How Retailers Achieve Customer Engagement and LoyaltySebastien Galperti |
Business in general may be coming out of an austerity climate, but life for many retailers has been more difficult than ever. Customers have changed their habits; new competitors have come to the fore; prices have been slashed. Retailers cannot therefore be complacent when it comes to customer engagement and loyalty.
Following on from my previous post about how retail data is imperative to building customer engagement, this one lays out considerations for retailers on how to achieve customer engagement and loyalty.
Shoppers are becoming increasingly aware of how they spend their money, so if they feel like spending at a discounter they will. At the high end, they will too. But the point here is a retailer must identify his raison d’etre. What is its cause or purpose? All too often, retailers think their existence is to make profit or that they are selling products to customers, but in fact those are a means—not an identity.
When identifying its purpose, try to avoid being “stuck in the middle”. While this may be profitable temporarily, this is not sustainable. Luxury players or discounters, for example, will have more compelling identities than a “stuck in the middle” retailer, who will soon enough be sidelined. Have a clear purpose capable of being captured in a phrase, such as .
Retailers must defend their unique selling point (USP) under relentless pressure from competitors. They must be proactive about it. A retailer can be superior on quality, design, technology, or service, but at the end of the day the front-line staff will be in the limelight for all retailers. Treat employees like volunteers and they will be evangelists.
As a matter of fact, a research reveals that 90 percent of customers who left a store due to a bad service purchased their product from a competitor. So start finding ways to increase employee retention. In the words of Richard Branson, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”.
Perhaps not the most controversial piece of advice, but it is surprising how many retailers are not where customers are. While global advertising spend across all media is expected to reach $545 billion this year and growing, mobile’s share of advertising spend is approximately 5 percent of total advertising expenditure, which is still below actual media consumption time in the US at 23 percent. Depending on the type of retailer, ensure that the correct channels have been considered. If Management Information Systems (MIS) are too costly, simply rely on customer feedback and assess all their touchpoints.