Retailers, no matter how big or small, tend to share one common goal: bring customers into the store and make sales. To help drive this goal, retailers work to make their customers' shopping experience an enjoyable one in hopes that those customers will later return for another purchase.
For SMB and specialty retailers especially, it is so important to create that brand loyalty and increase the number of return customers in their stores. It has been shown that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. It has also been shown that companies tend to dedicate more of their marketing dollars towards customer acquisition versus customer retention.
Follow these six easy tips to start providing your retail customers with a shopping experience that will keep them coming back to your store.
1. Collect customer data
Customer data capture is an important part of developing customer loyalty, but only if it is used correctly. Many retailers will request a customer's phone number or email address at the time of check-out before ringing up their items. Some retailers will use this information to send their customers daily promo emails, a.k.a spam emails. When a customer receives a mass amount of emails from a particular retailer with deals that don't necessarily interest or pertain to them, the emails will start to be ignored.
Rather than using a "one size fits all" model, retailers can better benefit from capturing customer data and using their purchase history to offer personalized deals and coupons. Some retailers even offer special promotions or coupons to customers for their birthday. These personalized promotions make the customer feel that the retailer is actually paying attention to them and what they want, and this helps build customer loyalty.
2. Create a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are another great way to increase your number of return shoppers. When a customer is loyal to your business and products, rewarding them is a nice way to ensure that they stay loyal to your brand. Studies have shown that customers who are members of loyalty programs generate between 12% to 18% more revenue than non-members.
Standard retail loyalty programs offer customers a special discount for spending a certain amount of money or making a certain number of purchases from that store. Other ways to reward your loyal customers are to let them have first grabs at a new product line through a flash sale, or offering invites or discounted tickets to special events.
3. Implement a buy online, pick-up in store option
Consumers may be doing more and more of their shopping online, but the week-long wait for their items and shipping fees are still a pain point for ecommerce. Many retailers are now offering a buy online, pick-up in store option. Not only does this "click and collect" method appeal to the impatient or thrifty online shopper, but it can serve as a huge benefit for the retailer as well.
When customers enter the store to pick-up their item, they have the chance to experience the store and the opportunity to see and touch other products that they may have been hesitant to purchase online. Allowing customers to buy online and pick-up in store increases the chances of an additional sale being made when they come to pick up their online-purchased items.
4. Offer thorough employee training
Loyal customers often remain loyal to a brand due to the customer service they receive in the store. By ensuring that your employees are knowledgeable about the products being sold, inventory and stock, and the technology being used in the store, it will help to provide your customers with a better shopping experience. Knowledgeable employees can also help increase sales by recommending items based on a customer's shopping history or letting them know if they've earned a special promotion through their loyalty program membership.
5. Upgrade your in-store technology
While your store employees play a huge role in providing customers with a satisfactory shopping experience, the technology used in the store helps in providing that experience. When retailers think about creating a great customer experience, they don't usually think about the point of sale but without fast and easy-to-use technology, customers will be stuck waiting in long lines or abandoning their purchase.
Retailers need to consider this when selecting their point of sale and other retail technology. A system that is quick and easy for employees to use, accurately captures customer information, and works seamlessly through all business functions will be the ideal solution for a retailer looking to build their brand loyalty.
6. Engage your customers
In addition to engaging your customers in-store, make sure to continue that engagement after the sale has been made. By being active and communicating with your customers through social media and email, your customers will feel a sense of importance and involvement with your brand. When a customer can go to their Facebook page and ask a retailer a question and receive a prompt response, it lets the customer know that the retailer cares, and in turn, helps to bring business into their store.
Another great way to bring back customers is by using their email address or other data captured during their previous shopping trip to run targeted and exclusive social media ads to your loyal followers.
By following these six simple tips, you'll be able to build your brand loyalty and increase the number of customers returning to your retail store.