Looking for ways to retain more customers in 2021? Whereas last year saw us implementing drastic changes in the way that businesses and consumers interact; this year presents an opportunity to refine these new techniques, continue adopting new trends and improve your customer retention strategies.Some of the tactics listed below utilize the power of emerging technologies; others have become increasingly necessary due to COVID-19; and others are simply classic tried and tested solutions for retaining more customers and boosting brand loyalty.So without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Catch your customers off-guard, with the occasional pleasant surprise to brighten their day
Everyone loves a little spontaneity from time to time; especially when it comes in the form of an unexpected gift!It’s becoming increasingly common for brands to actually incorporate incremental rewards, discounts and other perks into their loyalty program structure, unbeknownst to the customer so that it comes across as a random act of kindness.It could be something as simple as a free sample included in their purchase (which also serves as a useful cross-selling technique for next time), just to show that your company appreciates the customer’s ongoing business and is committed to exceeding their expectations.This strategy is called Surprise & Delight, and all the top CX brands are already doing it.At Stamp Me, we highly recommend that businesses recognise milestones in the customer’s loyalty program journey – signup anniversaries, significant purchases, as well as birthdays and other occasions.
2. Use social media to your advantage, in as many ways as possible
Despite all the chit-chat around the importance of social media marketing, countless businesses are still failing to utilize social media to its full potential.Don’t think of your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter etc. pages as a message board to tell customers stuff. Instead, think of these spaces as a community where customers can:
Interact with your brand (and each other)
Ask questions, and engage in discussions
Share their own content regarding your products and services
Learn more about what your company does behind the scenes, and gain a clearer understanding of your brand’s values
Participate in quizzes, competitions, prize draws and other gamified marketing techniques that drive engagement
Creating a fun and engaging social media campaign is much easier than you might think, and can have a huge impact on your social media following, which in turn expands brand awareness and boosts sales. For example:
Take a selfie doing something fun with our product
Post it online and tag us
Every Friday, our team will pick the week’s best post
Each week’s winner will receive a Free X
See how this campaign gets your existing customers creating content around your brand, which is then seen by all of their friends and encourages others to get involved? In a way, this strategy serves as a gamified referral program while simultaneously boosting retention, as winners will come back to redeem their reward.
3. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Simplicity is a good rule of thumb across all aspects of your business, but it’s a crucial component of customer retention – especially in 2021. Customers like to know everything, and the more straightforward your customer experience is, the more likely they are to trust it.For evidence, look no further than Netflix, McDonald’s, ALDI and Uniqlo. It’s no coincidence that these brands’ CX initiatives have become simpler and more streamlined over time.
How to simplify your customer experience:
Figure out exactly what the purpose of your business is. A clear definition allows you to consolidate your goals, and steer all aspects of the business in this desired direction.
Scrutinize both your brand messaging and your customer experience. If these two things aren’t synchronized, then you risk confusing your customers and something needs to change.
Consider your customers as users of your product, rather than consumers of your product. By adopting this mindset, you’ll find that you naturally start gravitating towards a simplified customer experience.
4. Contactless loyalty is one of the key ways to retain more customers in 2021
Last year saw a rapid shift towards entirely contactless transactions; which meant businesses needed to find new ways to award loyalty points to their customers. Thankfully, there are countless ways to implement contactless loyalty into your business. Here are just a few easily implemented options:
A digital loyalty app which communicates with a Bluetooth/NFC loyalty device at POS to award loyalty points directly to customers’ mobile devices.
Unique QR Code held by shop merchants, which customers scan via their digital loyalty app to receive a stamp for their purchase.
Ecommerce loyalty programs, so customers can accrue loyalty points/redeem rewards from the comfort of their own home when shopping online.
Unique QR Code contained inside the packaging of products purchased online, which the customer can scan for loyalty points once the item arrives at their door.
Despite the current global situation, 87% of consumers would still rather shop in person if possible (Shekel) – so long as it’s an entirely contactless in-store experience.When considering ways to retain more customers in 2021, it’s worth exploring the possibility of online portals to book shopping appointments, curb-side pickup services, mobile check-in upon entry of the store, email receipts and so on.Of course, your ideal contactless loyalty solution ultimately depends on each unique business and its customers.
5. Give your customers something for nothing
By this, I mean content... Quality content that isn’t trying to sell them anything, or achieve anything other than helping customers get the most value out of your products and services. This content might be:
Useful tips and advice on how to clean or maintain a product
Exciting industry news that is likely to be of interest to your specific audience
Quirky content around how to reuse/repurpose your products for other applications
As an example, a business that sells camping gear might keep customers informed on exciting “previously unknown” camping destinations, clever innovations in outdoor cooking, survival techniques for multi-day hikes and so on.Most importantly, you are offering this content to them for free, without requiring anything from them in return. This ongoing commitment to providing your customers with everything they need in order to get the most out of your products and services builds long-term trust.
6. Reward your customers for engaging with your brand, not just spending
Loyalty programs used to be much more linear. You would simply incentivize customers to shop with you again by rewarding them for repeat purchases.Nowadays, they are a heck of a lot more complex, and the best way to foster an emotional connection between customers and your brand is to reward them for a wide variety of behaviors –not just repeat spending.
The trick is to reward the customer for behaviors that benefit your brand. This includes:
Referring friends to your business
Promoting your brand online (i.e. instructional videos, written reviews, blogs, tutorials, podcasts, and any other type of user-generated content)
Completing feedback forms, customer service surveys and other questionnaires that you might send out to existing customers
7. Turn your multichannel experience into an omnichannel experience
You might already offer your customers numerous ways in which to interact with your brand – social media messaging, website chatboxes, loyalty apps, emails, as well as good old fashioned toll free numbers and in-store customer support desks.However, that doesn’t mean your customers are enjoying a cohesive and seamless brand experience right across these channels. An omnichannel customer experience allows consumers to chop and change between a company’s platforms and “pick up where they left off”, so to speak.According to CX firm Aspect Software, companies that are embracing omnichannel techniques are retaining 91% more customers than companies which are failing to deliver an omnichannel experience.
8. Be transparent in how you are using your customers’ data
As powerful as personalization is, it’s not this magical secret weapon that marketers have managed to hide from consumers.The average customer is very aware that when a brand starts sending them exclusive deals for 10% off their next pair of jeans when they spend $100 or more, it’s because they spent 45 minutes browsing for jeans online yesterday.While the vast majority of consumers worry about the privacy of their data, most customers are happy for their favourite brands to utilize their data if it results in a more personalized shopping experience.My point is that there’s no need for a clandestine or secretive approach to personalization. By being upfront about how you use customers’ data, you’re likely to build trust much faster.
9. Show customers what you are doing for the community
At Stamp Me, we’re big believers in the importance of good corporate citizenship when it comes to customer retention and brand loyalty.Now more than ever – with small businesses struggling to survive amid lockdowns as well as the increasing global concern over climate change – consumers are looking for ways to give back to the community and implement positive change.If you are searching for ways to retain more customers in 2021, try incorporating Corporate Social Responsibility into your loyalty program.You can reward customers for recycling or repurposing products and/or packaging; donate the dollar equivalent of customers’ loyalty points to charitable organizations, and countless other easily-implemented initiatives.
10. Place your brand in the palm of customers’ hands...
Consider the ideas we’ve explored in this article: simplicity… social media… QR codes for contactless loyalty transactions… customer data for personalization and better omnichannel CX...All of these innovations are made exponentially easier when you introduce a digital loyalty app into the picture.Not only do loyalty apps provide customers with a convenient and hassle-free way to accrue points with every purchase and redeem rewards without paper punch-cards and plastic membership cards; but they allow businesses to communicate with their highest-spending customers anytime, anywhere.More than 50% of all internet traffic now occurs on mobile devices (StatCounter).Whether you’re looking to ramp up your contactless loyalty processes or improve your targeted communications, or increase customer engagement with gamified marketing – a digital loyalty app makes customer retention a breeze in 2021.