Building customer loyalty in the fashion industry is a delicate process. Customer connections are often fleeting, and competition from online D2C retailers is fierce. The value added by a brick and mortar location — the ability to assess product quality and fit — can make a big difference, but it needs to outweigh the pull of numerous email campaigns, social media ads, and next day delivery.
Clothing stores may not see their regulars more than a couple times per year, but those visits make a significant impact on a shop’s bottom line. What can a fashion retailer do to build a customer connection that resonates?
When used effectively, clothing store loyalty programs can turn a walk-in shopper into a returning regular customer. However, that shift doesn’t come easily. Setting up a customer rewards program for fashion boutiques involves special considerations:
Easy of use is key
The easier a program is to access and use, the better. Lowering the threshold to participation boosts adoption rates and improves the overall customer experience.
When someone only visits a store occasionally, joining a loyalty program can be seen as a hassle. Something as simple as using a phone number to access an account, rather than a login and password, can make a big difference. The more hurdles you put between a customer and their reward, the less likely they are to participate.
The interface you choose for your loyalty program matters more for clothing stores than most other businesses. While a successful app can drive a lot of traffic to your counter, thinking an app is the magic potion for loyalty is a common, costly miscalculation.
When presented with the option to download an app, most customers will think “do I need to download an app for a store that I only interact with once a year?” That leads to a lot of customers choosing to skip out on the loyalty program entirely. A simpler alternative, such as a Spendgo register-side kiosk, can do everything an app would do, but without the hurdles.
Customers are regularly inundated with deals and special offers from clothing stores… just think of how many emails you get daily from other retailers. In order to cut through the haze, you need to make an offer that stands out from the rest. However, offering a steep discount isn’t easy for a lot of smaller shops. Not to mention that research suggests that frequently offering deep discounts can dissuade customers from shopping your store for full price goods.
However, a $5 discount may be just enough to pique an ecommerce shopper’s interest — but it’s not likely to inspire someone to put their shoes on. An effective discount will have to demonstrate enough value to make it worth the journey.
What kind of discount works? Special offers on new products can connect with a customer’s desire for the “newest” looks, especially when framed as an early-bird special for loyalty customers. Looking to move last season’s stock faster? Offer deeper discounts exclusively through your loyalty program to reward regular customers during a sale.
The fear of missing out can be a powerful marketing tool. A loyalty program that offers early access to new products or exclusive members-only sales will catch your customer’s eye.
Your loyalty program should make your customer feel like they’re part of a special club. A special treat like Sephora’s popular birthday gift program, where loyalty program members get a sample gift bag on their birthday, can inspire program sign ups and push customers into your store.
When considering a loyalty program, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Is the program easy to use for your customer?
The success or failure of your loyalty program will largely hinge on how easy it is to use. When your customer needs to jump through hoops to see any benefit, they are less likely to participate. In some instances, they may feel turned off to your store outright. Beyond UX, the rules and regulations of your program should be easy to navigate.
Does it improve the Point of Sale experience?
Reward someone for their participation at the point of sale and they see the cause-and-effect unfold in real time. Rather than postponing gratitude, you create a connection right out of the gate. Instant rewards can include anything from a free gift to an on-the-spot discount to a coupon for a future visit.
How do aesthetics come into play?
Clothing stores are visually curated to complement the sensibilities of their target audience. When you have a stylish aesthetic throughout your store, you need a POS reward system that will fit in anywhere — not a heavily vendor-branded kiosk. That’s why Spendgo integrates with various tablets, including the iPad you already have, to complement your overall look at the register.
Finally, are you effectively using your customer data?
Loyalty programs generate a lot of high value data that can be used to tailor marketing and messaging to your audience. When you leave that data on the table, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with your audience in a more impactful way.