Are there any good tactics to encourage repeat sales from customers, other than big, formalised loyalty programs?
I believe it’s pretty simple. The best tactic of all is to make your customers’ visit enjoyable.
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Not easy, but simple: happy customers come back. Give them a reason to come back. Pretty simple.
We do have our standard loyalty programs, like our coffee card: get it stamped each time you get a coffee and the sixth one is free.
We do the same with our bread loyalty cards.
Other tactics we use, which you could adapt to your business, include offering wireless internet free to paying customers.
We also have a large playpen full of books and toys so that stressed parents can watch over children while they enjoy some rest.
And we let people have business meetings at our shops free of charge.
We make people feel welcome: kids, mums, dads, grandparents, students, co-workers, whatever. Just make them all feel welcome, and they’ll come back.
Also, we celebrate any occasion we can, be it our birthday, Ned Kelly’s birthday, Donut Week, the footy finals or any other holiday big or small.
Whatever chance we get, we celebrate. Our employees love to wear silly costumes that get a lot of attention, and sometimes we even invite our customers to dress in their pyjamas for free coffee.
Customers love a party, and we make them part of the action with special deals and other fun.
We make green bread for St. Patrick’s Day: try any little tactic like that. It shows that you’re having fun, not just running a business.
At all times, we offer bottomless cups of tea or coffee: from drip or instant coffee to black or herbal tea to hot chocolate mix.
People really love that one. It’s cheap for everyone and it’s a great way to get customers in and coming back.
We always have newspapers and magazines to read too. We keep changing our displays around and introducing new products or re-introducing old products.
We do lots of free sampling of our product. We do product demonstrations too.
We have my old friend Keith, a retired nurse, offer samples in the shop. He loves to talk to people. He tells them all about Beechworth and really greets them.
Keith also goes out within a couple hundred kilometres of Beechworth to give out coffee vouchers to all the B&Bs and motels.
Then, when the B&B and motels get a customer, they can shout them a coffee at the bakery.
You’d be surprised how many coffee vouchers we get back within a hundred kilometres or two. It makes the motel owners look good, and the customers love a free coffee.
We’re also prepared to give product away to community groups. But the best tactic is to look at the customer, greet them, talk to them, thank them and invite them back. It’s pretty simple; as I said, happy customers come back.