Retailers are continuously trying to understand what drives the customers to visit their stores and make purchases and how to accentuate their loyalty towards the brand. Building and growing a retail business is much more than just accumulating new customers – it’s retaining recurring ones too. The apparel industry stalwarts give a sneak peek of their customer retention strategies/customer loyalty programmes while elucidating the importance of customer acquisition for a particular brand.
Anupam Arya, Co-Founder, Fabriclore
We have a high rate of repeat customers and the reasons for this are good quality products and phenomenal customer service. Our customer support team is well-trained about fabrics, quality, fall, stiffness, etc., and helps customers with whatever problems they face regarding the fabric. We also deliver the orders to the customers within 4-5 working days. We have ‘wish card’ as well which gives customers store credits at a discounted price. We are very active on social media too and do not take any bad review casually.
Also, since touch and feel is the key to buying fabrics and Indian customers have been turning to unorganised offline players for their fabric needs for years now, we regularly conceptualise collection shoots and each fabric is shot from three different angles, offering customers an easy visual experience while shopping online. Unlike the traditional players and fellow online fabric category players, we offer a unique return policy as well.
Ranjan Kumar, V P – Strategy & Corporate Communication, V Mart Retail Ltd.
For customer retention, store experience plays a significant role and is one important aspect. Besides, we have loyalty programmes in place at our stores, but I would like to maintain that the definition of loyalty is rapidly changing; so we are looking more at incentivising customers in order to increase the frequency of their visits and make them spend a higher amount of their total apparel shopping at V-Mart, besides also targeting at offering higher value to our customers. Beyond offering in-store experience, product experience and having loyalty programmes, I think what is really important and what value retailers need to work upon, is on creating an emotional connect with the customers. This should be applicable even when they are not shopping with us, which means let’s say, in a case when a customer visits us 5 times in a year. While there will be store service element, after-sales product service element and loyalty programmes in place make the customer feel rewarded and valued in many ways. A customer should feel connected to the brand even when he/she is not at the store or is shopping at the store. I think this will be really important going forward.
Deepak Bansal, Director, Cantabil
New customer acquisition and then retaining those customers in the long run are very important for any brand. To acquire new customers, we do aggressive marketing campaign in the cities where we open new stores. We try to use different kinds of medium to communicate our message like prints, outdoor, cinema and digital media.
After acquiring new customers, we retain them through regular SMS campaigns. This has proved to be a very effective medium to reach the customers. Nowadays, we are also trying to engage customers through WhatsApp.
Harkirat Singh, Managing Director, Woodland
Customer acquisition is vital for businesses of any age and size. Customer is the ‘king of the market’ and without customer acquisition, companies cannot maximise profit nor compete in today’s competitive market. Customer acquisition makes up a healthy business and allows one’s business to make money to meet costs, pay employees, reinvest in growth and show evidence of traction for outside parties such as investors, partners and influencers.
Customer retention strategies of Woodland are:
- To provide the best of products to the customers with no compromise in quality
- Reaching to every individual about the products in the forms of advertising and marketing to attract people to a product or service with the hope that they will eventually become brand loyalists.
Nakul Mehta, Founder & CEO, Darveys
Darveys ensures to offer the latest collection to its paid members. It has tie-ups with stores which keep the marketplace updated and around 400 items get uploaded on the website on a daily basis. While Darveys has a phenomenal rate of conversion on its website, we understand how difficult it is to retain customers on an online website. We therefore have our loyalty programme in place which includes the likes of platinum membership, etc. We are also coming up with a different plan which went live at the end of August. We will give a percentage back to our customers for their next purchase and a stipulated time to spend it in. It’s a vicious cycle to get you to keep buying. We do a lot of things in terms of loyalty programmes. We also send a cake and a bouquet of flowers from our side to our high spenders on their birthday, or on festivals like Eid or Diwali.