If you’ve worked in retail—or waited in line behind an irate customer—you may have heard that ridiculous, cringe-worthy phrase spat at an employee in an attempt to get special treatment, “do you have any idea how much I spend here?!”
On the surface, that may sound like someone with serious entitlement issues. But if you dig deeper, it’s actually evidence of something studies have been reporting for years: customers expect to be rewarded for their loyalty. And as an eCommerce merchant, you’re in a great position to do exactly that, especially with all the data available to you.
As part of building an addictive customer experience, you should look for ways to show your top customers—your VIP buyers—that they’re a cut above. Today, we’ll walk you through six ways to surprise & delight VIP customers and help humanize your brand along the way.
#1 / A free, unexpected gift goes a long way.
Perhaps the easiest way to delight your customers is by including a free gift with their next purchase. Ideally, look for gifts that will add value to their original order. For example, if you sell coffee direct to consumer, maybe a small pamphlet with brewing instructions, a sample of a different product they haven’t tried yet, or a branded mug would do the trick.
While you’re at, we recommend adding a personal thank you note that explains why you’re sending the gift. Humanize your brand by signing the note personally, instead of a generic, “from the team at X-Brand” or something along those lines.
#2 / Exclusive content, discounts, and offers.
A gift doesn’t always need to be something tangible. An easier way to show VIP customers they’re important might be to simply offer free shipping on their order, a discount, or give them exclusive access to products before they hit your store.
Again, remember to let them know why they’re getting this special treatment. What percentage of customers are you offering this to? Make it clear so your VIPs know they’re part of an exclusive group.
#3 / Dedicated content and emails.
If you’re collecting good first-party data, you should have contact information and at least some idea of who your customers are; tastes, preferences, sizing info for clothing brands, etc.
Your next step—use that data to write personalized content that speaks directly to your customers. Maybe let them know how to get more use out of the products they buy from you. Or, suggest complementary products based on their tastes and order history.
#4 / Start a dialogue.
While you’re busy writing personalized messaging, consider asking for feedback on your products as well. As humans, we all like to feel like experts on something. And who’s more of an expert on your products than the customers who buy/use your products the most?
Instead of asking for a public product review (benefits you), simply ask for private product feedback (benefits them). Frame the request in a way that makes it clear you’re only asking the most frequent customers because they’re the ones you’re really in business for. How can you improve your products to help them?
#5 / Reach out on important dates.
When customers join your platform, do you ask for their date of birth? If not, have a chat with your platform developer and integrate it today. Birthdays are important for several reasons.
First of all, it helps you understand the age of your customers and better tailor your marketing/offering to accommodate them. Second—and perhaps more importantly—this information gives you an opportunity to reach out on a VIP customer’s birthday and wish them well, or even send them a free, timely gift. Do this. They will remember it.
#6 / Brag about them.
Ask your top buyers if you can talk about how they use their products on your social media. Flattery is key here—your goal is to make them look great publicly. Ideally, see if you can get a little user-generated-content from them in the form of selfies or short videos with your product.
If you want to go a step further, you might even consider writing a full “interview” with them on your company blog. People love to be in the spotlight. Turn your VIPs into mini-celebrities with a full-length post about the role your products play in their lives.
Oh, but before you get started…
One thing to note before you jump into messaging your customers and writing thank you notes—avoid being creepy. These days, we’re all a little on edge when it comes to the amount of information brands build. Privacy is becoming a serious concern for customers and you don’t want to trigger any alarm bells.
When reaching out to your VIPs, make sure it feels natural. You simply noticed that they buy a ton of product from you and you wanted to reward them. That’s all. No need to include specific numbers, order dates, or reference where they were at 7PM on Friday while they browsed your site.