Offering thoughtful perks to your customers don’t necessarily have to be expensive, matter of fact, many can be cost-effective, and, very easy to implement. When you go the extra mile for your customers, you will notice repeat business, plus they will be more apt to recommend your business to family, friends, etc. Here are some ideas to consider:
Utilizing your software program, compose a customer list that highlights the frequency of visits, annual spending, and referrals. Once you have identified your top customers, send them a small gift on a monthly or quarterly basis. Where you can keep costs low is by working with your vendors. Why? This is a great opportunity for your vendors to enhance their brand awareness, plus increase their sales in a non-direct way. Let’s face it, everyone enjoys receiving a special surprise in the mail. Also, when people receive an unexpected present, they tend to tell a friend or two about their positive experience.
Launch a new product or service to your top customers at least four times a year. To make it extra special, let your customers know that you are introducing this new item to them before you launch it to the general public. This is a great opportunity for your customers to provide some valuable feedback so you can make the official launch much more successful, and most importantly, very profitable.
Surprise your customers with seasonal treats when they enter your business. If you can, gather your supplies from local farms and markets. Heck, why not cross promote one another? For example, September is National Apple Month! In your reception area, beautifully display some decorative baskets filled with fresh apples. You could even have serve some hot apple cider for folks to sip and savor during their visit. There are so many possibilities… Just be creative!
Once a quarter, host a speaker at your business to discuss an informative topic related to your industry. Try to keep these topics generic and avoid presentations that are a sales pitch for a product or service. People are on a quest for knowledge; they don’t want to feel pressured into buying something. Also, make sure that your speakers are reputable and well-informed on the topics in which they are presenting. Don’t forget to promote these events via your social media, website, blog, e-blasts, and local papers (online as well!). Oh yes, use these same platforms to follow-up post event. If done correctly, these forums can give your business some excellent exposure.
For the most part, these items can be quite simple and easy to offer. For example, if you own a spa, offer complimentary skin care consultations. Own a clothing boutique? Provide one-on-one style sessions in-store and online. One of my all-time favorites is complimentary gift wrapping. Yes, you will have to buy some wrapping paper and other necessary supplies, but you can keep costs low by using your company’s signature hues. I would also suggest holding a wrapping class (go to YouTube!) for your staff members. You want to make sure that all wrapped gifts look fabulous!
Listen to your customers when it comes to your business hours. If many cannot make it to your store during the week because you close by 6 p.m., you may want to consider extending your hours on certain days. Private appointments are also a nice option—especially for your regular or V.I.P. customers. These offerings could really have a positive impact on your business on so many levels.
I have witnessed on numerous occasions customers entering a business looking for a certain product and they soon discover that it is out of stock. Of course the employees quickly apologize for it not being available, but at that point, the customer is going to look elsewhere for the item. In order for your business to avoid losing a potential or existing customer, have your staff take down their name, contact information and product selection(s) so you can place a special order via your vendor. See if your vendor offers a drop-ship option so that the product can be delivered straight to your customer’s home. Just be sure that you receive credit for the purchase. This approach provides a win-win scenario for all involved.
Send a Note
Do you thank your customers for their business? In this day and age of technology, there is nothing like receiving a handwritten thank you note in the mail. Yes, I know it can be time-consuming, but, again, it helps you to stand out from the crowd. Set some time aside every day to handle this follow-up. If you are limited on time, hire a high school or college student, with beautiful writing, to tackle this task. I would suggest including some points in the letter in which you discussed during your last conversation to avoid making it sound generic. Trust me; your customers will greatly appreciate this kind gesture.
Is a customer celebrating a birthday, promotion, etc.? If so, send them a special handwritten note or e-correspondence (I am a fan of Constant Contact!) congratulating them along with a little gift from you. For example, the gift could be a complimentary service or an upgrade to their favorite service.
Social Media Contests
I am such a huge fan of social media. There are so many great platforms to implement to really help promote your business. You just have to be consistent with your postings and follow-up. Encourage customers to “like” or “follow” you when they enter or exit your business so they can keep up with your latest news and promotions. Also, developing some exciting contests on your social media pages will help maintain engagement while building your brand awareness.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can enhance your customer’s overall experience whether they are in-store or not. These manageable practices are a great way to wow your customers and keep them coming back for more.
At Nine Dotz Consulting, we offer customized marketing services that get your business noticed. Retail and marketing classes, merchandising ideas, launch parties and social media development are just some of the services that we offer. Schedule a complimentary consultation today!You can reach Laura Cummins at: firstname.lastname@example.org