In 2019, the average consumer has the ability to pick and choose what they buy like never before. A massive shift of business into e-commerce, more efficient modes of shipping across the globe, as well as overall expansion of the economy have each played a role in giving power to buyers in every industry. In a matter of seconds, a single internet search gives one results for thousands of different varieties of the same product.
In research published by management consulting firm, Bain and Company, a 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit. The customers making repeat purchases from a business are also the ones who drive its growth and ability to expand. It’s one thing to attract a customer in the first place but whether they come back is a good indicator of a the success or failure a business may have in the future.
With so many different options available, it’s difficult enough to attract potential customers and persuade them to make a purchase. Furthermore, once someone’s decided to make a transaction with a certain business, that company must then take steps to keep the customer coming back the next time they’re looking to buy the same product. Let’s look at a few ways that have been proven to be effective when it comes to creating loyal customers.
1. Establish a social media presence
You can utilize various different social platforms to solidify a brand image with current and potential customers. One of the most powerful marketing techniques used to attract customers today can also be used to keep them engaged with your company. Staying current and creative on social media not only shows people that one’s business is modern and up to date, but it can also be used to create a marketable image for the company that a customer can identify with. Additionally, social media allows customers to communicate their opinions to a business directly, and can open up conversation about what services and practices they want to see in the future.
2. Maintain personal connection with individual customers
Whether a business is selling to other businesses or directly to consumers, it is always important to have some level of contact with buyers. While most people are now getting used to hearing the voice of a robot answer the phone when they call in to a large business with questions or complaints, it can really make a company stand out if a human being not only answers their call but is also friendly and compliant in trying to meet the customer’s needs. When a buyer interacts directly with a company, it is much more likely that they will return if they’re treated with fairness and respect, something that is better handled by an actual person rather than a computerized message.
3. Create VIP and Loyalty programs
If a customer is satisfied with their original purchase, it can be useful in getting them to return by giving them the option to join some type of rewards program. Whether that entails access to special services, discounts, or free items, creating a rewards program not only incentives buyers to continue purchasing from one’s business but it also can work to attract new ones. By both giving off a sense of exclusivity to potential customers and working to keep existing ones happy, a loyalty program can have a multitude of benefits for any business.
4. Put the customer first
This is a pretty simple idea, but it’s a tried and true method that still exists as a commonly used phrase within any successful company’s customer service protocol. Doubling as a marketing technique that advertises by word of mouth, having positive interactions with customers keeps them coming back and creates a reputation that can attract new ones. According to HubSpot research, 81% of customers trust their friends and family’s advice over any advice from a business itself. If a company wants to create loyalty among their customer base, customers will expect loyalty in return from the company.
5. Prioritize building a comprehensive e-mail list
Next to social media marketing, adding customers to an email list is one of the most effective tactics for driving online business and making people aware of what’s going on inside and outside of a company. With everything companies do online today in order to try to attract a customer’s attention, such as conforming to Google’s search algorithm, an e-mail list is one tool over which a business has complete control. E-mail does not rely on other people clicking the share or like button for a company to get exposure, and most of the time, emails are sent to customers who are truly interested in what a business is selling or have already made a purchase from the said business. E-mails are also a great way to let people know about up-coming or on-going events, discounts, and new products.
6. Brand Your Packaging
In addition to these more general techniques for customer retention, the use of custom packaging can also help in transitioning customers from first time buyers to recurring ones. Much of what keeps individuals buying from the same business over and over is a certain identification with a brand that creates a sense of loyalty. By making use of beautifully designed packaging that tells a story, expresses the goals of the company, or gives the customer a personal experience, buyers are given something visual and concrete to identify with. In order to create loyalty among customers they first have to be presented with a concept to which they can be loyal to, something that can be accomplished with packaging that is clean and purposeful.
Creating loyalty among a customer base is not always easy, but through employing the use of tactics such as a rewards program or staying in touch on social media, it’s possible to turn any single purchase into one that becomes repeated.