3-ways-to-retain-customer-increase-sales.jpeg

It’s reported that 80 percent of future revenue could come from just 20 percent of existing clients, and yet too often businesses overlook this potential in exchange for making new customers their top priority. Keeping this in mind, what’s your strategy when it comes to customer retention?

Building your brand to strengthen customer care and long-term customer loyalty isn’t easy – but it’s absolutely possible. To help accomplish this goal, consider how the following tips can keep customers shopping with your business and in exchange, gaining increased revenue along the way.

CUSTOMER RETENTION TIP #1: Understand Your Competition.

Going above and beyond what customers expect is always a good thing. This is particularly true if you compare your business to your competitors, allowing you to better grasp the reality of where and how your target audience shops. When you do this, take note of customer care in all aspects of the shopping journey. From online to offline to social media and more, what stands out as a customer high, customer low and a neutral experience? Using your competition to compare to and then analyzing your own efforts, how does your business compare to where your customers may also be shopping?

A harsh look at what your competition is up to is essential in strengthening your customer care efforts – as well as your inventory assortment, branding, marketing and overall retail experience. If you make completing a competitive analysis a regular business practice and then put effort to improving your store as a result,  your customers will not be able to dismiss your efforts in excelling as a retailer… and as a result, will be more likely to return to you when they need to make future purchases.

CUSTOMER RETENTION TIP #2: Welcome Customer Feedback.

As small business owners, there’s a misconception that we’re our own bosses. By definition, this is true. Yet who decides if we get paid or not? Very simply, customers do. It’s their choice to support our businesses that keep us alive and thriving when it comes to operating our storefronts – online or offline. Keeping this in mind, how often do you listen to and react to customer feedback?

When you welcome consumers to share their thoughts on your business – good or bad – you welcome the opportunity to improve your business. Though not always easy, it’s important to hear what your customers have to say. In fact, it’s a privilege. Many customers never take the time to share their thoughts with store owners, yet it’s those that gain this feedback that benefit the most. To help hear the good, the bad and the ugly – as the saying goes – push aside any emotions you have that may keep you from truly hearing and understanding what your customers have to say. Additionally, don’t neglect the online reviews that you will undoubtedly gain over time. From Yelp to various local marketplaces, it’s important to manage and review these sites in an effort to hear what all your customers have to say. Throughout this process, you will benefit from keeping customers happy and in exchange, keeping customer more loyal, as well.

CUSTOMER RETENTION TIP #3: Offer Incentives for Return Business.

Everyday consumers are bombarded with promotions, advertisements, brand impressions and incentives aimed to encourage them to spend money. Because of this, there’s a constant race among brands to be the most memorable and most engaging among their competitors so that their shared target audience ultimately chooses to spend money with them versus the other. Sounds like an easy task, right?

Wrong.

Gaining and keeping customer attention is not easy. It’s an ongoing process that begins before you ever even speak to a customer. Your store image, your store reputation, your store inventory, your store employees, your store ambience and so much more impact decisions your customers make everyday. Another thing that impacts them? Why they would want to return to your store again and again?

Customer incentives are a great way to help increase this opportunity, offering your consumers a reason to return to your business once they’ve previously made a purchase. Remember, 80 percent of future revenue could come from just 20 percent of existing clients… so make sure you’re positioning your store to welcome customers time and time again. Loyalty programs are a great way to enhance this opportunity – and what you offer is up to you, so get creative. From a percentage off a future purchase to a gift with purchase to a free item of your choice and so much more, customers love to feel as if they’re getting a deal because they’ve been loyal. Treat them well and they’ll do the same.

Finally, aim to be the best you can be. Just when you think you’ve exhausted your efforts in getting creative to market your store or merchandising a great, new window display, try again to do something else that will stop your customers in their tracks and keep them shopping and supporting your store again and again. It’s these ongoing, continued efforts in supporting your customers to the best of your ability that keeps them coming back for repeat business… and helping you gain stronger sales.

download-an-introduction-to-omnichannel-retail

Get more content like this direct to your inbox.

About the Author

Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the Founder and Publisher of Retail Minded, a publication committed to supporting independent retailers through news, education and support, as well as the Co-Founder of the Independent Retailer Conference. Recognized for her expertise in independent retail, Reyhle has published thousands of articles about small business and is the Author of the book “Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business” from McGraw-Hill. Additionally, Reyhle has contributed to Forbes, Fiverr, IBM and more, and has been the Spokesperson for Small Business Saturday from American Express since 2014. Learn more about Retail Minded at www.retailminded.com, at @RetailMinded on Twitter or at Facebook.com/RetailMinded.