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5 Ways to Attract Repeat Customers

iStock_000067864713 How to Keep Customers Coming Back! You might call them, clients, or patients, or even students, whatever the name, no matter what you do, you can’t do it without customers. These are the people who exchange their hard earned money for your product or service. While gaining new customers is an important part of growing your business, one of the keys to a successful long-term business is developing customers who keep coming back. New customers help you grow, but according to research, the most profitable customers for your business are those who have shopped there before. People who return to a store are more likely to spend more money. Repeat customers also help you get new customers as they are also more likely to recommend your store to others. [Tweet "The most profitable customers for your business are those who have shopped there before."] Offering an excellent product and good customer service is the first step to getting repeat business, but it isn’t enough. In addition to giving people something of value in a way that they enjoy you need to find compelling ways to get them back through the door. Developing personal relationships with clients and offering promotions and loyalty programs are some of the ways you can create repeat customers. By employing the following 5 tips you will get customers who keep coming back.

1. Build a good email list, but use it respectfully

If you aren’t creating a strong email list of your customers, then you need to get started. You can only get repeat customers if you know who your customers are in the first place. Today that means getting their email. Customers are often comfortable giving out email addresses, especially if you make it worth their while. Make sure to give customers something in return, a small discount or the offer of deals and coupons that are exclusive to the email group, if they give their email. Sometimes you can try an innocuous approach of simply asking for the information at the time of purchase as part of a standard checkout procedure. In this scenario at checkout, you try to get as much information about a customer as possible, from name to date of birth, to email and mailing address. If you take this approach make sure employees know not to harass customers who don’t want to share the information. If someone doesn’t want to share their personal information, let them just complete their purchase. You don’t want to lose a first time customer because they didn’t like the way they were asked for information. However you do it, a strong email list is the key to future contact with your customers.

2. Use an innovative loyalty program approach

One of the best ways to get information about customers and to get them back in the store is to have a loyalty program. This is anything from a simple “Buy 10 Get 1 Free” punch card to a barcode scannable tag or card that customers can carry and that stores purchase information and reward progress. Using something like a barcode tag provides greater information for the store, but don’t discount the power of a simple punch card.


The key to a successful loyalty program is to help customers get started. Instead of giving them a blank coffee card punch card, find a way to help them start off with more than one credit they get for the first coffee. This technique comes straight from the research. People are more likely to shop if they feel closer to the goal. Be careful, the extra push can’t just be a freebie, it has to be earned. In practice, when your customer buys that first cup of coffee, you offer them the classic “Buy 10 Get 1 Free” card. That is standard. Now, of course they get the first punch for that first purchase. Good, they’ve started.  So how do you get them to the next level? Offer an immediate deal, if they purchase any additional item they will get 2 more punches right away. This will be hard to turn down, and now the customer has 3 holes punched. They are 30% of the way to their goal. What does this mean? It means they are much, much more likely to return again and again to get to 10. This kind of loyalty program can work wonders. Remember, you need to make them work for the initial gain or they won’t consider it a real help. iStock_000063389725

3. Referral programs that reward the referee and the referrer

One of the best things about repeat customers is that they can be great brand ambassadors and are the people who help spread the word about your company. While it is great when this happens organically, you can actually use strategies that turn referrals into repeat business. Instead of waiting for a customer to preach for your brand, find ways to encourage them to spread the word and make their friends happy to receive it. Basically, create referral programs that reward both the person giving the referral and the person getting the referral. Uber and Lyft, as well as a host of other new online apps, have created referral programs where you can give friend’s credit and you receive credit yourself. This has two big benefits, first, a person is more likely to make the referral because they are offering something to friends besides just an incentive, they are offering a discount as well. Second, people who make referrals get their own discount or credit, which they will want to take advantage of, making them more likely to return to your company. This approach helps you get new customers, reward loyal ones, and give everybody an incentive to use your product and shop with you.

4. Make sure you have items in stock - manage your stockroom effectively

The one thing customers hate as much as business owners is when a popular item is out of stock. When finding the item somewhere else only takes a quick Google search you as a business owner can’t risk being out of stock. For customers, a missing item is quickly found somewhere else, for business owners it means a sale lost in the moment, and probably a customer lost for good. Sometimes running out of stock is inevitable. Limited supply, holiday shopping sprees, or crazy demand can all cause stock shortages, but poor planning and ineffective inventory management are also often to blame. When companies, especially retailers, use pen and paper or Excel to track inventory and manage their stockroom, they are asking for this kind of problem. Using manual processes means you never really know what you have on hand and often have no way to forecast future needs and create effective product ordering cycles. By implementing a technology based stockroom solution, like a barcode scanning system, companies can ensure they are tracking stock effectively and efficiently making sure they always have the items they need in stock. In addition to helping resolve out of stock problems, barcode based systems often improve efficiency and reduce inventory losses.

5. Create experiences for customer engagement outside the store

Do you have a social media presence? A company website? What about a blog? Remember that the customer relationship isn’t just built in store. In the past you might have to rely on a broad mailing or big billboards to reach customers, but today you can meet customers in many different ways. Create a great website that gives customers a reason to keep returning, even if they aren’t shopping. Do you sell kitchen appliances? Create a blog that gives kitchen tips and recipes. This can double as a helpful email around holiday time. Instead of sending out a straight coupon or deal announcement, you can send kitchen tips for the holidays...and mention the great holiday deals you have. Social media is also a great way to connect with customers on their terms. A fun, informative, and useful Facebook account, blog, or Instagram profile can keep your customers engaged and interested. Plus as they learn more about your offerings they will be more likely to return for future purchases. But you have to make sure this is about them and not selling. Don’t just blast deals, share useful information. Using these strategies will help you build loyalty among customers and generate repeat business, but they will only work if you have a good product and great customer service. Treat your customers right and they will keep coming back. How would managing your stockroom efficiently help you to gain repeat customers?