You’ve been working hard to get new customers in your store, and you’re doing everything you can to hold on to them, but have you considered how you’d get in touch with them if they stopped coming in?
Many EPOS systems have built-in functionality to support a loyalty card system, and this can allow you to build vast amounts of data about your customer base. You’ll be able to track what they buy, how often they visit and importantly you’ll have their contact details so that you can get in touch with them. All this data is wonderful (and it’s very easy to get lost in data!) but there’s no point having it unless you’re going to make use of it. If you are fortunate to have this system I recommend regular email newsletters and also a separate email which you send to customers who haven’t been in for 3 months or more, perhaps with some kind of offer to entice them back in to your store. Be honest, show them that you value their custom and support and that you’d love to welcome them back into your store.
If you don’t have EPOS or you don’t have that level of functionality, I still recommend collecting your customers’ email addresses and sending regular monthly newsletters containing interesting news, advice, details of upcoming events in your store and perhaps a couple of offers. This should be delicately balanced and worth reading, without just being a list of products and their prices. We recommend using MailChimp to send your emails. It’s free (at the kind of level a small business is likely to use) and really easy to use, featuring drag-and-drop design. MailChimp will also manage your email list and handle unsubcribers, ensuring you comply with data protection laws without having to think about it. Using a service like MailChimp means you can’t accidentally use CC instead of BCC (and therefore share your customer list with everyone) and there’s no way you can accidentally send another email to someone who’s already requested you leave them alone.
Without EPOS you might be scratching your head wondering how you’re going to collect email addresses from your customers. As consumers we’re often very defensive of giving out this information, keen to reduce junk in our inboxes. Here are some ideas you could use to persuade them to hand over their contact information.
1 - Hold regular prize draw competitions, encouraging your suppliers to support these with prizes
2 - Ask each customer at the till if they would be happy to receive updates via email
3 - Add a button on your website giving visitors the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter, and share this link through your social media channels
4 - If customers call you for quotes or information, offer to take their email address so you can send through the quote in more detail for their confirmation