Sign 'em up and keep them for life

Tont Gattari share a few amazing gems from a successful sports store 

There is a sporting goods retailer that has been in operation for almost 30 years. It started from humble beginnings in a small shop on a main road, in a suburb that had a large amount of families, who were keen on their sport. As time went on the store started to attract a loyal following, and the owner had to expand the store, by taking more space next door, as well as using the space above the shops, and across the road. As word got out about this retailer, people started to travel far and wide to shop there, and because during this time a lot of the famous sportspeople were not given sponsorships, they came to purchase their sporting goods from this suburban retailer.

 Every time a person came to the register to purchase their goods, they were asked if they would like to be on the mailing list to receive a catalogue. This retailer would normally send out 2 catalogues each year, and people young and old would wait anxiously for it, as it would show the latest range of sporting goods for the start of each season. Once it arrived at the person’s house, the customer would remove the protective plastic covering, and start to circle all of the products they wished to buy. Then they would make the pilgrimage to the store, to not only purchase the new sporting equipment, but also to marvel in the extensive range of products.

 During the recession, whilst most businesses closed down, this retailer went to the bank for a loan, and moved to larger premises. Now this retailer could really make a statement to the consumer, by showing off their amazing range of product. This retailer who started from humble beginnings, was now an institution, whose following could not be wavered. The mail order department would ship goods to the USA, Pacific region, South-East Asia, Africa, UK, and Europe. The mailing list which started by signing up locals from the area, become a subscription of 80,000 people. This retailer spent most of its advertising on this catalogue, opened 5 more stores, and become the largest in its category in the world. All because the owner built a database, and taught his register operators to ask people would they like to be on the mailing list.


Whilst searching for new customers is important, when they are in the door, and have purchased from you, why not work on keeping them for life. In a highly competitive market place, being consistent and treating people like family may need extra support, through developing a mechanism, whereby you can continuously inform and keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis. Collecting your customer names, and measuring their transactions on a database is a great tool to start the process of communicating with your customer, and testing and measuring the effectiveness of this communication, by measuring;


  • The amount of times the customer purchases from you,
  • The average spend of your loyal customers, versus your other transactions,
  • What your loyal customers buy from you, so that you can focus your energies on these areas of the business, that produces the most fruit.


Also by keeping a database, and effectively communicating to your loyal customers, can reduce your cost of customer acquisition over time, as you can move your more costly spending on blanketed marketing efforts, to a more refined campaign that is targeted at people who you know will buy from you.