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July 14, 2024 3:09 pm

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Building a Loyal Customer Base for a New Small Business

The ribbon has been cut and you’ve just welcomed the neighborhood into your new, small business. Customers are thoroughly perusing the aisles. They don’t want to overlook any welcome addition to their homes, whether it be healthy produce, some flavorful treats, the latest children’s games, or accessories for their teenagers.

Business is off to a rousing start. All of the shoppers will no doubt be back and bring friends and family. “I’ll be a tremendous success,” you think to yourself.

Stop right there. Do not be lured into a sense of false confidence. The toughest part of your journey as an independent retailer has just started: retaining first-day customers, drawing new shoppers, and turning all of them into loyal, repeat consumers.

Dedicated patrons are paramount to small business success. Heavy foot traffic is fantastic, but the key is to get those shoppers’ feet shuffling back to your store once they pass through the exit.

Customer loyalty and incentive programs are a great way to garner repeat shoppers and positive word of mouth. In addition, people enrolled in loyalty programs are more likely to add extra items to their shopping cart to help attain their awards.

There are various, affordable loyalty programs to attract and retain patrons. You may want to start a rewards club in which shoppers receive special coupons or free items when they reach a certain number of points. Members can also be eligible for exclusive contests and raffles. This builds excitement for your business.

Merchants should also offer gift certificates. They carry potentially long-lasting benefits. Recipients unfamiliar with your store can become new, repeat customers.  

Reaching out to shoppers directly and digitally is another proactive, engaging and efficient method to grow a following. You can ask customers for their emails and other information. Then, use the data to send shoppers birthday discounts and select savings at any time.  This type of outreach makes a difference by showing that you greatly appreciate your dedicated shoppers’ business.

By all means, continue to make physical circulars readily available. They are valuable for your customers, and therefore your profits. However, for the purpose of building a loyal consumer base, digital marketing is more highly effective.

In addition, make your store a one-stop shopping destination. There is no reason why a corner grocery cannot reserve shelf space for stationery, greeting cards and pharmacy products. Give customers the convenience of returning to your store instead of making additional trips to other businesses.  

Make people excited about what your store has to offer, from new products and competitive pricing to loyalty programs and great customer service. This will also earn loyal customers and generate word-of-mouth to entice new patrons.

Loyal, repeat customers are essential to running a profitable small business. Winning their trust, and hard-earned dollars, can seem a formidable task. Through rewards programs, leveraging modern technology and some ingenuity, you can map out a blueprint for success.

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