You’ve got a customer. How do you keep them coming back? How do you keep them happy?
One of the best things you can do for customers – whether they have been loyal to you for decades, or just walked in the store for the first time this morning, is to give a little more.
I don’t necessarily mean give out free product (although free trials, test rides, and buy one get one free offers are definitely something to consider). It’s more about giving the customer a little more than they expected. Shopping can be stressful and feel like a chore to a lot of people. By giving them a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise mundane activity, you will create positive connections with that customer that will make them more likely to come back in the future.
How can I harness the power of giving?
- Freebies – Many etsy stores and other artisans offer a “free gift with purchase.” While it is nice to know you will be getting something a little extra, it’s especially nice to open up your shipment and find an unexpected bonus waiting for you! It doesn’t have to be much – a trial size pouch of detergent with a cloth diaper order, or a small notebook with a software purchase are sometimes just the ticket to light up a customer’s face.
- Thanks – This is especially important if you are a small business trying to establish an online presence shipping products to customers. Invest in some nice stationary that goes along with your business branding (or custom order some), and HAND WRITE a thank you to your customer to send along in their shipment. Hand written is the key here! Even if you type something different for each customer, type-written will come across as a generic printout, and will mean less. Your customers will appreciate that you took the time to hand write them a thank you note!
- Atmosphere – In-store atmosphere is a huge deal to customers. There are some stores I won’t shop at simply because the atmosphere is difficult to be in (dim lighting and overwhelming perfume/cologne at Abercrombie, anyone?). Know your clientele. Do you cater to a lot of mothers? Offer a secluded sitting area where they can nurse and change babies in private (at the very least make sure all bathrooms – men and women – have a baby changing station!). Do you get a lot of “companion shoppers?” Men will definitely appreciate a sitting area with free wi-fi while they wait for their female companions to try on clothing. How about children? Having a safe play area could be just the ticket to keeping the kids happy while the moms are free to shop (IKEA, anyone?). Is it the holiday season? If it is, I urge you to consider NOT playing Christmas music! I for one get so inundated with it during the holiday season that I avoid shopping at stores where it is blasting out of every speaker! I can’t be alone in this!
- Four-Legged Friendly – Obviously dogs are not welcome in restaurants because of the issue of sanitation. But did you know most Home Depots will allow you to bring your leashed pooch into the store with you? Lots of people love to bring their four-legged friends with them when they run errands, and finding retailers that welcome them can be just the push they need to call you their favorite. Obviously this won’t be possible for every retailer, but it is something to consider.
It all comes down to knowing your clientele. Figure out who they are, and what their needs and wants could be. What little things can you offer that would make their experience with you stand out above the rest?