Connecting with customers has been a harsh reality of retail store owners for years. The struggle to keep the business fresh and the customers walking into the store can make a retail establishment fold. Or, if it’s done right, it can keep business booming so much that there will be more people lined up around the gum-laden block than you count in a Superbowl crowd.
But times are changing and things are no longer as simple as handing out free samples. Though it seems that people have less time to idly shop and technology eliminates the old methods of connecting with customers, it also ushering in new, fantastic ones. So we’ve rounded up the 5 new ways to connect with customers for your retail store that we think you should know about.
Remember the good old days of the past few decades, where your pockets, wallets and purses would be lined to the brim with loyalty cards? Wasn’t that fun? Well, no, not really. It was actually rather fiddly and inconvenient and you were about as likely to fill up the loyalty card with stamps for your freebie as you were to win a fight with a particularly angry bear. Luckily, though, the old card hasn’t completely been thrown out in favour of the new as PunchCard gives your customers a loyalty system that they can actually keep track of.
Just like a punchcard on a piece of paper, PunchCard (the mobile app, that is) lets you offer virtual stamps for real life goodies. Allowing customers to “get rewarded for shopping at the places [they] already love to shop”, i.e your retail store. Not only does it offer the incentive for your customers to come back and collect free things either, it also allows you to provide them with discounts, meaning that your most loyal customers will be reward with a price point well below your competitors’.
Other benefits: PunchCard also offers your customers in-app (or email) receipts, along with prize point and game systems that gives them even more reasons to utilize brand loyalty.
What’s also not going to cut it in this beautiful, digital age of portable circuitry is a half-baked website. It used to be the case that uploading a graphic with all of your store’s information was the way to go, but now, Internet users want the most important facts presented in the most beautiful way.
That’s where Landerapp comes in. For all of those lovely customers spending their time on your site and not playing Candy Crush, they’ll help you put together the best-looking landing page that you can possibly create, easing customers into the concept of what you sell and what you do far easier than an endless rotating storefront a la Amazon (which only works for them because they use very fancy and expensive algorithms to put those storefronts together!) Your landing page and its well designed layout can improve conversions and engagement, which is, of course the main aim of the game.
Other benefits: Landerapp is completely free! It also offers A/B split testing for when you aren't sure about the right design and layout to go with and would like some stats before you settle on a decision.
Once that you have a beautiful website to show off, you’ll want to actually get some people to it. Similar to the encouragement system that showing off your discounts and freebies sets up, social media campaigns can be just as effective when making a case to be granted the contents of people’s wallets. The problem is, the people who have been nice enough to grant you with a hashtagged tweet aren’t always the people who are capable of encouraging their friends to do the same, no, what you need is a social lion.
I coin the phrase social lion because lions are generally well-liked and well respected and when they roar (or tweet, or leave posts on Facebook, in accordance with this analogy) people tend to listen. SocialTwist helps you find your retail store’s social lion, letting you reward them for converting potential customers into big spenders. A bit like an affiliate, except in this case, everyone wins, even when they aren’t buying anything! SocialTwist can be great for brand awareness too, which is just as important as actual conversions.
Other benefits: SocialTwist can easily be tied into promotions and existing loyalty programs, making it a win-win situation even if you already have a loyalty scheme in place.
If you’re just establishing your retail store’s online presence then you might not have much of a following to build, or any social lions to identify (as explained above), which is why you may want to turn to contextual advertising, a traditional method that has lasted even the jump to the web.
Using PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, you pay for the success of your ad campaign. If people don’t click, then in short, you don’t pay, meaning that you’ll get your money’s worth no matter your budget. Affinity is a good partner to use in that they provide you with “unparalleled prominence” once you sign up and get promoting your retail store with their publishers. What’s also key is that their publishers are people who actively want to help your brand achieve popularity, almost as much as they’d like to earn from your ads, giving them the incentive to feature your retail store’s ad in the best of places and giving you the incentive to work with them.
Other benefits: Affinity can offer you the “most innovative PPC media mix” in the industry, which is clearly something unmatched by any other contextual advertising partner.
It’s said that the best way to a man’s heart is through his belly, but that’s false; the way to a customer’s heart (no matter their gender) is through Belly. Belly is a customer loyalty app that can put your business on the map as not just a valuable place to shop but as a place that rewards its customers for their loyalty more than its competitors.
Boasting the not so modest tagline of being “The World’s Best Loyalty Program,” Belly backs that up by offering customers not just free discounts on products (although that is a huge draw to the service), it also offers up a points system, meaning that the customer who uses your store for their weekly shop is rightfully valued more than the customer who has only come into your store once or twice because the smell of fresh coffee wafted outside and drew them in. Unlike many other loyalty apps, Belly also lets users “Find Belly Businesses” meaning that utilizing the service could see you reach customers who never would have visited your store before!
Other benefits: Belly allows merchants to set up multiple rewards too, so customers have a wide range of things to take their interest.
Which apps do you use to connect with customers of your retail store? Let us know in the comments.