Seven Tips To Boost Shopper Loyalty
Today’s consumer has dozens if not hundreds of options for where they shop.
With so many choices available, creating loyal, returning customers is one of the biggest challenges facing retail businesses.
Unless you are operating in a niche market, getting loyal shoppers means standing out from the competition.
The key areas to focus on are value, convenience and customer service.
Here are seven of the most effective methods of boosting shopper loyalty:
1. Update your loyalty program
A loyalty rewards scheme is one of the simplest ways to create repeat business.
The traditional rewards card method is inconvenient and outdated, however.
According to David Clark, Vice President of Marketing for SDL, shoppers want a loyalty program tailored to their needs.
Your customers don’t need yet another piece of paper cluttering their wallet. Why not use something that’s already in their pockets–their smartphone.
An app-based loyalty scheme isn’t just easier for shoppers; it also lets you track their purchases to personalize the rewards offered.
For example, you could offer more loyalty points for a customer’s regular purchases.
Designer Shoe Warehouse uses a points system with tiered rewards unlocked by spending. This is great as it gives an immediate points reward for each purchase while incentivizing long-term spending to unlock the next tier.
A rewards app also gives you a lot of useful information on shoppers’ preferred products and shopping habits.
2. Excel at customer service
The quality of customer support is a major deciding factor in creating loyal customers.
There is no single secret trick to excellent customer service.
The golden rules are to make it fast, convenient and personal.
Offer as many means of contacting you as possible and always aim to reduce the time to get a response.
Everybody hates call queues. Ease the pressure on your phone lines with a live chat and the ability to get in touch with customer support via SMS and email.
Ensure sure your contact details are easy to find both in-store and online.
Your returns and refunds policy also falls into the customer service category.
Be generous and always give customers the benefit of the doubt. It is better to lose money on a purchase than lose a customer.
A big component of Amazon’s ability to retain customers has been the assurance of a guaranteed refund within 14 days for most items.
There is no doubt this policy costs Amazon money, but the result is loyal customers who always check Amazon before shopping somewhere they feel less secure.
3. Offer click-and-collect
Click-and-collect options bridge the gap between online and traditional retail experiences.
Offering click-and-collect can often get shoppers who would otherwise have purchased online or from a competitor.
For example, a customer may need several items they can easily find online, but they need them today. Click-and-collect lets you have everything ready to go as soon as they walk in.
The ability to create their order online and collect it in-store is the best of both worlds and is extra convenient for shoppers pressed for time.
4. Offer pre-purchasing
Shoppers expect to pre-order out-of-stock or upcoming products online, but not all businesses offer this in-store.
If your business is dominated by the latest releases, such as the electronics market, you could lose a lot of customers to online competitors.
Consumers in these markets want assurance they can get their purchase as soon as it is available. Pre-purchasing guarantees they won’t make the trip to your store only to find you’ve already sold out of the item they wanted.
Due to the extreme demand for the year’s biggest releases, GameStop has managing to gain huge numbers of repeat customers through its pre-purchasing click-and-collect system.
With queues often around the block for the latest hit, the last thing customers want is to discover the item is sold out by the time they reach the counter.
GameStop’s ability to serve large quantities of pre-orders for these high demand items has made them many consumers’ first choice for major releases.
Both click-and-collect and pre-ordering are key components of providing the seamless omnichannel experience that customers demand.
5. Enable mobile payment options
What could be more convenient than paying for your items with a swipe of your phone?
Support for mobile wallet apps such as Apple Pay speeds up the purchasing process even more than contactless payments.
With 41% of shoppers abandoning their purchase because of the wait, everything you can do to keep that queue moving is worth doing.
6. Use leads and contact details wisely
There are plenty of ways to get contact information from your customers, for example via a rewards scheme, as mentioned earlier.
Don’t abuse the trust in your company this information represents!
Spamming recipients with irrelevant marketing is a fast way to erode their brand loyalty.
Relevant marketing only shows customers products they are interested in.
Irrelevant marketing tries to sell products they do not care about, which suggests your business does not know its customers well.
This negative association can convince a shopper to shop somewhere they feel treated more as an individual.
Instead, use these details only to market promotions relevant to a particular customer’s interests.
Another great use for customer contact details is to get feedback on your products and service. Customers will show loyalty a business cares about what they think.
Online and email questionnaires are the best way to get detailed information.
These can have low response rates, however, because of the time investment for completing them.
For a higher response rate, SMS surveys can be simpler and faster to complete. It also helps to offer a small incentive, such as a discount or free product.
7. Use geo fencing
Geo fencing sends marketing to customers in a particular location.
This is a great way to remind existing customers about your business and introduce it to passers-by.
You are not limited just to geo fencing your own premises.
There are plenty of creative tactics you can use here.
For example, sending exclusive discounts to shoppers who visit a competitor to bring them back to you.
You could also target businesses that compliment yours.
For example if you sell wedding dresses, a geo fence around local jewelry stores is sure to catch plenty of potential customers, or your pet store could geo fence local dog-walking areas.
Uber uses the simple and effective tactic of geo fencing transport hubs such as airports and train stations, since these locations will always be full of people needing a car.
Earning the loyalty of your customers is all about offering a service personalized to each shopper.
Get to know your customers to offer them products and deals they will be interested in, and pay special attention to frequent shoppers.
Above all, make every aspect of doing business with you simple and convenient, and you will keep customers coming back for more.
Alexa Lemzy is the content manager and customer support person at TextMagic. She is passionate about mobile marketing, customer experience and communication. Feel free to drop her a line on Twitter.