Capture the first time customer

We are moving into the holiday season, the time of the year you can not only expect strong sales; you’ll be seeing many new faces. You need to create an experience that compels new customers to return.

Even under ideal circumstances a first time customer that has a very positive experience has less than a 50% chance of returning. A second happy experience brings that chance to a bit more than 50%. A third visit is where it pays off. There is better than a 70% chance they will return again.

You should have a strategy in place to turn these new customers into steady clients; a formal program to give them a strong incentive to return. The goal is to create a series of positive reactions leading to repeat business.

Give new customers a gift bag, never underestimate the value behind.

Give new customers a gift bag, never underestimate the value behind.

Never let a new customer or even a casual looker leave your store empty handed. You may want to consider making “new customer’ gift bags. If someone visits but does not buy, be sure they leave with some goodies, perhaps a coupon for a free cleaning and inspection of jewellery and one for a discount on their first purchase. Put them in a gift bag that has your logo and be sure to include a little marketing highlighting some of your custom designs and repair services. Promise an additional gift with their first purchase, maybe a small loose gemstone. You’ll have an opportunity to up-sell them to an inexpensive mounted item of the same stone.

Their first purchase should be a celebration. Stuff a gift bag with goodies that are appropriate to the level of the sale. A low to moderate price point might get a polishing cloth (make sure it has your logo), a gemstone and a coupon for an ice cream cone at a neighbouring store. A high end sale might include a home polishing and cleaning kit (logo!), a bottle of Champaign or a coupon for a nice dinner at a local restaurant. Have a collection of different gifts and make up the bag as needed. Coupons for local businesses are great if they can cross-market back to you as well. Be sure to include more incentives to return like a gift certificate toward the next purchase.

By the third visit they are becoming friends. Now is the time to give them incentives to bring you new customers. Give them a few gift certificates to pass along to their friends. And when those friends come in to the store, start the whole process over again with them. Be sure to keep track of the referrals and send a thank you gift to your customer. You can also offer gift certificates for comments or likes on social media.

All of this may sound like you are just giving things away, but sometimes you need to give a little to gain a lot. This is a way of spending part of your marketing budget on those that really count: the new customer.

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