Part Four: Encouraging Customer Loyalty
Is your retail store dream becoming reality? It’s exciting to see all your planning and hard work come together as you prepare to finally open those doors to the public. We know it’s been a long journey to get to this point, so take a second and pat yourself on the back. You’re almost there!
Our fourth and final post in this blog series is all about hosting your “housewarming party”. That means finally opening your store to the public, welcoming new customers, and hopefully turning them into frequent guests who will support your brand. The reason why you need loyal customers is obvious – no customers, no revenue. Keep reading for ideas on how to gain and retain loyal customers for your retail store.
- Defining Customer Experience
- How to Promote Customer Loyalty
- Trust EMS to Help Improve Your Financial Well-being
We touched on this topic briefly at the end of Post Three: Marketing and Merchandising. However, it is such an important contributing factor to customer retention that we’re including it here as well.
You may be wondering, what exactly is ‘customer experience’? According to HubSpot, “the best way to define customer experience is as the impression you leave with your customer, resulting in how they think of your brand, across every stage of the customer journey.” Essentially, the customer experience revolves around how your brand, products, and services make customers feel.
Is your store cluttered and overwhelming, or is it simple and easy to navigate? Is the checkout process clunky and time-consuming, or is it quick, painless, and pleasant? Is the customer greeted with a smile when they enter your store, or do associates avoid eye contact and continue silently stocking shelves? All these things and more contribute to the customer experience. Cultivating a positive customer experience is the first step to gaining and retaining loyal customers for your store.
Once you’ve proven to customers that you provide a great experience, you can start working to gain their trust and loyalty. Here are five steps you can take to gain trust and keep your customers coming back:
Provide excellent customer service.
Did you notice? Customer experience and customer service both have the word ‘customer’ at the root. That’s not a coincidence. Whether it’s experience or service, make sure your strategy is designed to put the customer first. When they feel heard and like you truly do have their best interests in mind, it can do wonders for your business.
Reward frequent shoppers with perks and discounts.
Nobody can resist free stuff or a great discount. Loyalty programs give you the power to offer deep discounts to loyal customers, which keeps them coming back for more! For example, customers who participate in Ulta Beauty’s rewards program receive double the bonus points for their entire birthday month along with a special gift if they have also opted to receive Ulta emails. The gift is typically a full-sized mascara or lip product that makes the customer feel beautiful and special on their birthday.
Ask customers to share their thoughts.
Asking for feedback or reviews can sometimes be awkward, but if you ask the right people it will be worth it! When you invite customers to share their honest thoughts about your business, you’ll soon know whether the experience you are offering is being well received. It can be especially helpful to ask customers to fill out a survey after you first open, with questions such as:
- How did you hear about our store?
- What are your first impressions of our products/services?
- How would you describe the atmosphere of the store?
- Would you shop here again?
- Do you have any additional comments or feedback for us?
Build a community and connect with customers on social media.
Everyone wants to be part of a community, because it’s fun to practice a favorite hobby with others who share an interest in that hobby. Thanks to social media, there are communities for almost everything – theaters, restaurants, stores, bands, you name it! With a company Facebook page, you can also create a community of customers and admirers who support your store.
Get out there and engage your neighborhood.
You chose the perfect neighborhood to build your retail store, now it’s time to get out there and enjoy it! Join in the fun at a seasonal festival, volunteer your time with a local charity, or even become a small sponsor for neighborhood youth activities. Customers will recognize your contributions to the community and may choose to support your business because of it.
These five tips bring us to the end of this blog series. We hope this information is helpful as you plan for and eventually open your retail store. Beyond the tips and resources within these four posts, Electronic Merchant Systems offers products and services to help you maximize business efficiency and improve your financial well-being.
Thanks to modern technology and innovation within the payments industry, we’ve got more payment acceptance options than ever before! By partnering with EMS, you’ll be equipped with a payment processing configuration tailored to your needs. We are a Level One PCI compliant company, so you can rest assured that your data and your customers’ data is always handled with the utmost care and security. Plus, our solutions provide tools you can use across your business; which helps you save money, streamline operations, and increase sales.
We touched on loyalty programs briefly before, but it’s important to note that even though gift and loyalty cards are small, they can have a big impact on your business. When a customer enters your store with a gift card, they often end up spending more than the card is worth, which helps increase your profitability. Our creative team specializes in creating gift and loyalty card designs that are eye-catching and unique to your business.
If you need a new website to go along with your store, we can help with that too! A website will be a key piece in your marketing strategy, so it’s crucial that yours is responsive, modern, and easy to navigate. Trust EMS to help build your online presence and jumpstart your web strategy.
A common payment acceptance option for retail stores is a countertop point of sale terminal. Our countertop POS terminals allow you to accept cash, checks, credit and debit cards, EMV, EBT, and gift and loyalty cards. These solutions give you the flexibility to allow your customers to pay in whatever way is best for them.
If you’re not sure what payment option is best for you, contact us today! We would be happy to get to know your business and recommend the solution that suits your business and budget.
Check out the previous posts in this series by clicking on the links below.
Thanks for reading!