Many businesses focus most of their efforts on acquiring new customers, but the fact is, it’s far more sustainable to cultivate loyalty within your existing customer base.
This is called brand loyalty: people’s tendency to choose a certain brand over others because of their positive perception of the brand.
Why Is Brand Loyalty Important?
Customers who are loyal continually make repeat purchases regardless of the price of a product or service because they trust and believe in the brand. This translates to better conversions and sales.
In fact, a recent study by Data Axle found that more than 50% of customers are more than willing to pay more for a product if it’s by a brand that they trust.
Brand loyalty also benefits businesses, especially dispensaries, in many other ways:
- It’s more cost-effective: According to Invespcro, it costs 5x more to attract new customers compared to retaining existing ones. The same study also found that increasing customer retention rates by as little as 5% already increases profits by 25% to 95%. And cultivating brand loyalty plays a huge part in increasing customer retention.
- It boosts brand awareness: When a consumer is loyal to a brand, they are more encouraged to recommend your products/services to their family and friends. Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is a time-tested marketing approach that effectively boosts brand awareness.
- It cultivates positive brand reputation: As a related point, the more people who recommend and are familiar with your brand, the better your chances are in cultivating a positive reputation. Trust is an important element in building loyalty, and in the dispensary industry, this is a huge factor in the success of your business.
How to Build Valuable Brand Loyalty
1. Start with your employees
When you take good care of your employees, they feel appreciated and valued, and this causes a ripple effect. Happy employees tend to work better, which then improves their interactions with customers, ultimately enhancing the overall shopping experience.
We’ve mentioned before that brand loyalty has less to do with the price factor and more with perception. And among the underappreciated factors that contribute to a positive brand perception is having employees who also trust you. Loyalty is indeed contagious.
2. Appreciate your customers in return
Customers like to feel special, and when you reward them for their continuing support, this encourages them to stay loyal to your brand. A study by SuperOffice revealed that 68% of customers leave a brand because they believe they are not valued enough, which is why brand loyalty goes hand in hand with customer retention.
Appreciating customers includes incentivizing them through loyalty programs, actively listening to their concerns and feedback, and providing them with personalized interactions — among many other things.
3. Focus on customer experience and service
Keeping your customers happy is essential in encouraging their loyalty. Aside from incentivizing them, it’s equally important to give them excellent customer service.
According to Salesforce, 89% of customers are more likely to make a repeat purchase after a positive customer service experience. Zendesk also echoes this finding: 3 out of 5 customers claim that good customer service is key in their loyalty to a brand.
Rather than focusing on a sales-oriented approach, focus on creating a pleasant buying experience throughout all the stages: from the initial interest, to the actual purchase, down to the post-purchase phase.
The last stage is quite critical, as the same study by Salesforce showed that 78% of customers are willing to do business with a company again after a mistake if their customer service is excellent.
4. Use social media to build loyalty
Connection is important in building a relationship with your customers, and social media is one of the best platforms to achieve that. This is especially true if you’re catering to a younger audience: according to Forbes, 62% of millennial consumers report that they’re more likely to become loyal customers to a brand they’ve engaged with on social media.
More than just engagement, sharing valuable and relatable content on your social channels allow people to feel more connected with you. Your brand story gives people a more in-depth view of your company — your values, goals, your motivations, etc. — and this, in turn, makes them trust you more, ultimately encouraging them to be loyal to your brand.
5. Be consistent
Customers find comfort in familiarity. For every touchpoint you have with customers, make sure that you’re consistent — from the quality of service to your tone, personality, and values, including visuals such as logo, colors, and fonts.
Consistency not only establishes brand awareness and trust; it also helps in improving efficiency in your business, ultimately leading to better customer experience and cultivating brand loyalty.
Brand loyalty plays a huge role in the overall success of your business. And building loyalty is more than just providing affordable and valuable products and services. It also involves taking care of your employees, appreciating and recognizing your customers, providing excellent customer experience and service, engaging with your consumers on social media, and being consistent.
With a solid customer retention strategy and loyalty program, you can maximize your marketing efforts and at the same time build meaningful connections with your customers.
Ready to learn more about Alpine IQ’s loyalty features?