Why bars should focus on customer retention and loyalty

by OBC Media | Published November 30, 2015

customer loyalty bulbIt’s simply human nature: we’re often obsessed with what’s new. But there’s something to be said for the things that came before: they inspire familiarity, trust, and loyalty.

The principle is no different in the bar business. You always want to be increasing awareness and your overall base of customers. But retention – hanging onto the people who have already walked in your door – is the key to maintaining a solid base, and thriving over the years. After all, it costs seven times as much to gain a new customer to retain an existing one. Increasing the lifetime value of existing customers is an excellent way to inject stability into your business.

How do you do that? One way is to reward your loyal customers with everything from white-glove service to special deals. Here are some ways to think about customer loyalty that can pay real dividends for your bar.

Meet your customers where they are.

Some of your customers will have a preference for social networks, others email, and still others mobile-based communications like push notifications. To stay in front of your customers, you should figure out ways to have a presence on all of these platforms. Your goal is to get in front of your customers as they’re carrying on about their normal day, not make them work to find you by the means you prefer.

Be mobile-first.

No matter what platforms you use to reach your customers, chances are they’ll be accessing them via their mobile phones. Communications with your customers should keep this important fact in mind: there’s a good chance you’ll be reaching them when they’re in transit and in a hurry. Do you market to your customer base with that fact in mind?

Get specific.

A bar establishment almost always cycles through different types of customers depending on their event schedule, the time of day, day of week, season, and any number of other factors. This presents a significant opportunity to speak directly to those customers who are most likely to frequent your business in specific circumstances. Have a way to speak to college students, trivia buffs, professionals, the Sunday football crowd, and lopers as distinct audiences, and you’ll make them feel listened to and cared for. This approach will then turn into dollars and cents for you.


Creating personal relationships using mobile technology is easy with the right partner. To learn more about how to do this, contact us to discuss your business goals.