How Your Small Retail Store Can Keep Customers Happy
The math is simple – the longer you have a customer, the more money you make from them. Retaining customers is key in the retail market. Recruiting new customers will grow your business and replace those you lose, but there is a certain expense in recruiting. Even with the convenience of data capture on the internet, you still have to pay for the reports. So, while you are courting potential customers, make sure you don’t lose the ones you already have.
Why Do Customers Leave?
Of the customers who have left your store, over two-thirds of them left because they were not happy with the service. It’s not because they can buy it online. Something about their shopping experience at your store made them decide not to come back.
About 15% of customers who stop doing business with a store do so because they did not like the product. The product may have been defective or simply not what they thought it would be. Either way, you have lost a customer.
Only 9% of your customers actually choose to do business with the competition. These customers are the ones who chose the competitor because of their mobile app or customer loyalty package. It seldom has anything to do with the actual product.
What Do Customers Expect?
You can be sure that your customers will remember the one bad experience they had with your product. They may have had many great experiences, but the bad one will get all of the attention.
To keep the playing field level, make sure customers know exactly what to expect from you, your store, your product, and your employees. This does not have to be an involved, wordy statement.
It helps to set the bar somewhat low, so that when you exceed expectations, the customer is pleased. You see this all the time with delivery dates. Tell the customer it will take a week to ten days to receive the item, when you know it will get there in 3 days. The customer is usually very happy to receive their item quickly, and you have protection against unforeseen delays.
But what about the sales floor? How can you keep customers happy as they shop in your store? Many retailers use a commission system to keep employees motivated and engaged. This can help retain quality employees as well as make customers happy with the service.
Customers also expect loyalty from you. This is why a customer loyalty program is crucial to customer retention. If a shopper knows they will get extra points if they make a purchase at your store, they will choose you over the competition.
Are You the Expert?
Try to know more about your business than anyone else. Be the expert and customers will depend on you. For example, clothing retailers know that the infinity scarf is still a hot item. Do your salespeople know at least 3 ways to wear an infinity scarf? If they don’t, teach them. Offering information like this to shoppers in the store sets you up as the expert. They won’t get that kind of attention at a big box store where they can’t even find an employee to unlock the dressing room.
As a clothing retailer, you should know whether flats are best with a mini skirt or maxi skirt. You should be able to tell customers whether a man’s socks, shoes, and belt should match. If your customers trust your knowledge of the business, they will keep coming back to you.
Do You Communicate?
Calling, texting, and emailing can all be automated. Let your customers know when you are about to have a sale. A personal phone call can go a long way to retaining a quality customer, and texts will bring occasional shoppers into the store when nothing else will.
Some parts of the industry call this “relationship marketing.” An email once a month and a blog or newsletter can communicate with your customers, keeping you in their contact list. They will have more of a relationship with you, and are more likely to shop with you as a result.
Are You Proactive?
You know that a certain group of customers always get excited about the Cattlemen’s Ball. Are you ready to dress them for the occasion? Send out an email or call to let them know that you are as excited as they are.
Whatever your product, sell it. Let customers know that you can provide what they want or need.