Analysts and various industry professionals have been quick to decree the death of customer loyalty. It’s easy to see why, in the wake of persisting volatility reverberating throughout the retail industry. Each week seems to surface new reports of layoffs or location closings in an attempt to bring big brands back from the brink of bankruptcy. A failure to keep up with evolving consumer expectations and buying behaviors coupled with the proliferation of innovative ecommerce alternatives is mostly to blame for the bleak outlook and misconceptions. However, customer retention remains essential to the growth of every business, and fortunately it’s still far from the grave.

By adopting a customer-centric approach, your company can better understand and deliver delightful experiences to your clients for a real win-win. Long live loyalty!


The value of personalization in marketing efforts, especially email and SMS communications, has long been a factor in the success of such endeavors. It’s no surprise that customers desire a hyper-personalized experience rather than being spammed with potentially irrelevant, “one size fits all” marketing messages.

Track the types of goods and services each customer tends to purchase, and segment your contact lists accordingly. You can also determine which other criteria makes the most sense to inform other segmentations, including average transaction amounts, shopping channel, seasonality, region, and a host of other demographic determinations.

This way, you can always be sure that customers will want to be receiving your communications, and will be that much more likely to open, click, and complete a transaction.

Customer Insights

Listen to what your customers are telling you, with both CSAT, NPS and automated feedback requests. Be open to new processes, systems, or initiatives that could make a difference for them or the way they perceive your brand. Host a contest for suggestions and give the winner a discount or free gift.

Remember, not all repeat customers are the same, so take note of the nuances between them. While some are the loyal, brand ambassadors that every company dreams of and hopes to earn, they tend to have affinity for the brand itself and inherent trust in the directions it takes or the new offerings it releases. However, there is another type of repeat purchaser that is not immune to external elements, such as price, radius to nearest location, channel, convenience, and free shipping among other factors. Being able to identify and reward or promote to both of these groups is essential for retention, but be aware that their motivations are very different.

Innovative Loyalty Programs

Customers are also looking for exciting new approaches to loyalty programs, as they’ve grown tired of traditional models and boring punchcards. They’re looking to earn VIP status, and access to exclusive experiences that aren’t otherwise available. This often requires some magic combination of gamification, frictionless tracking and redemption, and sound unit economics.

Think about some of the larger brands leading the charge here. Starbucks instantly comes to mind in their approach. The company provides rewards members the ability to order ahead, combined with status tiers containing clear perks, and an easy app that allows consumers to track and manage it all, at a glance. If you’re unsure of what matters or motivates your customer base the most, follow the lead of some top etailers who send their customers surveys to determine what type of program structure they prefer, and what reward levels and perks they’d be the most invested in. Cracking this code could yield great returns in your loyalty efforts, so it’s important to get it right.

Retention is valuable

Customer retention and loyalty is vital to your business, and valuable to your bottom line. Repeat visits generate up to 10 times as much as their first. Similarly, increasing customer retention by 5% boosts profits anywhere from 25 to 95%. By investing in best practices you can keep your customers nurtured, informed and engaged on the offerings they care most about and will keep them coming back!