Denim and Developing Truly Loyal Customers

Today Levi Strauss is celebrating 140 years of the denim blue jean.  What an incredible and enviable success story. This company and iconic product has had an amazing and profitable history that will likely continue throughout all of our lifetimes.  Seemingly impossible that there is a product which has attracted billions of customers and has kept them loyal for 140 years!   Levi denim jeans

While true that the blue jean’s awesome versatility and work-horse functionality is responsible for this type of sustained history and loyalty, it could never have been accomplished without tremendously committed customers loyal to the brand.  Understandably, we all aren’t so fortunate to have started a business responsible for the invention such an enduring product, one that has been able to cultivate loyal customers for centuries, however your business can’t possibly grow without some similar (albeit smaller) form of customer loyalty.  Now your job is to consider how to cultivate that loyalty.

Think of loyalty as a faithfulness or allegiance to a company or a brand based on a high level of satisfaction.  Customer satisfaction breeds loyalty.  When a business or a brand consistently satisfies and exceeds customer expectations, it is natural to consistently make that company or brand the first choice.

So how can you create and encourage truly loyal customers?     Levi's denim 2

LISTEN TO THEM

Asking and hearing what customers are saying about your business along with making changes and improvements to increase their satisfaction can go a long way in making customers loyal to your business.  Loyal customers come back and can be more profitable.  Often the 80/20 rule applies- 80% of revenue comes from 20% of a business’s customers.  The key is to understand the customer needs and expectations and make changes that positively impact the customer’s experience with your business.  In 1873 Levi  Strauss and Jacob David listened to a particularly difficult customer  who was consistently ripping trouser pockets and seams due to extreme use.  Levi's denim 3   By placing metal rivets at points of strain: pocket corners, base of the zippers, etc. to strengthen the trousers, the company created the first riveted clothing, aka the blue jean.  By listening and making a small change, within a very short time, all types of working men were buying the innovative new clothing and spreading the word.

Cultivate a sense of ownership

Are you launching a new service or new products?  Invite your most loyal customers to become beta users and solicit their feedback to make adjustments and improvements.  This will give your best customers a sense of being a “shareholder” in your business as well as helping you create better offerings to your at-large customer base.  Way back in the 1850s Levi Strauss developed denim as work-wear for the pioneers of the American West. Only in the 1950s did this fabric evolve into fashion garments; jeans and jackets were taken up by bikers and rockers, giving denim a sense of cool and rebelliousness. By the 1970s Hollywood stars such as Steve McQueen and Paul Newman wore the brand.  Can your customers help you test and launch new concepts and be the trendy messenger for your business?

Create a loyalty program

Reward customers for multiple purchases of a high margin product.  Remember to measure your results and make changes that positively impact the customer (while being fiscally responsible).  Consider a program that provides free products or services as a reward for repeat business.

Creating truly loyal customers through these types of programs can prove to be a long-term distinct competitive advantage.

 

Offer premium services

If a small portion of your customers are responsible for a majority of your revenue, provide them with premium level of customer service.  Perks for your best customers let them know how much you value their business.

  • Let your best customer’s preview and purchase new products.  This could be anything from opening early or staying late to accommodate their schedule, shipping products to their home or office for free, giving them first chance to purchase new arrivals or attend sales.
  • Host an exclusive event for your best customers inside or outside of your business.
  • Make a point to call out your best customers in email marketing campaigns (preferably with a great quote or referral) or social media.
  • Reward referrals-consider providing discounts and other rewards to customers who recommend your business to friends and associates after they make a purchase.  Customer referrals are a valuable tool, so let them know how much you value their recommendations.

Back in 1873 it was for Levi Strauss’s challenging but quality customer for whom they added the rivets to denim in order to satisfy his need and that one decision is responsible for  the growth of the company and 140 years of success!

Simply two visionary immigrants- Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis turned loyal customers, denim, thread, and a little metal into the most popular apparel on earth…..just think of what you can do.

Have a great working customer loyalty program? Let us hear about it!

Speak Your Mind

*

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *