Clientbook Blog
February 29, 2024

Everything retailers need to know about community engagement

In today's fast-paced retail landscape, where does the heart of true brand loyalty lie? Surprisingly, it may not be found in your break-through products or even in effective marketing strategies, but in something far more fulfilling and lasting: community engagement.

According to a study by Accenture, "engaged customers generate 23% more revenue compared to average customers." This highlights the positive impact of customer engagement on a retailer's bottom line and reinforces the undeniable power of building meaningful relationships within the retail community. 

For retail business owners, the challenge still lies in navigating the genesis of community development for business. This article will help you understand strategic business practices that are valuable in increasing community engagement, earning loyal customers, and boosting overall growth within your retail space. 

What is community engagement?

In the retail industry, community engagement is more than getting to know your local community, but a strategic approach in creating trust and value with clients who connect with your brand. 

Community engagement can include things like: 

  • Creating and nurturing relationships with clients and potential customers 
  • Being an active participant in local communities and events 
  • Engaging with your online community through meaningful interactions.

Why is community important for retailers?

Consumers are bombarded with an infinite amount of choices in today's competitive market. Because of this, building relationships and a sense of community has never been more important. According to a study by Texas Tech University, customers who are engaged with a business or brand have a “50% higher chance of recommending it to others.”

It acts as a key distinguishing feature for physical retailers to stand out to their target audience by building a loyal and engaged community for customers to have a safe space. 

Valuable insights can be gained with successful community engagement, including creating a positive brand image which speeds up the decision-making process and creates long-term relationships. And these are just some of the many benefits of community engagement. 

How you can start building community trust 

Setting the stage for effective community engagement begins with a precise understanding of your target audience and where they're coming from. Whether customers find you through social media platforms, engaged community leaders, or word of mouth communication, it's important to know who's a part of your community so you can better craft their personalized experiences. 

Be sure to foster strong relationships with both your offline and online communities in finding unique ways to enhance the customer experience for both. 

Offline community engagement activities include events in the retail physical space, support of local community activities, and customer appreciation celebrations. Online community activities include anything in the digital space which increases your engagement with customers. Think online forums, social media, newsletters, and even online events. 

Like any strategy, your retail community engagement plan should have clear goals. That way you can make actionable steps and establish metrics for measuring success. When you align your community development objectives with the needs and interests of your community, your retail space will fill the space in your clients' heart for a sense of loyalty and belonging. 

Best practices for retailers in community engagement

So, you want to create a sense of strong community engagement within your retail store? Let's start with simple ways you can lay the foundation of trust with your audience: 

Be an authentic communicator

Your customers are looking for someone to trust in the retail space. As you practice consistent and open communication, you'll gain the confidence of your community by keeping them informed and engaged. They'll look to you for the answers to their questions and needs. This is especially true for younger audiences, like Gen Z.

Provide value

Next, consumers want to know that you’ll add value to their lives and the community. As you create informative content, plan engaging entertainment, and praise customers for their loyalty, customers will understand the limitless value you provide and want more and more. In turn, you have a real shot of having a community impact and being a part of something bigger with your loyal customer relationships and potential public participation. 

Encourage participation

Finally, use your happiest customers to your advantage. Motivate them to share their positive experiences and stories, both in person and online. They can even help you build strategies to create ways to receive customer feedback. Leverage user-generated content that you can share on your social networks. Customers are more likely to connect and share social media content from real-life people over brands.

These best practices will give you concrete ways to strengthen the bonds with your retail, local, and social communities. Communicating authentically, providing real value to clients, and encouraging participation in content and events will be crucial to your community engagement strategy and success. 

Ten community engagement ideas for retailers

Now let’s dive into a few examples of what you can do to build community engagement. As you decide which ones to try out, remember to think of your audience and what they would enjoy most—not just what would be easiest for you.

  1. Product launches 

Get your customers excited for your new products by hosting exclusive events for product releases., Thiswill allow your community clients first access and make them feel like VIPs. 

  1. DIY workshops

Offer do-it-yourself classes related to your products, such as jewelry making, facial treatments, and styling techniques for a clothing store, spa, or jewelry business. The possibilities are endless! 

  1. Local artist showcases

Partner with local artists to display their work in your store, promoting local talent in art enthusiasts. This will make your store more authentic, aesthetic, and welcoming. 

  1. Host educational seminars

Depending on your industry, there are likely a number of topics you’re an expert on that your community would love to learn about. For example, for wellness-focused retailers, hosting seminars on nutrition, exercise, or mental health can attract a community focused on overall health and wellness. Or, if you’re a bicycle retailer, you could offer a course on best practices for staying safe on trails or roads.

  1. Create loyalty programs

Loyalty programs are always great, but they’re even better when they involve your community. Design loyalty programs that give back to local initiatives when customers make a purchase. You can also do this through a "point system" that rewards customers on behalf of their participation in events, workshops, and social media engagement. 

  1. Support local causes & charities

Align with non-profit businesses or charities for donations from customers or creating initiatives  where the portion of the sales go towards the local cause. This will encourage your customers to contribute to the local charities while also showing them that you care. 

  1. Community service days

Organize days where you, your staff, and community members volunteer for local projects. This will enhance the community and neighborhood around your store and customers' town. And don’t be shy about sharing what you’re doing on social media. As long as you’re being genuine with your efforts—not just looking for publicity—consumers will love to see what you’re up to.

  1. Collaborate with influencers and local businesses

Like we mentioned above, social media is an important part of building community engagement. Work with local influencers through social media to promote your store's community events, products, and workshops. Partner with other local businesses for joint events to leverage each other's customer bases. 

  1. Utilize technology for engagement

Don’t forget about digital engagement! Host virtual events to reach those just outside your community who can contribute and feel involved with the local engagement around your stores. For example, you could do an Instagram live where you show off new releases that will be for sale soon.

   10. Surveys, reviews, and polls to receive community feedback

Try Implementing a means of receiving feedback from your customers. There are several ways to do this: surveys, polls included in emails, and encouragement to participate in review platforms. Always be sure to incentivize customers with small rewards, gifts, or discounts so they feel their feedback was valuable to you.

How Clientbook can leverage your community engagement

Clientbook is a perfect platform for retailers looking for a way to increase the quantity and quality of their engagement within their community. Armed with streamlined communication, and powerful technological tools for customer management and data analytics, Clientbook is the retail management system you need to be successful in community engagement. 

Conclusion

Clientbook is a transformative solution for retailers aiming to elevate their customer engagement and management strategies. By harnessing the power of personalized communication, detailed client insights, and seamless operational integration, it offers a comprehensive toolset to foster meaningful connections with customers.

As retail continues to evolve towards more personalized and data-driven approaches, adopting platforms like Clientbook can significantly enhance customer loyalty and drive sales growth, marking a step forward in the future of retail clienteling. Make sure to book a demo today to see all that Clientbook can do for you

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