It's all about relationships: Make sure your customers feel valued

Here’s a really strong advantage you have over your corporate chain-store competitors.  You can connect with your customers and go out of your way to make them feel valued as a customer.  If you are able to learn a customer’s name and use this to welcome them on their next visit, this creates an incredibly strong connection and will build loyalty.

 

A great deal of purchase decision making is done based on a relationship.  Product quality is always very important but we often rank this lower than the quality of service when making a decision.  Building loyalty with your customer base is absolutely crucial, you’re working to ensure future repeat business from that customer but also you’re building brand ambassadors and advocates who will be marketeers on your behalf.

 

Errors and mistakes are inevitable, and even if your business is running like clockwork you are unfortunately often in the hands of your suppliers or couriers and through no fault of your own you will be held responsible for issues.  This is inevitable and every business will experience this, but what is important is how you manage these hiccups.  Consumers have been spoiled by the supermarkets and large chain companies offering 30 day money back no quibble guarantees, and many will be surprised about the actual consumer rights you are legally obliged to offer them.  If the first a customer learns of the actual statutory rights is through a dispute in your store we guarantee that you won’t be seeing them again, and they’ll be working hard to tell everyone they can about their issue.  Offering a money-back guarantee which competes with the chain stores might seem like a bold move however it will work in your favour in the long run.  We’ve seen that actual redemptions will be in very low numbers, and for those who do return goods, speak with your suppliers as you may find many of them offer the guarantee for you to pass on.

 

Even if you do not publicise your offer with a giant poster on the wall, it’s worth having it in mind ready for these disputes and also for any customers who are hanging in the balance of making a purchase decision.   If you have listed the features and benefits of the product and they’re still unsure, offering to completely remove the risk is a sure-fire way of converting to a sale.  If your customer is absolutely certain that if they do not get the results they expect from the product, you will honour a refund, this should be the final nudge needed to win them over.

 

Likewise, if you run promotions in your store, a great idea is to keep some promotions held back, and use this only in a verbal way.  This type of ‘back-pocket promotion’ makes the customer feel like they are getting special treatment, and this is a very powerful tool.

Marketing for Independent Retailers

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