A loyal customer base takes years to foster. This is just one reason why so many aspiring entrepreneurs choose to align themselves with an established franchise brand instead of opening an independent start-up.
Regardless of industry, owning a brand backed by years of awareness and a built-in customer base is a tremendous competitive advantage. Still, some franchise names have more brand loyalty than others. For years, Winmark’s family of franchise brands have been the premier resale retail location for customers to find the affordable items they need – from musical instruments to clothes and sports equipment.
Here are a few reasons we’ve been able to cultivate a loyal customer base, benefitting franchisees across markets.
Power in Numbers
When it comes to brand loyalty, there is power in numbers. A brand with more locations and a longer tenure in any industry is bound to have greater recognition – and likely, customer loyalty. If someone has been going to Winmark stores for 30 years, chances are they’re not looking to switch to another brand time soon. And with the evolution of our brand, we’ve been able to accommodate a growing number of people across demographic groups.
Once Upon A Child® is the go-to place for budget-conscious parents to find toys, clothes and other supplies for infants and toddlers. As the child grows and joins extracurricular activities, parents can find affordable instruments or sports equipment at Music Go Round® or Play It Again Sports® respectively. Plato’s Closet® is the perfect place to find on-trend and cost-effective clothes during their child’s teenage years. And, when they’re ready to enter the professional world, Style Encore® has all the clothing styles the now-adult would need.
Very few brands are able to accommodate customers during each unique stage of their life, which is one of our key differentiators, and one of the ways we’ve been able to cultivate such strong brand loyalty. With our 30 years in the industry and more than 1,200 locations under five brands, Winmark has been able to nurture our loyal customer base.
Of course, cultivating brand loyalty is more involved than just being around for a while and having a lot of locations. You also need a quality product that brings customers back. Since we’re in the resale industry, each of our locations – even under the same store name – has different inventory.
Our proprietary inventory management and point-of-sale software allow us to ensure quality product in all of our stores. This system helps franchisees buy items from customers easily. It also determines the pricing of each item based on quality, style, category or product, condition and demand. Not only does this let our franchisees offer a fair price to customers looking to sell gently used items, it also ensures the inventory is high-quality and in-demand.
Engaging Our Customers
One of the best ways to build brand loyalty is to engage your customers. Fortunately for Winmark franchisees, engaging customers is built right into their business model. As a resale franchise brand, Winmark doesn’t have any national vendors or suppliers – our customers are our suppliers. This creates a strong value proposition for customers who can not only buy cost-effective gently used goods but also sell their own gently used items for a fair price.
Many of our customers start out as people entering the store to sell their items, who later become familiar with the brand and buy other items they need from the store. Even before a customer buys anything from us, they’re already engaging with our brand.
Winmark’s stature as one of the largest and most recognized resale franchises in the industry has only added to the growth of our loyal customer base. With years of experience, a quality product and regular customer engagement, it’s no surprise we’ve been able to create such strong brand loyalty.
To learn more about becoming a business owner with a built-in customer base, check out Winmark’s franchise opportunities here.