Key Strategies to Prevent Lapsed Customers

At one time or another you may have experienced a lapsed customer. It happens. When it does occur, we are left to ask, what caused this? Better yet, how can we prevent a lapsed customer in the first place? This break in engagement can add pressure to regain a customer’s attention and buying power. Ensure your active buyers stay, and prevent them from becoming lapsed customers, by maximizing your direct mail campaign.

Prevent the pressure of regaining lapsed customers with the following strategies: Stopwatch

Offer a promo. Promos such as a discount off the next purchase or free shipping with next purchase add a sense of urgency to respond. Customers will not want to miss out on a timed stamped offer.

Offer convenience. In your mailers, include order forms that make it easy for customers to respond.

Look beyond the initial purchase.  Invest in your customer’s future purchases by assessing the Lifetime Value (LTV). This allows you to assess all of the purchases a customer has made from your catalog to determine a customer’s buying power in the future.

Mail dates should not be changed to save money. In fact, this will cost more money to your direct mail campaign.

Use digital tools to your advantage as adjuncts to your catalog. Sending an email is a cost effective way to prevent a lapsed customer. Give them a “sneak peak” into an upcoming new catalog for which to be on the lookout. Emails can include a promo code that can be redeemed with catalog purchase.

Test mailings. Consider a test mailing to revive your customers. This is an opportunity to see what promos, cover changes, and layouts work and what doesn’t.

Break customers into categories to target catalog purchases.  Divide customers into two simple groups: older vs recent. For example, a more recent customer may not require an enticing test promo. This, however, will reactive an older customer. Don’t forget to use the back cover to your advantage, as it is often the first to be seen in the mailbox. Promos should be clearly placed and easy to see.

Welcome Back Offer. If you have found a current customer who is now purchasing online and not through your catalog, generate catalog sales by welcoming them back with an offer they can’t refuse. “Welcome back” offers will remind them why they started purchasing with you in the first place. Emphasizing limited availability is a persuasive and powerful technique: if customers do not order now, this offer will not be available again.

Lastly, let predictive tools, such as RFM, assist your catalog campaign in preventing lapsed customers. How can this be accomplished? By asking the right questions:

How recent was your customer’s purchase from your catalog? Asses how many months have passed, then target this group with a promo to reactivate a purchase. Just recently purchased? Don’t wait. Offer a follow up incentive that puts the buying back in the hands of the customer immediately.

How frequent are purchases made from your catalog? Create target lists which focus on how often your customers are buying from you. Evaluate groups and follow their buying patterns. Customers may purchase weekly, monthly, seasonally, or strictly from clearance.

Assess the total amount of purchases made per customer. If your customer is a seasonal shopper, target their purchasing power as holidays draw near. And let the seasons work for you. With summer underway, consider promotional offers that connect buyers emotionally to the season. Gear up for fall with back to school shopping, as well as targeting holidays, birthdays, and special occasions.

How much are customers spending when they do purchase? Assess the total dollar amount on one catalog order. As a cataloger you can increase items sold with catchy phrases that draw in the customer, such as, “Don’t forget to pamper yourself too!” or “Don’t forget to treat yourself.” It is giving the customer permission to treat themselves too, and puts the focus on them when otherwise they would not.

These strategies and questions will allow your catalogs to continue to provide products your customers are looking for and keep current customers coming back. After all, reactivating a lapsed customer is nearly ten times less expensive than acquiring a new one. By focusing on these strategies, customers will remain loyal and engaged now and into the future.

About the Author: Jim Gibbs

Vice President of Sales & Marketing at The Dingley Press. Jim has been with Dingley since 2002 and lives in Maine near our Lisbon, Maine plant location.