Since its arrival in the UK almost a decade ago, Black Friday has become a landmark for retailers, marking the start of the busiest dates for retail in the UK.
Traditionally, retailers start early to advertise any deals for Black Friday – some as early as Halloween. As one of the biggest days in shopping, it’s estimated that each person will spend around £220 between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and a total of £7bn nationwide – so it’s not to be taken lightly!
How can small businesses ensure that their offers are also visible and compete with big retailers in one of the most competitive shopping periods of the year? In this article we will provide some tips on how to boost customer loyalty programmes in retail during Black Friday. We will explore how personalisation, customer retention, data analytics and software can help in making a difference.
Personalisation in retail means to serve each individual based on their needs and behaviours. A recent study from BlueBridge One showed that consumers have high expectations from retailers and expect personalised shopping experiences.
Customer loyalty programmes in retail have been around since the 90s, when Tesco introduced its Clubcard, and its success was followed by many other retailers such as Boots, Sainsbury’s and many more. If you think about it, how do you feel when you get the vouchers from Boots or from supermarkets like Tesco based on what you have purchased before?
Looking at smaller retailers, personalisation can play a clear advantage when targeting returning customers. Vanessa Woodfine, managing director of retail at Gobeyond Partners, states that the knowledge that small retailers have of their customers can work in their favour: “One thing smaller retailers have on their side is that they often have an innate understanding of their customers, and in some cases even have personal relationships, meaning this personalisation can feel very natural.”
Therefore, the more knowledge you have from your customers, the more targeted product and merchandising you can offer to them. An example of this could be including a personalised suggestion on future articles to purchase based on previous products that the customer has bought in the past.
Combining these elements to create a tailored loyalty programme can help to better capture customer data, increase the frequency of spend, and further tailor your marketing. And the good news is that the technology to create these is readily available.
Loyalty program software has a number of features that allow users to track customer behaviour and reward loyalty, so small retailers can grow their revenue and build lasting relationships with customers.
Nurture current customers
It’s said that it costs more to attract new customers than to keep an existing one. Despite this, 44% of companies still place a greater emphasis on acquisition than they do retention, and only 6% of small businesses are focused on retaining their customers.
Focusing on developing relationships with current customers is perhaps more important than acquiring new ones, states Vanessa: “I would always remind all retailers to nurture their current customers as much as possible; ultimately it costs less to retain them than acquire new customers. Given that smaller retailers won’t have the budgets of larger organisations to develop and promote their loyalty scheme, they must look at alternative ways to win.”
“Smaller retailers can understand and engage with their customers and community more easily, meaning that they can co-create or personalise their products and services – including their loyalty scheme. By tapping into this emotional side of retail, not just the transactional, the smaller players can make sure their loyalty programmes make customers feel truly valued and rewarded in a way that goes way beyond basic satisfaction”, she adds.
A good loyalty program software can help small retailers enhance their relationships with customers by tracking customer behaviour, also helping them to increase their customer retention rate and grow their business.
Data, data, data!
Technology can be an ally to small retailers when looking to gather information about their customers. “Technology is a vital component in harnessing the wealth of knowledge from consumer shopping and browsing habits and then personalising offers and loyalty programmes accordingly.”, highlights Vanessa, who also states that, “by combining human experience (HX) with the appropriate technology, retailers can provide the best possible personalised service to the end consumer.”
Preferred Patron Loyalty offers a number of features that allow retailers to focus on gathering information about customers via various actions, including discount management, gift card system, loyalty card system and rewards management.
Tapmango helps retailers bring customers back through a number of features such as SMS promotions, mobile and email push. Also, it offers a referral system to acquire new customers to already existing ones.
The two software providers mentioned in the article have been selected by:
- Highest position on the Loyalty Program Software for Small Businesses category on Capterra.co.uk
- Rated 4+ stars by users
- Highest number of reviews
- With a product offering in the UK