BFCM Retention

Hi Readers!

Another week in paradise, amirite??

If you are new here, welcome. It means the world to me that you take a few minutes out of your chaotic week to listen to me ranting about all things CX. I value that more than you can imagine.

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1. This is the last installment from Peel on all things Data and Retention. They have been such a dream to work with and ideate fun newsie ideas with, so please give them a shout if you want to learn more about your customers.

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2. Cody and I recently had the chance to sit down and chat with Peiman Raf, co-founder and CEO of Madhappy, on the podcast. If you have followed me for a minute, you know that I am obsessed with the Madhappy mission, vision, and product line; this was a dream come true for me.

We chatted about how Madhappy chooses who to collab with, how their product drop strategy has been working for them, and how important community and mental health are to their brand.

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August is coming to an end, and marketers across the nation are sweating. Q4 is upon us, and growth teams are preparing to sling discounts to anyone that’ll just open their emails.

“Black Friday is the SuperBowl for marketers, here are 10 things to do to transform this year’s success 🧵”, a threadboi furiously tweets.

“Here are 7 mental models to create a community, not just a following” shows up on your feed right before “8 Excel tricks that’ll change your life.”

The algorithm is baiting you.

You flip open a notion doc, maybe even pop a Mojo microdosing shroom. quickly gets opened in the background.

Neuromodulation ensues.

BFCM is coming, and we need a retention plan.

“Retention, Eli?”

“Isn’t BFCM all about growth?”

Hear me out though: It’s truly wild how much focus is put on revenue for the entirety of Q4, whilst we leave retention as a focus for the new year.

What if I told you that just a bit more focus on the customer can turn BFCM into actual long-term revenue rather than just one-and-done Q4 wins?

Sounds too good to be true? I know, we are used to a quiet January and February after front-loading a ton of revenue from customers in Q4, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Pull up a chair. Let’s talk.

So much of the Black Friday rhetoric is predicated on the idea of breaking through the noise. 💥 

Our competing brand is offering 50% off? Let’s offer 50% as well.

Brands are now offering “eArLy AcCeSs” to their BFCM sale to spam customers earlier? Let’s do EXTRA EARLY EARLY VIP ACCESS and send double the emails.

Here are some reasons why your BFCM customer might not come back:

  • If they came in on a thiccc discount, it’s doubtful that they will be delighted to pay full price on their next order.

  • Shipping in Q4 is an absolute sh*tshow and it has become increasingly difficult to predict any Q4 shipping experience that has a semblance of normalcy—customers who had to wait two weeks for their order are unlikely to want to go through that again.

  • Inboxes are cluttered, what is the chance they read your post-purchase emails that should have “set them up for success”?

In short, your BFCM customer might not be the optimal customer, but is there a way to focus on retention and put your best foot forward during this wild (and might I say, precedented) time? 🤓

If we zoom out for a second, it’s worth noting who your typical BFCM customers are. Most brands lessen their paid spend in Q4 because CAC generally goes up precipitously in most categories.

I think it has to do with supply and demand economic type stuff…? Lol, ignore me when I talk about growth stuff, please.

In that case, lots of BFCM marketing happens, by necessity, with your owned audience, and you are not reaching a ton of new customers.

This, however, is not necessarily a bad thing. If you can get a previous customer to come back, hopefully they know what a regular experience with your brand looks like and can withstand the Q4 chaos.

Ultimately, if you can create a better experience and relationship with customers, that’ll certainly impact their LTV.

Here is my basic Q4 checklist for both great CX and Retention of this cohort:


Set BFCM expectations: Put a banner on your product page header that says there might be delays for orders during a specific time period. Put it on your checkout page. Perhaps put it in your post-purchase email too? Hell, the more the better.

When you can properly set expectations, while you might slightly lower in-cart conversion, you are certainly helping your CX team by saving them hundreds of “where is my sh*t?” emails, and probably increasing LTV as well when customers realize this is a one-time fluke and not general business.

Make it special: Yes, there are many parts of the experience that are not in your control. But that should not stop you from putting extra focus on the things that are.

At OLIPOP, we put a special card in every holiday order to bring some extra holiday cheer. At JRB, we create unique holiday kits that you can’t get throughout the year.

Focus on ways to create unique customer moments that make them take a pause and remember you.


Cohort Analysis: Before focusing on this year, it’s worth doing some research on last year’s customers. We’ll use a bunch of Peel’s cohort analysis metrics to learn more about those customers that purchased during BFCM last year to answer the following questions:

  • How do LTV, AOV, and Repeat Purchase Rate look for customers who placed their first order on BFCM vs repeat customers?

  • Did customers with specific items in their order perform better LTV-wise?

  • If you discounted, did any of those customers repurchase at full-price post BFCM?

In simpler terms, it’s worth taking a deep dive on those BFCM customers from years past (either November monthly cohorts, or week 46/47/48 of the year).

  • How much did they spend?

  • What did they repurchase?

  • When did they repurchase? etc etc.

Get the full picture so you are data-driven in your planning for this year.

You can then use Peel Audiences to create a list of customers that meet a scenario you are thinking about (maybe people that you acquired last BFCM), see the analysis on that Audience, and then test out an experimental offer to then measure if it drives dollars and orders.

I’ve seen BFCM deals run the gamut in terms of the offer:

  • Flat % off everything

  • Tiered discounting that makes customers dizzy

  • Offers available only on subscription products

  • Unique products or kits

The relevant question is, what is the right offer?

As you might imagine…. it depends. It really depends on your promotional calendar and the expectations you set for your customers.

There is one definite though: If you are not looking at your data, you are probably not making the best choice.

That's it for this week.

Appreciate you joining!

For this week’s CX Chronicles, I’m excited to again go slightly off the beaten path and chat with a good friend of mine who has led community-building efforts at Banza for the last 2+ years. Alexis Thomolaris has not only built an incredible community there, but also oversaw the paid partnerships, brand ambassadors, the gifting program, and managed the community team and CX team.

Aside from her great work at Banza, Alexis spent some time at legendary brands such as Away and Coterie. We connected while I was at OLIPOP and have stayed in touch.

One of the best community and CX minds I know!

1. What is your philosophy on community?

While this doesn't feel particularly ~newsletter worthy~ to me, community is all about finding your people and understanding them better than anyone else.

The "your people" here could be a brand's customer base or community of creators (which is what I've applied it to in past lives), but it easily relates to how one interacts with their family, friends, and colleagues as well.

In this type of a role, the importance of vulnerability and relationship building is key to creating an authentic community experience.

The more you can show up as your truest self in the work you're doing to foster a loyal and engaged following, the more your audiences will resonate with you (and the brand by proxy).

2. What is your favorite Banza Community Story? 

It is SO hard to pick one.

If I have to choose, it would be the incredible partnership turned friendship with the talented, passionate, and plant-based recipe developer, Nasim Lahbichi (of Lahbco), and his best friend / relationship-first focused agent, Lisa Poe (of LGPR).

Nasim was one of our first long-term creator partners at Banza. We found him early on in his career (shoutout to my incredible community intern turned full-time Banza employee Emily Lyons for introducing me to this STAR), and I have been so lucky to watch him and his following soar in my time at Banza.

Not only does Nasim's content almost always go viral—which is no easy feat I might add— Nasim is all about giving back and supporting brands and organizations he really believes in. He inspired us to explore including a giveback component as a part of all of our long-term partnerships and has always been so authentically himself in every recipe he creates with Banza products, which has driven incredible awareness for the brand.

Nasim brought Lisa on as his manager mid-partnership, and when I say she changed the way I view talent managers in the space I mean she truly flipped my POV upside-down. Having worked on the brand side before she went off on her own, Lisa's approach—filled with empathy and her deep knowledge of the industry while always putting her creators first—is beyond refreshing.

Safe to say I couldn't love Nasim or Lisa more and I am so grateful to the Banza community for allowing me to foster such an incredible friendship with these two far beyond my tenure at the company. :)