Building customer loyalty isn’t easy, but is crucial in making a brand last. Building life-long customer relationships can set your business apart from its competitors, and retaining those loyal shoppers is something every brand should be focusing on. Here are three key takeaways from the “Unlocking the Secrets to Loyalty and Retention” panel at the CommerceNext Summit that can help your brand attract and retain the right type of customer.
1. Create an Emotional Connection
When you have customers who genuinely love your brand, they become advocates for it. "We listen for the word love,” Sunil Kaki, senior vice president of marketing at online, membership-based grocery retailer Thrive Market, shared on the panel. “Not like. Not convenient. Not cheap. Those are all great, but we're looking for love." Kaki also explained that while it's easy to create promotions and discounts to generate customer acquisition and loyalty, it's harder to create experiences for customers. By using storytelling and quality content in your marketing efforts, you can create an emotional connection with consumers that's not all about the transaction.
2. Have Exclusivity
One way to make sure customers keep coming back is to give them something they can’t get anywhere else. “We carry quite a few exclusive brands,” Allegra Stanley, vice president of loyalty at Sephora, said. “The reason for that is to really create a differentiated assortment [...] that keeps [customers] coming back, and not only loyal to that brand, but also to Sephora."
3. Provide the Right Kind of Incentives
Incentives are not a one-size-fits-all proposition across all brands. It’s important to make sure the incentives you’re providing make sense for your specific type of customer. "At Party City, we have a pretty infrequent customer,” Liesel Walsh, vice president, customer relationship management, loyalty and insights at Party City, said on the panel. “Therefore, if I'm giving you cash back, it's really not going to get anybody off the sofa to come in and redeem a reward for like 60 cents off.” Instead, Walsh explained, for Party City customers, the brand needs to be at the right place at the right time when the customer is ready to have their annual party or event.