How to Engage Customers in Retail
As we all find ourselves returning to a semblance of our pre-pandemic lives, so do retail businesses; lockdowns are finally winding down, and restrictions are being lifted. Therefore, now is an excellent time to attract new customers to your business and ensure that you retain the existing ones.
The most practical way to do so? Customer engagement.
Customer engagement focuses on creating an emotional bond between a customer and a business that extends far beyond an individual transaction.
You might ask, why is customer engagement so critical? To put it simply, customer engagement leads to increased revenues, improved customer retention, shorter purchase cycles, and positive feedback that motivates new customers to buy from you.
So how can you increase engagement in your business?
1. Customer loyalty program
Rewarding your customers with loyalty points encourages them to spend more at your store. You can offer them free items, in-store privileges, or discounts in exchange for these points.
Experimental evidence suggests that these loyalty programs can effectively change the way customers choose to shop at your store; they increase their spending to maximize loyalty points and rarely even venture into stores owned by competitors.
The Starbucks loyalty program, for example, incentivizes brand loyalty by offering free drinks to recurring customers. By implementing a similar reward system, you can increase the frequency of your customers' visits as well as the average amount they choose to spend at your store.
Loyalty/membership cards can also help your business track spending habits and gather actionable insights. For example, depending on what your customers regularly purchase, you can send them tailored promos.
Don’t worry, the task of building an entire personalized customer loyalty program might be daunting right now, but some loyalty programs can have you up and running in as little as 10 days!
2. Social media presence
Remember the Wendy’s vs Burger King Twitter fights? Remember how entertaining they were, encouraging even newspapers to cover their witty and snarky remarks? That, right there, is free publicity.
These companies have managed to establish such a solid social media presence that every campaign they publish has a reach in the millions and sparks multiple conversations, both online and offline.
Now, it’s time for you to build your brand as efficiently. Social media is a game-changer that cannot be underestimated; it allows you to connect with a vast number of people instantly and is arguably the strongest tool in your marketing kit right now. As such, you should utilize it cleverly and efficiently to maximize brand awareness.
You can engage your customers by providing them with meaningful content as well as keep them updated about new offers, sales, or new designs using these platforms. The best part about social media is that it ensures your brand stays relevant and is perpetually in the mind of your customers.
So, what exactly should you be doing on social media? You should interact and engage with your followers, post regularly, use new features like reels and guides, hold contests, respond to their posts about your brand, and always reply to messages.
If you employ all these tactics, you can stay in touch with your customer base constantly and build a long-lasting connection.
3. Paying attention to reviews
If you’re wondering how to engage customers virtually, reviews are an excellent place to start. A study revealed that for 84% of people, reviews are an important factor in their purchase decision.
As a business, you need to pay special attention to what your customers are writing about you. Reviews are essential because they provide direct and insightful feedback from your customers about your products and services.
Reading and responding to reviews is an absolute must; people love to feel like their suggestions have been heard. Moreover, promoting the positive ones and addressing the negative ones helps your brand manage its online image in addition to making customers feel more valued.
You might just be able to retain a few customers you would have lost otherwise by merely applying this small 2-step process to your weekly routine. Finally, responding respectfully to customer grievances is vital since it allows you to build trust with clients.
4. Sending personalized messages
Sending text messages is one of the most effective ways to engage with your customer base since it is instant, direct, and highly personalized. Marketing emails might end up in spam folders and flyers in trash cans, but text messages seldom go unnoticed. The majority of people are always glued to their phones, so messaging is a great way to get their attention.
You can send them personalized, exclusive offers such as birthday discounts via SMS. You can also send them time-sensitive promo codes, consequently creating a sense of urgency to buy your product.
In addition, SMS marketing can be integrated with your loyalty program, allowing you to communicate with your customers even when they aren't physically present in the store. Therefore, employing this strategy almost guarantees you repeat customers.
Having the right marketing automation software can make a huge difference. Some softwares have the capacity to instantly and automatically reach out to every single one of your customers and send them well-crafted and catchy promo messages that significantly boost customer footfalls in the coming weeks.
5. Ask questions
One of the easiest ways in which you can increase customer engagement is by asking questions. For example, you can ask them how they feel about certain products or how they would rate your service. You can even ask them simple questions like how their day went, making them feel like you care about their thoughts and opinions.
Asking questions will help you cultivate a relationship that goes beyond the transactional nature of the business. You may even ask questions on social media since using this tactic generates a unique kind of engagement that cannot be replicated by simply posting or promoting your products. You should definitely give this strategy a shot because it is effective, effortless, and, best of all, completely free.
Start Boosting Customer Engagement Today!
Now that you’re convinced that customer engagement is essential for your business, it’s time to implement these strategies. You’re almost guaranteed to notice a significant increase in sales as re-engage inactive customers as well as reach new audiences.
Above all, you will establish a strong and lifelong bond with your clients by making them feel heard, noticed, and valued. And in the long run, this will generate significant recurring revenue for your business.
So, what are you waiting for? Develop a personalized customer engagement strategy today!