Square Inc.

01/03/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/03/2018 17:06

How to Build Customer Loyalty After the Holidays End

Over the holidays, you built a strong foundation of both new and existing customers who have recently visited your business and are likely to shop with you again. But once Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and every other major spending day are over, how do you incentivize customers to keep shopping in January and beyond?

Here's how to keep that momentum going and boost customer loyalty:

Make returns and exchanges a breeze.

Post-holiday returns and exchanges are inevitable, so try to make the process quick and painless. Make sure you have a no-hassle policy and a dedicated area for these transactions.

Nordstrom's return policy is often regarded as the gold standard in a customer-first approach, as it has an 'ultimate objective of making our customers happy.' The brand deals with returns and exchanges on a case-by-case basis, often allowing for items to be returned long after they were purchased. Nordstrom's has also set up return stations throughout its stores to speed up the process.

A seamless return experience can be especially impressive to new customers or those who received a gift bought at your business. So before the post-holiday rush, move new items to the front of the store and make sure the space is organized (and doesn't look like it was hit by a tornado of last-minute shoppers).

An orderly, freshly stocked space makes a strong impression on both new and returning customers (and may even inspire exchanges instead of straight returns).

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Create an email marketing strategy.

All those customer email addresses you were collecting throughout the holidays? Now it's time to put them to work. With an email marketing program, you can take a more thoughtful approach to your communications with customers. For example, you can alert your subscribers to sales and special offers, and you can send event invitations.

Square Marketing allows you to segment your customer base so that you can better target specific groups, like frequent shoppers and those who haven't visited in a while. Then you can tailor your messaging for those groups.

Social media is a great tool for refining your brand identity and engaging with customers. If you don't have the bandwidth to be reliably active on every platform, choose a few that you and your customers are most likely to use and commit to those.

Whichever platforms you choose, it's important to be active - posting frequently and responding to customers' questions - to establish trust. Social media is also a great place to post exclusive sales and discounts, which can help grow a devoted following.

For example, on men's clothing brand Bonobos' Facebook page, the brand posts info like sales, notifications about new product offerings, and alerts about new store openings.

Set up a loyalty program.

Remember the old-fashioned punch card at the coffee shop, where you get a free coffee after you've purchased 10 cups? That's a loyalty program, albeit a pretty basic one. For a more sophisticated method of incentivizing customers, establish a digital program, like Square Loyalty, that integrates with your point of sale.

Unlike the old punch card where one drink equals one punch, Square Loyalty allows you to determine how customers earn rewards, such as by amount spent, by item, or by a per-visit minimum spend. You can also choose the type of reward that customers earn, whether that's a discount on the overall sale or a free item.

It's an easy way to motivate holiday shoppers to return again and again. Just make sure you promote your program - through email, on social, on your website, and in your store - to make sure people sign up.

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