In a previous article, we discussed how to get more foot traffic in your retail store – you can read that here. But what about the important part – keeping those customers? The real challenge isn’t getting people to come into your store. It’s getting them to keep coming back.
Returning customers are far more valuable than your regular first-time shoppers. What makes them so special? Well firstly, returning customers are much more likely to purchase from you than regular shoppers. According to a study by Adobe Digital Index, repeat customers yield 3 to 7 times higher revenue per visit than regular shoppers. This may seem obvious, but it means that your returning customers are actually where most of your revenue is coming in. According to the same study by Adobe Digital Index, “Returning and repeat purchasers deliver over 40% of the US revenue even though they only comprise 8% of the visitors.”
“Returning and repeat purchasers deliver over 40% of the US revenue even though they only comprise 8% of the visitors.”Adobe Digital Index Report
Photo credit: Adobe Digital Index Report
Additionally, your returning customers are the ones you can count on when sales are slow. During a recession (you know what we’re talking about), or during the off-season, your loyal customers will be the ones still browsing your shelves.
Returning customers are also your brand ambassadors! Customers who purchase from you again and again are the ones who are going to tell their friends and families about your company, or write a great review of your brand online, or share your social media posts. They are your foundation, the bricks that keep your company standing – so build them with care!
How do you do that? Well, according to another study by Adobe, the majority of shoppers will only purchase from a brand that demonstrates they understand and care about their shoppers. So, when it comes down to it, you just have to show your customers that you care. They are, afterall, the most important part of your business. So let’s go over a few ways to make your customers feel special, and get them coming back to your shop.
Loyalty programs or a points and rewards programs are ideal if you want to keep your customers coming back. Small Biz Genius discovered in a study that 75% of customers favor brands that have a loyalty program. If customers have the promise of some kind of gift or discount, it’s just that extra incentive for them to come back and shop for more. Plus, reward programs might actually incentivize customers to purchase more during their visits, to wrack up some extra points to get closer to their reward.
Get to know your customers
“Personalization can no longer be considered a luxury, an add-on, a bonus for marketers. It’s a chunk of the foundation of modern advertising.”Ted Vrountas, Instapage
Anyone in retail knows that in order to sell, you have to know who you’re selling to. This is why remembering your customers is key to success. If you know your customers previous purchases, their occupation, their family life, then your sales tactics will be much more effective because you can get a better understanding of who they are, what they want, and what they need. Plus, your customer will appreciate your attentiveness – they’ll really feel special if you remember them, and they’ll feel valued at your business. Personalization really is key.
According to this study by Instapage, “80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences.” Additionally, Ted Vrountas from Instapage states that “Personalization can no longer be considered a luxury, an add-on, a bonus for marketers. It’s a chunk of the foundation of modern advertising.” So, knowing your customers is actually pretty darn important.
Obviously, if you have a bigger business it may be more challenging to actually remember your returning customers – but whether your business is big or small, it’s worth your time to keep track of your customers either through memory alone, or more effectively, through some kind of customer database. Nothing beats committing your customers to memory, but a customer database can help tremendously. It’s especially handy if your POS has customer reports, so you can keep track of what each customer purchases, how much they spend, and when they purchase. Customer notes can come in handy as well, for adding details such as birthdays, preferences, life details, among other things. A quick glance at their customer profile on your POS can let you or your staff learn a lot about them, and your customer will be delighted by the personal touch.
Stay on your customer’s radar by keeping in touch. A newsletter is a great way to keep customers interested and build a solid foundation of returning customers. A study from Hubspot states that 59% of people said that marketing emails influence their purchasing decisions. Keep them updated about new products, upcoming promotions, and all that good stuff that will make them want to pay you a visit. Incentivize customers to sign up for your newsletter by offering them a discount when they sign up – and make sure they know about all of the new products and awesome deals they’ll miss out on if they don’t sign up!
Similarly, sending a follow up email after their purchases works wonders, too.This is a great time to ask for a review to build up your brand awareness, and offer a discount for the next time they visit your store!
Going back to personalization, if it’s possible, send out personalized emails to your loyal customers when it’s their birthday, if a product you know their like comes back in stock, or even if you haven’t seen them in a while.
If you have a loyalty program or a newsletter, reward your returning customers by giving them special perks that your regular shoppers won’t get. For example, sending out a newsletter with a special discount code, or giving them a head start to a big sale (let your returning customers come in the day before, so they get first pick.)
Social media is an essential marketing tool in 2020 – if you’re not on it, then what are you even doing? It’s a great way to keep in touch with your shoppers – they can stay updated about your shop, and likewise, you can keep up to date with wha your customers are doing.Try to keep your shoppers engaged on social media – for example, ask them to tag you if they post a picture of one of your products, or share the picture they post (with permission). Social media is an awesome way to promote your new products, promotions, and your brand overall – but it’s also one of the best ways to stay connected with your customers.
More and more, consumers expect speedy response times.This is especially true on social media, which an increasing number of shoppers use to contact businesses. If a customer directly messages you about a product, it’s in your best interest to get to them right away. If not, they might take their product search elsewhere.
Similar to being active on social media, having an online store is equally if not more important in today’s digital climate. Most consumers shop online, and even though many shoppers still prefer shopping in-store, Retail Dive discovered that most shoppers begin their shopping with online product searches. So even when shoppers shop in-store, it’s still partially online. Having a user-friendly and up to date online store is essential to maintaining your business and keeping customers.
While online is important, don’t underestimate the power of a great in-store experience. As discussed in our previous post about increasing foot traffic in your shop, making your store a unique and memorable experience is what drives people into your store – not necessarily the products, which they can shop for online. Create a memorable experience by providing excellent and personalized customer service. Get creative with it and do something fun inside your shop to make it special – hosting an event, inviting another business to set up a stand in your shop, or even offering beverages or snacks can make it a more pleasant experience. To read more about getting foot traffic, read this post.
To keep customers coming back, you have to surprise them. If it’s the same old thing every single time, they’ll get bored. Even something as simple as remerchandising your displays can have an impact on the perception of your shop. The same can be applied to your online store – change up your landing page often, so it always looks different when shoppers visit your store. The same products you’ve always had can seem shiny and new if you display them differently! But try new products to keep things fresh, too. Collaborate with other small local businesses – as previously mentioned, having another business set up a temporary stand in your shop could be an exciting way to change things up.
When it comes down to it, if you want customers to care about your store, you have to care about them. Don’t undervalue the people keeping your business alive – returning customers are quite literally the lifeblood of your business. Keeping customers around is about showing your appreciation, but also knowing them enough to understand what they want from your business, and delivering accordingly.