43 Customer Appreciation Tactics that Can Improve Brand Loyalty
Want to show buyers you value them and encourage brand loyalty? Use our guide to determine the best customer appreciation method(s) for your business.
Customer appreciation is an all-too-often overlooked component of growing and managing a retail or eCommerce business. Sure, product quality, price and customer service are undoubtedly crucial to sales and success. However, adequately expressing customer appreciation is one of the most effective ways to encourage repeat purchases and brand loyalty.
That’s because the desire to be valued is human nature. We are all more likely to revisit a store that seemed to appreciate our business. Especially when that appreciation comes in the form of certain advantages, discounts or other perks.
But what should you do to show your customers you value them? The answer to that question can depend largely on what types of products you sell and the clientele you serve. Thankfully, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 43 techniques that run the gambit from special discounts to community events. Keep reading to pick and choose the best customer appreciation methods for your business.
Offering member discounts is a customer appreciation technique that can be used successfully by virtually any type of sales company. This approach not only shows customers you value their business, it also encourages shoppers to become more engaged with your brand.
You will often see member discounts offered by online clothing stores and similar establishments (such as Hollister’s Club Cali). The way it works is simple. Customers can sign up for a free account with your shop using their email address and a password. They then receive lower prices on items when signed in to their account while shopping.
Shoppers becoming members or registered users of your store can benefit your company in a multitude of ways. First of all, having them on your email list gives you the opportunity to notify them of upcoming sales, events and promotions. And for the buyer, being able to register once with their shipping address, payment info and other details makes completing future purchases quicker and easier. Establishing this relationship also increases the chances that they will keep coming back to your store.
Similar to member discounts, individualized discounts give shoppers lower prices for having a relationship with your brand. But this customer appreciation technique takes the personalization a bit further.
Rather than just offering a sales price to members, you can offer a “just for you” discount directly to specific users. A great way to do this is by sending a follow-up email after a customer purchases an item with a special discount code to use on a related product.
You can also use this method to email customers who have items in their cart but have not yet checked out. For example, your message could say, “You left these items in your cart, but we’ve got a unique offer just for you! Check out in the next 24 hours to receive 25% off your entire order.”
Incremental Discounts (or BOGOs)
It’s always a good practice to encourage shoppers to purchase more items from your store while also showing your appreciation for their patronage. This is what happens when you offer incremental discounts or buy-one-get-one sales.
For instance, we’ve all bought shoes for buy-one-get-one-free prices at some point in our lives. These offers make customers feel excited about getting a good bargain and also influence them to spend more time shopping at your store.
And BOGOs aren’t the only way to deploy this customer appreciation tactic. You can also offer bulk discounts on items that make sense to buy in large quantities. Back-to-school items are a great example of a sensible incremental discount product. When shoppers can purchase something like 10 notebooks for $10 when they’re usually $2 each, they will feel appreciated and happy to buy from you.
Anniversary discounts are a fun way to demonstrate to your customers that you appreciate them. And utilizing this method is very simple to do.
All you need to do is set up a way to automatically keep track of when a customer first signed up as a member of your store or website. Then send out an automatic discount code, coupon or other offer each year on their “membership anniversary.”
Not only are you thanking customers for sticking with you long-term, you are also influencing them to keep shopping at your establishment.
We all love birthday gifts, and your shoppers are no different. On your online member registration form, make sure there’s a space where the customer can input their birthday. Then, much like in the anniversary method above, set up an automatic email that goes out to users on their birthday.
The email should wish the user a happy birthday while also offering them some sort of special gift from your store. It can be a discount, free item, free shipping or any combination of perks that are relevant to your brand. Just be sure to make the offer extra special — it is their birthday gift after all!
This is a fun one that shoppers love. Putting on semi-annual or some other time-based annual sale gets buyers excited to find bargains they can’t find any other time of year. It’s also your way of displaying customer appreciation to the shoppers who frequent your store all year long.
Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret are great examples of shops that put on highly anticipated semi-annual sales for their customers. During these events, the companies slash prices to all-time lows and offer blow-out clearance deals and stock-up options.
And offering items at these basement prices doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. You can use the sales to move products from the previous season out of your stockroom in order to make room for new arrivals. In addition, these sales are a great way to premiere new product lines and get the word out about them. After shoppers have bought your new wares at semi-annual prices, the hope is that their positive word-of-mouth influences new prospects to come buy them at full price even after the sale is over.
A members-only sale is like a members-only discount and a semi-annual sale all rolled into one. This customer appreciation tactic involves putting on a sale similar to the aforementioned semi-annual sale, but just for registered members.
Once again, this is a great way to thank users for being engaged with your brand and to encourage them to shop there. Before and during the sale, send out emails such as, “Two-week ‘Thank You’ sale for members ONLY! Get up to 75% off select items for a limited time.”
Earned Points / Rewards for Members
Another great way to thank members for being registered users of your site is by offering earnable points and / or rewards. This means that each time a shopper buys from your store while logged in to their account, they earn rewards or points based on the amount of their purchase. Once they’ve built up enough points or rewards, they can use them toward future purchases in the form of store credit, discounts and the like.
The Macy’s Star Rewards program is a great example of this customer appreciation practice. As shoppers spend at Macy’s, they earn rewards that can then be used as “Star Money” toward future purchases. The Star Money is also only good for 30 days after it’s issued, which encourages shoppers to come back soon.
Frequent Shopper Perks
If you have customers who are shopping at your store regularly, you should reward them, right? That’s the purpose of the frequent shopper perks customer appreciation strategy.
The reward can be simple, such as sending a special discount or free shipping offer to customers who buy from you often. Or you can set up a discount or perk that applies automatically every third time a customer checks out at your store while logged in to their account.
New Shopper Perks
The flipside of frequent shopper perks are new shopper perks. After all, you also want to show customer appreciation to buyers who have decided to purchase from you for the first time. There’s a lot of competition out there, and new shopper perks shows customers you value their business while encouraging them to choose your shop over others.
Retail and food delivery services are great examples of brands that utilize this method. For instance, most food delivery services offer free delivery on your first order. And many clothing stores advertise free shipping for your first purchase.
Early Access to New Items
Want another great way to thank customers for being engaged with your brand? Offer them early access to new items. By giving them an exclusive sneak peek at new or upcoming products, you are making them feel special, appreciated and excited about what you have for sale.
We see this often with electronics brands. Apple, for instance, drums up tons of interest in every new iPhone or MacBook by releasing first-look advertisements before products come out.
You can take this a step further by actually allowing your registered members to buy the new items before they hit the shelves for all consumers. This creates an excellent relationship between you and your customers while also ramping up the hype around a new release.
Offering members VIP access is very similar to the above-mentioned early access, except it doesn’t just have to include new items. With VIP access, you are making special items available only to registered users.
These products could be specific upgrades, unique colors or any item you want to offer in order to thank customers for being loyal to your brand. For example, if you sell laptops, you could sell certain models in members-only color options with special, upgraded memory.
There are several tactics for showing customer appreciation that don’t involve any discounts or cost to your business. Case-in-point, sending holiday greetings are a great way to let your shoppers know you are thankful for them.
Simply set up mass emails that go out to all users around the holidays with special, branded well wishes. It is important to note, however, that you should keep your holiday greetings basic and inclusive. Unless your brand is very obviously based on a specific religion or culture, it is a good practice to avoid religious themes, language or imagery. Just keep it simple with something like: “Happy Holidays from Us to You!” Or, “Have a Happy New Year!”
One of the simplest ways to show customer appreciation is by sending a thank-you note via email after shoppers make a purchase. Not only is this easy and cost-free to do, it also lets customers know you are grateful for their business.
You can easily set up an auto-responder to go out to all users immediately following checkout that says something like, “Thank you for your purchase! We are working quickly to ship your items.”
Follow-Up Calls / Emails
Similar to a thank-you note, follow-up calls and emails show customer appreciation by checking in with them a little bit later after their purchase.
This is a great way to touch base with shoppers and make sure they are fully satisfied with their products. You are also giving them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have, voice any concerns or obtain assistance or instructions. In following up with customers, you show them that you value their business and time, and that you are available for whatever they need.
This one’s easy yet incredibly effective. We all love the ease and convenience of shopping online, but no one loves paying for shipping. By finding various ways to show customer appreciation through the offer of free shipping, you are able to delight shoppers and keep their costs down.
There are a myriad of different avenues through which you can provide free shipping, including free shipping for purchases over a certain dollar amount, free shipping on first orders and promotions in which all orders ship free during certain months. The options are endless, so determine which one works best for your business.
But remember, there are certain types of brands that cannot feasibly offer free shipping. If, for instance, you ship perishable items and must package them in coolers with dry ice and other preparations, free shipping may not be a cost-effective strategy for you. Your customers would much more likely rather pay shipping costs and receive their items undamaged. And there are still plenty of options for you to show customer appreciation and offer them ways to save money.
Here’s another customer appreciation technique that pretty much all shoppers love: free add-ons. Offering free companion items on a shopper’s purchase is a great way to express gratitude.
For example, if a customer buys a printer from you, you could offer free ink and paper to go with it. This addition won’t dip far into your profit, and could also cause the buyer to come back to your store later when they need to actually buy ink.
Other free add-ons could include free sunglasses or sunscreen with summer-related purchases, free coloring books with the purchase of crayons and free bows with the purchase of wrapping paper. The list goes on and on.
You can also use this strategy to clear out older stock from your storeroom and / or to promote new, inexpensive items that customers may later come back to buy at full-price.
Free upgrades are similar to free add-ons, except the premise is to show customer appreciation by upgrading shoppers to a better offering at no additional cost. This tactic most often comes into play for service providers, such as software companies.
For instance, we here at Replyco are a great example of this method. Whenever we add new features or tools to our message management software, they are automatically available to every user at no extra cost, regardless of their plan level.
This is a great way to show customers that you value their business and strive to offer them the best service, products and experience possible.
Special Support During Difficult Times
There are few better ways to demonstrate customer appreciation than by offering special support during difficult times. After all, it is often during times of crisis that your shoppers need you to step up the most.
This may involve extending returns and exchange policies from 30 days to 90 days, lowering prices on essential items like toilet paper during storm seasons or illnesses and ramping up customer support via phone, email and chat. You may also opt to show appreciation by ensuring your store is well-stocked with the items customers need most during difficult times, without raising the prices.
When times are hard, your shoppers will certainly value the fact that your brand was there for them. And they’ll remember it when things calm down and it’s time to shop normally again.
Make Exceptions to Policies
This approach is similar to special support during difficult times, but on a more individualized basis.
There are times when making exceptions to your policies is potentially the most effective customer appreciation strategy you could deploy. While you can’t do this all the time, you can truly go above and beyond to show your gratitude to certain customers by bending the rules to accommodate them.
For example, imagine a scenario in which a customer ordered a clothing item that didn’t fit them. However, the customer got sick right after ordering and had to go into the hospital for an extended period of time. While in the hospital, they missed the 30-day window for returning the item. Now they are calling your customer service team and explaining the situation. This might be a great opportunity for you to bend the 30-day return policy rules for them.
They will feel highly appreciated and thankful for your team’s understanding and kindness, which can only help your reputation in the marketplace.
Who doesn’t like a surprise gift? Offering shoppers unexpected rewards is a creative and fun way to convey customer appreciation.
Every now and then, simply send out an email to users with a special discount code, free shipping offer, free gift code or other perk. Be sure to include in the email that this offer is being provided simply as a “thank you for being a loyal customer.”
Do you sell a unique product or service? Something that shoppers need in order to do their job, practice their hobby or keep their household running? By offering industry-specific sales, you can show customer appreciation while also setting your brand apart from the competition.
For example, office supply stores often hold special events and sales centered around setting up your home office or heading back to school. These sales will include various items that are all relevant to a certain theme or goal. A home office sale, for instance, may offer discounts on everything from desks to pens to paper shredders.
Customer Surveys Inviting Feedback
Want to know how you can better show customer appreciation? Ask your customers! Shoppers are almost always willing to voice their opinions, wants and needs if we will just ask for them.
This is very helpful in both conveying that you value your customers and figuring out better ways to do so in the future. Send out an email to registered members or give them a call and invite them to take a quick satisfaction survey. Keep the questions short and easy-to-answer, while also making sure they are all relevant to improving your business. You can also take your gratitude a step further by offering users a discount for taking the survey.
Improvements Based on Feedback
Once you have feedback from shoppers, convey customer appreciation by using that feedback to improve your offerings. Customers will undoubtedly feel more valued if they see you taking steps to continually upgrade the way you serve them.
For example, does a lot of the feedback you receive revolve around customers wanting access to a certain product or service? If possible, make that product or service available and advertise it accordingly. Your marketing copy could read something like, “Thanks to requests from shoppers just like you, our long-awaited [product] is now available!”
Customized Emails with Item Suggestions
Show customers you care about their satisfaction and are paying attention to their wants and needs by sending emails with specific item suggestions based on their shopping history.
For example, set up an automated email that goes out to every customer who buys a certain pair of jeans that suggests various tops that go well with them. This establishes a helpful relationship between you and the customer, shows your gratitude and encourages further shopping at your store.
Option to Be Notified When Items Are Restocked
Few things are more frustrating when shopping than finding the item we want to purchase is out of stock. But this gives you a great opportunity to show customer appreciation.
Simply enable shoppers to sign up via email to be notified when their desired item is back in stock. This allows you to provide excellent service to your customers while also ensuring they come back to your store for their needs.
Participating in or putting on local events is another fun way to show appreciation to your customers and your community. And it doesn’t have to be terribly expensive.
Host a local picnic, hotdog lunch or summer get together in your area in order to give back to your community and express your thankfulness to customers for their business and support. You may even be able to get local news stations to cover it, which will help drum up publicity for your brand.
Customer Appreciation Week
A customer appreciation week or event can be done in-person or virtually. Much like hosting a local event, this is a great opportunity for you to thank customers for shopping with you.
Your approach could involve anything from giving away specific items with every purchase for an entire week, free gifts to everyone who visits your store in-person, free shipping, special sales and the like. Be sure to advertise heavily ahead of time on social media to let your customers know when it’s happening and what will be on-offer.
Giving to Charitable Causes
By giving to charitable causes that are in some way relevant to your organization or shoppers, you can show customer appreciation in a unique and selfless way.
For instance, if you sell pet products, maybe you could give a percentage of all sales proceeds to an animal rescue group. Or, you could offer a range of charities for the customer to select from at checkout where they would like a percentage of their purchase price to go.
Warranties and customer appreciation go hand-in-hand. That’s because warranties let your shoppers know that you are willing to make sure they have a fully operational product when they buy from you.
By standing behind your products and offering warranties, you are giving customers the peace-of-mind that you will ensure a positive experience even long after they make their purchase.
Much like warranties, satisfaction guarantees also go a long way toward showing customer appreciation.
When you guarantee a customer’s satisfaction, you are telling them that you will do whatever is necessary to make sure they get what they want and need. Your satisfaction guarantee can include a refund or replacement if not fully satisfied, hands-on technical support and customer service reps that won’t rest until the shopper is happy.
Along the same lines as the last two customer appreciation methods, making it easy for shoppers to return items is just good business.
If you make it difficult for a customer to return an item, they will certainly not feel valued and may never shop at your store again. However, if the process is easy and stress-free, they are much more likely to visit you in the future and even recommend you to friends. Most importantly, they will feel like your company appreciates their business.
Notes in Packaging
A really fun and easy way to show customer appreciation is by inserting notes into packaging when you ship a customer’s order. This can be as simple as a thank-you note, branded sticker or simple instructions on how to use a product.
While it’s an easy method to implement, it can go a long way toward making shoppers feel special and valued.
Coupons from Partners
Do you partner with any other companies or brands? Demonstrate customer appreciation by offering shoppers coupons and discounts from your partners.
Simply insert a flyer into your customer’s package when you ship it out that contains a discount code to your partner’s site. It will make your buyers feel like they are getting extra-special perks for being your customer — because they are!
Special Giveaways in Exchange for Something
Here’s a great way to show customer appreciation while also encouraging shoppers to engage with your brand. Offer customers the opportunity to win a special prize from your company by performing a specific action.
You see this all the time with clothing companies geared toward young people. Brands will frequently encourage buyers to post pictures of themselves wearing items they bought from that brand on Instagram for a chance to win free clothes. Shoppers simply need to post the picture with whatever hashtag the brand specified and tag the company in the post. Then a winner is selected from the entrants.
Similar to a giveaway in exchange for an action, raffles give prizes to shoppers who buy from your store. But unlike the aforementioned method, this customer appreciation strategy doesn’t require so much participation.
Say, “thank you,” to customers by giving them the chance to easily sign up for the chance to win a gift from your shop. While this offer is typically only sent to members of your site, you can offer it with, “no purchase necessary,” if you so choose. After all, it’s not about forcing customers to buy a product. The goal here, and in all the tactics in this guide, is to show your gratitude to customers.
That said, these types of promotions will undoubtedly inspire shoppers to frequent your store more often.
Free Webinars / Educational Programs
Do you sell products that are related to a highly technical or specific industry? Show your appreciation by offering free webinars or education programs on subjects that are relevant to your business and useful to your customers.
We at Replyco (and our partners) do this frequently. Since we provide helpdesk software that enables multi-channel eCommerce sellers to centralize their messaging, we put out webinars on topics such as customer service, inbox management and work-from-home technology.
By providing free education to your customers, you are expressing your gratitude while enriching their lives and businesses.
Public Displays of Gratitude
What better way is there to show customer appreciation than to simply say, “thank you,” in a very public way?
Use your social media accounts to muse about how grateful you are for your wonderful customers. Cite specific instances of great customer interactions, post good reviews you received and invite user feedback.
Publicly engaging with your shoppers is a great way to show that you’re thankful for them. This kind of open dialogue also enables you to discover what shoppers are looking for.
Consistent Product Selection and Quality
Put simply, one of the most important factors to shoppers is that they are able to get the products they want and need from your store. By maintaining consistent product selection and high item quality, you are showing customer appreciation in the most important way of all: selling great products.
While it is obviously important that you make a profit, refrain from setting prices too high. This will only serve to annoy shoppers and drive them away from your store. Instead, keep your prices fair and reasonable to showcase your customer appreciation. Buyers will certainly thank you for it by frequenting your shop more often.
Useful Help Documentation
Here’s a great way to make customers feel appreciated and to keep them from becoming frustrated. If you sell highly technical products or services, make sure the help documentation on your website is useful. It should be information-rich and easy to follow.
Keep it simple and step-by-step. And also provide customers with a way to get in touch with you should they need more hands-on support.
Company Mission Statement / Vision
Make sure customers know how much you appreciate them by expressing gratitude in the mission statement of your company website. Clearly lay out how thankful you are for your customers. Discuss how shoppers make running your business possible and explain that your team’s dedication to providing an amazing customer experience.
Friendly Customer Service
Finally, the last and perhaps most important piece of the customer appreciation puzzle is friendly customer service. Let customers know you’re thankful for their business by doing everything in your power to ensure satisfaction. Train your team to convey a friendly, helpful, kind and grateful demeanor in every interaction.
And Replyco can certainly help in this regard. We enable multi-channel eCommerce sellers to view and reply to customer inquiries from all their marketplaces in one easy-to-use inbox. With time-saving templates, well-organized folder labels, smart automation and more, we offer a new standard in eCommerce customer service.