The customer database, or more commonly known as the customer file in the trading world, is the starting point of any commercial success. The term database is often scary because it equates with data security and related problems, let’s talk about client files.
As its name suggests, it is a file that includes all the contact details of your customers and prospects. And when we talk about contact details, it is not just the first and last name of a contact, a physical address, an email and/or a phone number. A quality customer file can and must contain all the information necessary for the proper functioning of your activity. Date of first purchase, average basket, anniversary date, mobile number, date of last purchase… It is up to you to decide what you want to appear there! Of course, this is not to be taken lightly or to be done haphazardly.
This data will be used to keep in touch with your customers and be able to offer them personalized messages. The goal is to retain them and keep them coming back to your points of sale or your e-commerce site with content that will appeal to them.
If this sounds easier said than done, there are many ways to enrich your customer database. More or less easy to set up, online or offline, we will show you several actions that will allow you to optimize your customer file.
Enrich your customer file online
We start with online data collection because the possibilities are multiple and the immediacy of the web helps a lot. One of the big advantages of web collection is that after a set-up time, it subsequently becomes autonomous and requires little human interaction.
A website and content
The first entry of your customers and prospects online is your website. So it is imperative to use it to collect data in order to be able to keep in touch. There are several possibilities for this:
- A newsletter subscription – So it may seem like a long time to do a newsletter, but you don’t have to make it a weekly one. You can plan it monthly, it is the minimum essential for any self-respecting business. This gives you time to prepare it.
- A contact form with at least the email and name fields
- Create free content to download: white paper, guide, infographic, video … You put all these things for free download after filling out a form. Advice: do not put too many fields because you will slow down your visitors!
- An immediate reminder button or an appointment booking page depending on your activity
It is a non-exhaustive list of actions to be implemented on your site which will quickly contribute to the expansion of your prospect customer file. It is then up to you to store your data in an Excel file or in customer relationship management software (CRM) if you have.
Data purchase or rental
You have just set up or launched your site, and you want to build up a database to prevent the launch of your activity? So buying or renting data can be a good way to create your first customer file. However be careful with the choice you are going to make, buying and renting are different and have advantages and disadvantages.
The advantage of purchasing data is that it gives you the contact details directly. On the other hand, when purchasing a customer file, you don’t know when it was made. Contact details are often more than six months old and quickly out of date. The price is also very high. Pay attention to the providers you buy from. You may end up with a poisoned gift!
Renting is a safer way. You have strong targeting possibilities from the start: geographic area, age, gender, socio-professional category, interests… The advantage is that these data are generally up to date. Once your criteria have been chosen, you will send your message to the rented base. You do not have access to names and information when sending, so remember to put reminder coordinates or a link to a form to retrieve the information.
Another fun way to retrieve data for your customer file is the quiz. Via e-mailing, on social networks or on your site, you have several possibilities to make it accessible.
The mechanics don’t have to be complex, just a simple raffle entry and you’ve got a working giveaway. You just need to write the rules well with a description of the operation and the details of the prizes. In this regard, you need to plan for fairly large gains (depending on your activity) otherwise you will not be of interest to your prospects and customers.
If you want a more successful game, you can go through ready-made platforms to create your game. Installed on a mini-site or on social networks, you will have the choice in the type of game (Memory, one-armed bandit, skill game…) and improve its virality.
Obtain point-of-sale data
You have a physical point of sale so there are also little tips to regularly complete your customer file. Here are some methods to collect in your points of sale!
This is the simplest and most natural method, direct request remains the number 1 asset to enrich your customer file. When checking out, you can simply ask for a name and email or phone number. Here is the first step to constitute a customer file.
The risk is that you will be told no, but you have to say that it is to offer benefits from time to time or to provide super interesting content and improve your customer’s experience.
You have surely already seen tablets in your points of sale. This accessory is very useful for distributing content (videos, catalogs, games, etc.) and for collecting data on your customers. Registering for an event, participating in a competition, all means are good to make your customers want to register.
Unfortunately, this device has a bad reputation and most people think it costs too much. This is not true! Today with the democratization of consumer tablets, they have become very accessible and very easy to configure.
Creating your loyalty program is an effective way to enrich your customer database. In the same way as a competition, it is a win-win method. Indeed, your customer gives you information and expects it again in return. It’s up to you to choose whether you prefer the good old paper version or go through a digital loyalty program.
The classic form
Less gadget than the tablet, there is still the classic form to fill out. Paper coupons, a form that you will fill out on your cash register software, a QR code placed in your store, surveys are all means of obtaining information about your customers.
As with a form on your website, do not put too many fields to fill out otherwise your customers will be turned off. They will therefore not take the time to complete your form.