Food Marketing: Five Ways to Build Customer Loyalty
Companies make considerable investments in both time and money to raise their profiles and attract new customers. But what are they doing for their current customers, who already know about their brands and products?
We believe that companies should be as concerned with retaining their customers as they are with finding new ones. In fact, over the long term, talk about a winning strategy: retaining a customer is up to 11 times less expensive to brands than to acquire a new one (Brand keys, 2019).
Loyalty in food: a major challenge
However, the food industry, particularly the grocery sector, has certain peculiarities that make building customer loyalty more difficult than in other sectors.
In the grocery sector, brand competition is fierce and consumers are very price-sensitive. With the various specials each week, and the increasing popularity of house brands, it can be difficult to convince someone to choose your product over a less expensive one.
Another issue is that food brands don’t have as much control over the positioning of their products or point-of-sale advertising as they would if they had their own shops. They are at the mercy of retailers who are free to organize their shelves as they wish and to choose which products to include in their listings.
Tips to improve customer retention
Despite these challenges, it is entirely possible to increase your customers’ loyalty. Here are our top tips to ensure that your brands keep their place in consumer shopping baskets.
1. Offer something unique
In order for people to choose your product on the shelf and to keep doing so, you absolutely need to offer something unique that they cannot get from your competitors.
Whether it is the taste, the quality, the variety or originality of your flavours, the format, the packaging, the absence of allergens, or the health benefits of your product, you have the ability to make it stand out in a variety of ways. This special characteristic will be why consumers choose your product, rather than those on special.
2. Constantly renew yourself
Your customers change over the year; their needs and desires follow trends. It is essential that you evolve in the same direction, or risk losing them.
You need to continually adapt your product, packaging, sales strategy, image and communication channels. Feel free to invest in research and development to position yourself as a leader in your sector.
3. Keep the conversation going with your customers
Today, social networks make it easier than ever to interact with your clients and to get their feedback about your product. Reading their comments will help you learn what they like, follow their evolving tastes, and show them that you care.
Maintaining a strong social media presence will also allow you to continually inspire your audience. Offer your customers relevant content that will help them get to know you better, identify with your brand and find new ways to use your product in their everyday lives.
4. Cultivate a strong brand image
Your brand image is what allows people to notice and remember you. It is comprised of a variety of elements, such as your visual identity, your promise, your values and the tone of your communications. If people identify with or become attached to these elements, there is a much higher chance that they will choose your product instead of another.
Your brand image also allows you to be consistent in the development of your products and messages. Constant effort featuring the various facets of your brand help to create a complete experience for consumers. As they get to know you better and better, their confidence in you increases, and so does their loyalty.
5. Be generous
Loyalty programs are increasingly popular, which isn’t surprising: people like to be rewarded. So be generous with your clients and show them your gratitude for their loyalty.
Even if the workings of traditional loyalty programs (loyalty cards, or points systems) are less easy to apply to brands sold at retailers, you can still be creative.
For example, you can put codes on your products that will allow people to access contests, discounts or free products. You can also offer them access to exclusive content, like recipes created by a chef, a series of original videos, invitations to events, etc.
In short, the thing to remember from all of this advice is that loyalty is created through a solid, authentic relationship with consumers. Get to know them, and show them that you care.
Beyond the figures and promotional devices, you have to remember the relationship we have with food is very emotional. People adopt certain products in their daily lives and become attached to them. Certain brands even become an integral part of family recipes and traditions.
So, take the time to nurture your relationship with your clients. It’s a no-brainer!