How Your POS Can Help You Keep Customers Coming Back
Did you know that most retail businesses never see 45% of customers a second time? This means that companies are constantly spending advertising dollars attracting new consumers, trying to keep the flow of revenue coming in, to replace those who find what they need in other locations just the same as yours. But customer retention – that is, creating and maintaining a loyal customer base of repeat buyers – can be one of the most profitable ways to keep a business afloat. The problem is that most retailers don’t know how to boost brand loyalty.
Why is it so important to focus on people who are already spending money with you? For one, it’s cheaper – in fact, studies show that it is up to seven times more expensive to attract new customers than it is to retain current customers. You spend less time convincing repeat customers that you have what they need because they already know that. Your big focus now is on providing them with reasons to return. Additionally, loyal customers tend to be more willing to splurge on items that are more expensive in your store than in others, simply because they are comfortable shopping with you. This can lead to better conversion rates and higher profits for you.
In addition to offering great customer service and improving your value as a company, there are several ways that your POS system can help you retain customers.
Target Customer Groups With Personalized Coupons
Coupons are one of the key methods for customer retention, for several reasons. Customers already know that you have what they need, and they just need a reason to keep choosing you over any other competitors. Make what they need seem more affordable, and they’ll be drawn back again and again. There are quite a few ways to personalize your coupons to appeal to shoppers on a personal level, such as:
Offer discounts on a specific product or brand based on previous purchase history. For example, you might send out a percent discount coupon for any branded product to email subscribers who have previously purchased items of that brand.
Offer discounts for those who follow you on social media, only accessible via the social media post. This gives customers a reason to follow you online, which gives you a free avenue to market to them on a regular basis. Keeping your name in front of them is a good way to encourage them to come back.
Send out special coupons on your customers’ birthdays. Or, if you are in a business where it makes sense to know this information, send out coupons on special anniversaries (such as a florist sending out anniversary coupons to customers who purchased wedding flowers).
Offer coupons based on seasonal events for customers that have a vested interest. For example, if you sell office supplies, consider offering a special discount to teachers a week or two before the start of the school year.
Offer coupons via email to customers that haven’t shopped with you after a specific length of time. This is a great way for online retailers to entice one-time shoppers to come back, but can also work for brick-and-mortar stores.
These are just a few ways to target customers on a personal level with coupons. This approach is better for customer retention than standard coupons because it puts coupons and discounts directly into the hands of the customers you want to target. Rather than hoping that your previous customers see a weekly newspaper ad, you’re sending them what amounts to a hand-written invitation by making it personal.
Personalization also makes your customers feel more valued, as though they are in a favorite hangout. Think about a diner where a customer can order “their usual” and the waitress already knows what that means. These places feel like home to customers. You want your location to feel like home.
How does your POS help with this? By allowing you the ability to input and track customer records at the time of sale, you can easily begin to identify customer groups to target with personalized coupons. In ERPLY, you can also create coupons that must be triggered by certain actions, such as having teachers show identification at the register to have the discount manually inserted by the cashier.
Reward Big Spenders With Incentives
Another way that you can keep customers coming back is to be sure to reward them when they make large or frequent purchases with you. One way to do this is through a customer loyalty program that offers customers redeemable points every time they make purchases. Offering additional rewards for going over a certain price point can encourage larger purchases. A good example of this practice is clothing retailers that offer additional percentages off for earning a set number of loyalty points in a single purchase.
Another way to reward your big spenders is to offer additional value to a product that costs above a specific price point. For example, “throwing in” free product that goes along with an expensive purchase, or offering free maintenance service on an expensive product, makes customers feel as though they are getting something for nothing – even if the cost of that “thrown in” product or service is technically bundled into the cost of the purchase. There is nothing customers love more than the appearance of free goods or services, as every retailer knows.
Finally, you can simply hand out rewards to your VIP customers. Gather data on your biggest spenders, and send them a thank you along with a coupon or a special reward, like branded swag, that lets them know that you appreciate their patronage. This type of gratitude tells customers that they will be treated well even beyond their purchase, which signals to them that you care about them beyond getting their money.
How does your POS help with this? ERPLY has a built-in loyalty program that allows you to assign points to customers for purchases in any way you choose. You can set specific points per item, per dollar spent, and more. You can also bundle products to automatically create additional value for large purchases in the system, so all your sales employees know to offer these special deals. The system also makes it easy to track your big spenders with customer data. You can easily identify your VIP customers and contact them with gratitude and rewards.
Create a promotion in Erply where customers can redeem rewards points for a discount.
Use Inventory Data to Schedule Smarter Promotions
One thing that your POS excels at is inventory management. Helping your sales team know exactly what is in stock, where the stock is, and when more stock is coming, is a great way to increase customer service. But there is more you can do with inventory management than just informing your clients. You can also use them to help schedule smarter coupons and promotional events that keep customers coming back. Here’s how:
Let’s say that you notice in your regular inventory management tasks that you almost never run out of Product A on a Tuesday. It’s usually a Friday or a Saturday that this product is in big demand – but Tuesdays are slow days. Why not create a special coupon or promotional event on Tuesdays that offers customers a discount on that day only? Send out this coupon on social media or to your email list, letting your current customer base know that they can save big on their favorite product if they come in on Tuesday instead of waiting till the weekend. These kinds of sales not only take advantage of your inventory patterns, but also make existing customers feel like they are in on a secret – and exclusivity is a key part of keeping customers coming back.
Why Coupons and Promotions Work for Customer Retention
One pitfall that many retailers suffer from is the idea that if your product or service is of high enough quality, and your customer service is great, you’ll naturally retain customers simply because of the value they receive. But the problem is that customers expect more when you are asking them for long-term loyalty. To continuously show them that you want them to keep coming back, they expect you to always be improving upon what you already offer. This is why coupons and promotions are so important for your existing customer base.
Another important thing to consider is that your most loyal customers are also going to be your biggest source of word-of-mouth referrals. New customers are much more likely to shop with you if they were referred to you by someone they trust. Every loyal shopper is also a brand ambassador, and you should treat them as such. Consider offering extra points or coupons for referrals, to boost this free advertising.
How to Create Coupons and Promotions in ERPLY
Now that you know why you want to use coupons and promotions to keep customers coming back, you need to know how to create those coupons in the ERPLY system. It’s actually very simple, and there are multiple options. You can choose to create a Sales Promotion, where in a customer action (“X”) earns a specific discount (“Y”). This can be something like buying a specific product or brand or buying three of a product and getting another free, for example.
You can also set an expiration date for the promotion and set how the promotion is applied – whether automatically, only when a coupon is presented, or when a cashier manually enters the promotional code based on some other action (such as teachers showing their ID from our earlier example).
You can also create a basic percentage off coupon in the system, which can be offered to customers as printouts or applied right away at the time of purchase. You can arrange for any percentage based on a dollar amount spent, and this coupon can also be attached to specific customers through the User Card function in the system. All of these options are available under the Inventory module, within the Sales Promotions subheading on the left scroll.
Create a promotion that happens on a single day in a single store.
ERPLY Loyalty Program
Another way to create savings for loyal customers in the ERPLY system is to use the points-based loyalty program that is built into the system. The program allows you to choose how customers earn points, as well as how they can spend those points. You can define loyalty point amounts by dollars spent, and by product group. You can exempt certain products from the points, set an expiration date for pints, and more.
On the spending side of things, you can set special discounts to be applied after, so many points are earned, which allows the customer to “spend” their points like money towards the total full amount of a product. This same section of the ERPLY system gathers customer information, which you can use to personalize promotional material in the future.
Keep Customers Coming Back
In addition to coupons and promotions, there are many other ways to keep customers coming back to your store. For example, sending follow-up emails asking customers how their most recent purchase is working out for them can help show customers that you genuinely care that their needs are being met. Other ideas for customer retention include:
- Offering coupons or promos for customers who haven’t been in for a while.
- Engaging customers with questionnaires and surveys.
- Having engaging social media and blogging practices that make customers want to follow you.
- Using customer reviews to make transparent changes in your customer service or other areas of your business.
- Inviting your customers “behind the scenes” to special events or recaps of events where you discuss product development, business practices, and more.
- Over-delivering on any promise or guarantee that you make.
Training your customer service team to not only utilize the POS but also to provide essential engagement at every level of contact is the best way to ensure that customers want to shop with your brand again and again. Use these tips to boost your customer loyalty rates immediately.