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How to Build Brand Loyalty in Retail in 2023

Learn what brand loyalty in retail means for your business and 4 practical ways to boost it

An interior view of a boutique with colorful clothes and an inviting chair in the center of the room.Retaining existing customers is an invaluable way to drive future value for your retail brand, and it’s often much cheaper than trying to attract new shoppers. However, getting previous visitors to pass through your front doors once more isn’t just a matter of getting your ads and prices right.

Cultivating brand loyalty in retail is a unique challenge in and of itself, but the rewards speak for themselves. As Bond shares in its 2022 Loyalty Report, consumers are 78% more likely to do business with brands that use dedicated loyalty programs, and 65% of consumers modify how much they spend to maximize the loyalty benefits they receive. So how do retail brands gain customer loyalty, and what does it really mean for businesses? Here’s what you need to know.

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What is brand loyalty in retail?

How do retail brands gain customer loyalty? Here are 4 tips

Offer captivating benefits

Integrate loyalty with the rest of your business

Practice reciprocity

Try charging for membership

What is brand loyalty in retail?

Brand loyalty in retail is a customer’s inclination to patronize your retail brand over others. Many factors may indirectly influence any given customer’s brand loyalty: A memorably positive interaction with staff may make them want to return to that store, while a negative one may make them want to avoid all of its locations from then on; a reputation for consistently delivering the lowest prices will make customers want to shop for deals at your store first; and so on.

However, the most potent tool brands have to court brand loyalty in retail is a dedicated loyalty program. These often take the form of accounts that track customers’ spending, offering points that can be redeemed for discounts or free rewards. These aren’t the only tried and tested methods for making customers more loyal to your brand, however.

If customers have memorable experiences with your brand that make each shopping trip better, they’ll be more inclined to revisit you in the future. Thanks to modern technology that capitalizes on the practical value of AR and the metaverse, you can give your customers the kind of experience that they’ll be eager to share with friends and enjoy again themselves. Our guide to the new digital infrastructure for malls and retail properties reveals even more of the ways you can transform your business without the need for costly physical overhauls.

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How do retail brands gain customer loyalty? Here are 4 tips

Even more important than boosting your immediate revenue is knowing that you’ll have revenue to rely on in the future. That’s what building brand loyalty gets you, and these four practical tips will help your brand foster loyal relationships with customers.

Offer captivating benefits

Perhaps it sounds obvious, but if you give customers truly engaging rewards that they can’t get elsewhere, then they will be more inclined to engage with your loyalty program. While there will always be room for discounts and free shipping, pushing the envelope with your loyalty rewards will be more likely to make customers spread the word and remember your brand. For instance, athletic-focused brands could offer special in-person classes, while high-end apparel retailers can give members exclusive early access to certain new product drops.

Integrate loyalty with the rest of your business

Keeping a loyalty program isolated to its own little corner of your business is an easy trap to fall into: You handle customer relationship management over here and customer loyalty over there. Customers don’t see the way you interact with them in departmental terms — but they will remember if you clearly take an interest in them across all areas of your business. Consider personalizing email campaigns using the data you’ve already collected with your loyalty program, or using their purchase history to inform instant AR navigation based on what they may like to buy next.

Practice reciprocity

Whether between close friends, trusted allies, or retail stores and their customers, loyalty is a two-way street. And, returning briefly to the 2022 Loyalty Report, only 35% of customers in brand loyalty programs feel that the brand is loyal to them in return. Reciprocal loyalty isn’t just a nice feeling, either: Brands showing reciprocity to their customers saw a $26 monthly lift in spending among program members and a $50 monthly lift among holders of branded credit cards. So how do you show your brand cares? Think about how you can reflect a customer’s loyalty status in different parts of your business, starting with the way they’re greeted at the doors all the way to the farewell they receive at the cash register. A few small changes to standard operating procedures could make a big difference.

Try charging for membership

It likely sounds counterintuitive if you want as many customers to join your loyalty program as possible, but the inherent benefit of charging for membership (or for a higher-tiered membership) is apparent: Long past the initial payment, customers will feel driven to shop at your location rather than anyone else’s simply to make the most of the money they already spent. This is a more aggressive way to encourage brand loyalty than by offering free rewards on top of your standard offering, and it has to be done right; you should consider offering substantial discounts that make it easy for customers to feel their paid membership was justified. Somewhat thinner margins may be well worth it if they mean you’re the only place where that customer wants to shop for the rest of the year.

There are even more ways to keep customers delighted by your retail offerings, spending more, and telling their friends. For instance, our approach to digital infrastructure capitalizes on the technology your customers already carry with them everywhere to make your store a shopping experience like no other.

Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Resonai today and set up a free demonstration.

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