Fostering and encouraging customer loyalty is critical for every business because it drives repeat purchases and helps you turn customers into brand ambassadors. Boosting customer loyalty is never more critical than in the fall, as we go into the holiday season. Consumers are shopping no matter what—and you want to make sure they buy with you, not your competitors.
Consider which of the following ideas are best for your customers and integrate them into your marketing plans. Don’t forget to track quantifiable successes, like total sales earned or the number of repeat customer purchases so you can repeat what works best for higher customer loyalty all year long.
Host a Holiday Sweepstakes
Contests, specifically sweepstakes, are a great way to engage your current customer base and drive loyalty at the same time. Why? “Your fans are your fans because they either now or at some point have decided that they want whatever it is that you got. So give it to them!
A Sweepstakes is a creative and effective way to engage your customers with rewards that will build the elusive ‘brand loyalty’ we all want for our business,” according to our guide Build Brand Loyalty With Holiday Sweepstakes.
To make your sweepstakes successful, keep the following best practices in mind:
- The offer should fit the prize. This means: if the prize is small, or inexpensive, it should be easy for customers to apply. The harder it is to submit their information, the fewer responses you’ll get.
- Create a promotion plan to drive engagement, including personalized email marketing and social ads targeted at current customers.
- Track success using metrics based on the goals you set and to help you run more sweepstakes in the future. For example, you may note which social site drove the most submissions and put more stake in paid ads with that platform next time.
Note that you don’t have to wait until the holidays to run a customer loyalty sweepstakes. Consider the seasonality of your business to determine other good times of the year. For example, perhaps a spring sweepstakes would be better for an outdoor retailer looking to promote new summer outdoor gear.
Step it Up With Customer Service
Your customer service is critical to maintaining brand equity and driving customers back to the store. In fact, a 2016 Customer Engagement Index found that 47 percent of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of getting poor customer service. Luckily, this is simple to correct and improve upon.
“-a 2016 Customer Engagement Index found that 47 percent of customers would take their business to a competitor within a day of getting poor customer service.”
Start by sending a customer survey after every interaction, if you have their email address. Keep it short and simple, but effective, asking only the most important questions. Check out these survey templates and sample ideas from Qualtrics to get some inspiration.
Check the results once a month to determine where improvements can be made. Perhaps customer experience at the register isn’t as good as it could be, but your dressing room attendants consistently rank high in customer experience.
Strategically Craft Your Coupons
In a 2016 coupon analysis, 81 percent of retailers agreed that keeping specific coupons limited to a particular set of customers was the best way to reward customer loyalty and drive sales. Not only do you give them a reason to shop with you again, but you give them a reason to stay loyal to your business and brand.
“81 percent of retailers agreed that keeping specific coupons limited to a particular set of customers was the best way to reward customer loyalty and drive sales.”
Here are a few strategic ideas to make them the most effective:
- Tell customers why they are one of the lucky few to receive the coupon. “We’re saying thanks to a small group of customers…” This exclusivity drives both sales and flattery—which leads to higher customer loyalty.
- Send coupons on dates that are meaningful to your customer, like their birthday or anniversary, if you have that information. This deepens the emotional tie they have with your brand because you remembered them on their special day.
- Push coupons via SMS to build a more personal relationship. If you have a brick-and-mortar retail shop, tell them to show the text to the cashier to get their discount. You can also send a coupon code to be used online, which is easy for you to track.
Send Discounts for Cart Items
Cart abandonment is a struggle with retailers everywhere, and you can use this as an opportunity to boost customer loyalty. If customers leave without making that final purchase, send an email to remind them of the items they left behind. Include images of the products as a reminder of what they were looking at, and don’t forget the most important part: a discount, driving loyalty and sales.
This should be set up as an automated campaign that gets triggered when a customer exits the site with an item left in their cart. To boost loyalty, use customer data to make the email personal, including their name, or another identifying factor and suggested items similar to those in the cart. Get inspiration from these 13 Abandoned Cart Emails.
Try Multi-Channel Marketing
With multi-channel marketing, integrated systems work together to create a more personalized and persuasive experience for customers. That’s not all, Jillian Hufford with nChannel suggests how you can use this to drive a better customer experience, and therefore customer loyalty:
- Provide quality product information to customers.
- Keep inventory updated in real-time for accurate stock levels for customers.
- Integrate your supply chain to offer options like buy online, pickup in store.
Many retail management products are now prepared for this type of integration, making it easy for you to connect your eCommerce platform with your POS and logistics software.
Boost Customer Loyalty This Fall
Take brand loyalty to the next level with these ideas this fall. As you prepare for the holiday season, you’ll give your customers a great reason to shop with you, instead of competitors. They get what they need, and you continue to build a valuable and loyal customer base.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer, content marketing consultant and business owner. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for RetailNext, ShopKeep, Salesforce and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn.