I just wanted to share a few things I've done semi-recently that's been pretty cool, and not so "electronic." Since we started this, it's suprising to see the lasting effects (we've been very consistent with it).
We made some business card sized discount cards. They are suprisingly cheap to make, full color, and double sided. The best part is there's probably a Mom and Pop shop near you that can make them in like a day or two.
Here's the benefits I've noticed:
1.) It gives them a good reason to return for other purchases.
2.) It gives you a chance to show them other products you sell (use that full color front to show some product photos).
3.) You can create a unique code of course, so it's easy to tell where they got it.
4.) I got 250 of them for around $25 at a sign/print shop two blocks away from my house.
5.) There's also tons of printers online, Vista Print, FedEx, etc.
6.) It may be considered a bit more special by the consumer (you can also mention that it's for preffered customers, etc.)
We made stickers. This may not be for you, but if you're selling your own branded product (and it's something you could see people putting your sticker on something), then it's a must. Might not work too well if you're Joe's Underwear Store, or you sell a wide variety of stuff (but you get the idea).
1.) I see random pics on Instagram of our stickers on skateboards, cars, windows, snowboards, etc.
2.) We made GOOD stickers. Not cheesy white square white ones, like a garage band would make. They are on clear backgrounds, and cut to the logo in most cases. Like the Apple stickers you get with any Apple product. We make many colors, but I prefer the white ones on clear. Those look good on car windows.
3.) Getting them made is trickier than it seems. Some places do digital prints, some charge an arm and a leg for a cutting die (or other set up fees). I found Sticker Movement and we only spent like $200 total for 1,000 stickers.
Back to the discount cards... We made a special one that myself and a few others have with them when we're going to be in the appropriate place. It's a "Friends & Family" discount. It's for when you know you're gonna be asked to cough up a "hook up" or free product, etc.
1.) Depending on your margin and inventory situation, it's an easy way to give someone 50% off or something like that.
2.) It's best to just have a set discount for those situations (you're sister's friends cousin wants a deal).
3.) You can even give a few to your actual friends and family if you're always getting hit up by them for their friends.
Those are a few of the things we've done (other than abandoned cart emails and Mail Chimp newsletters), and we're always looking for other ways to get in touch other than sending people mass emails.
Any thoughts & experiences you have would be great to hear!
Great topic. As we live in a digital age, it can be easy to forget that we live in a physical, tactile world. Stickers are a fun way of creating a brand identity, and I can imagine how awesome your team feels in seeing customers have fun with your work. Yes, we all love schwag - especially when it's cool.
Something we do well is followup mail. Real mail. We have well-designed postcards printed on nice glossy paper with a message in scanned handwriting, addressed by hand, with a personal touch for each customer, thanking them for their purchase and extending a friend coupon that they (or anyone they share the code with) can get money off on their next purchase. Same goes for birthdays and other special events. We've found physical mail to get a good response and repeat rate.
Another thing we do: include something small and extra with each purchase. Good customer service is essential, as is creating a good relationship with each customer. By including a related product sample with a purchase over a certain amount, we have been able not only to encourage repeat purchases, but word of mouth has spread as well.
We can definitely vouch for stickers working great for promotion. We have brands and YouTubers and companies all around using our services for branding purposes and they've seen a huge boost in customer loyalty. :)
Now for some shameless free SELF promotion, if any of you are looking for stickers, we'd love to help out, check out the store and let me know if you have any questions. ;)