There’s a ton of marketing advice out there to increase repeat business, but a lot of it is surface stuff. It’s tips like, offer service with a smile or give customers can’t-resist coupons. Been there, doing that.
Rather than list basic marketing tips, we wanted to offer small businesses actionable advice that goes beyond gimmicks and actually puts money in the register. Here are four marketing efforts you may not be doing to keep customers coming back:
1. Try offering a customizable product
Marketing 101 tells you to provide customized service. For most businesses, that means personalized customer service, or making efforts to get to know customers beyond their drink order. Both are excellent marketing tactics, but you can go one step further. Try offering a customizable product.
Converse, for example, lets customers design their own their shoes. The North Face provides a gallery of options for customers to create their own Denali coat.
Boba businesses are also wildly popular for offering customized drinks, which we highlighted in this post. Customers have a plethora of tea flavors to choose from, can often select the percentage of tea sweetness from 0-100%, can select their favorite “toppings,” from tapioca balls to almond jelly, and can choose from a variety of milk options: whole, organic, almond, low-fat, etc.
A recent survey from Bain & Company shows 25 to 30 percent of shoppers are interested in customizable options.
The idea is to offer your customers more control over their purchase. Let’s say you sell windows and doors. Consider creating an app that gives customers the ability to see a door in different colors, with different handles and knockers. Or, a coffee house could team up with a local printer and let customers design their own travel mug. Be sure to market this new product.
Shoppers expect additional costs for specialized products like this, but you should still start on a small scale. Offer one customizable product and see how it goes.
2. Major in convenience
To get a degree in customer retention, businesses have to major in convenience. If customers get their favorite products in a fast and simple way, they’ll come back again and again.
Think of ways to make your business as convenient as possible for customers. Maybe that means adding an extra staff member to handle the morning rush, or moving your store around to better accommodate traffic flow.
If you aren’t sure how to make your business more convenient, go to the source. Ask your customers. Create an online survey and email to your customers, or ask customers to fill out a survey while they wait for their coffee or lunch to be prepared.
If you need help creating a survey, turn to an online tool like SurveyMonkey.
Once you’ve made a change, tell customers about it. Explain that the changes were sparked by customer feedback and your continuing effort to keep customer satisfaction high.
3. Send helpful reminders
Collecting customer information, such as a phone number or email address allows you to communicate with your core audience in a convenient, affordable and non-intrusive way. Small businesses often send newsletters, promotions, and personalized coupons to customers, but one of the most overlooked messages is the “reminder.”
Encourage repeat business by sending helpful reminders. For example, if your business provides a service, send a message about when the service should be repeated. It’s great for business like hair salons, spas, dog grooming, bike stores, repair shops, etc.
Restaurants, bars and cafes can send reminders of happy hour days and times, new seasonal menu items, or any upcoming live music.
Retailers can send reminders about new merchandise, upcoming holidays, or a new location.
Reminder messages are helpful to customers, and often encourage repeat purchases.
4. Review and revise your return policy
How easy is it for your customers to return something they purchased? If the process is cumbersome, you could be hurting repeat business. A clear return policy offers customers reassurance and a sense of security.
Ninety-one percent of customers say a store’s return policy is an important factor in a purchasing decision. So, what makes a return policy appealing? Here are some tips:
- Offer the most security possible
Consider offering a money-back guarantee if a customer isn’t satisfied with a product.
- Add time limits
Provide a money-back guarantee within a certain time frame. Most return policies allow customers to bring a product back within 30 days of the purchase date.
- No hidden fees
Customers aren’t fans of hidden fees like restocking fees; so if possible, remove them from your policy.
- Post your policy
Your return policy should be posted in a visible area so customers can see it as they shop.
- Receipts vs. no receipts
If you’re talking about customer convenience, a policy that allows customers to return an item without a receipt is best. However, if customers do need a receipt to make a return, be sure to state that clearly in your policy.
What marketing tactics do you use to stimulate repeat business? Share your advanced tips with others in the comment section below.