The cornerstone of retail is the “4P’s”; product, placement, promotion, and pricing. The perfect balance of these will increase consumer traffic in your store, build consumer loyalty, and help you remain competitive in any economy.

The challenges for some retailers is that they are so focused on the 4P’s that they overlook the fifth, people. Retailers focused on people (the customer) are committed to making the shopping experience more enjoyable and easier for their loyal customers. They put the consumer first – always. Retailers would not exist without customers.

Retailers and manufacturers who are able to build a strong relationship with their customers have a tremendous competitive advantage.

Some mainstream retailers rely on club cards and loyalty cards to connect with their core customers. This can be a very effective strategy if managed properly. Their programs reward their loyal customers for shopping at their stores. Some provide discounts, reduced gasoline prices, special incentives, and custom couponing. The programs do a good job keeping the retailer connected with the consumers through regular mail, emails, phone apps, etc.

Consumer loyalty programs however, can be very complex, expensive, difficult to manage, and even more difficult to implement. They’re usually not a good fit for the small retailer.

Smaller retailers, especially natural retailers, can effectively use social media to remain connected to their consumers – a grass roots loyalty program.

An effective social media campaign can be every bit as effective as the larger mainstream grocer’s loyalty programs.

Social media is about connecting, interacting, educating, helping others, and keeping the conversation going with your target audience. Don’t just broadcast, engage and build relationships.

You can communicate and share valuable information with loyal customers. 

Messages that appear “spammy” or too self-promoting will be ignored eventually causing the customer to lose interest. Balance quality content and frequency and be supportive of others by recommending and sharing their articles and links. When used correctly, social media can be incredibly effective.

If you don’t have a current strategy to connect with your consumers, you are missing the boat. Not every shopper is willing to provide an email address. Retailers and manufacturers need to provide a strong incentive to encourage customers to connect with special deals, recipes, etc.

Another benefit of a solid social media campaign is the ability to connect with new consumers as well as people who can help you with your business. The exposure and reach have huge potential.

Customers, are your single greatest asset. Without them, you wouldn’t be in business. Interact with them and show your appreciation and support. Loyalty is a two-way street.

Apply these proven strategies to your business and success will follow.

Dan’s mission is “Empowering Brands and Raising The Bar”.  His weekly newsletter, educational podcast and training courses have become an invaluable resource for brands and retailers seeking a competitive advantage.  To learn more or connect with Dan, visit or email

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