Customer loyalty has become more elusive in the past few years. As customers seem to shop solely based on the best deal, it can be difficult to build customer loyalty in retail, which leaves many brands wondering if customer loyalty is even worth the effort.
However challenging it may be for retailers, developing a loyal customer base is essential to maintaining an active, healthy brand. A loyal customer is valuable to retailers in a multitude of ways. Many studies show that repeat customers are likely to purchase more frequently, spend more money, and pay a premium for a product. In addition to generating more income from their own purchases, loyal customers are more likely to refer new customers to the brand, furthering the cycle of customer retention.
As a retailer, how do you build these types of relationships with your customers? Read below for our five best tips.
5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty in Retail
Step #1: Personal Experience
Your frontline staff play a large role in converting a customer from an occasional shopper to a brand advocate. Train your employees to go above and beyond to provide your customers with helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable service to create an experience your customers will remember. Work toward a culture of centered on employee engagement and provide your staff with regular training, feedback, and incentives to encourage consistently excellent performance. Simply put, investing in employee engagement saves you money.
Step #2: Store Experience
Is your retail store an inviting place for customers to spend their time? If you design your store to provide an appealing experience, customers will be more likely to visit your store as an activity or a destination. Your store should be clean, attractive, and easy to navigate. In addition to the physical design and layout of your store, pay close attention to your inventory. Customers expect stores to be well-stocked with high-quality merchandise.
Remember that retail purchases are intertwined with a shopper’s life, image, and identity. Your store experience and aesthetics should affirm to customers that your brand is a good fit with their lifestyle and personal identity.
Step #3: Price and Value
Retailers often mistakenly think that customers will only buy the cheapest product available, regardless of the brand or retailer. While this may be true in some markets, many consumers are willing to pay more if they feel the price matches the product’s quality. Price your products so that the perceived value is high. Sales, coupons, and promotions can also help customers feel like your brand offers a good value.
Many customers will pay slightly more to shop at a store that provides a better experience and that treats their employees well. As you improve your brand’s personal and store experience, your perceived value will increase.
Step #4: Marketing and Communication
Once you’ve fine-tuned your brand experience and product pricing, you can begin to promote customer loyalty through marketing campaigns. Your marketing and communication efforts should positively reflect your brand. As you plan your marketing strategy, prioritize brand voice and consistency across all of your channels (e.g. social media, email marketing, online advertising, and in-store promotions). If you have customers who enthusiastically promote your brand online, engage with them and encourage their behavior.
Again, consider that loyal customers will consider purchases from your brand as an extension of their personality and lifestyle. Use this to your advantage as you build customer relationships through your marketing campaigns.
Step #5: Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize customers to visit your store more frequently. Discounts and promotions that are tied to a loyalty program can help customers feel that you value their business. The data generated by loyalty programs is also very valuable. When implemented correctly, you can use this data to help customers find products they’ve purchased in the past or return an item without the hassle of a receipt. On the retailer’s side, this data can also be used to learn more about customer purchasing habits and establish net promoter score. As always, use and protect customer data appropriately and with discretion.
As you harmonize the touchpoints of your retail brand, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by improved customer relationships and a stronger bottom line. InMoment’s products are designed to help retailers create a positive brand experience and to cultivate lasting relationships. Learn more about our products and services for retailers.