help capture seasonal shoppers attention in a creative way. 

Shoppers enjoy spin to win because it’s an easy and engaging way to get a good deal. Every spin can be a winner, whether it’s 5% off, 45% off, or a free pair of socks. These campaigns convert at a high rate, are customizable, and you can choose how many discounts you give away. 

Here’s an easy way to set an ongoing spin-to-win campaign up in ManyChat. You can set this up right now in ten minutes and continue to improve it as more shoppers spin.

First, create an Embeddable or Overlay widget on your site to promote the spin-to-win. You can choose from a few different types including a slide-in pop-up or page takeover. 

Once you choose a widget, it’s time to build out the flow. 

Create an Action block for your “Starting Step” with a Custom Field that collects the time and date of the spin. Then write your message to kick off the wheel. 

How to create a spin to win in ManyChat part #1

When someone clicks to spin the wheel, you can send a message with a GIF showing a spinning wheel or another fun or related image. Then set up a Randomizer to control how much of each discount you giveaway. 

How to create a spin to win in ManyChat part #2

The Randomizer lets you choose up to six different paths to send shoppers down. You can set up your Randomizer to let some shoppers lose (and encourage them to come back!), as well as give out more low discounts than high ones. 

How to create a spin to win in ManyChat part #3

To keep the spin to win going, you can set a 23 hour smart delay to send a message to the shopper encouraging them to spin again. 

Customize your spin to win campaign to fit your needs. If you want to limit shoppers to one spin per week, you can use a one-time notification to tell them when they can spin again. You can also collect email addresses and phone numbers and send spin reminders accordingly. 

Improving your seasonal marketing strategy

As you go about building out your marketing strategy and building relationships with seasonal shoppers — be sure to check out our tips on eCommerce marketing strategies — shoppers are bound to need convincing on why to buy products when browsing your store. 

With these tips on how to turn seasonal shoppers into lifelong customers handy, you can make a good first impression for your brand and convince shoppers to stick around for longer than one season.

Sell more in your online store with ManyChat. It’s free to get started.