InsideOutdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | SUMMER 2018 28 Buyer’s Side T ired of hammer- ing your custom- ers with the same old markdown message? Are too many good customers “opting out” of your email blasts? If so, here’s a couple of fresh marketing strategies with proven success. The first is a customer apprecia- tion letter that is sure to garner more than a 50 percent return, if past his- tory is any indication. For this to be effective, you must have a custom- er’s name, email or mailing address (preferably both) and the ability to know how much they have spent with you in the past 12 months. Run the list in descending order starting with the customers who have spent the most with you down to those who may have only made one or two pur- chases in the past year. There will most likely be a handful of names at the very top, which you will probably recognize most of. These are your very best customers. The customers who love your store unconditionally, shop frequently and spend a ton. Depending on the size of your oper- ation, this might be five to 10 names, perhaps more, maybe less. Let’s call these the “platinum” cus- tomers just so we can keep the desig- nations simple. The second step is to establish an arbitrary qualifier for plat- inum status. In this case, let’s specify customers who have spent more than $10,000 with you as “platinum.” The next level will be identified as your “gold” customers. These folks are also very good customers and might have dropped between $5,000 to $10,000 with you. A “silver” shopper spends $2,000 to $5,000 and will make up a much larger group than platinum or gold. Your “bronze” patrons comprise the last group. These are folks who spent less than $2,000 and will rep- resent the largest number of shop- pers. The sales volume qualifiers are arbitrary. Yours might be more or less depending on how your cus- tomer list shakes out. Now that you have your shopper list in hand, write a letter which will be mailed or emailed over the own- er’s signature. This letter is going to express your gratitude for supporting the store, shopping local, achieving “gold” status, etc. Along with the let- ter will be a gift card or store credit in the following denominations: Plati- num=$100, Gold=$75, Silver=$50 and Bronze=$20. You must put a tight “use by” window on the letter to encourage quick response, prefer- ably no more that 30 to 45 days. Ob- viously, you will “make an exception” for anyone who wants to use their gift past the expiration date because they are special customers, right? And please, no other rules, e.g. can only be used on full price merchan- dise, can’t be used on this or that. Remember, this is supposed to be a customer appreciation letter. Keep track of how much is spent on each card. My experience do- ing this for many years is that the response is quick, the return rate is surprisingly good, the amount spent is way more than the value of the card, while the goodwill generated is incredible. Part two This is a follow-up letter for cus- tomers on your list that have not shopped with you for more than a year. Your goal is to find out why they are not shopping with you now. by Ritchie sayner Can’t Miss Customer Engagement