To survive stiff competition, businesses need to appreciate their customers. That explains why the customer appreciation day was founded.
Without customers, we would have no business. In a world where consumers can go anywhere to buy anything they want at any time of day or night, our thanks go out to the people who come into our store and shop with us.
That’s right, and your customers might not know how much you care about them. But one-third of all people who buy from a brand they love say that the company doesn’t care.
The good news is that when a customer does business with you, they are loyal to your company and spend 66% more than if they were not. The bad news? When customers do business elsewhere, the average amount is only 33%.
You don’t have to wait for a holiday or occasion, though. You can make your own Customer Appreciation Day and celebrate the people who support you every day of the year.
There are many ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, but these ideas should inspire you.
1. Be Different by Sending Handwritten Thank You Notes
If you’re not sending handwritten thank-you notes year-round, then send them on Customer Appreciation Day. This is the perfect time to show your appreciation for high spenders and valued customers.
Asking for feedback is a great way to connect with customers. You can ask if they are satisfied or follow up on something you discussed at the store.
We all know that a happy customer is worth their weight in gold. Well, these notes allow your salespeople to show just how much they care about the people who buy from you and make them feel appreciated.
One of my favorite examples of this comes from T-We Tea, a tea shop in San Francisco. I’ve purchased from them some times, and with my last order, I found a sweet note that read, “OMG, Hi Francesca! So lovely to see your name come up! We miss you dearly up here but know you are always doing epic things!”
I love when I get to buy Tea from T-We Tea because they only offer me a free sample. It’s always charming and not something you can find in other places.
Be genuine when doing this customer appreciation idea. Handwritten notes need to be sent out for shoppers who are valued (read: not just the people you feel obligated to). Otherwise, they can seem forced or even fake, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
I remember when I walked into Brooks Brothers and bought some tights for $4. The only person that spoke to me was the cashier.
I was surprised when I received a thank you note from one of the salespeople who fired me. They wrote me this letter a month later thanking me for firing them.
I appreciated the gesture, but I couldn’t get over that someone wrote a note about my purchase without knowing who I was. It made me feel like an outsider.
2. Celebrate with customers on their birthdays
It would help if you also took note of special occasions, like birthdays. Many retailers will greet customers on their birthday and offer them a small gift to celebrate.
Another idea? Remember your first customers. What if you tracked their purchase histories and celebrated the date of their first order, for example.
Alex & Ani is celebrating the anniversary of their first purchase with a special message for customers. The brand says, “Happy Charm-iversary,” to mark this milestone.
The sign will also advertise a unique code for the store’s next event.
3. Record videos of Customers Using Your Product and Share them on Social Media
I was also surprised to find that many customers are not motivated by the prospect of a big paycheck. After giving one salesperson a bonus for outperforming expectations, I learned this when they became less productive and would show up late without warning.
If you want to see an example of this, take a look at the video by Constant Contact. Birchbox took it even further and shared customer stories from their staff members.
One idea I think could be cool is telling a general story of the amazing things your customers use your items. You could ramp your video up to become more story-telling if you have the production means. An outdoor sporting company could have customers tell stories of incredible hiking trips, extreme sports moments, and other things, for instance, and wrap the video up by saying something like, “Thank you to all of our customers who choose to take our products out on the road with them. We’re honored to be a part of your journey.”
Accounting software Xero did just that when they hit one million subscribers. They spotlighted some of their customers and business advisors, then closed the video with the line… “So for helping us hit the big one, thanks a million.”
4. Publish stories and photos of your customers online.
If you want to make an emotional connection with your customers but don’t have the skills for a high-quality video, ask them to share photos and stories of what they do with your products. Then you can use those images in appreciation posts on Customer Appreciation Day.
You can also turn this practice into a regular series. The Texas-based salon and spa, The Branded Beauty Bar, does this well through its “BBB Client of the Week” series, in which they spotlight loyal customers on their Instagram account.
One of their clients recently earned her Bachelor’s degree, and they congratulated them on the accomplishment. They mentioned how long she had been a customer with BBB, which is impressive considering that this company offers its services for free to all potential customers.
I have to be honest; I’m not a fan of this trend. It’s just too much for me.
If you’re like me, your business will find that high-paying customers are great to have. But they’ll also come with their demands and expectations. I learned this the hard way by having my best customer disappear on me.
5. Introduce Customer Appreciation Day promotions
A storewide “X% off for Customer Appreciation Day” promotion can go a long way. If you’re looking for an excellent theme for your next promotion, then “customer appreciation could be a good option.
And to make it even more special, you could offer your most loyal customers a discount for this week. Habitat For Humanity store in Rio Grande Valley offered 15% off for Customer Appreciation Week and gave rewards members an extra 10%.
Habitat for Humanity RGV shared a post on Instagram that was captioned, “A little hard work hurt nobody.”
If you want to take things further, try out personalized promotions that let your customers know they are valued. You can make this happen by using some of the resources at hand and coming up with something yourself.
Dynamic offers – If you can do so, send your customers personalized promotions based on their favorite items. Otherwise, check through them manually and offer 10-50 of their favorites a promotion.
Loyalty program-wide promotions – You can make it seem unique and special to that person by using well-deployed marketing automation. First, your email announcement should be highly personalized. Think “[Customer name], and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate having you as a customer for x years. To say thank you for being so awesome, we want to give you X% off the whole store for the day.” Then you can also use your marketing automation system to personalize all the promotional CTAs on the website when the customer visits it to make them feel that this promotion is just for them.
KiwiCo, a subscription service for kids, recently sent out an email with the subject line “Thank you for being a loyal KiwiCo Subscriber!” That’s about as self-explanatory as it gets.
One of the things that KiwiCo’s email highlighted was how much they appreciated their members and subscribers. They went on to mention discounted packages for those who have been loyal customers.
A general storewide “Friends and Family” type promotion on Customer Appreciation Day offers your loyalty members better perks – This is a less personalized approach, but it still says thank you. And best of all, it doubles as an incentive to get customers to sign up for your loyalty program that day. (Salespeople can say, “That’s already on sale, but you’ll get that item even cheaper if you just sign up for the loyalty program today!” From my own sales experience, most people you tell that to will sign up.)
New York & Company is an excellent example of this. Recently, they had a general sale for all shoppers to participate in at their Cerritos Mall branch and offered even more savings on top of that if you were a credit cardmember.
Marcello is a loyalty and marketing automation software for retailers that allows you to send out personalized messages to your best customers easily. The system can also automatically detect the most valuable customer, so all of their needs will be met.
6. Surprise Customers with an Unexpected Gift.
Do you want to give your customers a great experience? Surprise them with an unexpected gift. Nothing says thank you like chocolate strawberries, in my opinion.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but put together some thoughtful gift baskets for your top spenders. Consider including a bit of card with instructions on using it to get people back into the store.
For example, if you own a women’s clothing store and want to get your customers in the mood for self-care, send them some bath salts.
7. Award extra loyalty points to loyal customers
Giving your loyal members a few extra points for the day is one way to show them how much you appreciate their business. However, the best way to do this is by rewarding them with as many rewards as they need.
But there are also other ways to motivate your employees. For example, you could offer a flat number of points for every dollar spent on Customer Appreciation Day or give them an extra point per $1.
The point of a thank you is to show your customers that they matter. When people see the salesperson’s care, they want to spend more money.
8. Host an online or offline party for your loyal customers
For your Customer Appreciation Day, host a party for all of your loyal customers. Offer to close early and set up snacks while playing some music from the 60s.
You could try running a killer discount or holding an event to promote your new line. You can also do something like having everyone in attendance receive some free gift.
When deciding on a party theme, make sure to offer some incentive for people to show up.
One of the things that Harmony Farm Supply & Nursery in California does well is Customer Appreciation Day. They know how to celebrate their customers with a local musician and free tacos.
If you want to get in on the action, these farms host discounts and giveaways. They’re also holding free farm care classes for their customers!
If you are reading this during the COVID-19 pandemic, then in-store events should be shelved until your city’s social distancing measures have been lifted. In the meantime, see if you can take customer appreciation ideas online by hosting exclusive sales and shopping events.
Nordstrom does this well. The company has an online sale for their loyalty members every week, and it’s always first-come-first-serve.
9. Give out goodie bags to customers
It’s not always easy to have a party, so offer your customers some fun by giving them goodie bags on Customer Appreciation Day. They’ll love the chance of getting mystery gift cards too.
If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift, consider giving your recipient a few small goodies and one big prize. Highlight in the description that there is at least one card worth up to $X.
10. Donate on behalf of your customers.
If you want to give a discount, it may be more effective if the company offers an on-brand charity donation in your customer’s name.
It’s a great way to show your customers that you care about them while still giving them something they want.
Now that you know about customer appreciation day, what are you going to do?