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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 28, 2016

5 ways to improve customer retention

Consumers walk into new stores every day. They may buy one product, and never come back. One expert shares his top 5 tips to get those shoppers to come back, improving customer retention.

by Kristina Knight

Don't Be Afraid of Freebies

"Some business owners are skeptical about giving away free merchandise. If you're just giving things away for free, how are you making money? By offering customers a freebie, you've enticed a customer to come back to your store. Odds are, they'll not only redeem their reward, but they'll pick up a few other things while they're shopping," said Mike Polner, Head of Product Marketing, FiveStars.

Get Personal and Spice Things Up

"One sure-fire way to kill a relationship is to treat every person you know the same way. Think about your personal life. You don't treat your child's teacher the same way you treat your mom or dad, right? No. Every relationship requires a personal touch, and it's the same for customer relationships. You don't want to blast the same message to every customer you communicate with. Seventy-four percent of customers get frustrated when promotions they receive have nothing to do with their interests. Keep the customer romance alive by spicing things up. Randomly send out a "Thanks for being our customer" promotion with a discount code. Consider hosting a giveaway on social media. Statistics show three out of four consumers are more likely to recommend a brand that offers giveaways," said Polner.

Use Your Employees

"Encourage your employees to take an active interest in the lives of your loyal customers. If they take time to learn the names of the frequent customers that buy a cup of coffee, or exchange stories with a mom that shops for her daughter on a regular basis, they'll build a relationship with your core audience," said Polner.

Keep Up With Convenience

"To get a degree in customer retention, businesses have to major in convenience. If customers get their favorite products in a fast and simple way, they'll come back again and again. Think of ways to make your business as convenient as possible for customers. Maybe that means adding an extra staff member to handle the morning rush, or moving your store around to better accommodate traffic flow," said Polner.

Invest In A Loyalty Program

"Customer loyalty marketing is one of the fastest growing strategies amongst small businesses and remains a strong marketing focus for big box businesses. All loyalty marketing strategies and programs have different degrees of effectiveness. A paper or digital punch card is an example of a basic but low-cost strategy. More robust loyalty programs, which are more costly but justify the cost with improved effectiveness. Sophisticated programs should include features like customer identification, data collection, automated messaging, and targeted messages to customers. At FiveStars, we've seen these features help small businesses bring back lost customers, turn new customers into regulars, and turn regulars into VIPs - which ultimately increases revenue and customer satisfaction," said Polner.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer loyalty, customer retention, ecommerce, FiveStars, loyalty marketing

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