In today’s world, a loyal customer base is worth more than gold. After all, connecting with customers to deliver value creates exponentially higher dividends over time than a business with a high churn rate. To make and sustain your retail customers’ satisfaction, focus on offering incentives, learning more about their preferences, and providing them with a pleasant shopping experience. By taking advantage of today’s technologies and following best practices, you can gain a competitive edge technologically and influentially.
Why Customer Retention is Key
Before you find out how you can offer your retail customers more, let’s look at why you need to focus on customer retention. Keeping customers happy helps your business:
- Save money. It costs much less to retain customers than it does to get new ones. This includes marketing and advertising expenses.
- Be promoted. Happy customers talk about their positive experiences. Positive word of mouth can help drive organic interest and traffic to your products and services.
- Keep a consistent cash flow. Repeat customers tend to buy more often and purchase more products over time, therefore keeping a consistent cash flow.
- Solve a problem. You presumably started your business with a goal and mission in mind. The ability to nurture the customer base you have in addition to growing it will help you find success.
These are just a handful of the benefits you can expect from expanding your offerings to customers. Now that you see the reasoning, let’s explore how exactly you can offer more to your retail customers.
1. Reward Customer Loyalty
You have a lot of competitors in the retail field today. Therefore, it’s important to reward customers when they choose your store and brand over the competition. That means offering an incentive with each repeat buy they make. This can take the form of a customer discount, coupon, or a number of loyalty points for repeat purchases. For example, many businesses have utilized cash discounts to reward their customers for paying with cash.
To incentivize customers, create a customer loyalty program for your store. Provide exclusive loyalty discounts or give members access to limited-edition products. A loyalty program builds long-term relationships and offers shoppers more value for what they spend.
Consider this–83% of consumers said a loyalty program motivates them to continue shopping at a store. Almost half said they spent more money after they became a loyalty program member.
Moreover, high-point ratios are a great way to excite customers, regardless of the total number of points allocated for a reward. Even if the customer needs 10,000 points to claim a reward, getting 100 points at once will inspire them to continue toward that goal.
2. Receiving Customer Referrals
Another great way to utilize customer loyalty is by setting up and managing a customer referral program. This is like feeding two birds with one scone. Not only will the program help you retain your current customers, but you will also receive more customers at the same time. Referrals promise good marketing outcomes, especially for retailers with tight budgets and thin margins. This strategy is applicable to businesses that offer products both online and offline.
You can reward customers for referrals by giving them discounts–both the referrer and the referee. You might also issue gift vouchers or gift cards, or recognize referrals on your store’s social media platforms or web page. Again, you can use software tools that will help you organize and manage a customer referral program that will also help increase your revenues.
3. Maintain a Consistent Experience for Customers Across All Channels
Customers often research products online before they make an offline purchase. If they discover conflicting information about your retail data, pricing, products, or social media, it’s possible you’ll lose the sale. Therefore, you need to make sure the customer receives a consistent experience over all marketing and sales channels for your retail outlet or online store.
The whole idea behind consistency revolves around customer trust. Customers who trust that you will give them a reliable and consistent experience will also come back and buy more products. This is when a consistent brand and message comes in handy.
4. Stay in Touch with Your Customers
Keep and sustain your customers’ attention by reaching out and engaging with them proactively. Consider an email strategy that informs your customers of promotions or just to remind them that it’s been awhile since they shopped at your store. Sending these types of messages keeps the lines of communications open and lets your customers know you appreciate their business.
Besides email, you can use social media, live chat, and text messages to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. To avoid annoying them, ask what communication channels they prefer. Be mindful of your messages’ frequency, sending an overload of messages defeats the whole purpose of keeping in touch or providing a feeling of goodwill.
5. Surprise Your Customers with a Freebie
Everyone delights in surprises. This idea extends to your loyal customers. Depending on what you sell, you might provide a free service related to your products, or announce a drawing during the holidays. Even a simple “thank you” can motivate a customer to return to a store.
You might also send anniversary or holiday wishes by email, provide in-store-only gift vouchers, or discounts on customer birthdays. One survey showed most consumers said surprise gifts were a great way to motivate them to buy.
6. Use Analytics for Personalization
The data you obtain from your retail interactions will help you learn more about the likes, dislikes, and needs of your customers. For example, the data you retrieve through your customer loyalty program, point-of-sale system, shopping cart, social media platforms, and similar customer touchpoints can help you communicate better with your customers.
Personalizing the customer experience should be part of your standard retail practice. Customers have come to expect it, so use the data and analytics you gather to gain the insight needed to please your customers.
Anytime you can cater to your customers is a good investment in the long run. Detailing what works and what falls short will set you apart from your competitors. Consider implementing these six tips into your retail strategy to improve the customer experience and expand your business revenue.