5 Customer Loyalty Lessons Smaller Retailers Can Teach Key Industry Players

The past two years have been incredibly hectic for business, whether you’re a small independent retailer or a major player. In such a challenging environment, customer loyalty has become more important than ever.

This is not new information, however. Research has consistently shown over time that acquiring a new customer is far more expensive and time consuming than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but your existing customers are going to spend more money with you on average than with a brand new customer.

In this article, we’ll explore customer loyalty from the perspective of small independent retailers. What tactics have they been using for years that the big players are just beginning to understand? And what can the industry learn from these small businesses to create more loyal customers?

Let’s dive into it.

1. Prioritize the customer experience.

Did you know that all it takes is one bad experience to lose the attention of nearly half of consumers? Since most markets are deeply saturated, companies have only one chance to win against their competitors. This is why prioritizing the customer experience is truly essential.

For smaller retailers, this is where they really shine. They understand that the majority of consumers allocate their loyalty based on the customer experience – and as a result, they spend more time adding special touches to the in-store and online experience to build customer loyalty.

Tailor-made post is a subscription service that sends a different themed product box to its members every month. The small company takes great care in curating each box and makes them even more personalized by asking each customer to take a quiz that reveals their interests.

Source: Tailor-made post

What can we learn from a business like this? Well, the personal touches matter; they show your customers that you care enough about their experience, and as a result, they’re more likely to come back again and again.

2. Reward loyalty with value.

Big companies often make the mistake of creating worthless loyalty programs. Dillard’s, for example, a luxury department store, offers 10% and $10 rewards, but only after a customer has spent $750 in the store. Where is the incentive?

Many smaller retailers, on the other hand, are experts at creating exclusive offers and rewards that add real value to customers. Think local cafes that give out free drinks for every five purchases or sustainable clothing retailers that offer rewards for recycling.

Although it is more difficult to coordinate valuable loyalty programs when you are a large company, the effort is amply rewarded with increased customer loyalty.

Blumetopia is a small body care retailer that offers a loyalty program. Every dollar earns 100 points: customers can rack up points quickly, rather than waiting months to earn a gadget. They can also earn points through activities like sharing on social media and inviting friends.

Source: Blumetopia

3. Pay attention to what’s going on behind the scenes.

If there are employee loyalty issues in your business, it won’t take long for the negative attitudes to affect the quality of your customer service.

GameStop, one of the largest game retailers in the United States, has an extremely low Glassdoor rating of 2.9. They have consistently struggled to keep their employees on board – and over the past two years the company has announced the planned closure of more than 400 stores.

It’s crucial to have a tight-knit team and a strong corporate culture behind the scenes, which is what small retailers so often achieve. There tends to be more emphasis on relationships, fair treatment and professional development.

If big players want to receive similar sentiments from their employees, they should take steps such as:

  • Encourage social interaction between employees
  • Facilitate employee feedback

4. Understand the consumer.

Customers want to know that their needs are not only heard, but also understood. In reality, 91% of customers are “extremely satisfied” with companies that listen to them and understand their needs.

Smaller retailers often have the advantage of being able to quickly adapt to customer feedback and make changes accordingly. For large retailers, this can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

With the advancement of channels such as social media and customer feedback platforms, it is becoming easier for large companies to listen to what their customers are saying. It’s about getting the most out of these platforms and caring about the responses you receive.

LUSH is known for its fresh, handmade bath and beauty products. The company pays close attention to feedback so that customer needs are understood and taken into account.

“Our customer experience is not based on NPS scores or data. Instead, we go into stores and chat with customers, or open lines of communication through social media to create a feedback loop and we use that information to make decisions on the fly based on what our customers are telling us, and when it’s most relevant – not months later,” said Emma Brady, Chief Customer Experience Officer , LUSH.

Source: WidowsWear

5. Keep it personal.

Large corporations can often feel impersonal, which can lead to loss of loyalty. What customers really want is to feel connected on a real, human level with the brands they are loyal to.

According to #BrandsGetReal Study“When customers feel connected to brands, more than half of consumers (57%) will increase their spending with that brand and 76% will buy from them rather than a competitor.”

Small retailers are experts at creating a personal connection with their customers, and we can learn from their personal attitude towards customers.

carnation is a retailer that offers new and innovative products from small businesses. This company does a great job of telling the stories behind every company and product, which helps create a personal connection with customers.


As a large retailer, it can be difficult to focus on things like personalization, customer experience, and employee retention, but if we look to small businesses that are making a splash, those things are at the top of the list. their list of priorities. Build customer loyalty by taking the first step.

5 Customer Loyalty Lessons Smaller Retailers Can Teach Key Industry Players

Joseph P. Harris