It’s one of those good days. Everything is going great. You’ve had a steady flow of customers, a decent amount of sales, and you’ve spent the better part of the last two hours helping a particular customer. They were loaded with questions, excited to hear your insight and ideas. To a passerby, they may have thought you and this customer were old-time friends because the conversation was so natural and engaging. Then, just like that, they pay for your services or goods, walk out your doors, and it’s then you realize, you have no clue who that person is. Sure, you’ve caught their name, but you don’t really know who they are—or how to get them back.
We’ve talked about the importance of knowing your customers before. Knowing your customers individually will have a huge impact on their likelihood to purchase in your store again, but it’s also impossible to memorize and know each customer on an individual basis. Luckily, new and powerful tools allow you to unlock the invaluable insights that are hiding in your credit and debit card transactions that will give you a look at your customers in a whole new way.
We’ve broken the primary types, or profiles, into six categories. The details vary from business to business and across various industries, cities, and states, but just about every business has these kinds of shoppers. Knowing these types doesn’t replace or even compete with knowing your customers on a personal level, but it’s the next best thing.
Today we’re going to talk about the first three most influential types you have and some of the more pressing details you should know about them to keep them coming back.
New customers come with a lot of unknowns. Perhaps they’re gift shopping for a friend’s birthday, or maybe they’re a budding hobbyist looking to get started. But a few things are universal about them. They make up a large (often the largest portion) of sales and revenue for your business. But perhaps the most important thing to know about them is that they have a shelf-life.
Each new customer comes with a sort of deadline–a period during which you have to get them back in your store, or they’ll be just another one-time shopper. That period will depend on your store and the products or services you offer, but the key is to get them back as soon as possible.
Customers who purchase from you a second time are exponentially more likely come back for a third and fourth purchase. What’s more, the average shopper is worth 10 times their initial purchase. Of course, you want every customer to come back and buy more, but your first-time shoppers have an expiration date. Give them a little more priority.
Loyal customers the ones you know by name. You probably know their family. These are your regulars. The don’t need prompting or encouraging to come back. You’ve won their business. That doesn’t mean you can’t do something to keep their business, but that’s not the most important thing to do for these shoppers.
A lot of loyal customers feel invested in your success. It’s why they shop with you. They want you to be successful. They already tell their friends and family about your shop. The most important thing you could do for this type of customer is to make them feel more like they are a part of the team.
At some point, when they were first-time customers, you did something to turn these strangers or acquaintances into loyal, repeat buyers. Ask them. Let them know you’re trying to improve the level of service you offer. They’ll be flattered you asked and happy to help.
Pro Tip: If you have a customer that’d you consider one of your more loyal who hasn’t been in recently, be sure to drop them a personal note. These customers are too valuable to your business to let slip through the cracks. A personal note may be all it takes to encourage them to come back in.
Most valuable customers
The third (and we say third, not last, because we’ll be covering some of the more challenging customer types in a coming post) type of customer is your business’s best friend. No, not your drinking buddy or brunch girls. These are your business’s best friend. These are the most valuable customers you have. They may not be your most talkative or most interactive customers, but they are the ones who spend more with your business than anyone.
Often there is a crossover between a loyal and most valuable customer. But it’s not always the case. Sometimes your most loyal customers don’t spend much, they just spend often (hey, no complaints – just helping draw the distinction). Of course, when then need what you offer, they’re going to buy from you, but being loyal doesn’t always equate to most valuable.
So what’s the most important thing you can do to support your most valuable customers?
Get them to be your most loyal. Your most valuable customers often know the most about the industry you serve. In many cases, they know more about your products than you do. Tap into their knowledge. Tap into their insights, tips, recommendations, and more. Like your loyal customers, it will make them feel more tied to the business, but most importantly, it will make them feel valued. The insights you gather will help you educate your other customers and increase loyalty throughout.
Ask them to leave reviews. Ask them to rate the store. If applicable, ask them to help you with a blog or social media post. The point is to get them involved and show them you’re as dedicated to them as they are to you.
The importance of repeat business
Repeat business is essential to small and local business success. Those repeat customers can help you generate 47% more in sales and revenue (compared to businesses without a significant base of repeat shoppers). But turning a first-time shopper into a loyal customer takes work and insight.
Until the past few years, the status quo for small and local business owners has been to guess or make assumptions about customers. Quite honestly, it probably wasn’t something that shop owners had to give much thought in the past. Today, however, the small and local business owner can’t afford to not know their customers or their customer types. They need to know them on a personal note as well as from a business standpoint. Knowing what percentage of your customer base is made of repeat shoppers is key to properly investing in the right kinds of marketing and customer retention activities.
Hoping for the best isn’t a reliable (or measurable) strategy, and luckily it doesn’t have have to be the status quo. Every time a customer swipes their card in your store, you could be gathering the same kind of insight and data that big-box stores and online retailers have used for years to grow their customer base and encourage their shoppers to come back.
Womply automatically creates or updates a customer record every time someone transacts with your business. Let us show you how we can take on the hard work of keeping track of all your customers so you can focus on the things only you can do. Learn more, plus get free reputation monitoring and customer insights when you sign up for Womply Free!