Gaining and maintaining customer loyalty has long been the ‘holy grail’ for retailers but, with the information age, this challenge seems ever more difficult.
Some 70 per cent of retailers say they frequently see customers researching a product online before coming into a store to purchase it. 87% say they see the reverse process taking place, with customers trying or researching items in-store before going off to buy them online.*
So, in this omni-channel shopping environment, just what can today’s retailers do to keep those customers coming back for more?
Of course, you have to start with the basics and, in our view, that means three things:
The look – from your storefront and window displays to the signage around the store and counter design, everything must create the right impression.
The product – loyal customers want to pick up their favourite items quickly (so be sure to maintain stock levels and high visibility of any best sellers) but they also want to see something new and fresh at regular intervals so throw in some surprises here and there. Get the balance right!
The service – if you can maintain a standard where staff are friendly yet efficient and combine this with a speedy checkout experience, then you’re already halfway towards winning loyalty.
Running your business from a modern POS system helps you cover the basics easily. The iPad-based system is sleek and stylish; it can help you manage your inventory with super-efficiency; and when it comes to speedy payments, there’s just no comparison!
The extra mile
Of course, mastering the art of customer loyalty takes a lot of work at all levels of your business; one of the key elements being the lengths you go to truly understand your customers.
At one point, the ‘Golden Rule’ was to ‘treat customers the way you would want to be treated’ but, that doesn’t quite cut it with the omni-shopper. They don’t want what’s good for you; they want what’s good for them.
Put some effort into getting to know your customers better, then leverage that knowledge to your advantage when communicating with them. Here’s just a few ideas:
Prepare – Create a product offer that is based on the accurate sales and inventory data provided by your POS system. Combine this with keeping your online profiles up to date, and customers will be happy knowing they can rely on your brand for the product they’re looking for.
Engage – Take a moment to chat with customers as they enter the store to find out more about their personal motivation for being there. Ensure staff are well-trained and knowledgeable about your products so that there’s always someone on hand who can support your customers in their buying decisions.
Reward – Make people feel valued with loyalty schemes, seasonal promotions, special offers or free gifts with purchase.
Get personal – Develop a customer database so that you can implement more targeted marketing techniques such as sending them a link to an item that matches a previous purchase or a voucher on their birthday – being GDPR compliant in the process of course!
Entertain – Entice customers to your store with a bit of ‘retailtainment’. You could hire a celebrity or industry specialist for the day or simply create a new space where customers can trial some of your products.
If you know both your products and your customers well, then finding creative ways of bringing the two together more often gets easier.
As for the tools that can help you, an advanced POS system like the Good Till ticks most of the boxes. It might not be able to stand at the door and offer a greeting, but it can help you identify what customers really want and so streamline your inventory; you can use it to train your staff to become product experts; and it can offer easy methods of implementing customer loyalty schemes, marketing campaigns and other promotions.
Still looking for that ‘holy grail’? Contact us at the Good Till to find out more!
* Survey undertaken by Qmatic in 2017