As a retail business, you need to come up with a strategy that champions growth. You already have some objectives set out for the future of your brand, but these are something that need to be fully explained for your own personal development and when working with investors.
There are multiple ways that businesses in the retail sector can grow a brand from a simple concept to something that resonates with a specific target market — and we’re going to help you do this by understanding what your customers want.
1. How to set up a worthwhile loyalty scheme for your customers.
2. Using social media to generate buzz around your brand.
3. Asking favours of your customers.
4. Keeping up with retail trends and implementing them across your business.
5. Investing in your team and building your industry presence.
How to set up a worthwhile loyalty scheme for your customers
In retail, the only way that you can grow is if your current customers remain loyal to the brand too. Shoppers want to know that you have their best interests at heart, and you should be looking to reward them for sticking by your brand — think additional and exclusive benefits. Members of customer loyalty programs typically spend up to 18% more than other customers too, so it’s definitely worth the investment.
You need to look at what type of scheme your competition has on offer (if any) and how yours will be different. Your customer loyalty scheme should be one way to engage with customers beyond the point of purchase and provide them with even greater value.
Current customers who enjoy your scheme will be more likely to make referrals to your business by word-of-mouth advertising. Those referred by loyalty members have a 37% higher retention rate which means you will be generating more revenue.
In the retail sector, most businesses will have different types of loyalty schemes. You will need to identify what you can afford to offer shoppers for their custom. If you’re convinced to create one, read our list that describes how you can launch a successful scheme using loyalty cards.
1. Pick a standout name
Your loyalty scheme needs a name that instantly captures attention and encourages people to find out more. The scheme needs to be a campaign in itself — something much more than a shop assistant asking a customer whether they have a loyalty card during checkout. People need to be excited about this and they should be able to understand what kind of rewards they will be getting if they do sign up all from the name. Equally, you need to make them feel as though they need to be part of the club.
2. Create a suitable design
When it comes to designing your loyalty cards, you need to understand what you’re prepared to offer your customers and how you can track this. Most brands will record loyalty using stamps — where shoppers can collect a certain amount and get a product free or discounted. The benefits of loyalty cards is that they’re designed to fit in a wallet, meaning your brand will always be present and customers will feel inclined to return to your store to make more purchases.
Follow your brand guidelines and make sure that you include your company colours, logo and contact information on the final design.
3. Boost the presence of loyalty scheme across your business
There’s always an opportunity to integrate your successful loyalty card scheme with other areas of your business. A lot of retail businesses are launching their own apps, which could make for the perfect opportunity to offer customers an online version where they could scan a code or their printed receipt in store and be rewarded. This will also allow your business to collect data of your customers that includes contact information, demographics and shopping habits.
Where The Trade Buys, runners of the #OwnOffline campaign, has Rockstar Royalties. If you’re purchasing your loyalty cards in bulk, you’ll receive one point for every £1 you spend.
Using social media to generate buzz around your brand
Social media is one of the most lucrative ways to advertise your business, especially as the customer of tomorrow will likely be active across one of the popular platforms. Over half of all social users will engage with a brand several times a month, which makes it extremely important that you have a fully-fledged social media strategy in place for when they do.
Firstly, you must identify which social media platforms are relevant to your retail business. All offer different features that allow you to communicate with your customers and promote your product or service to them. It’s recommended that you have some sort of presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn which are the most popular networks for businesses.
You may not use all of them actively, but you’ll be able to redirect those who are trying to find you to the main channel you work on. This allows your brand to be consistent across each network, by obtaining the same username, using the same brand logo and documenting the right contact information to any user.
Once you’ve found which network your core target audience is on, you should look into what you can do to raise awareness. Start encouraging friends and family members to follow your business page — as they will genuinely care about your success and are likely interested in what you’re selling.
Following this, you should then create some engaging content that people can interact with and you could later promote through paid advertising. This could range from creative videos, blog posts that are uploaded to your website and even content marketing pieces such as infographics and interactives.
As well as this, when you’re out and about promoting your business at events with impressive standees and leaflets, share this online too! This ultimately makes your brand more personable.
Asking favours of your customers
With an established customer-base, don’t be afraid to ask for some favours. If you’ve offered a good service to them, they’ll be more than happy to help you out. Leverage your relationship and ask them to leave a positive review online as this will help you become more visible to other people looking for a similar product or service — and encourage them to make a purchase.
Word-of-mouth advertising is also one of the most effective ways to market a business. Ask your customers to refer a friend to you and give them some sort of reward; this could be tied in with your loyalty scheme.
Make them want to be a part of your business, like an ambassador or representative of some sort. Position selfie frames around your store and use a selfie frame designer to add in your corporate colours, logos and message. This will create more user generated content online and will create more exposure for your brand. There are other options too, some fashion retailers have put their branding on changing room mirrors for when people take selfies of their new outfit!
Keeping up with retail trends and implementing them across your business
As we’ve mentioned before, competition is rife in the retail sector. You need to make sure that your product or service excels in performance in comparison to others provided by similar brands. Keep on top of the latest trends by identifying what your customers want from you — this can be done by segmenting your audience and understanding their interests.
What you need to understand is that customer trends change all of the time, and you need to be ready for when they do. You can do this by holding regular focus groups with customers, attending innovative industry events, printing off in-store surveys, and by monitoring your own sales. If you experience more people coming to your store with flyers that have discount codes for example, and you’re in a position to do so financially, flyer and leaflet printing is something you should continue doing.
Investing in your team and building your industry presence
While you have goals to grow your business with customers in mind, you should also prioritise development internally with your team. As a retail business, you’ll experience a lot of competition in your respected sector — so you need to make sure you’re on top of your industry peers while ensuring that your staff feel valued working for you.
Staff training is a big part of any job, so make sure you’re offering one of a high standard that can be used across different parts of your business. Make them feel a part of the greater picture and not just the team they’re assigned to.
You’ll have to invest in more staff training when you want to expand your team too. This is something that you should prepare for in advance as when your business starts growing, you’ll have no choice but to employ new people. This can have plenty of benefits though, as a larger staff count can allow you to open new doors and grab new opportunities for your brand.
You can also build your business through attending networking events and masterclasses. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your brand remains at the front of people’s minds — especially if you start using eye-catching roll up banners. As well as this, it could give you the opportunity to talk to other businesses and see how you could potentially work together. Could you give their employees discount if they give yours discount? Your staff will appreciate this!
Your staff will also appreciate other corporate perks, such as custom travel mugs that have your logo on meaning that they’re always representing your brand, wherever they go!
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