23 Mar 2021

How to build customer loyalty

It is a truth universally acknowledged that retaining a loyal customer base is more cost-effective than constantly churning new customers. A dedicated stream of loyal footfall is the stuff of dreams for retailers, so understanding how to earn and build that loyalty is essential. The pandemic has seen a massive rise in consumers looking to shop local, as city centres remain closed and big-name retailers fail to make that all-important connection with consumers. But how can you keep those customers post-pandemic and what is the secret to sticky retail? We’ve got a few ideas…

Communication is key

The importance of human connection cannot be stressed enough. Pre-pandemic, customers were already demanding more from the brands and retailers they spent their money with and this was only exacerbated by lockdown isolation. During the lockdown, the retailers who succeeded, and continue to succeed, were those who tapped into their communities, whether on or offline, making sure they were presenting a human face in all communication. Be proactive in your communication, as well. Encourage your team members to ask customers how their experience was and find out if there’s anything they’d like to see from you in the future. Above all else, your customers want to feel listened to and want to receive transparency from you in return.

The dawn of digital

Online, social media presents a huge opportunity to present an authentic depiction of you and your business. From Insta Lives to Facebook communities, and even TikToks, authentic, unedited content is a clear winner. Of course, whatever you’re doing on social media, make sure it’s authentic and that you’re using the channels your customers use.

Of course, it’s not just social media that can be used to build loyalty. Customers are savvy to digital marketing and they know just how much data you have at your disposal; use this data! Customers are expecting personalised experiences when they interact with you online – it could be as simple as putting their first name in an email or tailoring lists to give them the perfect recommendations when new stock comes in.

We all love a reward

Loyalty schemes and incentives are absolutely low-hanging fruit when it comes to encouraging customers to return time and again. Think about loyalty stamp cards, exclusive email offers for long-standing customers or simply adding a little something extra to their purchase the next time a loyal customer buys something online. Whatever it is, make sure you’re rewarding those loyal customers to stop them going elsewhere.

There’s nothing stronger than great customer service

We’ve heard it over and over, but retail is so much more than a simple transaction; it’s all about the experience. It doesn’t matter how great your products are, or how beautiful your store looks, if you’re offering less-than-amazing service, shoppers will go elsewhere. A good place to start is to make sure each and every team member is clued up your entire stock range so they’re well equipped to answer any customer questions – whether it’s “their department” or not. Remember that your team are also your best brand ambassadors; a happy and helpful in-store team presents positivity that will leave customers wanting more.

Embrace negative feedback

Negative feedback is a fact of life in retail and you simply can’t please everyone. However, the way you handle that negative feedback could make all the difference. If a customer isn’t pleased with the way stock is laid out, perhaps you could rethink your floorplan to improve the shopper journey. If you receive negative comments online, make sure you apologise, stay constructive and don’t make excuses or get defensive. Nine times out of ten, negative feedback isn’t personal, and it can actually prove an important tool when it comes to improving your business.

We’d love to hear how you’re engaging with your loyal customers. Let us know your success stories on social media and make sure to keep an eye on the Autumn Fair blog for the latest industry insights and advice. Autumn Fair will be returning to the NEC Birmingham on 5-8 September 2021. Register your interest or apply for a stand using the buttons below. 

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