By Jonathan DiOrio, Vice President of Business Development, Swipely
In a world where the state of the economy is less predictable than the weather, retailers must be both agile and creative to attract and retain customers. That’s a tall order for folks who are already handling payroll, inventory, merchandising, human resources, IT, and the ten thousand other roles inherent to managing a business — and that’s where you come in. VARs and integrators, as trusted resources and industry experts, are in a perfect position to show business owners a variety of ways to design more effective programs for customer attraction and retention.
Understanding customer behaviors and basing marketing programs on them is a way for retailers to quickly determine what to offer, to whom, and when. There are a few specific kinds of information that can help streamline this approach, and the good news is that this kind of data isn’t just for huge companies any longer:
Knowledge is power, and knowing customers’ habits — when they shop, how much they spend, and what influences them to change their behavior — is a secret weapon that businesses should seek out and wield as often as possible. Using a single piece of data (for instance, average ticket size increases by 15 percent on rainy days), businesses can make the most of each day. Next time it rains, how about a free gift for anyone who spends $100 or more?
Your clients know who their best customers are, but what if they also knew exactly how many times each of those customers has been in this year, and exactly how much they’ve spent? Creating a VIP experience is a great way to build a word-of-mouth campaign, especially when a business’ biggest spenders and/or more frequent visitors are the ones receiving the benefits and spreading the word.
Customer loyalty programs have been around forever, but an effective, measurable loyalty program is the holy grail for most business owners. The best way to achieve that is to make the program easy for customers to use and simple for the business owner to manage.
Calculating the return on marketing campaigns can be tricky, but it’s worth it. For example, your client may have been extremely busy during their pre-holiday sale, but it’s hard to quantify the sale’s success without knowing exactly how many customers shopped during the event and how much spent. Other things your clients would benefit from knowing include whether existing customers spent more than usual during this promotion, how many new customers it brought in, and of those, how many returned in the following weeks. An event or promotion that brings in new customers and keeps them coming back for years is definitely a keeper! If the event was advertised on Facebook and Twitter, your clients will want to know how many new followers it attracted. All this data allows businesses to decide which events and specials are good investments, and which are less effective with their customer base so their marketing budgets and their time are always well-spent.
Hassle-Free Payment Processing
A theme among the last four items is that these crucial pieces of data are inherently available via credit card swipes. The trick is taking advantage of one of the emerging “payment marketing” technologies that can securely aggregate and present that information in an actionable way, while integrating seamlessly with every major traditional and cloud-based POS. So much the better, if those analytics come bundled with a payment processing service that offers security, transparent pricing, and customer support.
VARs and integrators are in a unique position to educate business owners on these trends. As a trusted industry and technology resource, it’s time to help your clients understand the value of data-driven programming. Building marketing campaigns around customer behaviors and past performance allows retailers to spend less time planning and more time growing their businesses. Best of all, the information required to do so is increasingly available via technology that your clients already use.
Swipely is a simple way for local businesses to accept payments, understand customers, and grow sales.