1. Don’t give your customers a headacheNobody wants a headache on Valentine’s Day, and there are a number of ways you can make things easier for your customers.
“Additional payment acceptance methods allow your customers to choose how they want to pay. Providing them with choice puts them in control, and could provide a reason for them to do business with you,” says Maria Shaw, Barclaycard’s Head of Acquisition, Small Business Segment, Global Payment Acceptance.
One way of doing this is by having an ecommerce site but again it’s ease of use that can bring loyalty. Preventing the online payment processing from being a hassle is key.
Our Valentine’s Day consumer research shows how important it could be to get this right. Not only are 23% of people planning to buy gifts online this year, that figure rises to 36% for 18-24 year olds*.
2. Less contact (in-store) is a good thingYou’d usually want contact levels to increase on Valentine’s Day but, in-store at least, the opposite can be true.
Jo Simpson, Barclaycard’s Strategic New Business Manager, says it’s becoming more acceptable for consumers to go out without having any cash in their pockets, so having a contactless card reader can pay dividends.
Helping your customers feel secure when making payments is crucial. It’s a key part of the ecommerce experience and Jo says that branding plays a vital role.
3. Give your customers a cuddle
“That’s a challenge for smaller retailers, but this is where having a branded payment page can help,” she says. “This can help to make them feel secure when making the transaction.”
You can also look after customers by offering discounts to help drive loyalty. Jo says retailers could get ahead of the competition by delivering these digitally.
“One suggestion for retailers is enabling customers to automatically get the offer the next time they are in store, rather than making it so they have to take a coupon in.”
It’s often said that trust is the most essential part of any relationship. Retailers need to think about this too, because if their customers are willing to trust them with their personal data they can drive loyalty through a more personalised approach. The best way is to start as you mean to go on.
4. First impressions count
“Those that get it right can start to build trust, and you need to make that initial experience a good one,” says Jo.
You should also guard against being ‘overfamiliar’, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not.
“If you approach someone by name, you need to have made sure that they want to be approached,” says Jo. “Making sure you get the customer information from the right source is so easy to get wrong, and then you can lose their loyalty before you’ve even got them.”
5. Show some understandingGetting to know your customers, and the way their behaviour can change, helps you to sustain loyalty.
“Consumer behaviour changes during key retail periods,” says Maria. “Understanding how they might behave differently helps you to give consumers what they want.”
Valentine’s Day, for example, seems to provoke a flurry of last-minute shopping. Rather than planning their purchases, 40% of people make their spending decisions less than a week in advance*.
If you can show some understanding of consumer pain points – and ease them through methods such as card readers or other mobile payment solutions – then even better.
“Being able to go up to a customer who’s ready to pay and allow them to do so on an iPad or a mobile terminal can make the whole experience much nicer,” says Jo.
Please note that the views expressed in this article are personal opinions. Barclaycard cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this article or any of the information set out in it.
*Figures from commissioned consumer research undertaken in January 2016