As a small business owner, you know it’s much easier to work with existing customers than to bring in new ones. While a flow of fresh shoppers is always a good thing, the customers who learn about you and your store while returning time and time again are a very solid and useful base.
Of course, every repeat visitor to your storefront was once a first-time guest. How can you turn these fresh faces into familiar ones? Let’s look at a few tactics.
Employee training and engagement
Like many small business owners, you can talk about the products you sell in detail and have productive conversations with potential customers that connect your items to their wants and needs. Can your staff do the same thing? Unless you’re the only person who ever interacts with shoppers on the sales floor, you’ll need to make sure your staff have the same level of product knowledge and the ability to discuss merchandise in a variety of contexts.
Entrepreneur suggested focusing on general communication skills, learning pertinent product info and developing an understanding of when it’s appropriate to reach out to you or another manager for help. This strategy puts customers first, making sure everyone they encounter in your store can give them the help – and sometimes the gentle nudge toward a purchase – they need.
Encourage and use social media conversations
Depending on the platform and your definition of the very broad term, social media is a place where current and new customers both visit to find operational information and reviews, ask questions and much more. Tapping into the comments made and information sought out by any and all digital visitors should be a component of your customer retention strategy, the FedEx Small Business Center suggested.
By drawing on the comments, questions and other statements made through your social media presence, you can figure out what customers are looking for and tell them you’re making a change or addition specifically for them when appropriate. FedEx shared the example of a customer at a bakery requesting a gluten-free version of a cake, and nearly every type of small business has similar examples. While you don’t always need to make changes to suit customer needs, social media is a great place to take the pulse of new and returning customers, as well as devise a strategy for meeting their needs.
If you’re looking to make material improvements to convert more new customers into repeat visitors but are worried about the associated costs, a capital loan for small businesses may be just what you need.