From chain retail stores spread all over the country to online retail businesses that cater to every niche, today's consumers have a sea of possibilities from which to choose.  So, how can businesses stand out from their competitors when it seems like every market is saturated?  Well, the answer lies is an old marketing trick: brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty requires businesses to invest in long-term relationships with their clients.  Instead of wasting thousands of dollars attracting fickle, chance buyers, companies can cash big returns by turning one-time visitors into return customers.

Building brand loyalty is a long process and won't yield results overnight.  And while the road to success is long, the four strategies listed below will guarantee your customers keep coming back for more.

1. Make every interaction an experience worthy of remembering.

Today's customers want the full package with every purchase they make.  That's why marketers have moved from focusing only on products and services to selling an experience.

Seamless shopping, personalized service, and customer service with a human touch can add up to make a memorable experience out of what would otherwise be a forgettable commercial transaction.  In other words, customers want to feel like VIPs when visiting your online or brick-and-mortar store.

Does that mean you should throw caution to the wind and cater to every customer's whim?  Not at all.  However, by listening to customer feedback you can get rid of the source of many complaints - such as long wait times and rude employees - and effectively make your customers your brand's best ambassadors.

2. Leave no sense unengaged.

Equipped with five senses, humans rely on their sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to explore the world, find food, communicate with others, and yes even shop!

Marketers today understand that people are more likely to remember and get excited over advertising that targets all of their senses, instead of one or two.  That's why supermarkets play soothing music while their customers shop and why food brands put so much thought into their logo's design.

Of course, not every product or industry will use every sense equally.  Online businesses, for example, rely almost exclusively on sight and hearing.  However, you can still create a strong emotional attachment towards your brand if you use as many senses as possible to express your brand's value and showcase what makes it different from the rest.

3. Transform your employees into brand ambassadors.

Your employees are more than bodies filling a room; they are, in fact, the very soul of your company.  Brands striving to achieve customer loyalty must first work on getting their employees aboard.

All the marketing gimmicks in the world aren't good enough to compensate for unmotivated employees and the terrible customer service they provide.  On the other hand, as one whitepaper entitled Employee Engagement and Commitment by Robert J. Vance shows, increasing an employee's engagement means will also increase the chance that he or she will go the extra mile to deliver excellent customer service.  And after all, isn't giving a customer all of your time and attention what excellent customer service is all about?  Just remember to reward outstanding employee contributions and you'll have an entire workforce building your brand around-the-clock.

4. Convert customer interactions into relationships.

Building brand loyalty is all about investing in long-term relationships.  However, engaging return customers is tricky.  Many brands make the mistake of following up on a purchase with messages about offers and special prices that aren't relevant to their customers.  If you want to succeed in building brand loyalty then forget about one-size-fits-all answers.

Developing solid relationships is all about personalizing your engagement and adding value to your interactions.  So, make sure you stay active on social media, follow-up on purchases with relevant offers, and above all put your customers' needs over your own and you'll have a loyal clientele for many years to come.

 

While these strategies are just the tip of the iceberg, they are a perfect starting point to strengthen your company's image and build brand loyalty.  So, whether you own a physical or online store, make sure you use these tips to build a brand worthy of remembering.