Any retailer knows that building brand loyalty is key to achieving business success: not only do you have to hold on to existing customers, you also have to attract new ones. And because it costs more to attract new buyers than to retain the ones you already have, strategy is key. Fortunately, there are endless ways to satisfy your current clientele, woo new customers, showcase your brands, and—oh yes—increase sales.
The Shopping Experience Has Changed…
… But you already know that. The omnichannel customer experience is the new black, and you need to meet this challenge head-on. This is not your mother’s shopping experience: retailers now use multiple channels to reach both existing customers and the ones they have yet to meet. It’s all about the customer here—and most of them are highly distractible. And with such a dizzying array of choices at their fingertips, who can blame them? Here’s where a customer loyalty program is your friend. Customer loyalty incentive programs help build trust between a retailer and its customer. And in a world where 71% of Americans say it takes only one less-than-stellar experience to switch them to another brand—can you really afford not to?
The best customer loyalty marketing strategies work by creating the most convenient shopping experience possible—that’s doubly true if the customer is new. Enter a mobile app. As a tool to build brand loyalty, a mobile app is a no-brainer. As anyone who has ever ridden on a bus can attest to, people love their phones. In fact, the average American checks their phone at least 52 times a day, according to a study by Deloitte.
Building Brand Loyalty
People don’t put their phones away just because they’re in your store. They might be checking messages, swiping left or right, or pulling up a picture of that to-die-for sweater that brought them there in the first place. If you want to reach a new customer, do it through their devices. A mobile app also lets you send personalized messages to new and existing customers alerting them of exciting offers they can take advantage of.
A popular customer loyalty program idea is the “VIP-pre-sale.” It works on the premise that the customer is valued, loyal, and just a bit better than the rest. These customer loyalty programs often offer an advance sale available exclusively to longstanding and repeat customers—and they work like a charm. Better still, existing customers instinctively forward the offer to friends who they think might be interested.
Referrals Are Retail Goals
As an active marketing strategy, word of mouth is king. In fact, 92% of consumers say they trust friends and family’s recommendations over all other forms of advertising, even when they don’t know the person. That’s why referrals are such a powerful tool. Recommending a brand is like texting your bestie about a fabulous new restaurant they simply must try. It’s personal. And humans like the personal touch.
Referrals come in many shapes and sizes, including written testimonials, which you can easily incorporate into your marketing materials. You can also reach out to a customer still giddy from a recent purchase and ask them to recommend the brand to 3 friends. This is called the network effect and is a highly proven strategy to pull in new fans. Video testimonials are another powerful way to market your brand and outperform both text and photos.
Listen—Really Listen—To Your Customers
Your customers need to feel supported. An integral part of customer service is addressing your customer’s issues and any negative experiences they may have had with your brand. Consider their demographics, including, age, gender, income, education, and occupation, to create on-brand messaging that resonates. You’ll also want to continually take the pulse of your customers through surveys, focus groups, communities, and forums—and of course, one-on-one connection. Promotions, giveaways, contests, and social media games are also a great way to build brand loyalty.
People are more likely to spread the love about your brand or post about it if there’s a little something in it for them. A customer loyalty program provides that extra bit of encouragement. You can also incentivize through bonuses like complimentary premium features or credit toward future buys. Creating incentives via a charitable donation is another great strategy. Bonus marks if you personalize the donation. It sparks a connection between the customer and the donee and makes them feel like they’re making a difference.
Another powerful customer loyalty rewards program strategy is geotargeting or location-based marketing. By tracking someone’s real-time location, marketers can deliver the “right message at the right time.” Push notifications are a great example of this. When a customer is in the general area of a retailer they like, they’ll receive notification of an offer they simply can’t refuse. After all, people adore convenience, and everybody loves a bargain. And you’re not just limited to your own brand. With location-based marketing, you can also direct ads at your competitors and nab their customers too.
Shopping Rewards Apps
Shopping rewards apps like Shopkick work by creating a fun way for shoppers to get rewards in-store and even online. This could be for interacting with in-app content, engaging with products in-store, and of course, purchasing. Like a great game of Candy Crush, the best part is making it to the next level.
In a world where every new product is seemingly better than the last and convenience reigns supreme, you have to evolve to grow your brand and thrive in today’s retail climate.