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Repeat Business: 5 Ways to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

By Larry Alton, writer
Jul 06, 2017
Image Credit: Image from imtmphoto/Shutterstock
> Marketing

Follow these tips to make your customers want to return to your store.

It's incredibly difficult to earn a sale from a customer. Depending on the industry you're in and the price point of your products, it could take weeks or months to encourage a customer to do business with your brand. But even if you're in a retail industry where impulse buys are the norm, the first purchase is always the hardest to get. By retargeting and encouraging repeat business, you can grow your bottom line without significantly increasing marketing and advertising expenses.

5 simple strategies

There are hundreds of ways to generate repeat business, but if you're looking for quick, simple and effective, the following five strategies will serve you well.

1. Start a loyalty program

One of the classic ways to encourage repeat business is to start a loyalty program. You can get as complex as you want, but simple is usually the most effective. All you need to do is gather a customer's information, give them a special account number or card, and then start rewarding them when they make a second purchase or reach a certain dollar limit. Not only do loyalty programs encourage repeat purchase behavior, but they also tend to increase the average transaction size.

2. Offer personalized customer service

These days, people are accustomed to being treated as nothing more than customers. You walk into your local big-box retail store and nobody knows that you've been there 100 times before. You're just another dollar sign.

Don't treat your customers like this if you want their repeat business. The level of customer service you provide during a customer's visit to your store will dictate their view of you. Personalized service with lots of attention goes a long way toward building positive rapport (and repeat business).

3. Give out future-use coupons

A lot of customers come to a particular store looking for one item. If they find that item, they purchase it and then don't have much of a reason to return. You can capture these people and encourage repeat business by offering them future-use coupons.

For example, for every $50 purchase in your store, you could offer a coupon for 10 percent off that can be applied to a future purchase. This gives them a reason to return when they otherwise might not have had one.

4. Get their contact info

It should be your goal to get some contact information from every customer who walks through your doors. With contact information – such as name, phone number, email address and mailing address – you can reach out to customers in the future and make them aware of sales and deals. This allows you to engage them on your terms, not just when they decide to shop with you.

5. Offer some freebies

The key to driving repeat business is to stay on the top of your customers' minds. Once they leave your store, you have to make them remember you. This is why companies invest so much in free promotional materials.

"Those gimmicky pens and calendars really do work," says Linda Hamburger, a marketing consultant for On Call PR. "Lay in a supply of gifts that you can hand out to special folks as a way of showing that you value their patronage. Even an affordable pen with your logo on it can feel like a gift if it's given judiciously to a select few buyers."

Keep them coming back for more

According to the book "Leading on the Edge of Chaos," a 2 percent increase in customer retention has the exact same effect on a company's profits as cutting costs by 10 percent. Think about that for a minute. By retaining just 2 percent more of your customer base, you'd essentially be doing the same thing as cutting costs by 10 percent. That's huge.

Additionally, the more times a customer comes back and has a positive experience purchasing a product from you, the more likely it is that they'll return in the future and tell their friends.

To earn repeat business, you need to make sure you're doing the right things. The techniques in this article are a great place to start.


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Larry Alton
Larry Alton
See Larry Alton's Profile
Larry Alton is a professional blogger, writer and researcher who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Des Moines University, he still lives in Iowa as a full-time freelance writer and avid news hound. Currently, Larry writes for,,, and among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, he’s also active in his community and spends weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization and rock climbing. He pursued his undergraduate degree in English Literature and transitioned to freelance writing full-time upon graduation. The years he spent studying and working the corporate daily grind prepared him well for his work with,, and A featured writer with, and, he’s positioned himself at the top of the tech writing field and is known for “translating” industry jargon into easily digestible, readable content. Particularly interesting fields for Larry include digital media, thought leadership, any and all things Android and iOS, entrepreneurship and social media. Connect with Larry on Google+ or in the comments section on any of the sites where he’s featured.
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