Deborah Shapiro, Principal Partner of S & S Insights, details five steps to retain customers.

Deborah is speaking on “Tapping into the Loyalty Loop” September 15 during the Women Owned in Retail Accelerator, brought to you by Lowe’s Companies, Inc. The Accelerator is a five-session, interactive webinar series focused on getting small businesses ready for retail. Register for the session to learn why loyalty programming and customer service efforts can be your most profitable investments and leave with actionable insights to take advantage of the buying power of this customer base.

Deborah has over 20 years of marketing experience, 10 of which focused on customer acquisition and loyalty marketing at a fortune 500 company. Her WBENC-Certified firm focuses primarily on Loyalty Marketing.


Most marketing campaigns are designed to encourage acquisition, but one-third of all online shopping revenue is from repeat purchasers, who spend three times more than the average single-time shoppers.

Spending your marketing dollars on customer definition, retention and loyalty actually has a higher ROI than the most common marketing strategies.

So what are the steps needed to identify and retain your most loyal customers?

1. Diversify your data.

The most common mistake companies make is to look at only one source for your audience insights. You can identify some customers from each data point you look at, but you will not know if they are your most profitable customer (or the lowest hanging fruit) until you compare that data to information from other places and find the common denominators. We recommend using three unique sources from different platforms – for example, purchase data, digital analytics and direct customer insights such as focus groups.

2. Research goes beyond demographics.

Discovering your most profitable customer segment is a 40-year-old female from the Southeast and then geo-targeting that area by age is not enough to get that customer’s attention. You need to uncover reasons your brand would interest this customer and what problem you solve for her. Then when you geo-target the customer you use messaging she cares about, and that will get her attention.

3. Offer an incentive.

You’ve found a profitable customer segment, you know how to get their attention, now keep it going by offering an incentive. Loyalty programs work. Period. Customers who participate in incentive-based loyalty programs are 80% more likely to choose your brand over competitors and twice as likely to recommend your brand to others. The type of loyalty program you use (ex: discount, points/rewards) will vary depending on which industry you are in and what your target customer prefers.

4. Show them you care.

Ninety-three percent of customers are likely to make a repeat purchase based on excellent customer service. You’ve invested the time to find the customer, and we know repeat-purchase customers are the most profitable long-term. Providing high-quality customer service could quite possibly be the least expensive form of marketing. Why start the whole client acquisition process over after every sale? Sales can turn into advocacy, which ultimately leads to more sales.

5. Values create value.

Your customers chose you for a reason. The 2020 Consumer Culture report revealed that 71% of customers prefer purchasing from companies that align with their values. If you were successful in step two with your messaging, your customer is likely coming back for more than just your product. Keep the conversation going. Post content that they care about and support events that they enjoy. You will become the trusted partner that they depend on, and that’s true loyalty.


Women Owned in Retail

Women Owned in Retail is an education and outreach program designed to help women-owned business with consumer goods scale and thrive in the retail space. The Women Owned in Retail Accelerator, brought to you by Lowe’s Companies, Inc., is a five-session accelerator to dive in to important topics you need to know to thrive in big retail, hosted every Wednesday in September at 2pm EST.

This program is open to ALL women-owned businesses with consumer products. You do not need to be certified by WBENC to attend Women Owned in Retail events.


Deborah Shapiro
Principal Partner, S & S Insights

Founded in 2016, S&S Insights (SSi) is a marketing intelligence and creative agency focused on helping businesses of all sizes with brand development, customer segmentation and loyalty.