The top five ways to build retail customer loyalty with Salesforce
POSTED : July 28, 2021
BY : Stephanie Gaughen

Building retail customer loyalty is no small feat. Beyond delivering high-quality and effective products, retailers must contend with customers who expect an engaging, personalized, and frictionless experience. More than ever, retailers are at risk of brand switching. Retailers must act quickly to implement programs, processes, and technologies that meet and exceed customer expectations to prevent losing their most valued customers.

Giving customers a delightful experience from their first interaction to their last is what builds customer loyalty and revenue growth. Loyalty doesn’t just benefit customers though, it also makes good business sense. According to Retail Touchpoints, it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep one. And existing customers spend an average of 67% more than new customers. The path to relevance for retailers starts with customer loyalty.  

Experience platforms like Salesforce are essential to fostering retail customer loyalty. They aid in personalization, customer profile building, and omnichannel experiences. To achieve a deeper brand relationship with your best customers, here are the top 5 ways you can use Salesforce to build retail customer loyalty

Analyze and measure the customer experience

It may sound simple but building a high-performing retail loyalty program relies heavily on a keen understanding of the customer journey, and this can often be overlooked. This might be especially true in smaller, mid-market and emerging enterprise-level retailers, and those retailers with a long-standing brick-and-mortar presence. These retailers tend to have competing resources that support customers in traditional and digital storefronts.

How do you go about analyzing the customer experience? It comes down to both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Implementing simple surveys, interviewing customers, and playing “secret shopper” as you walk through the customer journey as a real buyer can go a long way. But make sure you are tackling this with a data-driven and measurable approach. Gathering data that can be aggregated and measured for the long haul will be important in driving long-term success and actionable metrics you can use to build customer loyalty. You’ll need to think about the systems and data architecture to support this.

Ensuring your Salesforce CRM  and surveys are integrated, for example, will be vital to establishing data integrity. So too will a connected data analytics platform that provides clear visuals and consistent reporting on your most important KPIs.

Streamline customer experience

It’s no surprise that customers today, especially younger generations, are eager to engage with companies that make the purchase process easy. Whether it’s researching products, seeing reviews, understanding options, submitting orders, reordering, processing returns, and seeing accurate shipping information, customers want a seamless experience. Of course, that all leads to building loyalty.

This step, too, requires fully integrated business systems, from the CRM, to customer support, to POS, online account management, and more. The only way to provide a seamless experience is to ensure the smooth flow of data across the business. The Salesforce Customer 360 platform is becoming an increasingly popular choice among retailers, with an array of integration-ready and easy-to-customize technology products that store customer data, automate processes and facilitate a loyalty-driven experience.

Implement mobile-first, rapid speed-to-market digital storefronts

According to Tableau’s Shopping Index report, which has measured 1 billion ecommerce shoppers between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, the share of ecommerce traffic on mobile devices rose to 69% in Q1 2021 vs 64% in Q1 2019. And order traffic rose from 47% to 51% in the same time period. We should only expect those numbers to grow over the next two years as mobile continues to grow its global footprint.

Mobile should no longer be considered an afterthought in designing your ecommerce platform. Again, customers want an easy and seamless process, so designing an experience on the device they’re most likely using to browse and add items to their carts, seems like a no-brainer.

Designing a mobile-first digital storefront doesn’t have to be a long, arduous process. Products that offer high-power declarative functionality that still offer rich customization options require less custom coding and less time to market. That’s why more retailers and other B2B and B2C industries are moving to Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which offers tools such as an enterprise-quality drag-and-drop page builder, AI-powered product recommendations, and pre-built integrations to payment gateways and loyalty programs.

Implement a 360-degree-view of your customer

Every team and agent in your retail business that interfaces with customers should have access to a complete customer profile. Data on past purchases, outstanding orders, shipments, customer support issues, buying behaviors, and other attributes should be right at your agent’s fingertips so they can support customer interactions on any channel.

How do you implement 360-degree customer visibility?

It all comes down to digital transformation of core business systems and processes that facilitate customer interactions and store customer data. Your customer support, CRM, and marketing systems should be digital-first and fully integrated. So too should your teams using these systems and processes in which data flows between departments.

Service Cloud 360 was named a Leader in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant in June 2021. According to Gartner, “Over two-thirds (68%) of the prospective CEC customers with whom Gartner has had contact have shortlisted Salesforce Service Cloud as their first-, second- or third-choice product (its nearest competitor was shortlisted by 42%).” Gartner reviewed the scalability of cloud-based systems, unification of digital and voice touchpoints and customer success functionality, among other factors in its evaluation.

Implement a loyalty program

Loyalty programs have become a popular mechanism for top-performing retailers to offer incentives for customers to make return visits. They’re also a great way to build data profiles on your customers you can use for rich marketing insights and hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.

Loyalty programs can take on many different flavors but generally use a points-based system to offer incentives such as discounts, extended return periods, early product access, member-only services, and more. You can also use tiering systems to grant additional incentives to your most loyal customers.

But simply having a loyalty program doesn’t guarantee its success. Retail Touchpoints reports that 77% of rewards-based loyalty programs fail within the first two years, and 89% have negative social media sentiment.

The trick is ensuring you build a loyalty program that prioritizes the customer and their experience while personalizing content and incentives. That means building systems that enable your marketing teams to see an accurate profile of their customers, and their journeys, so they can tailor program benefits and content to each individual customer.

Marketing Cloud and Salesforce Loyalty Management products are two integrated technologies emerging as leaders in the loyalty space. With point-and-click features, and the ease of integration between member data and marketing platforms such as Journey Builder, Ad Studio, and Social studio, these tools have made it easier and faster to build personalized, engaging experiences across multiple platforms.

While Salesforce gives you the tools to build customer loyalty, your brand will struggle to achieve the outcomes of an effective loyalty program without a clear strategy. From subscription models to experiential rewards and brand identity, loyalty is much bigger than customer data. As retailers look to reimagine their brand presence post-pandemic, having the right strategy in place will be crucial to their success. Find out where our Forrester-leading loyalty team sees retail customer loyalty heading.


About the author
Stephanie GaughenStephanie Gaughen is a Senior Salesforce Consultant at PK. She holds a master’s degree in media and communications. She has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology innovation and next-generation marketing.

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