Cultivating relationships and building a sustained dialogue pays, at least in the Retail business! It is time to sit up and take notice of the customer who does business with you often and may give you a bigger share of her wallet, if you reach out to her in a manner that she approves. Well, it’s not about sending roses on the Valentine’s Day, the courtship of customers requires diligent and continuous effort. So, getting it right once is not enough, you need to be bang on every time, because one slip is all it takes for you to lose her forever!
The Indian consumer has come of age and refuses to be typecast. There has been a general upswing with the average person on the street having more Rupees in his pocket to spend on his whims and fancy, leave aside the necessities, than ever before. Of course it is a big opportunity, but then it takes much more effort than to set up a shop and do glitzy billboards to bring in the crowd, and the crowd that spends. Whether you are a brick and mortar retailer or an eCommerce player, Customers demands more, much more than you ever thought: complete attention, eye for details and of course an intuitiveness towards their needs. And, if you were wondering all this is too much to fulfill, think again. Loyalty pays and how! In India, as per a recent Neilsen study, 19% of customers constitute 50% of business and tend to buy compulsively from the brand / platform they come to love. These super consumers as, the study calls them, are not necessarily super rich, a large number comes from less affluent households, but they have a propensity to spend, and spend repeatedly on their chosen platforms.
Now, let’s look at the possibilities that this revelation opens up! Loyalty is much more than a fancy card and a bunch of emails, that anyway land in a separate folder titled “Promotions” (making them one step farther from their audience). All that customer data is hardly mined beyond the last purchase and provides less than attractive recommendations. Retailers have the means to know their customers intimately and be ahead of them in their thinking, but invariably in India they choose to follow, and that at a snail’s pace far behind the galloping customer! Cultivating loyalty is a serious business and needs a lot of thought and much more action. Personalization, cliched as it may sound, is the key. And, if you are still sending the obsolete season’s greetings and an “extra 100 bonus points on your birthday” mailers, grow up!
Another interesting aspect that this study throws up is that the customer is obviously a value seeker and thus the retailers have the opportunity to increase the basket size by providing the right offers to the right segment of customers. Let’s face it, not everyone would be interested to “take home a LED TV for a down payment of Rs. 999 and the rest in easy installments”. Check your database, most of your customers might already be owning LED TVs or yet many would be looking at a smarter price for single down payment. Does your promotion look at all these possibilities too? Have you segmented your customers and reached out to them exclusively with deals, suitable to their needs and behavior? If you are still living in the era of mass marketing, be sure you are making your cash counter deprived of much more than it is currently ringing in.
Therefore it is time you looked at your Loyalty program much more closely and critically and provide it with the right technological push, before it is too late…
Published with permission.
Image courtesy of [Serge Bertasius Photography] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net