The follow-up: it’s standard practice after business meetings, job interviews and even romantic dates (providing they go well), and it’s something that retailers should practice, too, if they want to build strong, loyal relationships with their customers.
In the retail world, a follow-up message goes beyond simple courtesy. It educates the customer and creates sales opportunities for the retailer. As a marketing manager, there are two ways you can approach this:
- Communicate with customers via email, direct mail or social media following their purchase to capitalize on customers’ immediate needs.
- Continually acknowledge the customer with helpful information, and position yourself in that shopper’s “consideration set”—the coveted, top-of-mind position when they’re seeking out certain products.
Sales-Related Follow Up
Imagine a customer has just bought flower pots for their garden at your gardening center. Collect their contact information and permission at purchase, and send that customer specific information based on their interests—which, in this instance, would be plants, fertilizer and gardening tools.
You can use statistical data to determine their next purchase, too. If she’s just bought a flower pot, you can be sure she’s also going to be looking for a flower to fill it; if she just bought a shrub, maybe she needs a new trowel or hoe to help plant it. If she bought a plant a year ago, you can shoot her a message: Are you ready for gardening season? Check out our new annuals and perennials in stock today.
In the short-term, you can optimize your sales season by acting on that information quickly, while the customer is still preparing for gardening season to start. It’s crucial to remember this information, because it becomes less valuable every day. Within a few months, the opportunity has probably passed—though you can still approach them next season.
Continuous, Helpful Information Works, Too!
The same customer might also appreciate information-based communications, such as gardening tips, plant lifecycle information or current gardening trends.
Even if consumers are too busy for stores’ reaching out, research shows that informational marketing campaigns can build brand loyalty, and that customers may appreciate receiving information on topics that are important to them. By sending information on gardening trends or new tools, a retailer builds its potential to be seen as a “gardening resource” in the customer’s eye.
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Making The “Consideration Set”
Once you achieve status as a resource for the customer, they may be more inclined to keep your store top-of-mind when making their next garden-related purchase. If the store expands its communications and begins including offers on other outdoor appliances or furniture, the customer’s appreciation of the retailer might grow. It may even lead the customer to consciously choose this store over a competitor.
How To Capture The Information You Need
It’s not difficult for retailers to put a follow-up program in place for customers who have just purchased products. Big data is most likely readily available in your point of sale system or can be collected online. A data analytics firm can help the retailer identify the available data points and put this type of program in place.
Retailers should never take their customers for granted and have to find a way to remain fresh in their minds. The follow-up message is a great way to do this. Those who practice it have plenty to gain and almost nothing to lose.