Business accelerators: Affordable perks to attract key customer types

February 26, 2018

In the fierce competition with online retailers and chain stores, small businesses wield a powerful advantage—personalized service.

Welcoming environments, one-on-one advice, special deals for regulars—many customers seek out local businesses for the attention and positive experience. Build on that great service with loyalty programs such as Clover Rewards and extra low-cost perks, and customers will be hooked for life.

Whether you own a clothing store, café, vape shop, or day spa, the first step is to understand who your customers are and what they value most. Closely observe the people walking through the door. Gather input from frontline staff and customer data from Clover Insights. Are there particular personalities and demographic segments that your business attracts?

Next, brainstorm some simple, affordable enhancements that specific customer groups will love. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices rolling.

The Hipster

They’re younger, cooler, and more environmentally conscious, and they’re a growing segment of the market. While just 10 percent of Americans identify as hipsters, 50 percent of 18–29 year olds proudly claim the label.

To attract these customers to your business, consider these ideas: Install bike racks and air pumps for two-wheeled, carbon-free travelers. Stock coconut milk and other vegan ingredients to supplement milk-based products. Update your playlist with hip new tunes compiled by music lovers.

Or, you can step up your game and invest in a giveaway everyone likes: reusable shopping bags, emblazoned with your logo. What else can you think of that might please the younger crowd?

The Harried Parent

When you spot little ones in tow, be assured their parents are probably frazzled. That’s because young children are so easily distracted, irritable, or flat-out uncooperative.

Help parents entertain their kids, and you’ll win their hearts forever. Install a play area in your shop filled with quiet toys that capture attention—a wooden maze or old-fashioned blocks work great. Bookshops and toy stores might host a storytelling hour, inviting a local author or skilled narrator.

Even better, consider a short-term childcare service for top spenders, compliments of your staff. For an hour, parents can drop off their kids and enjoy some hassle-free time to shop, sip, or enjoy a salon experience at your location. Rest assured, they’ll be coming back for more!

The Professional

Professional people clock long hours on the job. Gallup surveys find that adults employed full-time spend 47 hours per week at work, or the equivalent of nearly six work days. And that’s just an average figure—many people put in 50- and 60-hour weeks.

And what do you think time-pressed, overextended people want most? Convenience. Pampering. Someone to take over the little tasks they just can’t get to.

That presents opportunities for connecting and building good will. If you own a clothing store, for example, you might offer garment repair, hemming, and light alterations. Jewelry stores could provide complimentary cleaning. Hair salons could give quick root touch-ups to ease clients through to their next appointments.

Busy people appreciate the care and attention you give to making their lives easier. What are some other services that might help?

The Retiree

Seniors, on the other hand, are often on the opposite end of the time squeeze, with plenty of spare hours on their hands.

What unique characteristic do your older customers share? What habits make them stand out? How can your business tap this market with loyalty perks they’ll love?

For example, retirees in your area might enjoy shopping with their dogs. If so, create a friendly space with free pet treats and water. If you own a plant nursery or florist shop, encourage customers to bring in their ailing plants for free consultations.

And don’t forget senior discounts and early-bird specials—a favorite for anyone on a fixed income.

The Penny Pincher

Whether budgets are tight or they’re just naturally frugal, many working-age people are also cost conscious. Sometimes it’s the only way to make ends meet.

While you don’t want to argue over prices or give up prime dining space to low-ticket spenders who never leave, keep in mind that cost-sensitive customers can be good for business.

Beyond price, these buyers often appreciate quality and expert advice. Consider offering personalized shopping services to steer customers to affordable, well-made work attire that won’t go out of style. You might post “best deals” on your menu or display racks. You could even offer discounted services during slow hours to keep business brisk and customers happy.

Don’t forget the surest way to reward loyal customers who appreciate a break: setting up a Clover Rewards program. This simple, free app helps you create multiple perks to reach more customers, and set up bonuses for regulars and VIPs.

Every business has its own cast of characters that frequent it. But some personality types will be especially drawn to your location, whether because of neighborhood demographics or what the business offers.

Try out free and low-cost perks that cater to particular customers—and attract more of the people you serve.

Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, SunTrust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including CardConnect, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at