Businesses try to figure out different ways to keep their regular customers coming back. To support this need of businesses, a phenomenon called customer marketing came into the limelight. Loyalty Marketing is a big part of any business to strongarm their customer base and retrieve their existing customers. Having one of the better plans can make your business grow at a high pace. So, let’s cut the chase and discuss the best loyalty programs for offline retailers.
Lets first take a look at the basics of customer retention before moving ahead with our actual goals:
Loyalty Programs and Points
This is the most common way of establishing loyalty programs for regular customers. As a business owner, you will find this type of reward plan the easiest as you can set a predefined rate of point collection and redemption. According to those preset rules, your customers can earn points while shopping and use them next time.
Many popular retail chains use their in-house cards where consumers can store their points and redeem them whenever they want to. These cards work in multiple outlets of the same brands. The decline in regular POS systems and the emergence of Cloud-based POS systems saw a decline in card-based systems, as well as all this data, is now stored in secured servers.
Giving free goodies and accessories is one of the most cost-effective and encouraging ways of loyalty marketing you can have in your retail stores. There are many big brands such as McDonalds and Walmart, that are using this type of loyalty marketing schemes. In this type of marketing, you can set benchmarks for your customers to shop for a specific amount in a month or year, and get exciting prizes as goodwill from your side.
Here you can customize the slabs for getting better prizes to your regular customers rather than giving everyone the same one. This is a very motivating factor for every customer to engage in more shopping. You can also change the gift lot every month or every quarter to keep your customers excited about the same.
Giving free voucher is again something that’s been hugely popular among many big names in the industry. Many big brands deal with other big or small brands to make a symbiotic relationship. This relation includes giving free vouchers from other brands as well. As a business owner, you can contact other businesses such as movie or flight booking organizations to give you a specific amount of vouchers, which you could then give to your valuable customers.
These vouchers can get free movies or food or hotel to customers but it also helps you share your customer base with other businesses, which benefits you both in the long run. This is a win-win scenario for you, your partners and your customers.
Giving greater discounts to your existing customers is nothing new in this field. Many big, as well as small retailers, provide extra discount coupons to their regular customers to keep them coming back for more. The most common examples being Big Bazaar, a grocery and apparel chain in India. BB regularly gives discount coupons to its customers as a reward for staying with them. Generating and distributing these coupons are fairly easy for business owners as they don’t need internet-based verification.
These discount coupons can be entered directly into the POS system, which validates them and automatically deducts the price accordingly. This type of loyalty program is best suited for Food & Beverages businesses.
Access to Pre-Sales
Giving access to sale prices before the sale even starts is always a great thing to do for your regular customers. As a retail business owner, this is actually the best type of loyalty or reward program. For a product with high demand in the market, you can start planning in advance for your valuable customers, so you could serve them faster and better. The pre-sales also help spread the word about your loyalty memberships. Also, you can mix and match different discount offers with presales to set custom packages for your high spending customers.
Along with loyalty programs, there are many other ways to retrieve your existing customers. So, you should not only rely on reward programs and understand these methods as well.
Some of the other things you can do to enlarge your customer base while keeping the current one intact are:
Taking Customer Feedback
Having customer feedback is very important for any business as it shows the real mirror of the type of services you are providing to your customers. Considering feedback and working on them helps you understand the mistakes you’re making in your business and helps you understand the customer’s point of view as well. So, these are some points that you should take into consideration in regards to having feedback from your customers:
- Start taking customer feedback
- Read the feedback in real-time to resolve your mistakes as soon as possible.
- Never ask a customer to give your better ratings, tell them to be honest.
- Work on your mistakes so it should never happen again.
- Try to be anonymous while telling your staff about the complaints.
- Encourage your staff for good feedback too.
Evaluating Customer Experiences
Giving your customer a good shopping experience is a must for loyalty programs it is a basic necessity of any customer to have a happy and safe environment of shopping and it’s your task to provide the same. Following are some of the best ways you can enhance your customer’s shopping experience:
- Put the needs of customers before yours.
- Never let a customer leave unhappy, let alone furious from your store.
- Customize their experience on the basis of previous purchases
- Start investing in the safety of your customers as well, they should feel safe while shopping in your shelter.
- Give customers the freedom to express their views towards the store and products
- Try to give personalized experience on the basis of their choices
- Train your staff to be more humble and polite
Getting away from false promotion
Making impossible promises or underachieving any of your brand’s words might cost you a large number of customers. Making a good brand or store reputation starts from fulfilling your promises only. There are many instances in history where big brand chains failed to hold on to their customers because of some unfulfilled wishes of customers. So, check out these points and find out which of these major aspects you are missing:
- Never promise something impossible to a customer
- Always remember you and your business are the same entity so never speak of something you can’t fulfill.
- Allow customers to replace or return faulty products.
- Never make false claims about particular brands just for the sake of profit and promotion.
- Always think of your customer’s profit first, after all, that’s what loyalty programs are for.
- Help your customers get what they want, not what you think they want.
False Advertising is also one of the major reasons for retail stores to lose their customers. Advertisements with faces that are not associated with your brand could potentially land you in great trouble, both legally as well as financially. People visit retail stores on the basis of trust and reputation of the merchant but there are various activities that could break that trust hence losing the customers. Some of them being:
- Never try to associate your retail store with any famous brands.
- Try to avoid illegal activities
- Stay away from falsely advertising your store or a particular brand.
- Never promise anything to your customers
- Try to build a safer environment for your shoppers.
Adequate Payment Acceptance
One of the biggest reasons for people to leave their favorite stores and choose e-commerce instead is the availability of cash. As the world is being digitized day by day, people are preferring other modes of payment over carrying cash around. So, retail stores must remain up-to-date with the market in terms of payment acceptance as well. Check the following points regarding payment and billing in your store to keep your customers happy and fulfilled:
- Use POS systems for accepting different kinds of payment methods ranging from cards to wallets.
- Choose a provider that provides you with frequent updates so that you should cover all payment methods in the market.
- Keep a proper track of customer’s buying history
- Use billing features to keep track of your expenses and start giving regular user discounts.
- Start reward and loyalty programs for your loyal customers.
- Keep in mind that not all customers belong to the elite category, so try to have different versions of the same product in your store.
This was a brief introduction to loyalty programs. If you are looking for more such information then check out our articles on Customer retention and choosing the right pos for your business. We hope you will do your best to gain more and more customers with these methods.