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Retail has been changing for some time due to the growth of online (and mobile) shopping. It’s easier than ever – a few taps or clicks – for customers to discover your competitors and make a snap judgment. The customer journey can involve any combination of retail and online, or can involve one or the other exclusively. It’s thus vital to make sure you build customer loyalty through both, seamlessly.

How Has The Growth Of Digital Affected Loyalty?

How do you build customer loyalty in a radically altered and continually changing business landscape? For many consumers, shopping has become over-complicated. Businesses use all kinds of gimmicks, from VR (virtual reality) app design to smart integrations between ecommerce and physical retail space. These aren’t enough, though, if you don’t have a strong, compelling brand voice.

Brand loyalty is what forms a lasting connection between your business and repeat customers. Once there is trust in the customer – in what your business stands for and in the quality of your services or products – the foundation for customer loyalty is secure.

How do you build brand loyalty, though? Here are four steps:

1. Identify Your Brand’s Core Values

Your brand’s core values signal what your brand is all about. For example, an organic smoothie chain might place environmental awareness, fair trade, and high standards of freshness and quality of ingredients as its core values. The core values of your brand underlie everything, from the way you design customer experience to employee training. All marketing should naturally incorporate your brand’s core values, communicating them either explicitly or implicitly.

2. Show How Your Brand Differs From Others

Besides clearly communicating your brand’s core values, it’s important to think about your unique brand proposition. You need to think not only about why the customer would choose your business but also why they would choose it over another.

Many businesses have tried to use customer rewards schemes to create their own branded ‘giving back’ system. Rewards points give the customer a generic rather than personalised experience, however. Rewards points are intangible and take time to add up to produce any apparent benefit. Instead of focusing on rewards schemes, make each customer interaction with your brand as rewarding (in itself) as possible:

3. Make The Customer’s Experience Personal

There are many ways to implement personalisation. Personalisation can be offered both in retail experience (Starbucks does this simply by writing customers’ names on their cups) and digitally, by segmenting mailing lists and sending special offers tailored to customers’ interests and/or purchase histories.

Even small tokens of personalisation such as those described above can be effective for giving customers experiences that feel like unique, attentive interactions with representatives of your brand.

4. Create Long-Term Connections Primed For Loyalty

All relationships take time to grow, but provided your business has a firm idea of its core brand values, and you differentiate your brand from competitors sufficiently and offer personalised, memorable customer experience, you will start building customer relationships that last.

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