W

ith Memorial Day right around the corner, you can't walk down a street, watch TV, or even surf the internet with out seeing an ad letting you know about the big sales retailers will be running. It makes sense. Most Americans will have the day off from work, and let's be honest, shopping is our favorite past time (sorry baseball).

According to research from Vistar Media and MFour, the average U.S. consumer will spend close to $500 over the weekend. The study also saw that 93% of these consumers plan to do some or all shopping in-store with apparel and electronics leading the way for their choice of store.

Whats more telling than any of those statistics, is that over half of this foot traffic is the result of special sales and promotions. So the question retailers are left with is, how can they convert this opportunistic customer into a returning brand loyalist.

One simple thing brands everywhere can do is send effective thank you notes. An effective thank you message sets you apart from the crowd, keeps you fresh in the customer's mind, and re-enforces a great in-store experience. Here are a couple of tips for writing and sending effective thank you messages to your customers.

Get specific in your message

Auto-generated "thank you for your purchase" messages are just another form of mass email marketing which is becoming an annoyance to customers and at the least, largely ignored. Craft a message that makes it obvious this thank you was intended for them. Include information such as the date they came in, the location they shopped at, the products they bought, and even something about the interaction they had while in the store. This will leave a customer feeling that they weren't just another shopper who came in that day. They were special to you, which they should be if you want to build their loyalty.

Have your associates send the messages

Your associates are your front line and a powerful resource that many stores are leaving untapped. Having your associates send out your thank you messages has several advantages. First and foremost, sending a personal thank you note to each and every customer can be a time-consuming task. Using store downtime for this not only spreads the work across many employees, but also optimizes time usually spent waiting for customers to walk in. Another advantage is that associates can make their messages personal by using pieces of their actual conversation from the customer's visit. Finally, with this in mind, associates feel like more than just a replaceable laborer. Instead they are an integral part of your brand image and have a real impact on your success.

Include a call-to-action

Thank-you notes are very powerful because it is a natural touch point. Assuming we've followed the above 2 steps already, customers don't feel like they are being marketed to in that moment. This is a great time to encourage further connection and set up your next natural touch point. Including a link to other products on your website you think they may like or inviting them in for a future VIP sale or personal shopping experience are a couple of great ways to increase interaction.

Don't limit yourself to email

Over the past decades, email marketing has turned from a marketer's best friend to their worst enemy. Gmail and others have completely reworked their platforms just to automatically filter out promotions and other unwanted messages. A great SMS message is more likely to be opened and read than an email.

Take advantage of the tools available to you

Tools like Endear give your associates the ability to quickly see customers who need to be sent a thank-you, open their profile to gain insights for personalizing the message, and send the message all from one centralized platform. This will not only improve the quality of your messages, but also optimize downtime when foot traffic in your store is low.

Ultimately, just sending a thank you isn't good enough anymore. Customers are getting smarter and can easily spot an automatically generated email. A personalized message from a store associate is much more likely to be seen, remembered, and even talked about among friends. Creating this type of relationship and brand loyalty with your clients is the most valuable form of marketing you can do in today's competitive retail landscape.

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