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Being on the ball during the Easter season is only part of the story. It’s important that stores make the most of that extra traffic by turning as many new or occasional customers as possible into regular shoppers.

“Retention is always a challenge,” says Outreach, Inc. VP of Sales and Partnerships Jamie Stahler of church-attendance spikes. “You work so hard to get visitors in for Easter, but if you don’t have a strong retention strategy, the reality is it’s unlikely you’ll see much growth. You need to put your best foot forward when making the most of the opportunity from the increased visitors.”

For churches, “having an intriguing follow-up service to invite people to the next week is a great start,” he notes. In stores, the answer may be some kind of special offer that brings people back in again soon.

It’s critical that new visitors get some sort of communication soon, according to Erik Ernstrom, manager of business intelligence for The Parable Group. He cites a Parable program in which firsttimers receive a postcard saying thanks for coming and a coupon, within 10 days of their visit.

It’s not enough to just add those newbies to the regular catalog mailing list, Ernstrom emphasizes. Chances are they may not actually receive a copy for two or even three months—way too late. “You have to get them back in fast,” he emphasizes.

It’s also important to remember that some of those occasional shoppers may not be seekers or lightweight believers but sincere Christians who are active in their local church who have simply not made your store a regular part of their life yet.

FDC founder Chris Stone points to the many FDC members he tracks whose religious spending may rise at Easter and Christmas, but for whom faith is a year-round thing. “[Christian stores] needs to focus on that,” he says, “but they need to create the relationship all year-round; as we used to say in sales, the sale occurs between the buy. In other words, the relationship that you build with me year-round is what causes me to buy when it is time.”

Read more about reaching beyond your core constituency at Easter at cbaonline.org/convert-chreasters-regulars.

See how The Magellan Project is engaging people with the Bible in new ways at cbaonline.org/MagellanProject.

—Andy Butcher