Loyalty is very important when it comes to the people you keeps as customers. To develop a sense of loyalty to a company and to maintain it, customers must have reasons to keep returning time and time again. When a new store opens up down the street, your loyal patrons will remain with you if you can offer them attractive incentives to do so. For customers to be loyal to your business, you must also be loyal to them.
Loyalty Equals Repeat Sales
Loyal customers equal repeat sales for you. To use an example, let us pretend that you are a clothing retailer. You have a customer whom we will call Suzanne who comes in one day and buys a blouse on sale. She is very satisfied with the manner in which she was treated by the clerk who rang up her purchase. All in all she gives top marks to her shopping experience. Due to all the good that surrounds the time she spent in your store, Suzanne is very likely to return to your establishment again to buy other items for her and her family members. Everyone wins!
The Pareto Principle
Ever heard of the Pareto Principle (or Pareto’s Law)? Also referred to as the 80-20 rule, this is an effective tool in business that is based upon a math formula thought up by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1906. It is as relevant to today’s businesses as it was to the businesses from years gone by.
The 80-20 rule (sometimes written as 80/20) applies to many businesses. How this works is quite simple- the majority of businesses find that 80% of their regular business comes by way of 20% of their most loyal customers. Loyal customers are the people who shop and purchase from the store on a consistent basis and who are for all intents and purposes are your customers for life. These are the people you want to hold onto because they are the lifeblood of your company.
Although they might not spend gobs of cash every time they come into your store, over the years they will purchase more than the occasional shopper will. Loyal customers will be so happy with the products you sell and the service you provide that they will tell others in their social circle. This will help your company to keep growing and to continue to thrive from one year to the next.
Treat Your Customers Well
One of the most effective means of never losing a customer is a very basic and simple one- treat your customer as well as you possibly can. Be friendly, be polite, be helpful and be knowledgeable about the product. Make sure you sell products or services that are of top quality. Back up all of the merchandise you sell with a good return policy and/or a guarantee.
Here are some other important things you can do to treat your customers well:
Affordable Prices- Offer your products for prices that are reasonable and affordable for most people’s budgets. If your prices are too high, potential customers will walk through your door and then right back out of it. They will head for your competitors down the street or over on the next block.
Be Discerning in Your Hiring Practices- Be very discerning with the staff members you hire to represent your establishment. You want to bring onboard those who will treat all of your customers with respect and dignity. You want well-mannered people to be on the front lines greeting and interacting with your customers.
Build Trust- Trust is so important in terms of encouraging people to shop at your store. Show yourself to be trustworthy as a business and give your customers reasons to continue to be loyal to you. Loyalty and trust walk hand in hand.
Do Not Take Complaints Personally- Do not take it as a personal affront if complaints happen. Every business must accept that this comes with the territory. A loyal customer who buys a product that falls apart or does not work properly and returns it is not likely to decide never to return to your store again. However if the person is given a hassle about the return or is treated like a liar or made to feel bad, they may indeed think twice about shopping at the store again in the future.
Word of Mouth Whisperings- Word of mouth can work for you or against you. A happy customer will spread the word but an unhappy customer will also let others know about their bad shopping experience in your store. By being rude or unfair to one customer, you could be driving away many, especially if other customers witness the exchange. Be mindful of this and make sure you impress this upon your staff.
Offer Valuable Products- Value is important to the success of a company so offer value for your products. Many shoppers visit certain stores because they want value for their hard earned dollars and cents. If you can give them that, they will be inclined to return many times over. Happy shoppers want to know that their money has been well spent.
Offer Discounts- Discounts offered on purchases are an excellent way to build loyalty with customers. There is an assortment of discounts you can offer to your customers. Be imaginative in coming up with discount ideas! One option that is popular is the “buy one get one free” (BOGO) or the “buy one for regular price and you get a second item for half price”.
Customers appreciate discounts being offered on merchandise. If you sell electronics for example, you might want to offer a discount on DVD players when a customer purchases a television. While everyone will not necessarily accept the discount, many interested parties will. It does not hurt to offer a free gift with an item as well. This works very well with beauty products. For example, you might offer a free perfume sample, free tube of lipstick, or free bottle of nail polish with the purchase of every beauty basket. Who can resist getting a little something extra when they make a purchase?
To instill loyalty in your customers, you first must extend loyalty to them. Loyalty will give way to repeat sales. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind as you search for effective means of keeping your patrons happy while at the same time, maximizing your profits. Satisfied customers will translate into long-term patrons who will convey the positive message to others that your establishment offers an extraordinary shopping experience!