Customer Appreciation Ideas For The Cash-Strapped Business Owner
Whether a small business owner wants to admit it or not, customer appreciation programs are effective at enhancing customer loyalty. Many small business owners try to avoid customer appreciation programs because these programs can often cost money the business does not have. But there are plenty of ways to show customers that you appreciate them and their business without breaking the company’s bank account.
Reserved Parking Spaces
Instead of offering product discounts to loyal customers, you can offer more practical benefits. You can set aside a certain amount of premier parking spots in your lot and offer monthly passes to your best customers. You can also offer VIP customers a concierge type service that helps them to find certain items and then has one of your associates take the customer’s bags to their car.
If you are a retailer or any small business owner who sells branded products, then you should talk to your distributors and manufacturers about doing branded promotions and giving away branded promotional products. Most manufacturers have entire departments dedicated to setting these types of promotions up with their retailers and these can be great ways to get free merchandise to your best customers without you having to spend any money.
An ongoing customer loyalty program that will be appreciated by your customers without costing you very much is using percentage cards. Instead of offering loyal customers cash rewards or cash bonuses, you can give them cards that have a percentage discount off all purchases. For example, you can start your customers off with a one percent discount on all orders and then add half percentage points each month for the customers who use their cards most often. You can also cap this program at five percent to prevent your business from giving up too much money.
Sponsor Your Customers
You can start a program where you guarantee you will sponsor your best customers when they get involved in charitable events. For example, if you have a regular customer who is doing a bike ride to raise money for medical research, then that customer knows that your business will offer some sort of sponsorship. This not only helps to build customer loyalty, but it is also a great way to get more involved in your community.
Customer Appreciation Day
If you have a customer loyalty card program in place, then you can use that program to create a list of your best customers throughout the year. At the end of the year, you can choose one day (a day during the holiday shopping season might be most effective) where those customers can enjoy discounts and promotions that are not available to other customers. If you market this idea properly, it could be an ongoing thing that builds anticipation in your customers and drives more money to your business.
Customer loyalty programs and customer appreciation events are important for any small business, but they can also tend to be expensive. As a small business owner, you need to find creative ways to have customer appreciation events that excite your customers while maintaining your profit margin.