Before we go into detail on what changes you can make to offer your customers a VIP service, it is important that you first understand what makes a customer a ‘VIP’.
You don’t have to have a million Instagram followers or be famous to be a VIP. VIP’s earn their title from their personal relationship with your brand and the amount of time and money they invest in your business.
Anyone has the power to become a VIP. Your job is to make them want to become one.
So how can you do it?
The first step is creating a strategy that makes loyal customers feel valued. From beautifully wrapping gifts before posting them, to alerting them to upcoming online sales; you can offer customers these subtle added perks – so they know that you appreciate them – all without your regular customers feeling ignored.
How can you create a VIP service in retail for all of your customers?
FACT: 47% of millennials expect retailers to know exactly who they are when they walk through the door by using location-based technology.
- Location tracking comes with many advantages (aside from pleasing millennials). They can also help you to: 1) provide a faster and more convenient shopping experience, and 2) eliminate check-ins as their phones can be used to track their arrival and give them their click and collect points. This will immediately help them stay focused on their shopping.
- Whenever possible provide personalisation on products. You could embroider and label clothes with their name/business, engrave make-up, or even add a personal touch to household gifts e.g. writing the name of the birthday boy/girl on the gift.
- Provide in-store experiences – depending on the time of year, you can offer themed experiences e.g. a Santa’s grotto, or supply year-round experiences where they can pay for a professional makeover/make-up artist experience. Alternatively, you can:
- Take your in-store demos and provide tasting stations where customers can sample food/wine; or
- Use VR and videos to grab the attention of customers and immerse them in your brand/service offerings.
- Have shopping assistants readily available around your store who can either help customers to locate products or act as personal shopping advisors. The latter is growing quite popular amongst busy customers that hate online shopping as it allows customers to book a dedicated assistant who can help them to choose designs; provide advice; locate the correct size, and then transport it all to the till.
- Using knowledge of previous products they’ve bought or shown an interest in; you can follow up these purchases with personalised marketing which shows them promotions that might spark their interest.
- Utilise your staff in the right way – alongside making sure that all of your staff are friendly and capable of creating the right atmosphere; you should also empower them so that they can make decisions independent of a manager. This will enable them to be more flexible with the rules and fix problems faster, as well as give them the freedom to make deals/recommendations that will make the customer feel valued.
How can you create a VIP service in retail for loyal customers?
Now it would be easy to provide all of the above options to just your loyal customers; however, this can be dangerous as it may make your other customers feel excluded/undervalued – causing damage to their affinity with your brand, and to the growth of your business.
For this reason, we suggest that you adopt additional strategies, as these will not only add value to their experience, but will ensure that they feel special in their own right:
- Discounts – you’d be forgiven for thinking that discounts are a great way to entice repeat purchases and in most cases it is. However, VIP customers won’t be incentivised by the sight of discounts appearing in their inbox, as they’re used to paying full price.
For instance, if they’ve never had an issue paying full price in the past, then money probably isn’t a deciding factor when they shop. This means, should you offer them a discount, what you are actually doing is cutting into your profit margins and losing money on a sale that they would happily pay full price for. You could also be de-valuing the product or service in the eyes of your customer.
So what should you do instead?
Remember – the purpose of offering a VIP service is to add value to your best customers. As such, instead of giving them the occasional discount, you should offer them things that will make them feel special e.g. you could utilise email marketing to offer them free shipping, or you could send them a free gift with their next purchase.
- Email marketing – emails are great for giving customers the ‘special treatment’. The trick is – alongside using your emails to offer them free gifts, you should also alert them to upcoming events/sales.
- Loyalty points system – offer customers the chance to earn double points for any purchases made at certain times. Not only does this help them to collect points faster (for future purchases); it will sway their decision and make them more inclined to buy as they won’t want to miss out.
- Give them early access to online sales; new collections/products and seasonal delivery slots – the idea that they’ll get first dibs will make them feel special and proud to be a VIP.
- Exclusive events – invite them to exclusive in-store/online events. This can include book signings, product launches, free sessions with a designer/personal stylist or Q&As with guest authors, creators and designers.
- Personalised gifts – to show your continued appreciation, make a point to send them personalised gifts (based on data you’ve gathered of their interests) on their birthdays or on brand occasions. This will help to remind them that you appreciate their custom.
- Likewise, you can pop handwritten thank you notes into their orders or send them bespoke birthday/Christmas cards signed by the team. In other words, anything that shows that you know who they are.
See what we mean? Go the extra mile and you can earn their loyalty. To learn more about how you can design your stores to strengthen your VIP service, contact us at Resolution Interiors today.