The 80/20 rule is never more true than in retail.
Retailers big and small know that a very high proportion of revenue (excluding new customers) comes from a very small number of customers. It is crucial therefore that we find ways to keep these customers loyal and nurture new customers to find new loyal customers.
Brand loyalty doesn’t always mean a loyalty programme in the sense of an all–singing, all–dancing package; there are plenty of things brands can do to make customers feel valued without having to implement points schemes or having lots of liability on their profit and loss accounts. What matters is that you segment your customers properly and know exactly how much you’re willing to invest to keep customers engaged with your brand.
It’s easy to get lost in the marketing jargon but if you focus on a few key points, you won’t go wrong.
Here are 7 boxes every brand needs to tick in order to be successful:
1.Have a great product
Ultimately customers will judge a brand based on the quality of the product and whether it exceeds expectations. Without a great product proposition, all the marketing in the world won’t be able to create loyal customers.
2.Deliver on customer experience and brand USPs
In a world of choice, fast delivery and the behemoth that is Amazon, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. For product resellers in particular, it’s important to create a customer experience that goes over and above what others are offering. Some great examples I’ve seen can be quirky and low cost – like Wiggle giving me a pack of Haribos in each dispatch – or more personal à la Laithwaite’s Wine who give me my own wine advisor. These things set you apart in a crowded marketplace.
3.Be relevant and personalised
Given the amount of marketing consumers receive, every touchpoint matters. You absolutely have to use customer data to personalise content. If I have only ever shopped in one of your stores, send me emails from the store manager and update me on news or instore events. I don’t really need to hear about free delivery offers as that isn’t how I shop. Instead, think about the categories that I am likely to buy or be interested in. At more2, we run a lot of analysis to help clients understand which products a customer is likely to buy based on past purchases – history is a key indicator of future behaviour and consumers are far more predicable than you may think.
One of the best ways to build brand loyalty is to exceed expectations. Some of our clients have surprise & delight programmes whereby they will send an unprompted gift as a thank you to certain customers. The amount of social interest this causes and the brand equity it creates can be invaluable and far outweighs the cost.
Having a good social presence is key as it gives you a real shop window and allows your customers to share their experiences with their friends. You can’t underestimate the power of referral and giving customers an easy way to share your content can make a huge difference.
6.Ask for and act on feedback
A few weeks ago, we ran some analysis for a client to understand who their most loyal customers were. One thing that stood out was how the brand responded to feedback on their website. The feedback customers were leaving was a mixture of positive and negative – in fact, some who had left negative feedback went on to be some of the brand’s most valuable customers. So, what was the brand doing that turned things around? Simple. They were brilliant at responding to and resolving customer queries publicly. Customers who leave feedback – good or bad! – care enough about you to get in touch. If you respond positively and quickly to resolve their issues, you’ll soon have a very loyal customer on your hands.
The final point is test, test, test and measure, measure, measure. You need to understand the incremental impact of your marketing activity so you can prove you’re talking to the right people at the right time through the right channels.