Customer loyalty is one of the most important factors to consider when running a retail business. Word of mouth from returning customers can be highly beneficial for introducing new business, whilst your loyal customers will continue to choose your company over competitors. It is therefore important to understand what it is about your business which promotes customer loyalty, and what you could do to improve in order to retain more customers moving forward. Here we will explore some top tips for encouraging customer loyalty in your retail business.
What is Customer Retention
Customer retention is the process whereby a single time buyer will become a repeat customer and will choose your business over competitors.
In order to keep your customers coming back, there are a variety of methods and strategies which vary from industry to industry, but with retail in mind, these will include providing a high level of service and putting your customers first. The following tips will help to encourage returning customers and improve your customer retention rate, which will ultimately result in improving your bottom line.
Provide the Perfect Environment
If you’re an online only retailer, then your website needs your full attention. It should be functional, easy for users to navigate and kept up to date with your latest deals and products. It’s highly important for online only businesses to maintain their website to keep it secure and functioning; this will help to build trust with your customers and encourage them to return to your site.
For those with brick and mortar businesses, the physical environment is vital for customer retention. Not only are your products important to showcase, but the entire space must be comfortable, clean and well presented in order to encourage your customers to purchase from you.
A top tip for keeping your retail environment perfect is to utilise planned maintenance, whereby your facility will be regularly checked and any maintenance completed as necessary. This will ensure aspects such as your heating and cooling systems continue working to provide a comfortable environment. This preventative approach ensures any problems are identified before they can escalate and result in potential business downtime.
Reward Your Customers
Rewarding your customers with a loyalty programme is one of the best ways to encourage repeat business. Ensure your rewards system is good enough to encourage customers to choose you over competitors, but not too generous that there is potential to lose money.
Why not conduct some customer research to see what sort of rewards system would work best for your products and customers alike. For example, where a stamp card is perfect for a coffee shop, this probably wouldn’t be as appropriate in a luxury clothing retailer.
Listen to Critique
Your customers have valid opinions and can quite often provide feedback which is critical for improving your business. It is important to listen to, and act upon, any critique your customers provide and answer any complaints directly. This will help to build trust with your customers and lead to the potential for them to shop with you again. Ignoring a customer complaint can be detrimental to your business, and lead to you not only losing that customer, but also gaining a poor reputation for customer service.
One of the top tips for ensuring your customers return is investing time in your employees. Staff should be well trained in customer service techniques and in the products you sell. Knowledgeable, polite, and helpful staff will provide a positive experience with your customers and encourage them to return.
These are just a few top tips for helping to retain customers within a retail environment. Whether you’re an online only business or a traditional shop front, these tips can be widely utilised.