No matter the industry, every business owner wants to build a loyal client base of repeat buyers. Nothing's better than seeing a familiar face walk into your store knowing that you're almost certainly going to make an easy sale—and have a great time doing it because you're reconnecting with a friendly buyer that knows your store well.
But earning repeat business is easier said than done. This is especially true for high-end retailers with more expensive products on their shelves or in their showrooms. After all, the average shopper only needs a diamond ring or suede sectional a few times in their life.
Luckily, earning repeat business doesn't have to be a challenge. This article has the tips retailers need to earn repeat business at their store no matter their industry.
What's the difference between a new and repeat customer?
In any business, there are two types of shoppers who can walk into your door. One is new people that have never shopped with you, and the other is return customers who have already made a purchase with you at least once.
It's common business knowledge that return shoppers are far more valuable than new and one-time customers for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few.
- Return customers spend more: The longer you retain a buyer, the better their customer lifetime value becomes. This is because return shoppers spend up to 67% more than one-time customers.
- Customer acquisition costs more than retention: Studies suggest that acquiring a first-time customer can cost between 5 and 25 times as much as retaining an existing one. Plus, Bain & Company reports that an increase in customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
- First-time shoppers are harder to sell to: Earning trust from today's consumers is tricky and only comes with time. That's why convincing a new buyer to shop with you is far more difficult than encouraging someone who already trusts your brand to come back.
- Loyal customers share your brand with others: When a buyer has multiple positive customer experiences with your brand over time, they're sure to tell they're friends and family about it, increasing your word-of-mouth advertising.
Five ways to earn repeat business as a retailer
If you're looking to grow the number of loyal customers at your retail store, the below tips will help get you there.
1. Train your sales team on clienteling
First off, if you and your sales team aren't already actively clienteling, get started. Clienteling is a retail strategy where sales associates focus more on building relationships with shoppers than closing a sale.
It involves using relationship selling techniques like getting to know clients' product preferences based on their previous purchases, collecting and storing client data on important dates and names, following up often with personalized product recommendations, and more.
Training your sales team to move away from traditional transactional sales techniques and toward clienteling is about more than offering excellent customer service. It's about building personal relationships with buyers that will last a lifetime.
2. Treat repeat buyers like VIPs through personalization
Next, if you've done a good job clienteling and collecting information about your buyer, you'll be able to personalize their experience the next time they come in and even predict their future purchases.
For example, let's say you own a furniture store and a buyer purchases a dresser from you. Then, a few weeks later, you get the matching set of nightstands into your store. Because you have data on that buyer's initial purchase, you can reach out with a personalized offer for the matching piece.
Shoppers are far more likely to respond to personalized offers like these rather than generic promotional emails or messages. Data from Epsilon finds that 80% of today's consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.
3. Engage with shoppers both in-store and online
Remember that interacting with your buyers needs to happen both in-store and online. After all, customer retention strategies are all about getting a buyer to come back and shop with you when they might not have otherwise.
So whether that's writing a thank-you message after they've made an initial purchase, sending follow-up emails to check in, or sending special offers based on products you know they'd like, all of these small acts will keep encouraging repeat customers to shop with you again.
4. Get customer feedback and use it to improve
Another valuable resource to growing a loyal customer base is customer feedback. Your online reviews are a great place to start. See what people like about your store, where there's areas for improvement, and who's advocating for your business online.
If you don't have many positive reviews, don't be afraid to ask for your happy customers to fill one out. The more you get, the more insight you'll gain on how to lower your churn rate, improve your buyers' shopping experiences, and secure future profits.
5. Make the most of retail technology
Finally, investing in retail technology can help you meet your business goals without having to do everything on your own.
For example, while manual clienteling can be time consuming and difficult to implement, clienteling software can help make it easier on you and your sales team.
With a tool like Clientbook, you can create client profiles, get automated reminders when it's time to follow up, and even create custom wish lists for each of your key clients. By utilizing tools like these, you'll never forget to follow up with a client.
Earning repeat business, especially as a high-end retailer, can be a challenge—but it doesn't have to be. Mastering the art of clienteling, consistently following up with personalized product offerings, and using a tool like Clientbook can all make the process that much easier.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can help you improve your conversion rates at your retail store, book a demo today to see it in action yourself.