This article was authored by our friends at Square. Thanks to their team for sharing these insights with the Yelp community.
Bringing new people into your shop is always a good thing, but it’s your regulars who are your bread and butter. Having a large group of regulars is important for the health of your business.
A study by Bain & Company found that when customers come back in, they spend roughly 67 percent more than first-time customers. And over their lifetime loyal customers are worth 10 times as much as their first purchase, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
So it’s worth the time to figure out how to up your regular customer count. Of course, the first thing to do is actually figure out how many regular customers you have. If you have the right tools — like a customer relationship management (CRM) tool — all that data should be at your fingertips. From there, you can get to work developing a strategy to increase the ranks of that group.
Here’s some areas you should focus on to bring in repeat customers:
Beef up your directory.
You want to be able to track and measure your relationships with your customers. You’ll need a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to do that. A CRM surfaces key information like when a customer last visited and what they bought. If you find a CRM that integrates with your point of sale (POS), you can avoid manually entering customer information from clipboards on the countertop into your database. Instead, customer information is recorded with each transaction, which is a major time-saver.
For even better insights, look for a CRM that automatically segments your customer lists into three groups — loyal, casual, or lapsed. All this data helps you be more strategic about how to entice certain people to come back in.
Pore over your data.
Data is knowledge and knowledge is power. But we know that all of that data can be overwhelming, but it’s worth poring over your insights. Start with your goal and then identify the metrics that tell you whether or not you’re meeting that goal.
For example, maybe your goal is to increase your customer retention. You’ll want to dig into your CRM’s breakdown of how many of your customers are regular, casual, or lapsed. Then dig a little deeper into your regular customer trends: How often they come in, how much they spend, and what they buy.
All this information can help you make key decisions about how you run your business — and bring more people in. For example, if you see that a lot of your regular customers come in when you are running a particular promotion, you might think about running that promotion more often, or introducing new, similar promotions to drive traffic.
Do some email marketing.
So you have your customer lists as well as your insights. Now it’s time to put them to work. Some great-looking email marketing templates can help you quickly send out messages to your customers. You can whip up and send emails to promote an event, a sale, or announcement. Just make sure you laser-target your messages to the customer group (loyal, casual, or lapsed) that you think would be the most engaged with it.
Then track what’s working and what’s not. Use a tool like Square Email Marketing that provides easy-to-read analytics for each email you send, so you can spot trends and make adjustments when needed.
Choosing an email marketing tool that integrates with your POS has some big benefits. It allows you to track exactly how many additional dollars you’re bringing in thanks to your email marketing efforts.
Engage with customer feedback.
To improve as a business, you need to know how you’re doing. That means you need feedback.
One of the most popular ways to get feedback is by claiming the Yelp page for your business. As you know, Yelp is an incredibly powerful tool for finding new customers. It’s a public forum where people can tell you (and other potential or current customers) what they liked and didn’t like about your business.
But it’s also important to provide multiple ways for people to give you feedback. An old-school way of doing this is to provide a suggestion box. There are also other ways to get digital feedback, like a digital receipt or via email.
All of these digital feedback forums (whether it’s Yelp, receipts, or email) give you a way to communicate directly with your customers.
Offer a loyalty program.
Another great way to get more regulars? Give them goodies for repeat visits. Offering a rewards program is a simple way to do this. You can do this with physical punch cards, or you can make things easier for yourself (and create new data sources to analyze) with a digital program that automatically tracks and rewards customers.
Square Loyalty lets you select how often you want to reward your customers and how much they’ll get as a reward. The program also lets you choose how much your customers need to spend or how often they need to come in to get a digital punch or stamp or star.
So if customers are weighing where to get their morning cup, they’re likely to choose your shop over the competition if they have incentive to do so.
Another way to keep customers coming back? Stay up to date on current trends in business technology (your payment processing, POS, and other apps). For example: Data shows that some customers are more likely to seek out and return to businesses that use mobile payments. Customers are also more likely to frequent a business that has a seamless checkout experience, so look for a point of sale that is set up for quick transactions.
Regular customers are not only key to the success of your business — they help you forge more meaningful relationships with your local community. With additional insights, you’ll have a neighborhood of regulars in no time.
Squarecreates tools that help sellers of all sizes start, run, and grow their businesses. Square’s point-of-sale service offers tools for every part of running a business, from accepting credit cards and tracking inventory to real-time analytics and invoicing. Square also offers sellers services such as small business financing and customer engagement tools.