Having a revolving door of customers is not ideal for modern businesses. Ideally, the goal is to attract loyal customers who will bring repeat business themselves and become brand ambassadors that write reviews and evangelize on social media, essentially providing free marketing referrals well into the future.
As the saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It is best to hang onto the customer you have, rather than continually trying to attract someone better. Ultimately, customer loyalty is a measure of how likable and successful your business is, so it’s worth considering how to gain customer loyalty in the first place.
Customer Loyalty by the Numbers
If you need more reason to solicit loyalty, consider these statistics:
- A 5% increase in customer retention rates boosts profits of at least 25%.
- Emotionally invested customers have a 306% higher lifetime value.
- Loyal customers will spend $699/year with a company vs. others who will spend $275.
- 77% of customers have maintained loyalty to brands they like for more than 10 years.
Of course, knowing you need loyal customers is different than actually soliciting them. Here’s how to gain that loyal customer base you need for long-term success.
How to Gain Customer Loyalty
- Create a loyalty program.
A loyalty program targets customers who devote time and money to a brand based on an affinity for the product offerings, customer service, and brand messaging among other factors. Even if a brand is more expensive or less convenient, the customer still chooses that brand. Shoppers have come to expect loyalty programs that are tied to rewards such as credit toward future purchases, cashback, or points toward a prize.
Shoppers expect rewards, but they also want a relationship with you—they want to feel understood and valued. Consumers know that once they join your loyalty program you’ll be tracking their activities—and they are surprisingly okay with that, as long as they know it will enhance their experience.
To achieve true loyalty, you have to give shoppers what they want—that is, a seamless horizontal experience across channels, not a vertical brand experience. Loyalty apps become a central hub bringing together social media, mobile, email, and in-store experiences.
More shoppers are turning to apps to keep tabs on their loyalty program status. More than half of all shoppers (67%) downloaded a retail app within the last year. The number of retail mobile apps used by consumers doubled from 2017-2018, but the average smartphone user accessed just four retailer apps. Whether to access a discount coupon or make a purchase, 83% of shoppers were happy with their loyalty apps of choice.
Since people don’t often have specific retailer apps on their phones, it could be easier for a brand to partner with an established shopping app that already has a loyal following—consider Shopkick, for example. Shopkick users, on average, spend more than 1.5 hours in the app each month—exploring lookbooks, watching videos, locating and scanning products, and more—in exchange for points toward a gift card. A study of Shopkick’s impact on retailers found that 73% of incremental sales came from new customers, but more than a quarter of sales were from existing customers, thus enhancing loyalty among this cohort.
- Get to know your customers.
It’s not enough to simply offer a reward for purchases and keep shoppers coming back, especially considering so many others are doing the same. You still have to nail key points like getting to know your customers and sharing your brand ideology, too. Shoppers identify with brands that hold the same values as they do.
There are many ways to get to know your customers better and make sure you’re on the same page with what matters most to them:
- Social media: Sites like Facebook and Twitter contain a wealth of information regarding your customers’ likings, habits, complaints, and purchases.
- Questions: Ask and you shall receive. Choose questions emphasizing “why” and “how” to understand how to provide superior customer service that best meets needs.
- Surveys: It’s easier for shoppers to be more honest when providing thoughtful opinions in a survey, rather than face-to-face. Even a small incentive boosts response rates.
- Events: Events present an opportunity to have fun and interact with customers. Many shoppers give their loyalty to brands who create a sense of community through events.
Once you know what’s on the mind of your customers, you’ll have to take steps to deliver the solution to their problems through personalization efforts.
- Personalize your marketing.
The more responsive you are, the more loyal your shoppers will become. According to a 2017 online survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18-64, 80% of respondents indicated they were more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences and 90% indicated they find personalization appealing. Here’s how to do it:
- Emails: Send birthday emails (which generate 481% more revenue than other types of promotional emails.) Other personalized emails you should send include:
- Introduction emails (to say hello, communicate values, humanize your brand, and welcome new shoppers)
- Discovery emails (sent 3-5 days after the first purchase to encourage shoppers to make another purchase)
- Product catalogs (sent 14 days after first purchase)
- Incentive emails (30 days after first purchase to ensure a second purchase)
- Feedback emails (to solicit opinions after a purchase)
- Sale reminders
- Refer-a-friend campaign emails
- Win-them-back emails (after weeks of inactivity or shopping cart abandonment)
- Anniversary emails (one year after the first purchase)
- Curated Recommendations: Suggesting products or services based on past browsing or buying history meets customer expectations. Businesses like Amazon use collaborative filtering to look at a customer’s past purchases, shopping cart items, positive reviews, past searches, and view history to drive over a third of their sales.
- Custom Landing Pages: Offer a unique landing page, depending on your referral source, market segmentation, or position along the customer journey. Companies that personalize their landing pages see a 19% average increase in sales. Special offers for social media fans are a particularly good way to solicit loyalty. You can expect the optimal results when you A/B test your landing pages with different messaging, imagery, colors, and incentives to see which one performs best.
The more responsive you are, the more loyal your shoppers will become.
Ready to Attract Loyal Customers?
Consider Shopkick among your customer loyalty efforts. We utilize proximity marketing, encouraging shoppers to visit retail establishments where your products are sold when they’re nearby, and engage with your brand directly to maximize your ROI. We’re just one piece of the puzzle, but one you can’t afford to ignore, particularly when it’s time to promote a new product or gain market share during a competitive shopping season.
Image courtesy of VGstockstudio