12 Tips for Building and Maintaining Customer Loyalty in a New Era of Low-No Touch

Customer Loyalty Accelerator (CLA) is here to help our Shopify and Clover merchant clients during this challenging period.  You can learn more how the CLA app can help promote customer loyalty and speed your business recovery on the Sh.opify and Clover App Stores

Contactless curbside pickup. Remote online shopping and phone orders. Free home deliveries. Stores and restaurants restricted to a maximum of 50% capacity, and employee interactions with customers limited by social distance, plexiglass shields and face masks.  “Dark” stores, where only pick up and fulfillment occur.  Welcome to the Coming Out Phase of Covid-19.

The idea of building up, or even just maintaining, customer relationships and loyalty under such circumstances seems almost out of the realm of possibility for most merchants. But in fact the reverse is true – now more than ever is the critical time to connect with your customers in new and inventive ways.

Customer Loyalty Accelerator (CLA) has compiled this list of 12 Creative Customer Engagement Strategies you can consider to stay active and in touch with your customers and community.

As you start thinking about how you can best use ideas, remember that while your business stability may be front of mind for you, many people are facing physical, emotional, and financial strain at this time. Communicate with care, consider how you can help your audience feel valued, and be intentional in your approach.

Customer Engagement Strategies

  1. Set-up a hotline
    Show your customers that you’re still here for them, and provide the safe, contactless venues for you to interact with them. For instance, schedule a block of time where customers can chat or DM you questions about products and services, hours of operation, and steps you may be taking to maintain a safe shopping environment in your physical store.
  2. Reward customers for donating
    Select a charity helping those affected by the virus, then add an option to donate as a product in your catalog. When customers “purchase” the donation, you can reward them with exclusive loyalty program perks. On the backend, you can treat each donation like a gift card — someone purchases a dollar amount on the site and, instead of creating a credit, you’ll donate those funds to the organization. If your eCommerce platform doesn’t enable this, ask customers to send photos of donation receipts and manually update their loyalty profiles, or give them a discount code.
    NOTE: CLA will be announcing a COVID Responders Donation Program in the name of our merchant-clients in the next few days. Check back with us soon for more details.
  3. Video posts
    Give your customers some face-time. Show them around the store, do live videos of your products, and answer questions in real time. This can help create an in-store feeling and build trust and assurance during what may feel like an isolated time. This is also another opportunity to build customer confidence by demonstrating how your store is maintaining a safe environment.
  4. Go virtual
    Have an upcoming event that had to be postponed or canceled? Try a virtual webinar or panel. Recreate the networking component by creating a Slack channel or Facebook group for participants or encouraging questions live via social.
  5. Spotlight your reviews
    Build trust and transparency by refocusing on reviews for those traditional brick & mortar customers that are now shopping online.
  6. Go live on Instagram 
    Go live on Instagram to answer any questions and help customers who may be concerned about the impact of the Coronavirus. Gardening stores can offer online courses on small space gardening. Restaurants can do online cooking courses or cocktail-making tutorials. Salons could do in-home facial care.
  7. Try free shipping and returns 
    If you’re able, consider trying out free shipping and returns, enabling customers to get a feel for your products from the comfort of their home.
  8. Over-communicate!
    Your customers are your community. Ask them how you can support them during this time, and let them know how they can support your brand as well. Meet them where they are with updates to your homepage, getting active on your social media, and solutions like SMSBump or Klaviyo.
  9. Offer gift cards
    If you had to close down shop or have customers that shop on an as-needed basis, offer online gift cards for customers to buy now and use later.
  10. Ask for help if you need it
    Do you have retail locations you’ve had to close indefinitely? Are you struggling to support an in-store staff who is now out of work? Consider asking your customers to chip in by creating a “Go Fund Me” style fund for out-of-work employees — giving consumers an opportunity to come together, get involved, and support your business.
  11. Try a percentage giveback with purchase
    If you’re financially able, consider giving a percentage of each purchase to an organization working to combat COVID-19. This allows consumers to support the brands they love while also supporting those working to alleviate the impact of the Coronavirus. 
  12. Meet customers for 1:1 appointments
    If you’re able, offer in-store appointments to give customers the full experience while still respecting guidelines of the CDC and other state and local health departments.

Customer Loyalty Accelerator is available to both Shopify and Clover merchants via their App Stores.  

We offer a Three (3) Month FREE Trial so you can see the dramatic results for yourself. Learn more at these app stores:

Roadmap to Retail Survival 5-Part Series

Part 1:  The New Face of Face-to-Face Retail: To Survive, Retailers Must Adopt a Different Marketing Approach

 Part 2:  Maintaining Vital Customer Relationships During the Shutdown Period

Part 3:  How to Keep Yourself, Loved Ones and Employees Healthy and Safe During the CV-19 Shutdown

Part 4: 12 Ideas for Retail Demand Generation in the “New Normal” and Other Ways to Adapt

Part 5:  Building and Maintaining Customer Loyalty in a New Era of Low / No Touch