Attracting new customers is very complex. It can even be very expensive for a store, with all the advertising campaigns. Building customer loyalty is much more profitable and requires less investment from retailers. But how to gain customer loyalty? Here are some ways to retain customers:

  1. Be transparent and trustworthy
  2. Use the right tools
  3. Prioritize long-term emotional relationships
  4. Remain the best
  5. Create a loyalty program
  6. Provide excellent customer service
  7. Offer discounts
  8. Ask for customers’ opinions
  9. Stay accessible
  10. Set up a referral program
  11. Measure your success
  12. Adapt to customer needs

1. Be Transparent and Trustworthy

To gain customer loyalty, you must first establish mutual trust. This confidence is built by being honest with customers and by honoring your commitments. For example, if you say on your social media that there is a discount on certain products, customers must be able to obtain the discount in your store or on your website. You will also be more trustworthy for the customers if you offer a great level of quality for the price and if what you say in your ads is accurate.

Be honest in the offers you make to customers! This will make you more credible.

2. Use the Right Tools

With technology, there is a wide range of tools that help to gain customer loyalty.

Transactional websites and social media platforms are very useful for promoting a loyalty program. For example, you can create pages dedicated to describing the loyalty program and the rewards that customers can obtain. You can also create a community of customers on social media.

To stay relevant to your customers, you also need to create content. This content can address questions that your customers may have related to your field or outline the usefulness and features of some of your core products. By creating content regularly, you educate customers, engage them and stay on their minds. So, when they need one of the products you sell, people will think of you for their purchase and they will choose your store over another.

Marketing emails and newsletters are also essential for promoting your store, the content you create and your loyalty program.

Some softwares, such as a point of sale softwares, make it possible to ensure rigorous tracking of the members of the loyalty program. This makes it easy to activate the loyalty program for a customer or to have a reminder to suggest that customers become members if they are not already. This type of software also allows you to have an overview of the number of points customers have, the rewards and other benefits to which they are entitled, as well as the purchasing history.

Alice POS is a point of sale software that makes life easier for retailers in managing a loyalty program. Click here to discover the advantages of a point of sale system.

Lastly, subscription services are also useful for gaining customer loyalty. If they subscribe to a service with your store, they are more likely to shop there. Indeed, subscribed customers will want to go to your store to take advantage of their paid subscription.

If you use all the right tools, you can engage customers more. Engaged customers are often more loyal too.

3. Prioritize Long-Term Emotional Relationships

When you want to retain customers, it is important to consider the lifetime value of the customer, i.e. the expected profit over the time the person is a customer of the store. You must therefore aim to create a long-term relationship with the customer rather than closing a single sale.

Long-term relationships are built by interacting with customers when they are in the store. Customers want to feel seen, heard and valued. When talking to customers, show that you know them. Also personalize the customer experience, whether in real life or on your website. This will make customers feel understood and they will be more likely to make a purchase. Personalized offers also help to show that you are grateful for their loyalty. A feature to add products to a wishlist on your website also helps remind customers of the products they wanted and better understand their needs and preferences.

Staying in touch with the customer helps increase their preference for your store. For example, you can send automated emails. It is also relevant to show your appreciation and gratitude when someone purchases a product. This makes customers feel valued and develop a certain preference for your store.

For customers to develop an emotional relationship with you, it is also important to maintain consistency in your brand image. This brand image must be similar across all your communication channels. Your values ​​must also be aligned with those of your target audience. This way, they know that they can trust you and that what you bring to them will not change. They can then go to your store without fear of having problems, with the certainty that they are supporting a company with values ​​aligned with theirs.

4. Remain the Best

To maintain deeper loyalty among your customers, you have to be the best. It’s simple! Your employees should be friendly and knowledgeable. Your products must be of quality and at a reasonable price. If your store checks these boxes and the products meet customer preferences, then they will have no reason to look elsewhere.

The quality of products and unbeatable prices are not enough to attract customers, but they can make them stay and build deeper loyalty. If customers can find better elsewhere at an equal or lower price, they won’t hesitate to make their purchases elsewhere, especially if their loyalty is superficial.

5. Create a Loyalty Program

A loyalty program does a good job at retaining customers if it has all the good qualities. You can reward regular customers or offer benefits, discounts or exclusive access to the most loyal customers. You can even make the loyalty program more fun and engaging by turning the accumulation of reward points or the desire to climb the loyalty ladder into a game. Some companies have already done it!

The rewards to obtain and the levels to reach give customers a goal. This goal makes them want to visit your store more often. You can even offer gifts to members of the loyalty program when they place an order that exceeds a certain predefined amount, $100 for example.

Loyalty programs have a lot of benefits, but there are also some mistakes that hurt customer retention. Click here to find out more.

Also make sure to make it very easy to exchange loyalty points for a reward. A complex system is the easiest way to turn away customers! For customers to participate in the loyalty program, it must be promoted and clearly explained. Customers cannot become a member if they do not know the program exists! Communication also helps to simplify the loyalty program for the customers.

6. Provide Excellent Customer Service

The staff in a store should be polite and attentive to customers. They must know the store and all products well and be able to help customers in any situation.

Your customers’ lives should be easy when they interact with your staff. Customer service must be responsive, efficient and fast. The customer experience should be as pleasant and peaceful as possible.

You must also speak “the customer’s language”. This involves using a more conversational tone when interacting with the customer and being friendly, easy to understand, while also talking about realities that the person can relate to or imagine.

7. Offer Discounts

Discounts are a great way to surprise and delight customers from time to time. It’s a good idea to offer discounts to loyalty program members for special occasions, such as their birthday.

Discounts are always appreciated, especially for products that people frequently buy or for those that complement other items. Discounts are also particularly useful during periods when customers are buying less. For instance, if your audience is made up of students, you can offer them a 10% discount on all items on Thursdays. This type of discount helps establish the reliability of your store and build loyalty among specific customers.

8. Ask for Customers’ Opinions

Who better than the customers themselves to know what they want? Solicit their opinions and encourage them to provide suggestions for improvements. Also, take action by considering these opinions and implementing the suggestions if they are financially feasible. You can thus retain customers by leveraging what they suggested to you.

Asking for customers’ feedback also shows that you are dedicated to improving their experience and better serving their needs.

There are several ways to ask customers for their opinions. You can send them an email, add a feedback form to your website, post on your social media, or include a box with papers and pencils in your store. You obviously have to watch all these channels regularly otherwise they are useless.

Responding to these messages from customers helps to show them that you care about their well-being and that you are considering their ideas. These responses also send the message to customers that they are heard. Customers appreciate this feeling of being listened to.

It is also important to look on the internet to see what is being said about your store. Analyze your Google reviews and social media to see the social sentiment regarding your store. This allows you to see if you need to carry out communication campaigns to change people’s perceptions and to know how you can improve and better retain your customers.

9. Stay Accessible

Having all products, especially the most popular ones, in stock at all times and having employees always on hand to help customers are part of the consistency that customers expect from a good store.

Your products must be easily accessible. If their location is counterintuitive, they are always in the warehouse or you never have them in inventory, customers will not want to come back to your store. If you offer services, such as delivery, it is essential that customers can benefit from them quickly and at any time.

The presence of employees is also part of availability. All of your employees must be available at all times during business hours to answer customer questions and help them.

Make sure you answer quickly to customers when they write to you by email or when they message you on social media. Create processes to manage any type of interaction in order to speed up your response times. Not responding to customers or responding after too much time harms the establishment of a positive relationship between you and the person.

10. Set up a Referral Program

You can establish a referral program to encourage loyal customers to tell people they know about you. By offering them incentives for recommending your store, you encourage them to be loyal and you turn them into brand ambassadors. 

For instance, you can offer to deduct 20% of the total amount of the next invoice for your ambassador customer and the person they referred to your store.This is very beneficial, not only for building loyalty, but also for acquiring new customers at a lower cost. Let your customers speak for you.

11. Measure Your Success

It is crucial to have data on your loyalty program in order to measure your success, the relevance of the program and to better understand what needs to be improved. The number of members, the number of points accumulated and the number of rewards claimed are data to be verified. They also make it possible to better anticipate customer needs. This way you know better which products to keep in inventory and in what quantities. You can also more accurately predict what benefits customers will want to enjoy next.

12. Adapt to Customer Needs

Make sure you are receptive and responsive to customer needs and preferences. Constantly seek to break new ground and to change the loyalty program to better meet demand and to increase your profitability. The retail environment is constantly evolving due to the changing needs and concerns of customers, so at a minimum you need to keep up with this evolution.

In conclusion, customer loyalty is a key element for the long-term success of your business. You now know a variety of ways to gain customer loyalty. Remember, customer loyalty is not just a destination, it’s a continuous journey.

By remaining attentive to the changing needs of your audience, adapting your strategies accordingly, and providing consistent value, you will be well positioned to cultivate a loyal and engaged customer base.

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