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Top 3 tips to build customer loyalty in 2012
Despite the fact that shoppers have spent more than $25 billion in online purchases this holiday season, the economy is still a factor for many merchants - both online and offline. Yes, people are spending for the holidays, but historically spending plummet in the first and second quarters of a New Year. It's the natural cycle of things, but some tips from Loyalty 360 may help merchants better prepare for declining transactions by creating a more loyal customer base.
As the global economy continues to struggle, customer retention and engagement will become more important than ever. That is the takeaway from a recently released prediction sheet from Loyalty 360. Although group couponing deals have become a buzzword in 2011, the complaint of many merchants is that these deals aren't creating a loyal customer base. And that is where tip one comes in.
Tip 1: Loyalty is a destination, not a single journey. To create a more loyal customer base, businesses need to offer what the customer needs: loyalty programs aren't about free goods or services (although those things are rarely bad). Loyalty programs are about a customer's need - and those needs should be based on what a customer does on-site. Are they ordering? Do they need peripherals? What is their buying cycle and at what point are they today? Knowing these things allows a merchant to create a personalized experience, which gives the customer more of what he or she needs.
Tip 2: Building loyalty means building data. Those last few questions in the above paragraph? Each can be answered through customer data. How often does a consumer visit a website? What does he or she purchase? Are they engaging through social media? Use your loyalty program to collect data - safely, please - and then put that data to use.
"Gathering and tracking data amassed in the loyalty program will be used to help marketers with segmentation, messaging, for acquisition and retention. The information on customer transactions, likes, dislikes and preferences gives brands the deep level of customer intelligence needed to deliver the most relevant, highest quality customer experience and drive long-term loyalty," writes the company.
Tip 3: Socialize to build loyalty. Social media has been huge in 2011, and many believe the social trend will continue into 2012. Use social media not just to promote sales, but to promote engagement and loyalty. Offer your customer base needed information about products and services as well as upcoming or flash sale information. Share tips, point them to mobile sites as well as an online destination.
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