The cornerstone of retail is the 4P's: product, placement, promotion and pricing. The perfect balance of these will increase consumer traffic in your store, build consumer loyalty and help you remain competitive in any economy.
The challenge for some retailers is that they are so focused on the 4P's that they overlook the fifth: people. Retailers focused on people (the customer) are committed to making the shopping experience more enjoyable and easier for their loyal customers. They put the consumer first—always.
Some mainstream retailers rely on club cards and loyalty cards to connect with core customers. Their programs reward loyal customers for shopping at their stores. Some provide discounts, reduced gasoline prices, special incentives and custom couponing. The programs do a good job keeping the retailer connected with the consumers through regular mail, emails, phone apps and more.
But consumer loyalty programs can be very complex, expensive, difficult to manage and even more difficult to implement. They're usually not a good fit for the small retailer.
Using social media to create loyalty
Smaller retailers, especially natural retailers, can effectively use social media to remain connected to their consumers. The best part: Many social media tools are free. An effective social media campaign can be every bit as effective as the larger mainstream grocer’s loyalty programs.
Social media is about connecting, interacting, educating, helping others and keeping the conversation going with your target audience. Don’t just broadcast—engage and build relationships. How?
- Share valuable information with loyal customers. Messages that are too focused on self-promotion will be ignored and cause the customer to lose interest.
- Balance quality content and frequency, and be supportive of others by recommending and sharing their articles and links.
- Provide a strong incentive to encourage customers to connect with special deals, recipes and coupons through your social media channels.
- Another benefit of a solid social media campaign is the ability to connect with new consumers as well as others who can help you with your business. The exposure and reach has huge potential.
Your greatest asset
While you can't underestimate the power of social media outreach programs, the reality is that some shoppers aren't willing to provide a Twitter account or follow yours. Pair your online initiatives with in-store deals as well.
When used correctly, social media, especially Twitter, can be incredibly effective. If you don't have an effective strategy to connect with your consumers, you are missing the boat.
People, customers, are your single greatest asset. Without them you wouldn't be in business. Interact with them and show your appreciation and support. Apply these proven strategies to your business and success will follow.
Loyalty is a two-way street—if you show your customers that you care, they'll keep coming back.