T’was the night before Black Friday, and all through the house,
Shoppers were anxiously waiting, hands poised over mouse…
No matter the time of year, it’s important to know that your loyalty program can handle the daily wear and tear of customer actions. Whether you’re issuing rewards or customers are redeeming them, you need a loyalty program that will perform well under any circumstances – especially when the pressure is higher.
Every year, shoppers and ecommerce merchants alike wait with bated breath for the arrival of Black Friday – the busiest shopping day of the year. Since saving money is still one of the predominant customer motivators, it’s no surprise that customers come out in droves in order to get a headstart on their holiday shopping. In fact over 74.2 million people made purchases on Black Friday in 2015, making it clear that shoppers are still always looking for the best deal.
So as the Black Friday and Cyber Monday mania built this year, retailers found themselves wondering how they could possible prepare their store to weather the inevitable flood of customers and orders.
While others may have different ideas, we here at Smile.io encouraged you to develop and initiate a loyalty program to ensure profitability through the 2016 holiday season and into the new year. As loyalty experts, we’ve helped thousands of merchants find success with loyalty programs and are convinced that it is the best retention tool for any business, no matter the industry!
But what about during the busiest time of the year? I’m sure there are a couple of you out there who have your doubts about customer loyalty, and Smile.io specifically. That’s why we’ve decided to share our primary loyalty data with you to help illuminate why we really are the number one loyalty solution available.
So without further ado, let’s crunch some numbers.
As the smoke clears following the Black Friday madness, Adobe has revealed that web traffic was up 220% from the average Friday.
That’s an incredible increase! With so many users attempting to access the same sites at the same time, many stores experienced server crashes or delayed load times. These types of hold-ups severely impact a store’s customer experience and can discourage new customers from returning in the future.
Shoppers have been conditioned to expect immediate gratification at every step of the customer journey, and loyalty programs are no different. Nobody wants to have to wait for their account to load, and slow-functioning rewards programs can severely impact customer churn.
Thankfully, Smile.io continued to deliver a Grade A customer loyalty solution when it counted most. On Black Friday, our data analysts reported upwards of 9,500 requests per minute at midnight. This trend continued through to Cyber Monday, where we received around 9,000 requests per minute from noon to 10 PM. These are hugely significant spikes in traffic, especially when you consider that our servers are typically operating with only 4,300 request per minute.
Clearly, Smile.io was built tough.
Black Friday and Cyber Week give merchants and excellent opportunity to lure and secure new customers. This can be done any number of ways, however most brands seem to rely on discounts. While this definitely attracts lots of new customers (I mean, who can resist that glowing beacon of hope, “SALE?”) it doesn’t necessarily entice them to return.
When you engage in the discounting game, you enter a deadly race to the bottom that can deflate profit margins and severely dwindle your marketing budget. Retention marketing, on the other hand, allows you to appeal to new customers and turn those first-time purchases into repeat purchases.
On an average shopping day, Smile.io helps merchants acquire 60,402 new customers through account registrations. This number sounds pretty good, but we can do you one better: Black Friday saw an absolute onslaught of new customer activity, as 125,001 new customers swarmed our merchants and enrolled in their loyalty programs. This continued through Cyber Monday, with 104,379 additional customers joining valuable Smile.io loyalty programs around the world.
Holiday discounts may look good on paper, but clearly customers are drawn to brands that offer true, lasting value throughout the year.
Creating True Value
The heart of any loyalty program is the rewards. Whether it’s dollars off, free shipping, or exclusive products, customers prefer to shop with brands that provide additional value. This is especially true at Christmas, when customers are looking to save money wherever they can when buying gifts for their thirty nieces and nephews.
Smile.io helped thousands of merchants establish value for their customers in the months leading up to Christmas, and reaped the benefits between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, 91,006,683 points were cumulatively issued to customers and 8,525,992 points were cumulatively redeemed.
This level of activity can be explained in a number of ways. First, customers are clearly engaged in our merchants’ loyalty programs and see the value in participating. Secondly, offering a variety of ways to earn and redeem rewards creates excitement and helps build purchase intent. Last but not least, building a loyalty program with Smile.io has allowed our merchants to offer unbeatable customer experiences that shoppers want to engage with.
Succeed With Smile.io
Our Black Friday results prove that whether it’s the middle of February or the end of November, Smile.io loyalty programs are built to live long and prosper. Black Friday 2016 broke online sales records in the U.S., bringing in a whopping $3.34 billion dollars in a single shopping day. This is a 17.7% increase over 2015, and Smile.io helped over 10,000 merchants enjoy their piece of the profitable pie.
I’m sure there are still some of you who don’t believe us, but whether you do or not the numbers don’t lie. With Smile.io, merchants experienced exceptional server support, a 200% increase in account registrations, and outstanding levels of customer engagement.
The best part? Loyalty isn’t a season-specific retention strategy! Investing in customer loyalty with Smile.io can lead to these types of benefits all year. So what are you waiting for? Start building a world-class loyalty solution today and set yourself up for even greater success next holiday season. After all, it’s only 352 days away…