We know the golden age is here. Due to the democratizing technology readily available, competitors can easily and quickly replicate your consumer product. Just look at how fast copycat products appear on Alibaba, every time you see a success on Kickstarter.
To retain customers and grow your business, you need to provide an original story and experience, as well as “out-care” your competitors. An effective way to show that you care is by making your customers feel important.
Here are 5 approaches you can use to make your customers feel like VIPs.
Write Thank You Cards
You hear this one all the time, but not many businesses do it consistently for two reasons:
- It takes time.
- No clear ROI.
On the first point, the trick is to make it a habit. For instance, getting the team together every Friday afternoon for 30 minutes to write thank you cards to your top customers.
In terms of ROI, we can look to research. In a paper titled Gratitude: An Emotional Approach in Business Relationship, researchers discovered:
It was found that customers of a jewelry store who were “called and thanked” showed a subsequent 70% increase in purchases…customers who were not called at all did not show an increase (McCullough et al., 2001).
In another study, regular patrons of a restaurant gave bigger tips when servers wrote “Thank you” on their checks (Emmons, 2004).
Finally, Charles Best, CEO of Donors Choose, found:
“…the results showed a direct correlation between being thanked and the likelihood of giving again. In fact, those who personally thanked were 38 percent more likely to give another donation, proving an actual return on investment in gratitude.”
The evidence is clear.
Design a Premium Packaging
We know intuitively that a premium packaging makes the experience special. This is why Apple has a “secret packaging room.”
Intuition aside, research also reveals its importance. In a 2013 study conducted by MWV, researchers found:
- Packaging impacts product and brand satisfaction throughout the product lifecycle
- 64% of the respondents said they will sometimes buy a product off the shelf, drawn by packaging, without prior knowledge of the product or having researched it first.
- (Other) studies have ranked packaging as one of the highest drivers of repeat purchase
Regardless of whether you’re selling online or offline, your product packaging represents your brand and people’s first impression of your product. Make it awesome and give your customers the opportunity to make unboxing videos.
Tell’Em They’re A VIP
This is as simple as it gets. Just tell your best customers that they are special. The whole point of being a VIP is flaunting it in front of other people. Give your customers that opportunity.
In 2012, LinkedIn sent out the following message to many of its users:
This message appealed to people’s vanity, made them feel special, and encouraged them to share it on social media – which just meant free PR for LinkedIn.
For your consumer product business, you can send a similar message, or even better, write a personal card telling people why they are special.
For instance, if you donate a portion of the proceeds of your business to charity, tell your customers how many lives they’ve impacted.
Connect Offline to Online
Manuals and stickers that come with most retail products are about as boring as it gets. Rows and rows of tiny text that outlines legal jargon that no body ever reads. Why not use the opportunity to capture consumer information, and make them feel like a VIP at the same time?
Create a premium welcome card to include inside the packaging with a bit of mystery. For instance:
Visit Yoursite.com/Surprise to UNLOCK your surprise.
Doing this alone will differentiate your brand and product from 99% of the retail products out there. Plus, when retail customers come to your website, you’ll have the opportunity to capture email addresses for further engagement, as well as enhance the purchase experience and reduce buyer’s remorse.
Give Customers Fewer Options
At a glance, it would seem providing more options would make people feel more important. After all, don’t the VIPs of the world have access to options that the average Joe doesn’t?
Well, it turns out, giving customers too many options can actually make them bail rather than commit to your brand.
In the now famous Jam Study, Sheena Lyengar from Columbia University setup a table of jams for people to sample at a grocery store.
When customers were offered 24 flavors to sample from, only 3% purchased. But when customers were offered 6 flavors to sample from, 30% made a purchase. That’s a 10x improvement!
Too many choices lead to indecision and inaction.
Think of Apple products, which tend to offer one “best” option, and that’s it. PC makers, on the other hand, usually have dozens of different models and SKUs of the same product.
Apple clearly has the more VIP experience.
Do the same for your customers and just offer them one or three “best” options.
Do you have any ideas to share to make customers feel like a VIP? Let us know in the comment section below.