The cornerstone of success for brands and retailers is the 4P’s: product, placement, promotion, and pricing. The perfect balance of these will increase consumer traffic in your store, increase sales, build shopper loyalty, and help you remain competitive in any economy.

The challenge for some retailers and brands is that they are so focused on the 4P’s that they overlook the 5th: people. Retailers and brands focused on people (the shopper) are committed to making the shopping experience more enjoyable and easier for their loyal customers.

Always put the shopper first! 

Some mainstream retailers rely on loyalty cards to connect with shoppers. Their programs reward loyal customers for shopping at their stores. Some provide discounts, reward points, reduced gasoline prices, special incentives, and custom couponing. Some programs do a good job of keeping the retailer connected with the consumers through regular mail, emails, circulars, phone apps and more.

But consumer loyalty programs can be very expensive, complex, difficult to manage and even more difficult to implement. They are typically not a good fit for the small retailer. While there are some third party solutions that offer loyalty programs for retailers, most then “own” the shopper’s information.  I am firmly against any program where the retailer gives up their shopper information.  A retailer’s loyal shopper is really the only real asset they have.

Using social media to create loyalty

Smaller retailers, especially natural retailers, can effectively use social media to remain connected to their loyal consumers. The best part is that some social media tools are free. An effective social media campaign can be every bit as effective as their mainstream grocer’s loyalty programs.

Social media is about sharing, interacting, educating, helping others, and keeping the conversation going with your target audience. Don’t just talk to shoppers, engage and build personal relationships. How?

  • Share valuable and informative content with loyal customers. Messages that are too focused on self-promotion will be ignored and cause the customer to lose interest.
  • Balance the quality of your content and the frequency. Recommend and provide an incentive for shoppers to share it with their networks.
  • Provide a rich content to encourage customers to remain connected and engaged with recipes and coupons, special deals, etc.
  • A key benefit of a solid social media campaign is the ability to connect with new consumers. The exposure and reach have huge potential.

Your greatest asset is your shopper

While you can’t underestimate the power of social media’s reach, the reality is that some shoppers don’t use it. Pair your digital initiatives with in-store deals as well.

When used correctly, social media can be incredibly effective. If you don’t have an effective strategy to connect with your consumers, you are missing a huge opportunity to connect on a personal level with your community.

People are your single greatest asset.  Without them, you wouldn’t be in business. Interact with them and show your continued appreciation and support. Apply these proven strategies to your business and success will follow.

Loyalty is a two-way street—if you show your customers that you care, they’ll keep coming back.

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