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Why Loyalty is More Important Than Ever Before

The reality that customers can shop anywhere at any time continues to be a huge change in the retail world.

The idea that our customers can have anything delivered, same day, sometimes same hour, is another big change for retail.

In the Age of the Customer, customers have all the power. They can essentially get whatever they want, wherever they want, and however they want. And they don’t have to leave the comfort of their couches to do it.

This paradigm makes it easy to jump back and forth between brands with little consequence.

That’s why loyalty is more important than ever before.

Successful retailers will be the ones that have more loyal customers and here’s how to acquire them.

Build a Brand That Customers Care About

There’s a concept called share of mind marketing. I always talk about share of mind. It’s the idea that I need to build a brand that customers care about and it resonates with them. And when I connect that with great product, that’s a win.

We’re building tools on the loyalty side that will keep your customers coming back and coming back. We need that share of mind to be successful. Its goal is to establish a brand so firmly in someone’s mind that it becomes a natural thought reflex whenever he or she needs a particular product.

This marketing strategy requires an emotional connection to your customers that compels them to be loyal customers and brand advocates.

Consider TOMS Shoes.

Officials at TOMS are deeply committed to corporate social responsibility.

For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS donates a pair to people in need. When you buy eye glasses, a part of the profit is used to save or restore eyesight for people in impoverished countries. They call it “one for one”.

The inviolable core of TOMS is a promise to the consumer that each purchase translates into a better life for someone halfway around the globe.

TOMS not only makes great products, but there is something deeper, a true emotional connection. Customers who are looking for stylish shoes and also care about the greater good connect to TOMS on a distinct emotional level.

Great Products Get Them in the Door, Loyalty Keeps Them There

At the core of TOMS is a great product.

While great products get customers in the door and keeps them there for the short term, we need to think of the long term because that’s what true loyalty is all about.

That’s why we need tools to keep that customer who loves your brand and your product coming back again and again.

Starbucks, like TOMS, focuses on corporate social responsibility. Customers can get coffee everywhere, but the Starbucks brand has a special connection to its customers who place a high priority on value.

Take Lids, for example. Lids specializes in headwear and carries all the great brands of hats. But consumers can get hats anywhere. So, while someone may stop into a Lids store at the mall, that doesn’t mean they’ll come back again because they can buy hats anywhere. As soon as a coupon comes along, they’re gone.

But Lids offers a unique loyalty program called Access Pass Premium. For $5 annually, members receive 20 percent off all hat purchases along with other benefits.

The value proposition is clear. When a customer signs up, the membership pays for itself in the savings from the first hat purchase. Why would that customer go anywhere else for a hat when they know they’ll be able to use that discount again and again whenever he or she shops at Lids?

Share of Mind Will be Critical Going Forward

Brands need that share of mind going forward to be successful.

A key element of gaining a share of mind from your customers is authenticity, which is the most important thing a brand can offer. You have to be real and you have to deliver on that. You have to be authentic and consistent on how you represent your business.

It’s all about the customers and that connection to customers must be as authentic as it can possibly be because they can see right through it, they can Google right through it, and they know when you’re not real.

Being transparent as a brand will only help you attract, acquire, and retain loyal customers.

Loyalty in the Long Run

Build a brand that customers care about on transactional and emotional levels.

Having a great product gets them in the door, but it’s building emotional connections with customers that will retain their loyalty in the long run.

Gaining a share of mind with your customers will be critical going forward.

Our job is to surprise and delight customers and brands need to figure out what that means.

Look at the data. What are customers responding to, not responding to, and where do we need to make our investments?

If you’re not customer-centric, people know it, people see it, and customers make decisions based on that. If you don’t have the customer in the middle of everything you’re doing, you’re going to fail.

Don’t you want to be part of a brand that creates lasting, emotional relationships with customers and develops a sense of lifelong loyalty with them?

Bill Brand

Bill Brand served on the Clarus Board of Directors and is the SVP & Chief Retail Officer at Carnival Corporation. He brings over 30 years of experience in retail commerce, media, and technology and a wealth of insight on customer loyalty.

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ebbo™ is an all-in-one loyalty company. With our data driven strategy, full-service approach, and the unwavering support of the people behind the platform, our dedicated team will work with you to understand your loyalty goals, innovate solutions and help you build customer engagement on repeat.

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