10 Customer Appreciation Ideas to Grow Your Business & Retain Return Shoppers

10 Customer Appreciation Ideas to Grow Your Business & Retain Return Shoppers

Your customers are the backbone of your business. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll agree that your number one priority should be to nurture satisfaction with your shoppers. Show them some love and run a customer appreciation campaign. 

What is customer appreciation? 

A win-win for your shoppers and your brand, a customer appreciation campaign or a shopper appreciation campaign is a promotion that a company runs to celebrate its customers. It can include discounts, small gifts or freebies, contests, and more. The point is to delight your customers. 

You can run a shopper appreciation campaign annually, quarterly, monthly -- there are no set rules. But, one constant with all successful shopper appreciation promotions is that they show customers recognition and gratitude for shopping with the brand beyond a simple ‘thank you.’ 

A promotion like this will help you retain shoppers and increase eCommerce conversions

Customer appreciation ideas to show gratitude and retain loyal customers

Let’s explore some ideas to kick off your next customer appreciation campaign.

  1. Run a flash sale
  2. Feature customers in social media posts
  3. Make it an annual event
  4. Share brand promotions with your personal network
  5. Send handwritten notes
  6. Send free swag
  7. Follow up with your brand advocates
  8. Donate to a cause 
  9. Send a gift card
  10. Reward customers with a loyalty program
  11. Offer a price cut

1) Run a flash sale

This idea goes against what I mentioned earlier about letting shoppers know what you’re planning in advance (to generate hype). But, if you have limited resources and you think it’s time to show customers you truly care, a flash sale is a viable option. 

Above is an example from Hand-Picked, an online jewelry and gift retailer. For just four hours, everything in their store was on sale at a 40% discount. They announced the sale on social media for their followers, which created an atmosphere of exclusivity and urgency -- very appealing.

2) Feature your shoppers on social media posts

People love it when you love them. Show your customers appreciation by sharing their images on social media to your followers. Attention like this makes shoppers feel like they do when their new friend shares a photo of them -- like they’re someone to be proud of. 

Rianna Phillips is an accessories seller with a flair for glam. In the above example, they share a photo of their customer, @imb_amande, “looking effortlessly chic.” In this case, they’ve placed their product (a pretty, pink phone case) in a real-life glamorous-looking scenario while showing their gratitude for the purchase; this tactic appeals to the customer(s) you promote and onlookers who might want to try the product.     

3) Make it an annual event

One way to encourage customer loyalty is to make sure your shoppers have something to look forward to. Plan your promotions in advance and make sure your shoppers know that they can consistently expect exciting deals from your brand. 

[Image source: Plum Deluxe]

Above, you see a landing page that Plum Deluxe keeps up on their website all year long. A recent tweet with a product photo let their followers know that time was almost up to get in on the discounts for what has been their full month of gratitude. Follow their lead and keep your shoppers interested in you long-term. 

4) Share brand promotions with your personal network

Sometimes it’s beneficial to share your professional promotions with your personal connections. When you say thank you to your shoppers is one of the better times to do so. You don’t want to pitch your products and services to your friends and family because that’s annoying. But, there are ways to make brand shares tasteful. 

Amethyst Babe is an online boutique body product retailer. Behind the scenes, @theillestpisces runs the show. With her personal followers, she retweets her branded promotional tweet. Now, everyone knows, if they order, they will receive a surprise gift with their purchase. Which of your store’s posts should you be sharing with your personal network? 

5) Send handwritten notes

Thank you notes are a classic way of letting someone know you appreciate them. You send them to your friends and family. Why not send them to your customers? Consumers absolutely love handwritten cards because they give the shopping experience a tremendously personal touch. 

Casper is a mattress company that sends handwritten thank you notes with their deliveries. They keep them simple and welcome customers to their “family.” You can take this idea and run with it for nearly any product offering. If you couldn’t possibly write enough notes yourself, look into a printing alternative. 

6) Send free swag

Branded merch is a win for both parties because your shoppers will appreciate the gesture. And, if they choose to sport your gift, they’ll be marketing your company to their friends and family in the real world. It’s like a thank you note that serves as a commercial for your brand. 

Above, you see some free Beatles pins that are going into some packages as surprise gifts for Pizzawednesday’s weekend Etsy orders. What better way to get people excited about your products than send them a little extra? What unique swag could you use to delight your shoppers? 

7) Follow up with your brand advocates

When your customers check in with you on social media or they tag you in their posts, make sure to follow up. Engaging with advocates, both big and small, gives you an opportunity to make someone happy. Plus, it’s just good PR. Don’t just aim for influencers, either.

Every brand mention is a chance for you to deliver an exceptional experience to your customers. Love Always Claire understands the value in simply acknowledging shoppers when they have something nice to say. You never know what good can happen for your business if you ignore your patrons. 

8) Donate to a cause 

On behalf of your most loyal customers and brand advocates, consider making a donation to a cause. This is one of the best forms of PR you can get. You’ll have a fanatic on your team who wants to share what you’ve done with the rest of the world, and you’ll make people feel great. 

On behalf of the Burst Southeast Team, Burst Oral Care donated $2,500 to the Wounded Warrior Project, for example. During your promotion, you can choose a charity to donate to or run a contest wherein the winner chooses which organization gets your donation. Just make it fun and relevant. Because of its nature, this tactic is always a success. 

9) Send a gift card

Another classic way to express your gratitude, a gift card can be an excellent promotional tactic. Depending on your budget, you can send a gift card for your online store or send your shoppers out to lunch or for a coffee. For the most impact, you’re best to execute this tactic as a surprise. 

For example, when a customer couldn’t find what they were looking for in their local store, Argos sent them a gift voucher to use online. In this case, they were making up for a mistake, but you don’t have to mess things up before you deliver a delightful experience. Try taking a look at your ten top-purchasing customers from the past year and send them a gift card. 

10) Reward customers with a loyalty program

A loyalty and rewards program is one of the best ways for an online store to create customer retention. And, it’s an excellent way to show your appreciation for the purchases made. in the eyes of your customers, make sure your rewards are worth talking about. If you do, they will share their story with the world. 

Above, Luisaviaroma created a hit with a “private sale” for special shoppers. They sent a huge discount to a select few on their luxury fashion, making at least one customer feel like the star of the show.  And, that is how a brand effectively shows their appreciation. 

11) Offer a price cut 

Sometimes a simple discount can get people excited and chatting. And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be 75% off to cause a stir. Find out how much you can afford to shave off your prices and start handing out savings to your loyal shoppers. It’s a simple offer and it works. 

Marshall Artist, modern tailoring online, offered a 15% discount for new shoppers and it got people talking. When customers were able to connect over their purchases, it created a sense of community in the Tweetosphere. And, people were connecting over the business in a positive light. You can mimic this tactic by offering percentage and dollar amounts off your prices for specific actions. 

Customer appreciation campaign best practices

Your customer base is inspired to shop when they feel like they’re getting something of value. To most consumers, there’s nothing more valuable than feeling appreciated. Follow these best practices when creating a campaign to acknowledge your gratitude. 

1) Start promoting in advance

Before your campaign commences, it is crucial to give potential shoppers a sneak peek of what’s to come. You need people to know that something big is about to happen so they can get ready to engage. Anticipation is at the heart of a successful campaign. 

So, run a pre-launch email series and let social media followers know what’s happening. You can also add a countdown bar to the top of your website or online store; try using it as a lead-generation tool by collecting email addresses of shoppers who want a notification when your promotion officially starts.

By letting people know what’s up in advance, you ensure more traffic to your store on the day of launch. 

2) Make it all about your customers, not your brand

If you want shoppers to promote you, you need to promote your shoppers. Don’t focus too much on your product or service. Instead, feature customers as the VIP of your party. You’re not exactly saying, ‘happy birthday,’ but you want customers to feel like you are -- you’re celebrating and it should be fun. I’ll bet you can come up with something just as clever while staying relevant to your products and services. Then, bring it to social media. 

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms to get shoppers engaged with your brand. So, call your customers to action on these social channels and thank them for joining in. 

3) Make every shopper feel important

To your customers, the engagement they have with your brand is one-on-one. So, keep this in mind when you connect with people. Don’t talk to shoppers as if you’re speaking to a crowd. Especially since your interactions primarily take place online, remember to keep the experience hyper-personalized. 

Encourage your customer support team to enthusiastically address each customer who engages with you on social media, email, live chat, and by phone. Then, try to enhance the experience by letting everyone know about the promotion you’re currently running.

4) Carry the vibes into the future

The fun shouldn’t stop here. In fact, you should use your promotion as a springboard for creating an exceptional brand experience all year long. Shoppers appreciate consistency. So, show them that you can consistently make them feel like a vital part of your business every single day. 

[Image Source: Sunski]

Use your customer appreciation campaign as an opportunity to launch a new, ongoing campaign. Here are some of the best types of long-term campaigns to start during a shopper appreciation week or day promotion: 

  • User-Generated Content (UGC) CampaignStart a hashtag promotion on Instagram, ask for product reviews, or ask your shoppers to submit certain photos of your products for a contest. Incentivize customer action with a discount or gift. Then, keep it going to continue generating interest in your brand each day of the year. 
  • Referral Program - It might be time to start asking for referrals. If so, you can use customer appreciation week as a starting point. Maybe you could offer additional bonuses during launch, but make sure your satisfied shoppers want to continue telling other people about your products. 
  • Loyalty or Rewards Program - A loyalty program can go hand-in-hand with your new referral program. And, it doesn’t have to end with your shopper appreciation day or week. 
  • Discount - Now might be the time to start giving shoppers a new shipping discount on sales over a certain price. Or, maybe you want to start offering markdowns on bulk orders in certain categories. The possibilities are endless.

Ultimately, you want to use your campaign to kickstart a new company lifestyle, not just a few sales. If you’re interested in making the processes easier on yourself, check out some of our favorite Shopify apps, which include platforms for ongoing loyalty, rewards, and other campaigns. 

5 Customer appreciation scripts to inspire your support team

Right now, customer appreciation scripts might be what your team needs to help set the mood when connecting with customers. During your campaign, share these scripts with your team to get them ready for the big push. They can use them as general guidelines to follow when communicating with shoppers. 

Script #1. Simple greeting

Hello there, I’m happy to help with whatever it is you need. Before we get started, did you know that we’re celebrating shopper appreciation week? To say thank you for your patronage, I’d like to offer you some exclusive perks. Some of them are super cool. Are you interested in hearing more? 

Script #2. Pitch a newsletter signup

Hi! I see that you haven’t signed up for our newsletter yet [Make sure this is true.]. As a way to say thank you, we post regular articles that can help you understand how to better understand your [Insert Product or Product Category] and other relevant [Insert Main Blog Theme] tips and advice. 

Right now, we’re offering [Insert Gift or Discount Offering] to anyone who signs up with their email address. Would you like me to subscribe you to our newsletter and show you how to redeem your reward? 

Script #3. Propose a contest entry

Hey there, thank you for reaching out/ stopping in! As a way to give back to you and our other shoppers, we’re running a contest right now. All you have to do is [Insert Customer Action(s)], and you’ll have a chance to win [Insert Prize]. And, just for playing, you’ll get [Insert Gift or Discount Offering]. Would you like to play? 

Script #4. Solve a general problem

[After the problem is solved...] I’m so happy I could help you, today! I sincerely appreciate your patronage. Before I let you go, I want to say ‘thank you,’ and let you know about a promotion we’re running to show that we appreciate you for being a part of our family. 

Today/ This week only, we’re offering [Insert Gift or Discount Offering] to anyone who [Insert Customer Action(s)]. Would you like me to send you more information?   

Script #5. Solve a problem for an unhappy customer

[After the problem is solved...] Whew, I know that was frustrating for you. I want to say that I’m grateful for your patience while we sorted through that mess. Your business is important to us.

 As a thank you, I’d like to offer you [Insert Gift or Discount Offering]. If you’re interested, all you would need to do is [Insert Customer Action(s)]. Would you like to proceed? 


The above scripts can be modified to suit your customer needs, brand voice, the skill level of your customer support team, and the nature of your promotion. The examples should be used as a starting point to get everyone’s wheels turning and the creative juices flowing. You might also like these customer service quotes to help keep your support agents motivated throughout the year. 

Final thoughts

When it comes to shopper appreciation, the bottom line is to make sure you find a way to show your gratitude to the people who matter most. You want to satisfy your customers and you wan to increase your sales. In the end, what matters most is the relationships you build. So, if you focus on that, you will certainly be successful. 

Remember to be authentic, transparent, and open in all of your ecommerce marketing campaigns. If you’re not, your brand will stick out like a sore thumb. There’s nothing people hate more in this day and age than a phony, especially when it comes to where they spend their money. What tactics have you used to show your appreciation for the people who visit your online store?

Frequently asked questions

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Ashley Kimler
The customer service platform built for ecommerce brands
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