“To build genuine loyalty, retailers need to break with old-school tactics. They must earn consumer trust, preference and loyalty as a strategic initiative that goes beyond points, coupons, discounts, and mass-blasted emails,” – Entrepreneur.com
A close survey of human civilization indicates that the evolution of business and commerce features as an important achievement of the human race. These activities are essentially transactional and have helped human beings to share and distribute resources. In modern times, the domains of business and commerce have attained mass market status. Global trade practices and business frameworks have imparted finesse and sophistication to commercial activities. Regulators, multilateral trade negotiations, the paradigm of demand and supply, and free market forces hold sway in equal measure. In addition, various business cyclicals operate in modern commercial landscapes. The end of the calendar year signifies one such cyclical wherein, consumers and customers race to buy a variety of products and services. In light of the above, brands and businesses must work to drive a focus on customer loyalty in the ensuing New Year. We shall examine some of the premises and techniques below.
‘Customer loyalty’ may mean different things depending on the point of view. The predominant and most common interpretation of the term points to a certain trend in consumer behavior wherein, customers consistently direct their dollars to a particular market entity. This behavior is driven by a belief that said entity is best suited to fulfil customer demands and requirements. For instance, a certain segment of customers may favor a particular telecom services provider. This segment believes that the provider offers the best value for their money. Thus, they whole-heartedly patronize the services of said provider. In response, the business enterprise should focus on customer loyalty by offering its patrons the best deals in the market. A steady quality proposition can also drive the focus on customer loyalty, as can a steadfast commitment to paying attention to the voice of the customer. We note these actions will empower the telecom services provider to boost the number of subscribers while significantly lifting its profit margins.
Customer loyalty can prove to be a force multiplier in the long term. Avid customers and dedicated fans of a business enterprise can provide useful word-of-mouth marketing to a brand or business. These actions can significantly boost bottom lines and should motivate commercial enterprises to drive a sharp focus on customer loyalty. We note that loyal customers provide steady revenue streams to a business, while evangelizing a brand in their social and professional circles. This significant aspect of consumer behavior can help businesses gain much ground during the next annual cycle, or the New Year. That said, brands and businesses should work to win the loyalty of their customers with a view to gain privileged access to their business dollars.
Internet technologies have expanded their reach dramatically in recent years. Large sections of the planet have gained access to the Internet and its information highways. In line with this, commercial operators should use Internet-driven data and statistics to determine factors that resonate with their customers. This technique can sharpen a business’s focus on customer loyalty. For instance, an online marketing organization can choose to analyze its performance on the basis of data emanating from it business operations. The organization can assess the numbers of digital footfalls at its online properties and survey electronic information on customer conversions. We note that these exercises enable the organization to assess consumer trends and subsequently, tweak or adjust product and service offerings. This instance of commercial behavior clearly indicates that a focus on customer loyalty can prove very useful in modern competitive markets.
Certain key customer segments represent a crucial aspect of business success. Younger generations of consumers potentially offer millions of dollars in sales to every business enterprise. These young adults may elect to spend their time browsing through digital businesses and reviewing peer comments before buying a product or service. In light of this, commercial enterprises should focus on customer loyalty in a bid to lock in the dollars offered by satisfied customers. Also, brands and businesses that operate in the online domain should consider the creation of brick-and-mortar stores in the New Year. This initiative bears the promise of exposing a certain brand to a high number of business prospects and potential customers. We are essentially examining a scenario wherein, a business is actively working to gain customer loyalties. These initiatives will likely offer a significant payoff in the future.
The growing tempo of commercial competition creates a watertight case in favor of driving a focus on customer loyalty. Multiple brands and businesses enter every commercial domain during the annual cycle. Therefore, customer loyalty can ensure that fewer customers switch to a competing business enterprise. For instance, a business may elect to implement a mobile-first policy with a view to enhancing customer convenience and win their loyalty. This initiative ensures that said business gains a technology-driven head start in a competitive market. The act of locking in customers’ hearts and minds guarantees a larger market share to said business. The business can expand this market during the subsequent twelve month cycle, thereby winning a dominant market position for itself.
Customer loyalty is critical in the uncertain business environments typical of modern times. This attribute can guarantee a certain revenue stream for a business that is navigating a down turn in business cycles. For instance, a herbal products and flowers business can depend on its regular and loyal customers to weather a negative market environment. We note that such times coincide with a contraction in general economic activities. Profits face erosion and revenues may slip into the ‘red’. In such a situation, a focus on customer loyalty will likely act as an insurance policy for businesses. Further, loyal customers can offer suggestions to the business owner that may help the business achieve new customers and attain greater business efficiency.
Intelligent business enterprises should work to create a sharp focus on customer loyalty with a view of boost competitive advantages. This technique is priceless in markets where multiple products compete in similar price points. For instance, a manufacturer of branded sporting footwear should work to gain the loyalty of customers through superior brand value. This strategy is driven by the fact that customers are exposed to a number of brands and new products when shopping for athletic footwear. Their loyalty to a brand should ensure predictable purchase behavior and reduce any distortions in brand preference. In light of this, we note that customer loyalty can definitely boost competitive advantage for a brand or business.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that propel businesses to cultivate brand loyalty during the year-end economic cycle. Every brand manager and business operator must realize that building and sustaining a customer’s loyalty is essentially a long-term project. It requires investments in terms of time and effort. The task is made onerous by multiple brands that operate in modern markets. A loyal customer is essentially a business asset and therefore, brands and businesses must work to multiply the numbers of such assets. Once a critical mass is achieved, a business gains the confidence and momentum to take on its biggest rivals and attain ambitious commercial targets.