Innovate or die, or so the old saying goes. Businesses spend an incredible amount on attracting new customers, spending billions on advertising channels, direct marketing campaigns and the increased likelihood of referrals to ensure a steady stream of new champions for their product or service. Once a person has been won over, however, there is a constant and never-ending battle to ensure their heads aren’t turned by the competition. It is infinitely cheaper to retain a customer than to find a new one however and it is this need for retention that evades many ‘established’ businesses. Flexibility and the number of choices is one of the key issues that plague traditional retail, with the newer ‘you can have anything you want for the right price’ approach the one that is making the most money.
Just look at the taxi industry. Inflexible cab drivers who work off a rigid, expensive rates card and a reliance on customers being in a place at a certain time are being taken off the road by companies like Uber. The tech-focused ‘personal chauffeur service’ offers customers not only a number of ways to pay but also a selection of cars depending on the journey distance, the number of passengers and the quality of care provided. Uber has even diversified to offer a home food delivery service, leaving the traditional Hackney Carriage looking very archaic indeed.
It is this level of choice that is now often the difference between success and failure. Consumers are infinitely more demanding, leading a culture that treats brands more personally, with a fair price and ‘knowing what you are getting’ chosen over top-level service or a long-established brand. Even visiting a fast food restaurant, which used to have three components (burger, fries and a coke) leaves visitors with a multitude of choices that can sometimes make the decision tougher. If it is the variety that we crave, then we certainly have it both on the high street and online.
One online industry that has gone from strength to strength is casino gaming. The huge numbers of new customers signing up to gambling websites on a daily basis have led to lots of online offerings, with some online casino providers becoming some of the most successful businesses in the UK. There is plenty of competition however and making sure that customers remain loyal is one of the key priorities of many online casinos.
Companies like Wink Slots provide high-quality virtual slot machines, they use several techniques to make sure their customer base does not dwindle. They place a heavy emphasis on the choice to retain and engage their existing customers, with new games released on a regular basis, they even offer free spins to make their customers feel valued. The variety and style of games are always changing too, to ensure that the experience doesn’t become ‘stale’ by relying on a single set of high-performing machines that slowly lose players over time. All of the games cater to different budgets and have large bonuses and jackpots too, to keep customers from being tempted away by cheaper alternatives.
Many businesses also deploy a strategy to reward existing customers too. Mobile phone providers like Three and O2 offer everything from free pizzas to reduced gig ticket prices to help feel customers rewarded, whereas companies like Nissan and Vauxhall offer substantial discounts on trade-ins of the same make to try and maintain brand loyalty. Probably the most innovative way of keeping customers for life, however, is the infinite warranty. Zippo lighters and Jansport backpacks are some of the brands that will fix a damaged product for free, or replace it if they can’t even after a number of years have passed, meaning that their customer is with them for life, even if the product doesn’t last that long.