Increasingly customers have a lot of options for buying retail products – it is easier than ever to compare prices across multiple online stores. Some stores are however able to build substantial loyalty, with customers specifically buying from them rather than looking at alternatives.
Customer loyalty cards
One approach for encouraging customer loyalty is via loyalty cards and member perks. Getting customers to register for a loyalty or membership program gets some buy-in from customs, while also providing some incentives to continue purchasing from the same retailer – as you purchase more, you gradually work towards the next reward or membership perk. The customer buy-in can help drive their loyalty – once you have a loyalty card it helps drive the association that you buy particular products from a specific store because you have a loyalty card there.
Beyond some degree of loyalty that membership brings, data collected about customers also provides opportunities for targeted promotions. Information on prior purchases can help make recommendations for other products that customers may like, potentially with associated discounts. This can help drive further loyalty – if you are able to make suggestions to customers for items that are likely to want, they are much more likely to be repeat purchasers.
Paid premium memberships
Another approach to increasing customer loyalty is to offer paid subscriptions – Amazon Prime being one of the most well know, costing $120 per year. These programs come with big perks to customers – free next-day delivery in the case of Amazon Prime. As well as money made through the subscription service, a key benefit for the store is now it ties customers into their offerings. Because you have paid a flat subscription fee, customers are now much more likely to automatically return to the store. It becomes your go-to for any related products – substantially increasing store loyalty.
A final component that it is not to lose sight of is that service level is also an important component that can drive repeat purchases (or cause customers to never want to buy from your store again). Service may extend from the way you sell your goods through the after-sales return policies that you provide. Each interaction with the customer can be a source of further loyalty or create the possibility that they will actively decide not to buy from you again.
This article explores some key components of building and maintaining customer loyalty, with important considerations for retaining customers.
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