Customer loyalty can be one of the biggest advantages of any successful business. But how can you encourage people to buy your products and let them share their experience with their friends? What can you do to start attracting more people who deeply identify themselves with your brand, your beliefs and values?
Before we dive in, let’s look at why it’s so important to start building customer loyalty.
1. A move from transaction to purposeful shopping
Firstly, times have changed. Most of us know the basic function of most products. Shoes protect our feet, washing machine cleans our clothes and so on. Those questions are already answered. The shift now is from “what” (product) to “how” (usage and purpose) and “who” we can connect and align our viewpoints with.
For example, think of a brand you buy from on a regular basis and think about why you keep going back. What kind of needs, desires and values the brand is satisfying? Can you pinpoint the triggers they communicate and which you respond to? Now think of a brand that you used to buy from but something happened, you don’t go there anymore. Why? The answers will help you with identifying your own brand story which you should be communicating.
Most businesses struggle with this shift in communication. Decades old habits, processes and strategies are hard to “unlearn” in a short period of time. Only innovative and forward-thinking brands are willing to try new ways, and experiment more. They understand the importance of brand storytelling, therefore copywriting and high quality visuals production, which they are willing to invest in in order to build stronger market positioning and loyal customer base.
They are not afraid to open the curtain and let the customer see what’s going on behind the scenes. They put a heavy emphasis on transparency, whether it’s price, reviews, feedbacks and customer service.
If you can wrap your head around the new ways of how to communicate your brand to your audience, you’ll start to attract customers who will happily buy into both – your products and your story.
2. The importance of standing out
Secondly, look at the market and see what we, customers, are constantly bombarded with. Consumerism has gone crazy! Anything you want, you can buy. There are no limits. As a result, competition is fierce. Sooner or later you’ll be battling for survival. So how can you stand out? Considering my first point, one of the biggest weapons in your battles with competitors is “your story”. Purchasing decisions we make are heavily influenced by not only how good the products and/or services are but also the lifestyle, attitudes, beliefs and feelings they trigger and provide.
Standing out is about being unique – having a unique approach, unique product or service, and unique lifestyle proposition. Once you can align the viewpoints, loyalty naturally follows.
3. Preparing for a crisis
Thirdly, customer loyalty might be your advantage in crisis. From our personal experience, having built up network of loyal customers, loyalty can make it harder for new entrants in the market to succeed. When competing with similar products, you find that most new entrants will try to undercut you, overpromise their services and basically, try to steal everything you’ve built.
However, the one thing they can’t take away from you are the personal relationships you have with your customers. If you keep nurturing those relationships, most customers will stay loyal to you. In some cases you might need to change or adjust your strategy, but in most cases it works. You do a good job over and over again and you’ll get rewarded with customers who stay with you rather than try someone else, who they don’t trust and know that well.
If you invest in customer loyalty from early on, when crisis strikes, you might be the one rising above the rest.
Now let’s explore three innovative ways to build customer loyalty:
Innovative idea 1: Deliver something unexpected
One of the best ways to quickly build customer loyalty is by offering something customers don’t expect. If you look around many beauty and wellbeing brands on the high street offer small free gifts or samples when you make a purchase with them. One brand in particular that does it really well is Rituals. On my recent visit to the House of Rituals in Amsterdam I was gifted a small beautifully presented box with 3 items from their latest collection. I didn’t expect it and so I felt even more connected to the brand.
Some smaller brands are doing something similar. Collaborating with a soap brand KLEEN, a lifestyle brand Luks Linen gifts each customer with a KLEEN’s soap sample. Time limited, this campaign delights Luks Linen customers while letting them discover a like-minded brand they probably didn’t know it exists.
If you are budget restricted, a knitwear brand OUBAS collaborated with an illustrator Katie Grosvenor Design on a simple greeting card, which is added to every order. Inspired by the Lake District where all OUBAS handcrafted clothing is made, it’s an unexpected touch that adds to the OUBAS story and brings the customer closer to the brand.
Innovative idea 2: Create a campaign
Another idea which can help build customer loyalty is creating a VIP campaign or an event. Going back to the Rituals example, they cleverly created the 14-day Happiness Challenge where customers could get involved and every day follow expert tips, insights and wisdoms to fulfil a happier life.
In the small brand world jewellery and apparel brands create time-sensitive campaigns for VIP customers or wider customer bases. For example, a small jewellery brand Black & Sigi lets customers enter and shop their limited drops 24 hours before they are published on their website. As they get access to something which is behind closed doors, they feel more special and grow closer to the brand.
Paynter is also a great example of cleverly building customer loyalty. They tell a story every step of the way, from concept, design to production, until the customer becomes part of that story by pre-ordering and buying a jacket.
Innovative idea 3: Experiential event
Experiential events can sound complicated and expensive, but they don’t have to be. Not only they are great for bringing more revenue for your business, they are also great for connecting with your customers on more personal levels and therefore help build customer loyalty. The key to successful and profitable events is storytelling. Think about how you can immerse your customer base into your world by understanding what they like.
For example, furniture brand Aram created an exhibition in their showroom called “Let’s play with chaos” during London Design Festival 2022 showcasing a design collection based around the question “is chaos necessarily a bad thing?” Again, with this event they were able to bring customers closer to them, which helps them build customer loyalty.
In conclusion, building customer loyalty is a long term game, and not many brands think that way, but it will be increasing important for any successful business to move away from transactions to customer experiences. Are you going to be one of them?
Inside our KNOWLEDGE SHARE membership we delve into specific ideas covering building customer loyalty in much more detail, giving you the tools, templates and processes which you can apply in your business straightaway. If you want to find out about it more, please click or tap here.