We all need ideas and programs to help combat the loss of walk in sales to the internet. Before we get to that, a couple of encouraging statistics are that gift purchases were up in 2018, up 14% from 2017 and holiday spending was up 16.5% in 2018 over 2017. And, retail sales still, mostly take place in stores, according to Retail Dive. Nearly 85% of holiday sales last year were in brick-and-mortar stores, and that can give retailers with a brick and mortar business an edge over online.
There are all kinds of software you can purchase to implement your loyalty programs. Below are some simple ideas you can do without investing much more than your time.
The first thing you must do is collect contact info on each customer that comes in your store, not necessarily purchases, but walks in. If your POS system collects that info, your job is mostly done. But, if not, and/or you need the contact info on those who don’t buy, have them fill out a form on a tablet, or even just on a piece of paper. For this info, send them a welcome email with some news that is upcoming in the store, and give them a small take away with your store label on it. (We use our 3 Nibbles/bag dog treat. It has the retail showroom label on one side and the info that comes on the bag on the other.) Even if you aren’t running a “dog” store, if you sell dog treats, and you should be, this is an inexpensive give away and EVERYONE loves to get something for their dog. If not, a small dog treat thanks, you get the idea, something that doesn’t cost much and has your store contact info on it as an immediate thank you for their info, followed up by the welcome email.
Now that you have your customers connected to you, lets give them reasons to shop at your store first and last, that aren’t a big cost to you. Ways to cut down on the expense of any program are to always involve products, that are nice, but not working for you, in the program. Offer percentages off only on items that are marked up sufficiently enough to allow for that discount. Ask your suppliers to support you when you are having an event. Include things in your programs that have nothing to do with your store, coffee, tea, snacks, small money items that improve your loyalty member’s experiences when in your store.
My favorite benefit for your loyalty members is Extended Return Timing. If your stated return time frame is 30 days, for your loyalty members make is 60 days or even 90. If a person is going to return a purchase, they usually know that right away, so giving extra time should cost you nothing.
Birthday and Anniversary Celebrations are a great way to get shoppers into your store. Email them the week before, inviting them to come in and receive their birthday or their anniversary of joining your loyalty program gift. This can be a discount, but almost more effective and less expensive is a small gift of some sort, maybe it is product you purchased and isn’t moving, wrapped if you offer gift wrapping, in a nice bag if you don’t. The customer will be appreciative and will almost always buy something while they are celebrating with you.
Free Sample Days for your loyalty members only. Get your suppliers, distributors and reps involved to help offset the cost. Maybe you do it once a quarter. If you have gathered up enough goodies, put them in a nice store bag, ready to go. That way, you extend the experience as they pull out each freebie to look at. Again, if they are in the store, they will buy.
Do a family and friends offer, not just a coupon but maybe they have to bring their family or friend into the store. Then they both get a reward and you have made sure the family and friend got there. They are having a great day with family and you are getting extra sales!
Put a coupon into their shopping bag, if you can’t get it onto the bottom on their receipt, with an offer that is good only for a limited time. The big box stores are experts at this, and it works! And it doesn’t have to be a percentage off, it can be anything that works for you and is desirable for your customer.
Hopefully the above ideas will get your creative juices flowing and you will create or add to your loyalty program. Fourth quarter is a great time to update, revamp or create one as holiday shopping was up last year and is expected to be up again this year!