There’s no doubt that eCommerce has experienced significant growth over the last couple of years. While many consumers have become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, the lifting of pandemic related restrictions has seen a resurgence of shopping in person. So, we now face a new type of consumer who is equally active both online and in-store, the omnichannel shopper, and retailers must adjust their offering to cater for their expectations – or risk being left behind.
Once a retailer has mastered the technical and operational side of omnichannel retail, it’s vital that a strategy is put in place to build brand loyalty to gain all important repeat custom.
We’ve drawn up a selection of tried and tested customer retention tactics that will help your business to build a strong foundation of loyal customers who will return to your business for years to come.
1. Experience is Vital
Whether your customer chooses to visit your bricks and mortar store, or venture into your virtual store online, you should always strive to offer the same experience. Regardless of how they decide to interact with your business, a seamless and consistent experience is imperative otherwise you risk diluting your brand and confusing your clientele; and a poor experience in one channel can taint their perception of your entire business. Consider your online store an extension of your physical presence and ensure your branding, product offering, pricing and overall shopping experience are coherent.
2. Master Omnichannel Stock Management
One common mistake is failing to implement a sufficiently sophisticated stock management system. Imagine you have one unit left of a particular product, a customer orders it online, while at the same time a customer in-store purchases it. Which customer do you choose to disappoint? And how long will it be before you can replenish your stock to avoid losing out on more sales? An omnichannel inventory management system prevents over and underselling by ensuring your stock is always up-to-date and your most popular items are automatically re-ordered so you never risk running out of those key products and disappointing your customers.
3. Offer the Best of Both Worlds
You will no doubt have heard of BOPIS, or perhaps the more commonly used ‘click and collect’, but if you aren’t offering this service to your customers, you may be creating an unnecessary barrier which pushes them towards your competitors.
There are many reasons why BOPIS appeals to customers, whether it’s the avoidance if additional delivery charges, the convenience of reserving an item for later collection or the fact that items can be collected without the hassle of searching for them in-store. Whatever the motivation behind BOPIS, it has become commonplace among larger retailers. If you have already mastered the online offering and have a physical store, it’s easy to implement. Afterall, the infrastructure is already in place!
4. Become the Experts
Customers expect salespeople to know about the products they are selling and are more likely to become loyal to you if they believe your staff can offer sound advice. Ensuring your employees are sufficiently trained and knowledgeable about your product range will instil confidence into your customers and make your brand stand out from your competition, particularly if your products are niche.
This applies equally in-store and online. Adding a live chat function to your eCommerce website which is staffed by someone who can competently answer customers’ questions will ensure that informed purchases are made which will result in satisfied customers (and fewer returns!).
5. Know Your Customers
One of the benefits of modern EPoS technology is that you can record purchase history and use it to tailor your offers to specific customers. This works particularly well online where you can push relevant products to the customer based on their past buying history, by the products they have been browsing, or by what is in their basket. In-store, you can use this information to make recommendations or offer complementary products based on past purchases or products a customers is about to purchase.
This information is invaluable for outbound marketing. Creating special offers, vouchers and bespoke discounts based on your customers’ buying habits is more likely to convert into sales and encourage brand loyalty than generic marketing.
6. Reward Loyalty
Loyalty schemes need not be complex, think of the local coffee shop which gives you a stamp on a card with every coffee, leading up to a freebie after your tenth stamp. However, in retail this becomes a little more complicated. Fortunately, modern EPoS systems take the hard work out of loyalty schemes by automatically tracking customer purchases so you don’t have to. Whether your model is to award points or to offer a freebie or a discount when a spending threshold is met, a clever EPoS system will manage this process and redemptions for you.
As omnichannel competition hots up and more retailers extend their offering online, it’s vital that you implement a customer retention strategy in order to protect your revenue. Afterall, it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one!
The more coherent and consistent your online and in-store offering are, the more likely you are to build loyalty and establish your brand. Keep those customers coming back time and time again with a comprehensive EPoS system which does the heavy lifting for you. OpSuite retail management software can do just that and, add OpSuite Fusion for a full end-to-end omnichannel management system.
Find out more by speaking to our expert team on 0800 138 0050 or by contacting us here.