[Chapter 3] How to Build Better Customer Relationships in Time for the Holidays

Hey! This post is part of a larger series geared toward helping ecommerce sellers understand, engage with, and love more customers this holiday season. After all, that’s exactly what the holidays are about, right?

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You’ve been nailing down plans to differentiate your brand and connect with more people. Once-cold traffic is turning into more leads, and your audience of curious shoppers is growing by the day. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are afoot, but you’re already on your way to creating a one-of-a-kind holiday campaign that’ll set your store apart well into the new year.

In Chapter 2, we dissected the wide array of strategies you can use to gather up email addresses from folks who start shopping on your site. Now it’s time to lay out what to do once you have someone’s @. 

What’s the most meaningful way to kick off conversation with people? How do you start understanding more about each person without coming off as creepy? What’s the best way to warm up to people before holiday shopping really takes off? How can your store land on more people’s shopping lists?

Building better customer relationships all starts with a memorable first impression. So let’s kick back and read up on how to start laying down a solid customer loyalty foundation before the holidays hit.

Making a Memorable First Impression: Recognize and Remember

People are tired of being sold to—especially when it comes to the holidays. If you have an inbox (or several inboxes, if you’re like me), you’ve seen stacks of subject lines promising discounts, flash sales, “BUY THIS BEFORE IT’S GONE” gimmicks, and the absolute slaughtering of brand differentiation. 

With every brand counting on consumers to click because of a low, Low, LoW price in the subject line, you might also feel compelled to join the rock-bottom bandwagon. But we’re here to say that you really don’t have to. 

The start to setting your store apart from the competition is in your first, “Hello!” to shoppers. I’m talking about a genuine, authentic, relationship-building type of hello—not a “let’s skip the formalities and head straight to the inbox” type of hello. 

To start the customer journey off on the best foot, it’s important to remember them as unique people and recognize their interests and actions. When you begin using your freshly acquired email addresses, keep this fact in mind.

Consumers enjoy a good price, but 91% of them are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and deliver relevant offers to people. Stack that on top of the big, fat truth that 72% of consumers say they now only engage with marketing messages tailored to their interests, and it’s clear that people will pledge allegiance to the better experience—not the lowest price.

Even when you’re just starting to talk to someone, you can establish a sense of authenticity and humanity with your customers (which we think they’ll notice more than ever around the holidays). 

Setting up a Welcome Campaign That Stands Out

When someone says “Hi! I want to get to know you!” by giving up their email address, the best thing you can do is return the greeting. Setting up a welcome series helps scratch this itch, and it will let your shoppers know they’re in kind and considerate hands from the get-go.

A welcome campaign is a big one—it’s your first one-to-one communication with people, and it’s the first real look people are going to have at how your ecommerce brand will treat them. A standoffish, irreverent, or pushy welcome campaign could drive newcomers away from your store and into the open arms of competitors.

To build a great welcome campaign, start by considering where shoppers are spending their time. Fifty-one percent of consumers say email is the best way for a brand to communicate with them (with social media coming in second place with 25%). With such a huge lead in that race, say “hey” in an email first.

Use Drip’s email builder to put together a warm welcome that’s customized to the recipient. This means greeting people by name and even offering up dynamic product recommendations or discounts toward a first purchase. Place inviting copy alongside enticing product imagery (or even a picture of you to put a face to the brand). 



The more personalized and encouraging you can be in these early communications, the better. These are the pivotal moments consumers remember when it comes time to shop for birthdays, graduations, and—you guessed it—Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Once your very first welcome email is fit for sending, start thinking about what other channels your welcome campaign could stretch over. By incorporating Facebook Custom Audiences and delivering some friendly “Welcome!” ads across social feeds, you’ll build a full-bodied campaign that truly differentiates your brand from others. 

To get this critical campaign set up quickly, install our pre-built Welcome Series workflow. This workflow is triggered once someone submits a form, and it immediately send them a welcome email. After the email is received, they’re entered into a Facebook Custom Audience, and a follow-up email is sent the next day.



Heads up: You've probably noticed that this workflow is a split test. What does that mean? It means you can run several versions of the same campaign at a time in a single workflow. See which one earns you the most site visits or revenue, then pick that as the test winner that'll run on for the rest of time. It's a great way to continously optimize your strategies to meet your goals. Read more about split tests here.

Once this workflow is up and running, people who trigger this campaign will be immediately welcomed into the fold; a first impression from your store that they’ll remember when the time comes to buy. 

Pro Stat: 54% of consumers expect to receive a personalized discount within 24 hours of identifying themselves to a brand (such as by submitting their email or signing up for an account). 

Nurturing Leads into Customers Beyond the Welcome

A warm welcome is great, but your budding brand-to-customer relationships need more nurturing beyond that initial campaign. Once people start hearing from you, they’re going to want to keep hearing from you, so why not deliver?

With Drip Ecommerce CRM, you can segment shoppers and trigger workflows off of actions like:

  • When someone orders an item

  • How many times someone makes an order

  • When someone clicks a link

  • When someone enters a workflow

  • When someone submits a form

  • When someone visits a page and how many times

  • And a lot more.

The point is: When someone does something with your brand, you should take that opportunity to react. When someone engages with your store, that’s the best time to engage right back. 

Once your welcome workflow is humming along, start working on lead nurture workflows that can keep the customer journey moving forward automatically. Start looking for opportunities to connect with your new leads about your store:

  • New product launches

  • Seasonal offers

  • Hot-selling products

  • Store announcements

  • Exciting collaborations

  • Free doughnuts

  • Birthdays or anniversaries

And keep your eyes peeled for chances to react to things your customers do:

  • Add things to a cart, then abandon it

  • Abandon a product page

  • Reach a specific lead score

When you build workflows that are triggered by these actions, you’ll be able to react to each customer’s unique journey at the right time with the right messaging. For example, a product abandonment workflow will start when someone views a specific product a number of times, but they don’t buy it.



By starting a campaign around the product shoppers are looking at—sending them tailored emails, showing them ads, and talking with them about that exact product—you’re able to tap into their interests in a relevant and meaningful way. 

(Which isn’t something all your competitors can say.)

Be the Ecommerce Brand with a Heart and Soul 

With a memorable first impression, personalized interactions, and relevant communications across channels, people will remember and prefer shopping at your store from the moment they give you their email address.

Start the relationship with a welcome campaign, then keep the conversation going for more first customers, repeat purchases, and long-term loyalty. Make every shopper realize there’s no place like your store for the holidays.

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