How to Expand Your Retail Customer Base

Field Service Hospitality Payscape Professional Service Retail

Contributing Author: John Burns

Expanding your retail customer base

Part of building your retail success story is growing your customer base and maintaining those connections. But doing so can be a concern for businesses, with more than 1 in 3 companies saying that generating new customers is their biggest worry.

If you’re a retail business that is not using email marketing tactics or a customer loyalty program, you could be leaving money on the table.

Customer Loyalty Program

You know that local coffee shop you go to every morning, so that you can earn rewards for every drink you buy, and then get a free one whenever you hit a certain amount of points? Essentially, you’re a member of their loyalty program- and you’ll most likely keep going back to rack up more points to get that free cup o’ joe.

Customer loyalty programs have skyrocketed over the past few years, and they are vital to any retail business’s success. In fact, a 2016 study by Accenture Research found that customer loyalty program members produce 12-18% more revenue for retailers than non-members.

A number of retailers use these loyalty programs to attract new customers, but they’re also instrumental in motivating existing customers to stay engaged and spend more.

Loyalty programs also encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Think of it this way: if you keep your customers happy, they’ll essentially start promoting your brand to their network-  this is FREE advertising! According to the 2016 Brand Loyalty Report, 73% of members are more likely to recommend brands with good loyalty programs. Focusing on a consumer’s needs rather than a single purchase will go a long way.

Retailers can also use loyalty programs to observe buying behavior. Having an efficient POS system is the best way to follow purchasing behavior. They can provide data to help retailers understand their customers’ buying habits. This makes it easier to segment consumers, create accurate personas, and gain insight for new incentives.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be a fantastic business tool to help keep those new leads and repeat customers involved and informed. But it hinges on one critical factor: capturing and maintaining a customer’s email address. I hate to break it to you, but your email marketing database degrades by about 22.5% every year.  Your contacts change their email, unsubscribe, and abandon old accounts.

It’s not always easy to convince a customer to give out their email- they’re already receiving possibly hundreds of promotional emails a day and may not want to add another to that ever-growing list. While it’s important to keep existing customers, part of your job in the retail industry is to make sure you’re adding new contacts to your email database. This requires a hint of creativity to convince customers it’s a good idea to fill out that email form.

One of the easiest ways expand that email list is to create new lead-gen offers and content. This may include helpful ebooks or other free resources that consumers can download. Use more than one outreach channel to promote your new offers such as your store website and Facebook page and require visitors to provide their email address in order to download the content. You’ll be surprised at how many new contacts you’ll receive.

Mobile swipers also come in handy. Not only are they quick and convenient right from a mobile device, but you can automatically add them to your email database, allowing you to send them email receipts, promotions, and exclusive offers. Not to mention the benefits such as inventory tracking and consolidated billing for your retail business.

Remember, expanding your customer base is a process, not just a one-time event. Implement these strategies on a repetitive basis and before you know it, you’ll have the customers and the growth you were looking for.