It is a proven metric for ecommerce as well as traditional retailers that repeat business is more rewarding and consistent than fresh business. Selling to existing customers is much easier, since a brand connection has already been established.
However, with competition dominating, it is becoming necessary for retailers to resort to new and novel techniques that make existing customers happy with their brand. Offering something more to the returning customers and elevating them to a tier that discerns them from the fresh ones, are the most popularly used tactics in customer retention strategies.
#1 Get Customers To Register
This is one of the most commonly used customer retention strategies that are immensely useful to the retailer in gaining insightful information regarding customers. Make the registration process engaging and fun-filled, instead of making customers fret over filling lengthy forms with too many open ended questions that they find time-consuming to fill. Many customers abandon or ignore the registration process. However all efforts must be made to familiarize them with the benefits associated with registration. Enhanced customer service, communication regarding offers, discounts, events, campaigns and reminder messages like subscription renewal or warranty extension can be conveyed to them in a timely manner. With the information obtained from customers on registration, the retailer must use it productively to understand their target market demographics. This information becomes a basis for planning customer intelligence practises.
#2 Social Media Customer Service
Customer service is the human connection between the buyer and the seller and is a very important part of postpurchase communication. The reason for frustration among retail customers is that the enthusiastic salesman who was so eager when persuading them to buy is nowhere around the moment the sale closes. In many cases, customers have switched brand owing to the fact that customer service was not quick, relevant or courteous. Using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter for customer service has become popular. Businesses are able to establish social communication with their customers, who find chatting online much better than waiting for ages over mails and phone calls. Personalized customer retention strategies on online media assures them of the involvement and commitment exercised by the business to address their queries. By allowing customers to comment, complain and give feedback on the products and on customer service, you end up adding a lot of transparency to your delivery mechanism. This improves both customer retention and business credibility.
#3 Allow Personalization Of Products
Getting your name printed on your T-shirt or your daughter’s own creative drawing printed on her study table will get help get those big smiles, leading to happy customers. The freedom and flexibility to design their own product will enhance customer engagement as well as provide them a feeling of satisfaction. There is a subtle difference between buying and shopping, and the gap created by the difference is effectively filled by offering personalized goods and services. Personalization and tailored offerings will make customers think a lot before switching brand. The theme of personalization is even extended to the on-boarding process. Personalized welcome messages and understanding the customer’s specific needs for assembly or installation are all parts of the customer retention strategies process. Tracking customer behaviour and their response to such value added services is very important to further their satisfaction levels, every time they come back to repurchase.
#4 Reward The Loyalists
Pamper your loyal customers. Gifting is no longer viewed as a cost but a profitable investment that can cultivate and sustain brand loyalty. Allocate resources and time in crafting innovative rewards. They can be anything from freebies, VIP memberships at premium restaurants, health clubs or fitness centres. The gifts can make special occasions even more memorable for customers. For example, giving a discount on women’s fitness items on Mother’s Day and extending repeat customers to help keep their mother’s fit will be remembered better, when compared to the routine points system. Similarly, bundle offers can be made available only to repeat customers, like providing the entire get-back-to-school gear of school bags, lunch boxes, stationery etc, just before the commencement of the academic year, will entice even new customers to join the program. Retailers need not fear the additional resources needed to run these programs. It is a common practice to make VIP memberships chargeable in customer retention strategies.
#5 Gamification: Allow Repeat Customers Play Their Way To Gifts
A little fun is always welcome by customers. For the retailers, the use in customer retention strategies has broader connotations. The more the customers enjoy themselves with the intrigue and adventure in the games is the scope for the brand to engage with the end user. It is a priceless customer retention tactic that gets easy, quick and tangible results. It is the process of applying gaming concepts and themes in non-gaming contexts. It is a motivational tool and can convince customers to indulge in their gaming instincts. The psychological elements of playing, winning and facing challenges makes these games much sought-after by frequent shoppers. With each level of game-playing, social engagement of the players with the brand increases. The winners are rewarded in strategic ways that lead to customer retention. They are given points, free gifts, gift cards, holiday trips and much more. Introducing as much variety as possible into your gamification mix will help leveraging brand awareness.
When people shop for retail products, they attach emotions to it. Every retailer must think of appealing to these emotions and not the wallets of their customers. By establishing a personal and social connect with the customers, word-of-mouth marketing doubles. This leads to the twin advantages of retaining existing customers as well as welcoming new ones. Loyalty cultivation is not an overhead or an expense in customer retention strategies, but a productive investment that pays back over time.