Post-holiday news always includes the retail winners and losers. 2017 was a very good year for holiday sales, yet the news continues to roll in of more store closings; Kmart, Sears, Sam’s Club, Mattress Factory, Macy’s to name a few. Sad but true, the retail landscape shifted years ago, and the future looks dismal for malls and big box stores.

I’m probably a rare bird, but I don’t think it has to be that way. Shopping online is only one type of customer experience. There’s nothing like going into a store and being able to touch and feel your selection or interact face-to-face with the caring, knowledgeable staff to keep customers coming back.

This holiday season, one such staffer made me a loyal customer of his store.

For the past two years I’ve casually observed that when shopping, store clerks will ask if you have a rewards card. When I say ‘no’, they begin ringing up my items. But, this Christmas shopping season, one big box store finally followed through with ‘the ask.’

I am a relatively new shopper at this discount store, but it’s near my home and I can shop for just about anything there. The first time I checked out, the clerk asked me the same question that every other clerk asks, “Are you a rewards customer?” I said ‘no’ and this time the clerk’s reaction was different.

The clerk went on the explain the advantages of being a loyal rewards customer and asked if I would like to join. It was the first time in years that my ‘no’ was followed by another ask. “Would you like to join?” Delighted that someone finally asked, of course, I said, “Yes!”

It’s such a simple strategy. Follow through on the ‘no’, until you get a ‘yes’. Salesmanship 101.

Rewards incentivize the shopper to return to the store again and again. Today I receive email notices of sales in my inbox. I don’t always take advantage of the offers but when I have something to buy, I use their “rewards discount coupons.” Slowly but surely, my purchases are accruing cash rewards too. Those rewards come in handy when I need to restock my freezer with my new favorite Mexican fruit bars!

One simple reaction changes the whole shopping paradigm. Why don’t other stores train their personnel to follow through with ‘the ask’?

Look at your marketing? Do you follow through? Do you ask once and move on or do you offer another compelling reason and ask again?

Putting together an integrated online marketing strategy takes coordination and execution. It requires discipline, knowledge, and grit—the persistence to run a marathon, not a sprint.

So, here’s MY ASK: Are you maximizing your marketing opportunities online? Do you have the time and knowledge to plan and execute your strategies while still managing the other aspects of your business?

No?

What if you had a loyal partner in your corner to help you grow your online presence? Would that improve your bottom line this year?

Maybe it’s time you said ‘yes’ to Next Stage Marketing.