J.D. Associates Retail POS Solutions Blog
In 13 days, the 2012 Holiday Season will come to a close, and we will all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Whatever the outcome, we will have a lot of customers to thank and to nurture for future sales. Let's get busy now so that we can reach them all and start developing those relationships a little deeper. Here are five simple things you can start doing now.
Building Customer Loyalty One Contest at a Time
When was the last time you ran a contest? They take time but if done right and it’s not ho-hum, it could bring you lots of rewards from the inside out.
Today's guest author is David Canales, OptCulture Account Executive.
Customer loyalty is the ultimate goal for retailers seeking to grow their businesses and become more profitable. The easiest, least expensive sale is a returning customer, but the benefits go beyond repeat business. If you nurture your loyal customers, you can turn them into a valuable part of your sales force as brand advocates. Brand advocates spread the word about your products and services and refer their friends to your store. This is especially important in today's connected world in which recommendations are made every day via text messages, social media, email and customer comments on your website.
We talk a lot about "touch points" in retail sales. None is more important than your employees. Customers seek them out when they have questions, and that transaction alone can make all of the difference in making a sale. How your in-store employees think, speak and act can be your best friend or your worst enemy at the retail point of sale. Here are a few sure-fire ways to get the best out of your employees and maximize sales this Holiday Season.
In navigating the minefield that is small business, you need a small group of highly skilled and very focused individuals to guide you. These folks are outside of your company's staff and are more or less on an on-call basis, assisting with solving problems, weighing in on big decisions and listening to you when you have new ideas or want to implement innovation.
We No Longer Discount!
Could your store survive if you were courageous enough to make this statement? It’s something to think about. In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned a number of things that you ought to be doing if you intend to be successful without relying on having the ‘lowest price’. The best way to establish a ‘no-discount’ policy is to build customer loyalty.
Customer Loyalty can mean many things, but the most important is the difference between survival and prosperity – for you. Imagine what your business would look like if you could establish a loyal base of customers that would only buy certain items from you – and on a regular basis…
Let me give you an example: I was at a local garden center type of store recently. They sell bird food, pet food – etc. I asked if they had any kind of customer loyalty program in place. The answer was “No, we don’t.” So, why would anyone keep coming back week after week to buy pet food? The only answer is convenience or price – or perhaps they like the local staff. How about, buy 10 bags, get 1 free? Keep track of the purchases on the Point of Sale system and automatically ‘give’ the reward!
Doing this lets (you) the retailer ‘maintain margin’ and often suppliers will supplement the giveaway. You just need to ask (your vendors).
I am a golfer, and buy golf balls not at the local driving range – but at the big-box store across the street. Why? The price is the same at each store. The big-box store keeps track of points, and rewards me with a cash certificate after so many purchases. It’d be foolish to pass this up. The small store doesn’t know me from any other customer, and has never made any attempt to ‘lock me in’ and keep me coming back. They should. But they haven’t.
Retail is all about the customer. The retailer (you) need to take the time to know who your customers are and you need to come up with ways to keep them coming back. Reward the good ones – not the ‘bottom feeders’ who only come in for sales. Get creative. Use your Point of Sale system to track and reward your best customers. Retail POS software can ‘earn its keep’ by doing so – providing the means to a steady stream of loyal customers. Make a resolution for 2011 – no more discounts!
Bob Phibbs emailed me this morning; he was the keynote at our recent seminar for retailers: You Can Compete, sponsored by J.D. Associates, point of sale system experts. In the retail world, Bob Phibbs is known as The Retail Doctor, at the ready to help fix your retail pains.
New Retailer Rules
This interesting post has plenty of take aways; after you read it on the Retail Technology Blog, commit to one of the suggestions. I bet you'll infuse new life into your retail store, and may gain some customer loyalty as well.