To successfully make it in Modern Retail and remain a key challenger against your competitors; retailer’s need to be prioritising their customer-centric marketing alongside their data-centric business strategy. With research from Gartner showing that by 2017, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience.
By putting the customer at the centre of your data analysis you can successfully track and understand your customers as individuals; increasing their significance, customer engagement and, of course, revenue.
Customers want to believe that they are valued as a customer and that this value goes beyond their monetary input. And it should do. This customer-centric data enables you to provide genuine interest in the customer to forge stronger relationships and consequently, you can retain their business and possibly get recommendations.
How can you achieve this? Here are 5 tips to retain your customers:
Don’t assume price is the be all and end all…
While price is important, if you’re going to extortionately overcharge for your products it probably doesn’t matter how much you value your customers- they’ll look for cheaper options. It isn’t however the principal factor whether someone will buy from you or not Simon-Kucher & Partners found that, in a survey of 1,000 shoppers, “lower prices” were not the motivation for shopping in certain places. With Oracle’s research showing that 81% of the customers surveyed would be willing to pay more for superior customer service.
Value, from the customer’s perspective, is more than just price. It shows consumers are pursuing the best value from businesses; a value which includes not just price but delivering service before AND after the sale. You can then improve on your products and customer needs by listening to their insights about your product and service. Working with this feedback, you can make sure you are delivering a customer experience that is worth them coming back.
That is not to say that having cheaper products than your competitors are not going to be an advantage but they can always lower their costs. This can end in a price war, which neither company will come out on top of. Providing high value to your customers, alongside price, service and relationship building maintains their loyalty and means your customer is not searching for cheaper prices.
Customer-centric marketing 101: Personalisation
Personalization is everything in today’s retail environment. For example, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumer’s express frustration with irrelevant communication (offers, ads, promotions). Therefore, it should come as no surprise that personalised email communication delivers six times higher transaction rates than doing email blasts.
To effectively personalise the customer experience, retailers must understand the importance of customer segmentation. Customer segmentation is the practice of dividing a customer base into groups of individuals that are similar in specific ways. This is can be done through age, gender, interests and spending behaviours. Adverts, offers and promotions can then be tailored for a specific customer experience. This can be seen in Tesco where they have harnessed data from Clubcard owners to tailor its website with specific items and deals. Personalised for them. Boots also use their loyalty card to let you pick and choose offers they’ve found from the customers individual buying habits. This will enable you to deliver greater worth to your customers and address their specific needs.
Customer service is key
Whilst it is nice to believe that long-term customers are returning each time as they love your brand it is, more often than not, because they love your employees.
These relationships are even more integral to small businesses so it is important that you aren’t rotating salespeople, customer service reps, or key contacts unless you have to. Your employees will be building these long term relationships, it is your job to do everything possible to protect and maintain them.
However, your sales team must be doing the right thing to retain the customers. When customer service is poor or the customer is met with a bad attitude, lack of knowledge and delayed service it’ll affect their chances of returning. A report by SmallBusinessTrends found that the number one reason why more than one-third (34%) of consumers voice a complaint is poor customer service.
With customer experience an increasingly important differentiator (and, according to many, the single most important differentiator), retailers must make a long-term commitment to delivering the support customers want and need. This requires regularly gathering customer knowledge, measuring the support you offer from your customers’ point of view.
Reward those loyal to you
By offering discounts or incentives to land new customers is often necessary, you can’t forget about those customers who have been loyal to you. If they don’t feel their loyalty is being rewarded, they will quickly become resentful. If you think about the offers you give to your new customers and then match, or advance this reward they’ll feel appreciated by you. It is important not to forget that while new customers create an immediate top-line impact, existing customers and their continual sales typically result in a bigger impression on your bottom line.
It can be good to make a list of the customers you can’t afford to lose. Then list what those customers would typically buy. That list is the foundation of your business.
Be everywhere: multichannel experience
With the growth in millennial shoppers, there is an even bigger need to be available on as many channels as possible. They are using the Web and mobile to research and shop and this is also what helps them to make purchases. The need for multichannel experience is growing in the customer-centric environment. If you aren’t online then you are missing out on potential customers and retaining the ones you have.
Customers are looking to feel valued. It’s essential to put this customer-centric ethos into the heart of your marketing plans. This alongside the price and product will create the perfect concord between you, your customer and ultimately your sales. Customer’s now prefer to buy form companies who understand them and are where they are shopping. To earn customer loyalty and retain it you must be meeting their expectations.