According to a 2012 Adobe report, repeat shoppers in the United States represent just 8% of all site visitors, but account for over 40% of total online sales (PracticalEcommerce). In a world where consumers are confronted with an onslaught of choices each day, brand-loyal, VIP customers are like gold – and the brands that want to come out on top better start treating them that way.
Sure, brand VIPs might be a little more high maintenance than your fresh-faced, first-time client, but making a point to incorporate them into your core marketing strategies will more than pay off with increased revenue and extended opportunities. Here are three steps you can follow to make sure that your business and brand VIPs enjoy a long and fruitful relationship.
Reward repeat customers.
Your product or service may be the best in the industry, but the reality is that your customers are constantly faced with countless alternatives and tempting offers. Smart brands are creating incentives for customers to visit and spend time and again through point systems and exclusive discounts.
In addition to making consumers feel valued, these types of offers also stimulate feelings of exclusivity and membership, which result in increased conversion rates over time. Statistics show that companies that offer rewards card programs see 46% higher customer spending (LoyaltyLeaders). Ultimately, brands should continue to think outside the coupon box – constructing loyalty programs that incorporate multi-step processes and stretch across various channels creates more of an immersive customer experience.
Optimize the customer experience.
While customer rewards programs are proven to boost consumer loyalty and spend, offering customers discounts is not nearly enough to create and sustain VIP relationships. In fact, 25% of consumers say they have received rewards for products and services they would never buy (ACI). Brands looking to foster VIPs need to focus on understanding customer interests, actions and behaviors to create relevant experiences.
One brand that has done an exemplary job of tailoring customer experiences to make consumers feel like VIPs is Sephora. Its Beauty Insider program not only lets members collect points redeemable toward actual products, but participants also receive personalized product recommendations, discounts on limited edition items, access to exclusive events and special birthday gifts.
Encourage ratings and referrals.
By incorporating social elements like comment boxes and ratings and reviews across their websites, brands can leverage VIP relationships to grow spend across a larger customer base. Not only does sharing their experiences with your products and services strengthen VIP relationships, but it also validates your brand to potential clients, so much so that 90% of consumers say their purchase decisions are influenced by online reviews (MarketingLand).
Another way to simultaneously improve and promote VIP relationships is to showcase loyal customers on your website via submitted photos, gamification leaderboards or customer profiles. Some brands also incorporate recommendations into their loyalty programs by offering points for referring friends.
Nurturing brand VIPs is an essential element of any marketing strategy. Brands that make a point of recognizing loyalty and fostering authentic relationships with their best customers will reap long-term rewards.
By Rachel Serpa