Repeat Business: 7 Ways to Keep Your Customers Coming Back
Earning sales from customers takes time and effort. Depending on your industry and product prices, encouraging a customer to do business with your brand could take weeks or months. Even if you’re in the retail industry, where impulse buys are the norm, the first purchase is always the hardest to get.
Once you’ve secured a customer, keeping them engaged becomes a priority. Encouraging repeat business can help you grow your bottom line without significantly increasing your marketing and advertising expenses. We’ll explain why repeat business is crucial and share seven strategies for nurturing loyal customers.
What is repeat business, and why is it important?
Repeat business is when a customer shops with your company regularly. Ideally, you’ve fostered customer loyalty, and customers trust your brand enough to habitually spend money on your products or services.
Repeat customers are incredibly valuable to a business. They improve your cash flow, boost your marketing ROI, and help you amass comprehensive target audience data. Additionally, repeat customers bring the following benefits:
- Repeat customers promote your brand. Loyal customers who regularly purchase your products and services often provide free promotion via enthusiastic word-of-mouth advertising. They will likely tell their friends, family and social media followers about your offerings, increasing your reach. They often write positive customer reviews and share feedback on how you can improve.
- Repeat customers can boost holiday sales. The holidays often bring new customers to your brand. As a bonus, repeat customers can provide an additional cash influx that allows you to offer discounts and attract even more customers. Repeat customers also tend to respond to holiday marketing efforts, which can help you maximize profits during your busy season.
- Repeat customers will try new offerings. Repeat customers are an excellent resource when you’re creating new products. They’re more likely to try your new offerings and often welcome upselling and cross-selling opportunities when those opportunities involve product families they prefer.
7 simple strategies to nurture repeat business
To earn repeat customers, you must grow customer relationships and nurture consumer trust. Consider the following straightforward strategies to encourage frequent buyers.
1. Start a customer loyalty program.
Building a customer loyalty program is an excellent way to encourage repeat business. As a bonus, loyalty programs increase the average sales transaction size.
While you can structure your loyalty program in various ways with differing levels of complexity, a straightforward, easy-to-understand loyalty program can be very effective.
To get started with your loyalty program, gather your customers’ contact information, provide them with a unique account number or card, and reward them when they make a specific number of purchases or reach a certain dollar amount.
Consider the following loyalty program ideas and best practices:
- Present special offers exclusively for loyalty program members.
- Offer unique rewards for members who refer customers to your business.
- Use a bonus point campaign.
- Organize a prize draw for loyalty program members.
- Ensure loyalty members are given top priority for new product access, sales notifications and more.
2. Offer personalized customer service.
Unfortunately, many consumers have become accustomed to impersonal service. They can walk into a big-box store and go unrecognized, even if they’ve been there numerous times before and spend significant money.
To differentiate your brand and encourage repeat business, treat your customers with personalized service. Excellent customer service can take many forms, depending on your business and industry. For example, restaurants can use their POS systems to gather customer information, then use that to make personalized menu suggestions and substitutions. Retail stores can greet customers and encourage them to join their rewards programs.
Targeted email marketing campaigns are another way to personalize service. Market segmentation tools in email marketing software solutions allow you to send specific emails that address a unique customer segment’s interests and needs.
3. Provide future-use coupons.
Future-use coupons are an excellent tool for encouraging repeat business. Coupons drive engagement and retention by giving customers a reason to frequent your business after making an initial purchase.
For example, for every $50 purchase in your store, you could offer a coupon for 10 percent off a future purchase. This enticement gives customers a reason to return — especially if their first purchase wowed them.
4. Get customers’ contact info.
When any customer walks into your store or visits your e-commerce website, getting their contact information should be a top goal. When you have their names, phone numbers, email addresses and mailing addresses, you have numerous opportunities to reach out and build relationships.
For example, when customers opt into your email marketing list, they give you express permission to send newsletters, information about sales and discounts, new product announcements and more.
5. Offer freebies to customers.
The key to driving repeat business is staying on your customers’ radar. Once they leave your store or exit your website, you want them to remember you. Free promotional materials are an excellent way to stay top of mind.
Whether you opt for pens, calendars, stuffed animals or other freebies that fit with your brand, handing out promotional materials to select customers can show them you value them and help them feel like VIPs.
6. Offer customers the opportunity to provide feedback.
Providing feedback opportunities shows your customers you care about their opinions. They’ll feel heard, understand they’re more than just another number, and will be more likely to return.
You can collect customer feedback via surveys in numerous ways, including email, text, live chat and social media. Survey data can yield valuable insights and help you improve your offerings.
Frequent customer feedback is crucial. Provide ample opportunities for customers to share their experiences, and be sure to acknowledge and thank them — even if they provide constructive criticism.
7. Maintain an active social media presence.
Social media marketing is uniquely valuable when you’re developing a brand personality. It keeps your business on the top of consumers’ minds and helps them feel like they know and understand your company personally.
Creative, eye-catching social media posts also provide your current customers with material to point to when they recommend you to others.