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Comment: International Customer Loyalty Month:Tips for retaining your customers for longer

How do you ensure that you keep hold of your customers year after year, even when the competition are hitting them hard with discounts and promotions? By Alan Watson


Comment: International Customer Loyalty Month:Tips for retaining your customers for longer

Do you really understand your customer needs and motivations, is your technology helping or hindering your service levels and what impact is this having on your customers? Here, Alan Watson provides his top tips for gaining and retaining customers. 

1) Understand your customers
Recent reports revealed that a quarter of UK retail spending comes from just 18% of shoppers, called ‘SuperShoppers’ (25 to 44-year-old men and women working in professional or managerial roles). According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, this segment makes up 18% of the shopping population, but accounts for 70% of total retail spend, which stood at more than £200 billion last year. Do you really know your customers well enough to be confident that your current provision meets their specific needs?

2) Understand HOW they buy
Do you really know how your customers are choosing to buy from you? A new report from Juniper Research has found that the value of global payments via mobile devices will reach around 507 billion USD this year, a rise of nearly 40% year-on-year.The report - Mobile Payment Strategies: Remote, Contactless & Money Transfer 2014-2018 - found that growth would continue to be driven by purchases of physical goods via mobile devices. It revealed that the average transaction sizes over tablets are already exceeding those via desktop PCs in many markets. It also observed that while spend via smartphones was increasing sharply, their primary function in retail was as search and discovery devices, with the final purchase being made on the tablet.

3) Make sure your technology matches your needs
It’s easy to attract new customers, but if you then leave them disappointed due to poorly performing technology, be that online or in store, you’ll soon have them searching elsewhere. According to a infographic from RetailCustomerExperience and Cradlepoint, every minute of POS downtime costs a retailer $4,700 (approx £2,800), 1 in 3 customers will abandon a queue if they have to wait more than 5 minutes. Alarmingly, 50% of customers will avoid or abandon a retailer in the future if they were kept waiting more than 5 minutes.

4) Don’t make important decisions purely on a ‘me too’ basis
Don’t implement new technology or systems simply because your competitors have done so, but because they serve a real need for your customers and will enhance their shopping experience. Constantly review your customer journey to ensure you are able to maintain your service levels and reduce the likelihood of a negative customer experience. When you address every business issue by putting the customer experience at the top of the list, that’s when you start to deliver the consistent, joined-up shopping experience that all of your customers will thank you for.

For the latest customer loyalty strategies, don’t miss the Retail Bulletin’s 5th Customer Loyalty Summit 10th June 2014. Retailer-led with great networking opportunities, this one day event is an established ‘must’ in retailer’s diaries. Click here for further details.

Alan Watson is MD of Barron McCann


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