Opinion: Maintaining customer loyalty in a competitive retail environment
Mita Srinivasan
10x Industry

Opinion: Maintaining customer loyalty in a competitive retail environment

Nathalie Beydoun, Retail Manager of BFL Group, shares her view on the importance of a company’s loyal customer base, and ways to achieve and sustain these loyal customers amidst a competitive retail environment.

Retail companies consider customer retention as an indicator of business growth and promotional campaign success. Having a loyal customer base is one of the long-term goals of any company since they usually represent most of our sales over time.

While converting one-time customers into loyal supporters is a challenging task, it is also very rewarding in terms of revenue and marketing expenses. Loyal customers help business succeed by spreading positive feedback to their families and peers. In other words, they become free marketing and advertising agents who share information about ongoing promotions, new product launches, and more. According to studies, companies find it cheaper to retain existing customers than make new ones by up to 82 per cent.

One of the fastest among retail industries is the fashion retail industry, that is constantly evolving based on the changing consumer demands. Consumers always look for the newest trends that is also budget friendly. Hence, it is necessary to focus on these demands of the consumers by providing them with the best quality and price and in turn developing loyal customers for a business.

However, establishing a loyal customer base does not happen by mere coincidence; retailers should be able to comprehend the importance of building and maintaining trust among buyers. Within each and every stage of the buyer’s journey, retailers should implement a strategic plan in order to succeed.

This is easier said than done. Some retailers develop their plan based on trial and error to find the most suitable approach given the differences in product offerings, customer demographics, and market competition, to name a few. However, companies must start with common practices that include special discounts or gifts during special occasions. Some companies also go to the extent of being creative with concepts like unique display of products, wide range of exciting categories for products, treasure hunting for different and new items, or hunting for exclusive prices, and sticking to current trends. These factors will allow customers to explore further into your store and drive them to visit often. In addition, this is will aid not only in attracting new customers, but also in keeping loyal patrons engaged.

Successful companies also maintain dedicated support teams to assist potential customers with their concerns. Even if the person did not buy a product during the first visit, the company would have made a good impression on him or her, which can ultimately lead to a potential loyal customer. This means that the next time the person visits the store, he or she may start buying products even without the assistance of a customer support staff.

To provide the best customer support, data analysis such as current customer purchases, likes, dislikes, and the amount spent on each purchase is important. One popular tool is the customer retention rate (CRR), which is used to determine product campaign success. With the information given through these tools, companies can develop and execute a customer retention strategy suitable to their current and targeted market.

Once we have succeeded in these areas, we can secure consistent orders from loyal customers because of the trust established with consistent time and effort. As we have pointed out earlier, having loyal customers also means additional marketing. Other people find it challenging to trust paid ads since they know that these are intended for branding and advertising. On the other hand, they believe the word of people they know since they deem the latter’s reviews and testimonies credible and in good faith.

Customer retention is pivotal to any company’s success. Any brand becomes a top choice among competitors since loyal customers can become part of the means to success. As a matter of fact, not only are they a means to an end; they are in themselves part of what defines a retail business’ long-term goal and purpose.