The Australian Retailers Association is clear that ‘loyal customers are the key to long-term sustainability and growth’ (“A Crash Course in Customer-Centricity”, 2017). Let’s have a look at how we can turn the increase in foot traffic and consumer spend over the holiday season into an expansion of your most loyal customer base. How? Through customer retention and follow-up.
One of the best ways to ensure those return visits is by being proactive with customer service. Examples of this in store can look like:
- Exceptional customer service! You know the drill: a warm smile, a friendly greeting and an approachable demeanour from your staff. Solidify a positive shopping experience in store and your customers will leave with a smile.
- Personalised advice recommendations. You know your product and you know it well. Have some gift ideas locked and loaded – staff recommendations can be a godsend for shoppers at crunch time.
- Sufficiently fielding enquiries. Seems obvious right? But let’s not forget that even seasoned staff might need a little extra training earlier in the year to make sure they’re on top of all the new products, the best sellers and everything in between.
Your staff are the first point of contact and a great opportunity to provide well informed and memorable customer service. How do we follow-up this exceptional in store experience? With digital communication post sale. Examples of follow-up emails can include:
- Asking for feedback
- Showcasing products ‘you might also like’ (retargeting)
- Offering exclusive discounts to returning customers such as promotional sales in the New Year.
REVEL IN REVIEWS
So the customer has just left. You know your team has provided outstanding service and your customer is happy. What’s next? Ask the customer to leave a review! This can easily be done online and is a good way to follow-up with your customer post-sale. A report by InsideRetail showed that 70 percent of Australian and New Zealand shoppers will read reviews prior to making a purchase and four in five Australian customers will tell their friends and family about positive and negative experiences they encounter with brands and retailers (“What did other shoppers say? – Inside Retail”, 2022).
Engaging your consumers as much as possible with your store helps strengthen the relationship between audience and brand as well as demonstrating your priority to an ongoing relationship.
Shopify found that 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers and it can be five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one (Damen, 2021). So – incentivise and reward your most loyal customers! Think about those who are most likely to spend big and leave glowing reviews online and with friends.
Need some ideas on how to do this? It could look like:
- Tiered loyalty programs
- Exclusive promotional offers
- Birthday gifts
- First access to sales or new products.
You don’t have to be a big business to offer rewards – you just need to ensure you are keeping track of your previous customers in a database. Value adding elements over the Christmas period can also contribute to the perceived advantages of loyalty programs and further customer retention such as:
- Free gift wrapping
- Free jewellery cleaning for the New Year
- Personal shopper experiences.
Building brand loyalty is a sure fire way to retain your target audience. Once the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has subsided, remember to utilise the down time to stay connected and proactively motivate your customers to visit again in the New Year.
Now that you’ve met your customer base, let’s stay in touch. Communication is key for retargeting and ensuring return customers. You’ve started the conversation in store and now it’s time for follow-up. This can be done through emails, post, text or phone contact. You can use this strategy to notify customers of branded campaigns and new products, even if you don’t currently have a sale to promote. Direct communication will boost and encourage the relationship between your customer and your brand – and that is a wonderful thing.
A Crash Course in Customer-Centricity. (2017). Retrieved 2 September 2022, from https://www.retail.org.au/news-and-insights/a-crash-course-in-customer-centricity
Damen, A. (2021). Customer Retention for Retail: 6 Key Retention Strategies for Your Retail Business. Retrieved 2 September 2022, from https://www.shopify.com/au/retail/customer-retention-retail
What did other shoppers say? – Inside Retail. (2022). Retrieved 2 September 2022, from https://insideretail.com.au/client-report/did-you-hear-what-other-shoppers-said
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