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When you think of customer loyalty, how often do you think of the holidays? Often, retailers are so busy trying to capture as many sales as possible during the busy holiday season that they tend to overlook how to retain holiday shoppers into long term, loyal customers. This oversight is one not to ignore, however, since holiday shoppers present the perfect present for retailers to enjoy – no pun intended. That perfect present just so happens to be customer loyalty, something any business can appreciate.

To help give yourself the best present you can this holiday season, consider the below three tips.

Tip #1: Aim to Please

The holidays deliver much more than increased spending among consumers and the opportunity for retailers to gain immediate stronger sales. They also deliver stronger competition among merchants, increasing the opportunity for customers to compare one store to many and likewise, one shopping experience to others. Keeping this in mind, your goal as you enter the holiday season is to offer an experience for your customers that they won’t want to forget. From the moment they are greeted at your curbside to the moment they enter your store to the moment they make a purchase to that final moment when they exit your store, every second and every detail in between must be something worth remembering – but not in a bad way. When you aim to please, you aim to deliver stand-out customer experiences that make your consumers want to return to your store again and again.

Tip #2: Consider All Your Communication Channels

Keeping a customer loyal doesn’t always happen in your store. Often, customer loyalty is built once a consumer has left your physical store and is instead experiencing their normal day to day life. This includes checking their emails, scrolling through social media, visiting online review sites and conversing with friends. To ensure your business stays top of mind among your holiday shoppers all year long, make sure you are informing them while they are in your store where to connect with you once they leave it. Share with them your social media handles on your receipt and bag, capture their email addresses while they are in your store and encourage them to stay in touch via these channels so that you can keep them informed of future stores sales, events, promotions and more. Combine this with positive conversations they may hear from friends and family and see via online reviews and you are one step closer to capturing loyal customers year round.

Tip #3: Sell What Your Customers Need & Want… Not What YOU Need & Want To

There’s no doubt that inventory piles up as you prepare for the holidays, but that should not mean you try to unload your inventory just to get rid of it. Instead, remember that when you aim to please, you are more likely to become memorable in a positive way. Keeping this in mind, thoughtfully help your customers navigate their best holiday purchase decisions. Whether they are buying for themselves or buying gifts, be sure you match your customers with the right products they need. By directing them towards something that is not best suited for them, you are directing them towards a long-lasting memory of your store not being the right fit for them, either. Create authentic shopping experiences for your customers so that they will naturally want to return to your store again – and know that when doing so, they will be fulfilled with what they will find.

Finally, the best presents in life are those that keep on giving. If you view your customers as presents to your business, you will be more likely to treat them with tender, loving care. This TLC treatment helps shape a more loyal relationship among your business and customers – while also helping to strengthen your holiday and year-round sales. It’s a win-win that both you and customers alike can gain from… making that the perfect present for your business this holiday season.

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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.