Consumer spending is continuing to increase and businesses are welcoming back customers with open arms. With that, businesses are now faced with the perennial question of how to effectively and strategically re-engage with customers. With business formation at all-time highs and the world of commerce changing irreversibly as a result of the last 18 months, it will remain important to re-engage with existing customers, and also continuing to look for new customers to try your business, whether it’s online or in-person or, increasingly, both.
Below are five ways that businesses can re-engage with customers to continue building important relationships.
Maintain your online presence
Many businesses turned to selling online during COVID – both as a way to serve consumers in a contactless way and also as a way to keep their business going during lockdowns. While lockdowns have eased up in most places around the world and consumers are returning to stores, industry data – and Square data – shows that consumer habits have somewhat changed for good. These changes are in favor of the convenience of online shopping or, just as commonly, mixing and matching both online and offline (e.g. buy online pickup in store).
Consumers are continuing to use online methods of shopping as it provides an easy way to quickly and immediately shop around. If anything, now is the time to keep building your online presence so that it represents your brand, while also helping further attract more customers who are falling back into the normal pace of their lives.
Create a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are effective because they add value to the customer experience beyond the first interaction or purchase with you. In a world of fierce competition – both online and offline now, with competing products and services frequently just a few clicks away – a loyalty program that rewards customers for continuing patronage and engagement can go a long way.
Loyalty programs will give your customers first-class access to discounts and promotions and can also be paired with key life moments – birthdays, anniversaries and the like.
Use mobile to build an immersive customer experience
Mobile has become a huge part of a unified omnichannel experience as consumers use their phones for almost everything. Businesses can sell on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and more for greater visibility.
Now that QR codes have become mainstream and widely adopted, they offer a contactless way to increase sales and extend your brand across channels. Customers can simply pull up a menu or pay for a product right from their phone.
Send thoughtful, occasional marketing messages
Email and SMS marketing, when used thoughtfully and carefully, offer a number of benefits to you and your customers. You can quickly and efficiently share information on rewards, sales, coupons, and other timely moments right to their inbox or cellphone so they’re kept in the loop. You can also send shareable pay links through marketing messages to easily connect with customers and simplify the checkout process right at their fingertips.
If your business uses gift cards, you can offer these through your marketing program to further engage with clients and build those relationships. Send your most loyal clients a small gift card thanking them for their business and encouraging them to come in and shop!
Do remember, however, that the right to be in a customer’s inbox must be earned and re-earned over a long period of time. It is easy to get tempted and over-message customers, and it is the fastest way to get unsubscribes and annoyed customers. If you engage, do set up a thoughtful cadence that messages customers without overwhelming them.
Host an event
Everyone loves being invited to exclusive events and your customers are no exception. Hosting an event is a powerful way to incentivize them to reconnect with you face-to-face.
You can easily host an event at your in-person location if you have one, rent a pop-up space or a local spot to re-engage with customers. The event can be educational, to launch a new product or product line, or even to simply welcome everyone back! During the event you’ll get to spend some quality time with those who support your brand and can continue to touch base with customers whether they shop in-person or online.
For more how-to’s on how to start, run, grow, and adapt your business, check out Square’s Business Resource Center here: https://squareup.com/us/en/townsquare.
Saumil Mehta leads Square’s Square Point of Sale and CRM business unit. His responsibilities include overall P&L ownership and organizational management across multiple functional disciplines, including Product, Engineering, Design, Product Analytics, and Product Marketing. He was previously Founder and CEO of LocBox, which helps offline and local businesses generate revenue and foot traffic from existing and new customers with multi-channel advertising campaigns.