When a business collects customer information, it is building a database that will be one of the most important assets the company can have. This allows them to send promotional offers, new product info, and store related news directly to their customers—one of the most cost-effective ways to build loyalty and drive repeat business. Yet, most small retailers fail to capture this information and recognize the benefits of targeted marketing.

Email Marketing

Why should you collect your customer’s email address? Even though social media has received a lot of attention, email marketing continues to be at the top of the list for most cost-effective ways to market directly to customers. In 2015, email marketing reported an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent.

Getting their email address may feel like an inconvenience during checkout, but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a list of 6 ways to quickly gather customer email addresses without diminishing their experience:

1. Train Your Employees

You can develop a script for your employees to follow, then have them practice with you. Because time is very important in the checkout line, make sure it’s short and direct. Your employees should also be able to explain the benefits of your marketing, while quickly scanning their items.

2. Sales Etiquette

Customers are more likely to trust your sales people and provide their personal information when treated in a warm and friendly manner. Have a genuine interest in their questions and concerns. And, always remember to thank them for shopping in your store.

3. Set Goals

In order to make it fun and enticing for your sales team, set realistic goals and reward their efforts. Cash and gift cards to their favorite places are always a big hit. When you reach a certain amount, throw a pizza party to celebrate everyone’s efforts.

4. Use Signs

Before they speak with a sales person at the counter, have a couple signs in the store that communicate the benefits of giving their email address. This is also an effective way to present the details in a nonintrusive way, while letting them know about how their email address will and will not be used. Enticing your customers to “sign up” is a better way of gathering information, than having your sales team ask for it.

5. Incentives for Signing Up

People have the expectation that they will get something of value in return for their personal information. You can provide them a small discount on their next purchase. Make sure the discount is sent to their email account and have them confirm that the address is correct.

6. Alternative Ways of Getting Information

It may be easier for your customer to write their email address by hand, while waiting in line. All they need is a clipboard with a pencil, a lined page, and plenty of space to write their address. You could also use a small notepad, one that they can tear the page off and hand it to the cashier, so they aren’t sharing their personal information with everyone else in line.

Improving the Customer’s Experience

Target marketing is the most effective method to reach your customers and generate more business. Your customer database places you in direct contact with your customers. And, you are improving the customer experience in your store when they take advantage of a promotional offer.

Did you know that the cost of acquiring a new customer is five to twenty-five times the cost of retaining one? Repeat business saves your company time and money. Happy customers pass along valuable recommendations to family and friends, as well. Remember that people have a tendency to change their email address, so always make it easy for them to update their information in order to avoid any loss of your most precious commodity.