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Q&A: Customer Communication during the Holidays

Hi Sellers,

 

The Holiday season is coming up quickly! On Thursday, November 16th from 10am-11am PST, Christina Dam, Product Marketing Lead @ Square, hosted a Live Q&A here in the community on: How to Effectively Communicate with your Customers during the Holidays.

 

@XtinaDam runs the Product Marketing team at Square focusing on products such as Square Loyalty, Marketing, Gift Cards and Directory. She has more than a decade of experience in digital marketing, e-commerce, brand-building, and bringing new products and digital experiences to life.

 

One of the products - Square Marketing - Christina is working on this holiday season.One of the products - Square Marketing - Christina is working on this holiday season.

 

 A couple example questions:

  • How can I best let my customers know about our holiday specials for the upcoming season?
  • I use Facebook to communicate to my customers, why should I use Square?

Thanks in advance! Cheers!

Message 1 of 24
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Square

Best Answer

Thank you all for the great questions and participation, I hope you all learned something or got some new ideas to try for your business!

 

To wrap up, I thought I’d leave you with my personal Top 3 tips for the holidays:

 

1) Keep your business top-of-mind:

 

  • As you all know, everyone gets busy busy busy as the holidays near. On top of that, all our email inboxes get flooded by offer after offer from companies far and wide. Even your most loyal customers can easily find themselves distracted by the flood of messaging around them. I hear a lot of owners resist emailing at this time of year, out of respect for their customer’s inboxes. However, in order to keep your business top-of-mind, it’s really important to actually engage more. Resist the urge to back-off, as it could mean your customers ‘forget’ about you during holiday shopping runs. I’m not saying email every day, but you may want to push a few extra messages if you want to take advantage of the holiday boost.

 

  • With Square Marketing, there are a couple features that can help make this easy. Take advantage of our seasonal pre-designed templates (see them all here) to reduce the time it takes to craft a message, and also schedule your emails ahead of time. If you can carve out an hour or two now, you could set-up all your campaigns for the next couple months and schedule them now -- and cross all that marketing off your list!

 

2) Set your business apart:

 

  • Each business is unique, and that’s what sets you apart! Try to create an experience that’s special and authentic for your customers, which can give them a good reason to visit during the busy holiday season.

 

  • This could take the form of special offers, or try something more unique in-store, like hosting a special holiday event or open-house, or create special, personal moments in-store like offering free hot chocolate or light snacks for busy shoppers.

 

3) Don’t forget your Gift Cards!

 

  • Looking across all our Square sellers, we see customers spend 600 percent more on gift cards in December than any other time of the year. They not only make great gifts and stocking stuffers, but can be a good way to generate additional sales from existing customers. Perhaps you offer 10% off Gift Cards over $50 or $100, and that could be enough for your loyal customers to stock up for themselves too. Read more about how Gift Cards can help your business here.

 

  • If you don’t yet have gift cards, Square offers both plastic Gift Cards as well as free digital eGift Cards that customers can buy online and have emailed to friends and family. We highly recommend both so you never miss a gift card sale! Click here to see all our gift card options.

 

We wish you all the best success through the holidays -- and if any other questions come up, feel free to post them and we'll answer!

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Hi @XtinaDam!  I recently noticed a new(ish) "Custom" section inside Square Marketing when I go to set up a campaign, can you share more on that? It looks I can target specific groups of people. If that's the case, do you have any suggestions for good holiday groups/campaign types to use?  

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Square

@TheFreshLoaf, thanks for the great question on audience selection in email campaigns!

 

In the Audience selection step of the campaign builder, we’ve recently redesigned this to make it easier to create specific groups of customers to target. Often times, we hear businesses want to reach everyone on their list -- and that’s why we have “All Customers” as the default option.

 

However, there are also times when you may want to send a message just to specific groups of people, and that’s what the Custom section lets you do. Square pre-populates your Regulars as well as Lapsed customer groups, though we also offer new tools to be able to create your own custom groups. By clicking Create New Group you’ll find a number of filters that let you create groups based on when customers last visited you, from what location, and more.

 

Personalizing your message by targeting specific groups is a great way to make your email stand-out. As an example, for the holidays you may want to send a special offer to your highest value customers to recognize their loyalty and prompt them to visit again during holiday shopping. For this group, you could select all your Regulars, plus create a group of people who’ve left you positive feedback, for example.

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Hi @XtinaDam - for eGift cards, can Square please add a feature that allows you to edit & delete previous card designs?  It would make the design field less cluttered & easier to utilize.  Thanks!

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Thanks for the feedback @Rejuvii! That is a common request, and something that I will make sure to pass back to our product and engineering team as a request. For now, the best way to add a new design is to edit the current custom design you have uploaded and replace the image with a new design!

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Beta Member

Is Square marketing only a American Feature at this point? Would love to utelize this!!!

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@amcwilliam, currently Square Marketing is only in the US. Eventually we’d love to bring it to all locations, but also need to ensure all local requirements and policies are upheld, given global differences in email marketing regulations. At this time we do not have a timeline for expansion outside the US, but know that we share this goal! Where are you based?

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totally get that. Thanks for the Reply. We use Mailchimp now but integration or the ability to market my customer database would be incredible.  Thanks!

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also... in Canada. We are well used to getting everything a little later 🙂

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Alumni

Aw, well thanks for your patience @amcwilliam. We ❤️  Canada! 

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Will be waiting impatiently.

 

-Canada!

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Is there a way to add additional birthdays to one email in order for birthday promotions to go out to more than one person in the household.  I'm thinking specifically for children.  I know I can create a whole other customer profile under the child's name using the same email but I'm looking for an easier method.  TIA!

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Square

Great question, @Bella117! At this time, the best way to trigger a birthday email to multiple family members would be to create separate profiles for them, as you’ve mentioned.

 

You can save additional birthdays as a custom field in profiles (to set-up, go to Directory settings here), but at this time it will not trigger the automated campaigns. Thanks for sharing, it’s helpful for me to hear how you’d like to use the automated campaign feature. What type of business do you have?

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How do we check for duplicates in our customer email base? The marketing instructions say to click on "check for duplicates" but I don't have that option show in my customer page

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In order to check for duplicates, you need to visit the Customer Directory. If duplicates are detected after the Directory loads, red text that reads “XXX Duplicate Suggestions” will appear at the top of the page. One thing to note: if you have a large number of profiles it may take a minute for the whole Directory to load.

 

Our system will flag potential duplicate profiles when we detect the same phone number or email address on more than one profile, and when the names appear similar in the system. By clicking on the Duplicate Suggestions link, you’ll get a chance to review all flagged profiles and be able to merge profiles or ignore flagged profiles.


If you do not see the red Duplicate Suggestions text within your Directory, our system has not identified any duplicates in your list.

 

As a safeguard, Square Marketing also de-duplicates email addresses that appear in your list, so any email address will only ever receive a specific campaign once. Hope this helps clarify how this works, @CoopsCoffee! 👍

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Super Seller

Thanks so much for the awesome opportunity!

I have a few questions that I'd love to get your insights into!

 

A little background: We're a small homemade Ice Cream store in a local neighborhood. We don't sell our products online, but have a solid website, kickin' social media channels, and delivery through a few platforms.

 

1. Last year we made the jump from paper Gift Certificates to the Square Gift Cards and it has completely revitalized and revolunized our holiday gift sales. We just decided to take the leap into the awesome new eGift Cards and we're experimenting with that. The Physical Cards are much easier to redeem - just swipe instead of typing in a long code or going through the process of linking to customer accounts and then searching and diving into that field - but the eGift Cards are much easier and cost effective to sell. What do you feel is the best way to promote the eGift Cards without confusing or directly competing or confusing with our physical Gift Cards?

 

2. We've made the switch from our Paper Punch cards to the Square Loyalty for what we call Digital Punch Cards, in the past couple of month's in our off season, and it's been great so far.

2.a. Do you have any ideas for any cool Holiday integrations for the Loyalty program? Something we can add or tweak to make it a little more festive?

2.b. We've run into some issues with duplicate customer profiles and outdated customer profiles that we'd love to see remedied to make the experience easier since our busy season is coming and we would love for it to be easier to use. 

2.c. Moving into the Holiday Season, what are some great ways to speed up transition time with our customers from the Paper to the Digital? We've done a marketing campaign about them, social media posts, in-store signage, and worked on perfecting a simple line to quickly educate and encourage them to participate - but we find that so many of our customers still don't know about it, since we don't have many ways of communicating with the majority of our customers who aren't on our email list.

2.d. We love all of the data we can get through it, but we're hoping for more communication with these folks, especailly around the Holidays. We know that when a customer signs up for the loyalty program, they get a text with a website to type in their email address - but we've found that less than 25% go into that and put in their email. Are there any other ways coming that I can communicate / market to these customers - either instead of them putting in their email, or to encourage them to go in and put in their email? Even phrasing of that initial text message to be more encouraging to click on that link and see their rewards page would rock!

 

3. We already put in our order for the new Square Register and are eagerly awaiting! What new tools will the new register and Customer Facing Display use to more easily and effectively communicate and interact with our customers?

 

4. Any other cool things coming up we can look forward to?

 

Thanks so much,

Pesso

Pesso - he/him
Pesso's Ices & Ice Cream
Square Super Seller - I'm here to help!
Message 16 of 24
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Square

Hi @Pesso, thanks for all your questions! I'm going to tackle them one at a time. 😊

 

Question #1 - Great question, and great to hear that Square Gift Cards have worked well for you! I would say that you should focus your plastic gift cards efforts for your brick and mortar shop and leverage eGift Cards for your website. We encourage our sellers to have both, so you are always able to make a gift card sale! Customers appreciate the convenience of being able to quickly buy eGift Cards online, but sometimes also want to get a plastic Gift Card that a recipient can unwrap or include in a card. As you know, it is free to set up and promote eGift Cards (as you only pay the processing fee when a customer purchases a gift card), so there is no harm in having both. This opens up more opportunities for you to sell gift cards to your customers both online and in person, and you will not miss an opportunity to sell a gift card to a customer who is unable to come to your brick and mortar store!

A couple easy ideas to help you promote your eGift Cards are:

  1. Send an email to customers letting them know you offer them! This helps raise awareness that you have them, and also gives customers a direct link to your order page. If you use Square Marketing, you can even set-up a ‘Buy eGift Cards’ button that appears on any email campaign as a constant reminder that you have them. Set up these default buttons on your dashboard
  2. Promote eGift Cards through your social media channels! Sounds like you’ve already got a great presence online -- so anywhere you can, place links to your eGift Card order page and remind customers that they are available. Especially as you get closer to the holidays, these can be a great last-minute gift!
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Answer for question #2b coming at you, @Pesso

 

Thanks for bringing this up! Our team understands that duplicates and outdated info is a pain point, and we've been working on improving this part of the experience. We are focusing on removing recurring duplicates from the Customer Directory, and also working on smarter ways to identify and prevent duplicate profiles from showing up. In addition, we are working to provide better tooling for the sellers to manage their customer’s profiles. For outdated customer profiles, we are investing in improving the accuracy of information and the level of detail provided in the profile. Please continue to share feedback like this! It always helps us improve.  🙌
 

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Answer for @Pesso's question #2a: So glad to hear that Square Loyalty has been working so far, and you bring up a great question about adjusting your program to make it holiday-themed! ❄️  🎄  🎁

Some ideas that come to mind:

  • Since the holidays are the season of giving, you could pick a specific day or week where you motivate customers to come in by offering to donate $1 for each star you give out to a charity of your choosing. In order to get a lot of customers in the door for this special holiday promotion, you could choose a local school or non-profit to donate to, and promote these special days in-store as well as through social media and email so you tell as many customers as possible! In order to see how many stars you gave out in the day, head over to the Loyalty page of your dashboard.
  • You could make the free reward your customers receive holiday-themed for the month of December. For your ice cream shop, perhaps you offer a special holiday flavor or treat - do you make pumpkin, eggnog, or peppermint flavors? Or maybe something gingerbread-themed? You would know better than me about all the holiday flavors out there! 🍦  
  • Make the free reward a small gift card of $5/$10 so that your customers can use it as a stocking stuffer for someone they know, or maybe offer a discount on Gift Cards to all your Loyalty participants.
  • Choose a day (ex. Black Friday or Small Business Saturday) and promote via your social media channels or marketing tool that customers will get 2x the rewards on that day. When a customer comes in and is eligible for a loyalty star, manually add another star to their profile. Right now this would be a somewhat manual process, but we’re hoping to automate that in the future and it could be worth it for a single day!

Hope those ideas help, does anyone else in the community have examples of how they have integrated the holiday season into their loyalty program?

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@Pesso, here's the answer to your question #2d: 

 

I appreciate you bringing this up, as it’s another comment I’ve heard from a number of sellers. At this time, we don’t have the ability to set up custom messaging to participants via SMS, but it’s definitely something we’re exploring for the future as we know it is in high demand.

One idea you could try would be to increase the incentive you offer for customers to add their email address through the SMS interface. You could incorporate this into the pitch you and your staff give to customers who are enrolling -- encourage them to click through and add their email and they’ll get extra stars, which could get them farther down the path towards their reward. You can edit the incentive by editing your program details in the dashboard.

Another recent feature that we added to help you increase Loyalty enrollments are email invitations to any customers who 1) have an email address on file from digital receipts, and b) have qualifying purchases but for some reason have not enrolled in Loyalty. These customers receive an automated email (example below) inviting them to claim their stars and enroll directly from the email. While the communication with participants is still limited to email, we believe this helps increase your participation and also the percent of participants that can be reached via email.


Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 9.52.03 AM (1).png

 

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👋  @Pesso, here's the answer for question #2c: 

 

Great Question! This is something we have heard from multiple sellers. We recently created a premade Tabletop Sign for our sellers to print and set up in their store front to promote their loyalty program. We encourage our sellers to add these signs to their counter near the register and at each of their tables. To download and print these signs, go to your Loyalty Dashboard and click on Actions and click on Print Free Tabletop Signs to download the PDF. Here is an example of what the sign looks like:

 

Loyalty Tabletop SignLoyalty Tabletop Sign

Another suggestion would be to add your perfect one-liner to encourage customers to sign up into the Staff Training; I’m sure this is something you’re already doing! Sometimes it can feel awkward for your employees to remind a customer to sign up for your loyalty program during the sale, so you may want to have them practice with one another to get more comfortable with it. 


There are also some really great examples of what other people are doing over in this thread about customer education for Loyalty. I’m curious to hear what’s working best for other people in the community too - if you’re following along, feel free to chime in on this topic!

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