Retail Customer Loyalty Tips
One of the keys to maintaining a thriving business is a steady customer base. A successful company typically sees 80 percent of its business come from 20 percent of its customers.
Once a shopper enters your store, they’re in the perfect setting to enjoy everything that sets you apart from competitors – both online and off. Your salespeople must be the differentiators between button clicks on an app and a true shopping experience. With the right tools and techniques, they can create an exceptional experience and build a loyal base of fans along the way.
Your first step of developing a customer loyalty program is with your sales staff.
You want customers to be loyal to your well-trained employees who act as trusted advisors to make each of them feel special and valued when shopping in your store.
Engage and Connect
A person wandering around your store could be thinking about anything. At best, they’re trying to find a product they definitely want to buy. At worst, they’re frustrated they can’t find it, and are considering looking on their smartphone to see if they can get it elsewhere. By engaging, building rapport, and creating an atmosphere of trust, your salesperson can keep the customer focused on the current shopping experience.
Here are four tips that can help ensure that your customers have a great experience from the minute they enter your store and that can help your build their loyalty so they keep coming back for more.
Your salespeople should be greeting people within 15 seconds of the person entering your store. They don’t need to follow the customer around like a lost puppy or worse like a stalker, but they do need to say Good Morning and engage them just a bit before ever trying to pitch a product. This lets the customer know who to talk to if they have questions, makes them feel welcome and appreciated, and encourages them to ask questions. Miss this and loyalty is impossible to build.
Be one step ahead
Anticipate your customer’s next move. Fulfil it before they ask. For example, a person doing their St Patricks’s Day shopping in a supermarket may pick up all the related paraphernalia but they know their forgetting something. Instead of pushing the usual chocolate bars, and chewing gum at the shelves near the checkout, you’ve helpfully stocked them with Patricks Day, badges, hats, cards etc. Also, use queue management technology to predict when your shoppers are going to arrive at the checkout so there isn’t a long wait for them.
Helpful, not Pushy
Your shopper already feels that they want to buy something. There’s a reason they call it retail therapy – they don’t need a pushy canned pitch from your salesperson. They do need information that’s useful to justify a purchase to their inner critical parent. Using what they learn from the shopper, the salesperson needs to be able to create the value to the customer over the price. When they do it in an authentic way, it will seal the deal without your salesperson ever having to resort to outdated and unwanted closing techniques.
A simple thank you for your business can go farther than all the marketing money you could spend on wasted advertising. Most buyers of luxury items share some type of contact information, whether it’s email or a phone number. A few days after the purchase, drop them a line to let them know you appreciate their business. This note or call should have nothing to do with coming clearance sales (it’s really all about future sales). Leave the marketing to the marketers. Thank the customer, let them know they’re appreciated, and make sure they know you’re available for any questions or follow up. They will remember you for it.
Build Employee Loyalty, Too
There’s an old saying that “fish stinks from the head down.” Put in a more positive light, loyalty starts at the top and works its way throughout the company. If you’re competent, you’ll earn your employees’ respect. If you have integrity in all of your dealings, your employees will be proud to work for and with you. If you’re consistent in your decisions and actions and display a willingness to protect your employees, you’ll earn their trust.
All of these qualities will build your employees’ loyalty to you and the business. And if you’re loyal to your employees, they’ll feel good about their jobs and pass that loyalty along to your customers.
Customer loyalty is a relationship that is built and maintained over time.
When used properly, your store provides a venue for building loyalty on a foundation of value, service, and experience. When compared to those things, price alone becomes a distant consideration.
Use your store and your salespeople to the greatest advantage, and you’ll build a loyal following that online or rival retailers can’t hope to match.