Customer value management is pivotal to improving retail sales, regardless of what you sell. You're surely already taking into account what your customers value about your company. However, when you utilize customer value management to increase retail sales, you dig deeper into how your customers think about your business to appeal to customer values that may not be apparent on the surface.
For a retailer, customer value management (CVM) relies on understanding everything a customer finds important throughout the sales journey, from when they begin looking for a product, to becoming aware of your brand, and throughout the buying process.
A retailer can utilize customer value data in marketing, customer relations, and just about every other part of the sales process. Getting into a customer's head can be challenging. Most parts of the buying process are more or less invisible to the retailer without the aid of intelligent customer interactions research. That said, you’re probably already collecting data that you can use to assess customer values, and gathering more may be easier than you think.
Knowing the basics of what customers usually want from retail sales is a great way to make sure you’re meeting the baseline. Your particular retail enterprise may result in different customer value management strategies, but most effective strategies cover the following. Here are the basics of what you can assume you need to appeal to customer values:
Whether in person, online, or both, you need to create a desirable “storefront” for customers. The first goal is to ensure that your customers feel safe. In person, this may mean taking measures to remind shoppers they are in a clean, welcoming, and well-monitored environment. Online and in person, it also means offering security measures to avoid credit card theft or hackers.
Next, make it easy for customers to make purchases from you. A great way to do this is to personalize the shopping experience. Gather data on your customers for visibility into their past purchases, how much they usually spend, how frequently they shop, etc.
You can use this customer value data to streamline the shopping experience by suggesting products, offering lists of frequently purchased products, and more. Creating an experience that customers enjoy makes it much more likely that they'll continue to make purchases.
It's easy for retailers to assume that advertising is a necessary evil for customers. Retailers don't expect customers to like advertising, but they do expect it to prompt more sales. One of the most important aspects of CVM for retailers is taking a wider approach to see what customers really want, as opposed to what you assume they want.
In fact, over half of customers expect offers to be personalized. Nearly 90% of customers find the idea of personalization appealing. If you think all advertising is the same in regards to what customers value, it's time to rethink your marketing strategy. Customer interactions research has found that personalized marketing is a priority for customers, and it should be for you too.
Do your customers love saving points to make additional purchases at your store? Perhaps they respond well to a surprise coupon or savings at checkout. You may have a customer base that spends when they are presented with a blanket sale.
Every retailer invests in offering significant savings to customers to increase spending, secure loyalty, and draw in new business. However, the best way to make that investment isn’t the same for every retailer. Learning how your customer value savings will enable you to spend wisely to get the most return on your investment.
This may be the most straightforward aspect of customer value management in retail sales. Whatever you sell, you probably have competition selling something very similar. There are lots of reasons for a customer to choose your business over somebody else, but the first place to look is the products.
Understanding what customers like about your products enables you to supply more of what will sell best. Learning what customers like about your competition can open up new avenues for you to sell something different.
Understanding the importance of CVM for retailers isn't difficult. Learning what your actual customers want and implementing it can be more challenging. Here are a few ideas for learning what customers value:
You probably already have a lot of important data about your customers to help you learn what's important to them. Here's some information you may have and what it may be able to tell you about your customers:
If you know where your customers are located, you can learn a lot about why they may choose your business and where you should branch out in the future. If lots of loyal customers are traveling a significant distance to get to you, you may consider opening up another retail branch closer to them or providing online sales options. If most of your customers are local, you may realize that additional marketing may be necessary to open another branch or go online.
Don't just consider your most significant sales, look at what pairings or groupings of products customers tend to purchase. If you notice that many of your customers buy the same items together, grouping these purchases for a discount may be a great way to increase sales and appeal to customer values at the same time.
Customer spend varies dramatically by industry. Some businesses may have customers who spend thousands of dollars in a single purchase, while others make $10 or $20 sales to each customer. Knowing how your customers spend on an average visit is a good way to determine how they see your business. Customers who spend large amounts with your business may value demonstrations of loyalty from you more than customers who just want to spend a few dollars and be on their way.
A survey is a straightforward way to learn what your customers want, but it's also an effective way. With a survey, you can simply ask your customers what they value about what you sell. Loyal customers are likely to fill out a survey just so that their voices can be heard.
Getting wider feedback from a greater number of customers to inform more accurate customer interactions research can be more challenging. Pairing the survey with an incentive like a free product or a discount is a great way to encourage more people to complete it. It's also wise to make the survey short. You're less likely to get sincere answers if you ask too many questions and the participant hurries through the answers.
Are your customers committed to the environment? Maybe you have a dog-centric customer base. Other retailers may have customers who are deeply fashion-conscious. Knowing what your customers value in general tells you a lot about what they value about your brand.
Simply talking to customers is a good way to gather customer value data. Hosting events at your store is another way to make a deeper connection with your customers. Once you know what else your customers value, you can include it in your marketing strategy.
This is by far the most anxiety-provoking way to learn what customers value, but it can be very effective and not dangerous if done correctly. A great way to experiment is with temporary promotional campaigns.
Do customers respond well to certain products being packaged together for savings? Does an advertising campaign that donates to a local community cause spark interest and spending in your customer base?
Customers don't tend to mind these kinds of experiments as long as they are marketed and structured as temporary promotions. If the promotion does well and customers seem to value the change, you'll have learned important customer value data you can use going forward.
Taking a step back from your everyday marketing and sales to rethink what your customers truly value is a powerful way to rework your entire strategy and dramatically increase sales. As an added benefit, understanding what your customers care about means you'll be better able to appeal to customer values, keep customers, and build loyalty while simultaneously attracting new traffic. Look deeply into what your customers value. You may be surprised by the insights you discover.