Finding new customers should be a greater challenge than keeping repeat customers. You don’t know the buying habits of possible new customers, and they don’t know you, your products or your services. Ultimately, you will spend a great deal more on advertising for these possible new customers to convince them otherwise. Nonetheless, with constant focus on driving in new customers, you may be neglecting your already loyal fans.
Independent Retailers Should Recognize and Reward Loyal Customers
Repeat customers mean repeat sales, so keep track of who buys what. Keeping track of who buys what ensures that you will always have frequently sought-after items in stock, and provides you with the opportunity to offer the product at a special “Repeat Customer” discount. Once you have shown some interest in your customer besides the sale they provide, you may be able to solicit them as an email subscriber. Then, be sure to use the newsletters or other promotional emails you send out to your email subscribers to update them on special sales, contests and promotions pertaining to their preferred purchases.
For those independent retailers with a growing customer count, recognition and reward are crucial. Personally keeping track of repeat customers becomes more difficult as your business grows, which is where a Customer Loyalty Program can help out.
Michael Rochester, an affiliate with Dynamic Merchants, a merchant processing company, expresses the necessity of gift and loyalty card services associated with Customer Loyalty Programs in a recent interview with IndependentRetailer.com. Rochester emphasizes, “Gift and loyalty card services are huge in the retail industry right now. It’s something I wouldn’t want a retailer, restaurant or customer-oriented organization to be without in this day and time.” Investing in that small piece of plastic, to be later attached to customer keychains and slipped inside customer wallets, is a smart way to remind your customers that their loyalty is noticed and appreciated.
Build a Culture Around Customer Loyalty
Loyalty promotions and programs are not all that is required to keep a repeat customer. Independent retailers who are not only looking for sustainability in customer loyalty, but are also looking to increase their repeat customer numbers, must focus on rebuilding their business culture. As Entrepreneur suggests there are seven rebuilding tips to implement in your business culture, helping with customer loyalty, and they are as follows:
- Anticipate customer wishes
- Be patient with the hiring process to ensure superb service
- Develop a customer-service vocabulary
- Dedicate yourself to acknowledging each repeat customer
- Perfect your hello and goodbye to customers entering and exiting the door
- Speed up your service
- Show your personality
Previously reported on IndependentRetailer.com, the thesis of Robin Lewis and Michael Dart’s book, The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace, states, the U.S. retail industry is undergoing a wave of fundamental change. Lewis, a former executive editor of Women’s Wear Daily, and Dart, head of private equity at Kurt Salmon retail consulting firm, boldly predict that 50 percent of current brands will disappear in a wave of structural change. Repeat customers and customer loyalty are fundamental elements in business and brand survival.