Customer acquisition is important, but too many small businesses underestimate the power of customer retention.
Increasing your retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%. This is partially because it’s far easier to sell to a returning customer, and returning customers spend more than new ones.
As a bakery owner, you likely have some experience with this — someone who already trusts your business and enjoys your products is more likely to put in a high-value catering order or spring for that extra pastry.
So how do you keep customers coming back for more? In this blog post, we’ll explore 3 key ways for bakeries to improve their customer retention.
1. Build relationships
Stay in touch with your customers to keep your store on their radar. Whether it’s through email newsletters, social media presence, attending community events, or (ideally) some combination of all three, you want your customers to feel a personal connection with your bakery.
You can build relationships by giving out free samples at the local farmer’s market, partnering with other small businesses, and learning the names and regular orders of your most frequent customers.
2. Offer unique options
One of the best ways to retain customers: Offer products that they can’t get anywhere else.
Seasonal offerings, customizations, and newly introduced items will generate buzz and keep existing customers interested. Take advantage of industry trends like micro desserts and vegetable breads; trendy items might bring in customers who haven’t stopped by in a while.
Additionally, baked goods for special diets (e.g. organic, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan) aren’t found in every bakery, so if there is a demand for these options in your area, you can gain loyal customers by cornering the market.
3. Implement a loyalty program
In a perfect world, every person who had a positive first experience in your store would become a lifetime customer. Unfortunately, there’s never a guarantee that someone will come back, no matter how great their experience was. That’s where loyalty programs come in.
Of consumers who belong to loyalty programs, 77% say that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with brands. Offering incentives to returning customers might be the push they need to walk through your door again.
Here are just a few examples of rewards you could offer to returning customers:
- Discounts on particular items based on the day of the week (e.g. Macaron Mondays)
- “Baker’s dozen” (free item on their 13th visit)
- Free or discounted customizations on pre-ordered items
- Targeted discounts based on previous purchasing habits
In order to understand and improve the effectiveness of your loyalty program, you’ll need to track KPIs. Customer loyalty platforms like Spendgo allow you to measure success across a variety of metrics, so you can learn what works well and develop a loyalty program that maximizes ROI.
Customer retention tactics are the first step toward marketing for repeat business. By building relationships, standing out from the crowd, and rewarding repeat customers with a loyalty program, you can increase profits and take your bakery to the next level.