Tips for Building Customer Loyalty and Increasing Revenue Growth

In the business world, sometimes it can seem like a sale is a sale is a sale, no matter where it comes from. But savvy manufacturers understand the importance of customer loyalty and how it can affect your brand’s bottom line.

Repeat customers don’t just mean more sales — they can also help with your marketing through word of mouth referrals, help identify new product opportunities through their purchase histories, and create a community around your brand that stays even when the economy is slow.

Yet customer loyalty and brand trust continue to be a tricky concept to grasp for some. A Mintel study reported that many Canadians are skeptical when it comes to product claims, specifically brand labels and health claims found on food and/or beverage packaging. According to Mintel, two-thirds of Canadians feel that “free-from” claims (free from preservatives, heavy metals, etc.) are just a way for companies to charge more for products.

Even if you’re not in the food-and-beverage industry, consumer trust still applies. So, how do you build brand loyalty? These five strategies can be a good starting point.

  1. Start with Packaging

Let’s look at an example here. Take “guilt-free” ice cream. Many of these brands, like Halo Top and CoolWay, place the calorie per tub information front and centre — literally on the lid and packaging in big font and bold colours — and tell their customers how many servings are in a tub. A consumer could find out this information by looking at the nutrition label, but the packaging makes these brands stand out from the competition. And rather than making a hard-to-quantify promise, like “free-from heavy metals,” the data is easy to visualize. You know what you’re getting with the product, no guesswork involved.

  1. Create a Members’ Club

Whether you’re a retailer or a brand, personalization can be a great way to build loyalty — in-store and online. In fact, an online component, like a newsletter, can really complement a bricks-and-mortar location. Consider doing something like a birthday club, or even sending out personalized deals based on a consumer’s purchase history. Even something as small as changing the newsletter opening to read “Dear ‘<Insert customer’s name>,’” can make a difference.

  1. Consider a Customer Loyalty Program

We’ve written before about rewards programs and the suggestion still holds true. Customer loyalty programs can create, well, customer loyalty. But the key is to tie them into actual rewards. If your customer can get great deals in-store that they can’t get elsewhere, or score member’s-only discounts on your merchandise, they’ll be that much more likely to choose you over the competition.

  1. Think of the Customer Experience

Little things can make a big difference in building customer loyalty. In-store, what is the customer service like? Is your product kept stocked? Are the prices accurate? How often are you changing up your product displays? You can take this even further, too. For example, let’s say you start a customer rewards program, but a consumer forgets their rewards card. If you have the ability to look up their card in the computer system without having to swipe it, that could leave a good impression. You want your customers to walk away feeling positive about your brand and their shopping experience.

  1. Be Honest and Transparent

This is relatively new for the digital age, but it is proving important quickly: brand honesty and authenticity. Admitting to mistakes, sharing behind-the-scenes looks, and responding to customer feedback is all of paramount importance. So is treating employees well. It’s easy these days for a not-so-positive story to circulate online and take down a brand’s reputation. If you’re a big enough brand, like Amazon or Walmart, you can likely emerge unscathed, but that is where digital brand management is so important.

There isn’t one right way to improve customer loyalty. It’s a never-ending process that starts the moment a consumer enters a store, picks up your product, or sees your online presence. You have to start with a solid foundation. Are your basics in place — excellent customer service, products kept in stock, delivering what you promise? From there, the options for building brand trust — and increasing revenue — only grow. But without a good foundation, even the best strategies will quickly collapse.

Make sure your customer loyalty foundation is in place with Storesupport Canada. We can help you create a brand merchandising strategy that creates a great customer experience, from the moment a consumer hears about your product to beyond. Contact us today to learn more. Call 1-877-421-5081 or visit www.storesupport.ca.

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