How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

How to Drive Sales Through Customer Retention

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Marketing to new customers is important for the long term growth of a business. However, in order for the acquisition cost to be viable, customer retention is vital.  There is no point in continually filling a leaky bucket and an acquired customer is worth two in the bush. In this blog, we cover ways you can drive repeat engagement and sales from current customers.

Here are the top marketing tactics to drive sales through customer retention and repeat purchases.

Direct marketing through SMS and email
Direct marketing is a tried and tested method of retaining customers, which is why it’s a good idea for businesses to have a clear direct marketing strategy. How you will acquire customer details, what channels you will use to speak to them, how often, and about what.

You need to remember that you should not spam your customers. Don’t send multiple emails and SMSes every week – think about how you want your business to be perceived and how you would like someone to communicate with you if you were the customer. With each interaction, you should have a clearly defined purpose. When customers give their details, make sure to inform them about the type of content you will be sending them.  Use clear calls to action if you do want a customer to buy a product/ submit a query etc.

Consider WhatsApp Business
If you’re using your and your staff members’ cell phones for business-related communication, you should consider using WhatsApp Business. It’s ideal for communicating with customers, as it’s not as intrusive as phone calls, and yet is a medium that most people frequently engage on. Your customers can inquire about what stock is available, and you can let your loyal customers know about sales and promotions through this medium.

WhatsApp Business requires a separate phone number so customers won’t be able to contact you or your employees on WhatsApp Messenger after hours. It’s simple, quick and highly affordable to use as a way to retain customers.

Make use of loyalty programmes
Aside from quality products and value for money, few things encourage customer retention quite as well as a loyalty programme. This could take the form of an instant discount on a current purchase, a free item after a certain number of purchases, a private preview of new ranges, or free samples of certain products. Keep in mind that people often find immediate reward much more satisfying. so getting one free coffee after 10, is less psychologically compelling as R2 off your next coffee. Whatever you choose to offer your customers to encourage repeat business, ensure that it is of value to your particular target market. Do your market research and speak to your regular customers about what they enjoy about your business.

Loyalty programmes tie in neatly with SMS and email marketing, as well as WhatsApp Business customer service and communication. You can make use of these mediums to let your customers know about the latest offerings available to those who are part of the loyalty programme.

Engage with your consumers on social media
Social media is a great medium to let your customers speak to you and to give them additional valuable information.

The most important consideration is keeping your content relevant to your audience. And ultimately remember that social media platforms provide you with the opportunity to have a conversation with your audience. While you’re providing them with useful information like upcoming promotions ahead of the season, they can also provide you with valuable content in the form of reviews and pictures of happy customers using your product. Don’t forget to let them know about your latest sales and specials. Letting them know in advance is great – as is giving them a reminder a day or so before.

New business matters and it’s important to attract more customers. But it is equally as important to retain the customers you have. After all, the customers you already have are the people who understand the value and quality of your offerings.

For more advice and information which could benefit your retail business, visit our blog.


 Stacey Vermaak

Chief Marketing Officer, Lulalend

Performance focused marketer who is passionate about helping businesses grow.

Retail marketing step by step

Retail marketing step by step

Reading Time: 7 minutes

How to increase web and foot traffic with online marketing

As 2018 comes to an end, it is clear that businesses that want to grow need to know how to make use of online marketing in order to drive revenue. There are a few online marketing tools that your retail business can use to get people purchasing on your website or through your store’s front door. And what better time is there to start making use of these tools than during the festive season?  Or while planning your growth for 2019.  Read on for more information on how you can use online marketing to drive web and foot traffic to your retail business.

Why aren’t all businesses using online marketing?

By now most owners are aware of how impactful digital marketing can be but many haven’t started with it themselves. Some of the main issues we hear from businesses when it comes to marketing are:
They don’t know where to start
They don’t know how much to spend
They don’t know if they are spending their money well

This article aims to address these concerns. We start with the easiest/ highest return channels for you to begin with and move on to the more advanced.

What’s Covered:

  • Making the most of GoogleMyBusiness
  • Facebook and Adwords for retail
  • Getting a return on your marketing budget
  • Tracking your sales

GoogleMyBusiness listing

Be sure to set up your GoogleMyBusiness listing for both your online and brick and mortar stores. Make sure you accurately select your type of business so that when people search for example “shoe stores sea point” – your store location shows up.

Your listing will show up when someone searches for a product you have listed as selling and the searcher is close to your business. It will also show when someone searches for your store name. And don’t worry if you don’t have a physical store location – you can set up your online store as a service area business. You can use keyword research to add keywords to your retail store’s online description. Just make sure you don’t use too many keywords as this is considered “keyword stuffing”. Once a month GoogleMyBusiness will send you updates on the number of searches and traffic generated from your listing.

Add simple posts to your listing to showcase some of your products. Add photos to help give people an idea of what to expect and drive additional feet through the door.

If you are sending to an online website then don’t forget to add UTM tracking code (discussed below) to your links so you can see which sales came through GMB.

This is the one free piece of advertising you can get on Google’s search results so you really should make use of it.

Facebook advertising and boosted posts.

Although Facebook often has lower ROI than Google Adwords it is much easier to get started with as most people are used to creating posts on the platform already. Deciding to start with Facebook or Adwords is, therefore, a tough decision to make – if you have the time/ money to invest in getting Adwords set up properly then this is definitely the recommended started point.

You can, however, start with using things like boosted organic posts and posts on Facebooks Marketplace.  As people are using this more and more to search for products it is becoming a really good and free option for getting your product in front of people. This works particularly well for niche/ local products.

You can also create posts on your page and boost these to people you want to target.

Make sure to use good quality, clear photos and have a clear call to action e.g. Buy it online, or get it in store today. In order to not waste money, it is important to think carefully about your tracking and your targeting.

For targeting Facebook allows you to specify:
Location – you can drop a pin and specify people within a certain distance from your store
Demographics including education level, parental/ relationship status
Interests including business, entertainment, family, fitness etc.
Behaviours – the device used, anniversary, consumer classification (people who prefer high-value goods etc)
And of course, whether someone has liked your page

You can dig into these and see what works for you. You can also upload email address/ cell phone lists and use these to target people.
For driving traffic to a store make sure you are using location targeting. Facebook allows you to drop a pin at your store location and target within a radius of this. This allows you to create very local messaging around a store location. Even better because people’s locations are tracked via their phone location you can track how many people actually make it to your store using store visit campaigns.

For traffic, to websites, we suggest adding UTM tracking (you can read more about this below) in order to verify facebook numbers using your google analytics account.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords allows you to reach people who are searching for the kinds of products you offer. While opening and managing an account full time can be time-consuming – it is a great way to drive direct sales for your business. Learning how to use it and setting it up to get the best return requires some experience and many businesses use agencies to help with this. Google does offer online training in the form of videos and tutorials and you can reach out to the Google Adwords support team when creating your first campaign. Neil Patel has written a great introduction here. As he says investing in Adwords spend is an investment in your business and most businesses spend huge budgets here and receive a very good return.

The main form of targeting on Google Adwords is keyword targeting. You select the keywords that apply to your business e.g. +mens +adidas, [mens running shoes] etc and use these to show your ad in front of people searching for what you offer. Match types on your keywords allow you to say how closely a search must match your selection.  You can overlay this with many other types of targeting including radius location targeting for physical stores.

Google Adwords is a phenomenal channel for getting a return on ad spend (ROAS) particularly for e-commerce stores as it allows you to match how much you pay for traffic to how much you earn from it fairly easily.

For retail, shopping campaigns can be particularly useful as they let users view your products before clicking through to your site.

Working out what to spend and how much to pay per conversion

Conversions are the actions you consider valuable and that you want site visitors or people to complete in order for you to make money. For an online store, this would be purchasing an item. In this instance, it is fairly easy to work out how much you want to pay for each conversion. You can work out how much of your profit margin/ per good you are willing to pay to make a sale.
Things get a bit more complicated with a campaign like a store visit campaign. You need to factor in the likelihood that someone visiting your store will buy something. This can be an immediate purchase or one in the future. You can also factor in lifetime value if you have an idea of how often a customer generally returns and how much they spend. Even a rough figure allows you to say that your marketing is working for your business or allows you to see if it is too expensive the current way that you are implementing it, or in your businesses current format. Both marketing and your business can be optimized to make your marketing spend more profitable but we won’t get into that here.

What you do need to do to be able to judge this is to use tracking – either UTM for GoogleMyBusiness, email, and social sites. Or conversion tracking for Google Adwords, Facebook, and other social sites. Google Adwords must be directly linked to Google Analytics. Other social sites and other platforms require additional UTM tracking.

Conversion tracking pixels can be found in all the various platform interfaces and should be implemented on your conversion completed page e.g thank you page.

Tracking and working out your return on ad spend (ROAS)

In all marketing tracking is vital. This lets you see:

  1. What marketing works for you
  2. How much revenue is generated by what marketing channel
  3. Where you can put more money and still grow profitably.

You can then use this to work out your cost per sale, and how much money you make for each channel vs how much you spend on it (In marketing we call this Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), or Return on Investment(ROI)).

Tracking Your Online Marketing
For websites – Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes

What is it?
This is a tracking string added to URL’s that send traffic to your site. E.g. the bold sections in the urls below:

What does it do?
It allows you to see where your website traffic comes from and to calculate the return on your ad spend from different campaigns.

What do you need to use it?

  1. A google analytics account correctly setup (including e-commerce and/or goal tracking)
  2. Tracking code which you can easily generate using the Google’s URL Builder.
  3. To add this code to all your posts e.g for facebook, GoogleMyBusiness, emails you send out.

This way you can analyse the traffic from each platform and see how much revenue they are driving on your website. This will allow you to pull back or invest more in different channels.

Conversion pixels, tracking codes, and Google analytics
So far we have discussed :
tracking using UTM codes in order to know where traffic to your site is coming from and
store visit tracking on facebook.
Linking Adwords direct to google analytics

In addition to these if you have a website you will want to add Facebook, Google Adwords and Google Analytics tracking to it when you use these channels.

These codes will tell you what your traffic is doing once they get to your site.

Google analytics can tell you which pages they visit and how long they are there for.

In order to know more, you need to set up goals/ e-commerce tracking in google analytics and conversion tracking from the various platforms you advertise from (Facebook/ Adwords etc).  Setting up google analytics correctly to track e-commerce sites can require professional help in order to track through your payment gateway.  Adwords and other platform conversion tracking need to be placed on your goal completed pages. For retail, this is generally the page someone reaches once they have completed a purchase. It may also be a view store location page.

With a conversion pixel, you’ll enter a pixel code into the backend coding of a specific page on your website. For example, the page after someone has made an online purchase and you’ll be able to track where that lead came from, whether it was Google AdWords or social media. This way, you can tell which medium is driving more conversions and the type of content or search terms that caught the buyer’s attention.

Online marketing is incredibly important, especially for retail stores during the festive season. So, increase your revenue by using these tips.

If you’d like to read more about taking your retail business to new heights, have a look through our blog page where we have plenty of other useful, actionable suggestions.


 Stacey Vermaak

Chief Marketing Officer, Lulalend

Performance marketer who is passionate about helping businesses grow.

Lulalend Credit Facility FAQ’s

Lulalend Credit Facility FAQ’s

Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is a credit facility?

This is a facility that gives your business access to a line of credit which allows you to draw down on available funds without us needing to do an assessment on your business each time.


What are the benefits of the facility?


  • Access to funds whenever you need them
  • Only ever pay for the funds you draw down
  • Settle early and save on future months costs


How long is my credit facility available for?

As long as you continue to trade well, the facility is available to you. Please note that you will need to remain linked via your online banking account or online accounting profile (Sage or Xero) to avoid placing your facility on hold.


How do I drawdown on my facility?

Log onto your Lulalend profile and go to the Credit Facility tab. You will see the available amount that you are able to draw down. Select the amount and click “Withdraw now”. You will then be presented with a legal agreement to sign online.


What happens to my repayment profile each time I draw down?

Each draw down cancels out the existing repayment profile and puts you on a new payment profile based on the total capital outstanding after the draw down.


When can and can’t I draw down on my facility?

You are allowed to draw down at any time, other than:

  • when you are in arrears on any Lulalend product.
  • when the Facility is placed on hold.


How much does it cost to have a credit facility?

It will not cost anything to have a credit facility product. You only ever pay for the funds you use.


What would my instalment and costs be for the facility?

Every month you pay back 1/6th of the total advanced amount plus the monthly cost. For the first 2 months, monthly costs are 2% – 6% of the capital amount drawn down and 2% for each of the remaining 4 months.


How do I increase my facility amount?

Log onto your Lulalend profile and go to the Credit Facility tab. You will see a red circle with an arrow next to Credit Facility Limit amount. You need to click on the Arrow and fill in the amount you would like to increase to.


My credit facility is on-hold, what does that mean?

This will occur when the system requires further information which has been flagged for review. A credit analyst will be in touch with you for more information if required.


Are you ready for Black Friday?

Are you ready for Black Friday?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s that time of the year where retail giants, such as Checkers, and Takealot, are already encouraging shoppers to subscribe to their mailing lists to receive Black Friday deals, promising even bigger and better discounts than they did last year.

Last year payment provider PayFast processed a massive 370% increase in sales transactions and 450% increase in the gross value for Black Friday compared to a normal busy day like payday. We also know that this year is likely to be even bigger.

If you don’t want to miss out on the biggest sales day of the year then now is the time to circle the 23rd of November in your calendar and kick your planning into gear…

To make sure you’re ready for one of the craziest shopping days in South Africa, we’ve put together some tips to maximise your sales over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.

Use these tips to make sure you get to take full advantage of this bumper sales period.

1. Plan your strategy

While Black Friday may very well be the day that breaks the Internet due to the unexpected volume of sales, it is still only one day in the year. Be aware that many shrewd shoppers use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to secure Christmas gifts at reduced prices. So while it can be great for acquiring new customers and clearing large amounts of stock, you must make sure it makes sense for your profit margin.

Getting New Customers & Keeping Them
If you plan to use this day to acquire new customers think about how you will make sure they come back:
Do they get a discount on their next purchase?
Do you get their contact details so that you can continue marketing to them?
Whatever your retention plan is, have it well planned beforehand.

Clearing Stock
If you plan to use this day to clear a large amount of stock it is worth looking at what stock you can get at reduced rates by purchasing early/ in larger quantities. It is also a great time to clear old stock by offering discounts to customers already on your database.

Choosing Your Deals
Because this may impact your Christmas sales negatively, choose your Black Friday deals carefully. Although you may be tempted to heavily discount as many items as you possibly can to increase overall sales, remember that not everybody is driven purely by discounts.

Black Friday could be the perfect opportunity to separate the deal-seekers from the value-seekers by mixing and matching heavily discounted offers with exclusive offers that may cost a little more.

Optimising Your Store
Plan your store or website layout to allow customers to see both. Using a mix of both on promotional materials will give customers a good idea of what to expect.
Those who choose the exclusive offers that cost a little more are the ones you could target for Christmas promotions at higher prices as they are most likely to respond.

2. Plan your marketing

It’s a good idea to take some time to think about how you can most efficiently get your Black Friday offering to market:
How and when will you get the word out to your current customers?
How and when will you be targeting new customers?

Look out for our upcoming mailer that covers marketing strategies for retailers with budgets of any size.

3. Purchase the inventory you need

In order to take advantage of the big increase in retail in November, you need to ensure you have enough stock on hand. Retailers such as generally suggest that you hold 2.5 times the amount of stock in November than you required in June.

If you need finance in order to bolster your stock levels you can access up to R1 000 000 through Lulalend. You can get financing in as little as 24 hours and our online paperless application process only takes 8-minutes. Why not apply today to know how much finance you can access over the period.

4. Boost your sales even further through Takealot Marketplace

Many businesses make use of online marketplaces as a way to boost their sales over the festive season. Takealot Marketplace lets you access the biggest local e-commerce audience; and also provides cost-efficient fulfilment to customers in South Africa. Apply today:


Have an online store? Click here for tips just for you 


We know that the run-up to Christmas is a time of huge opportunity for retailers and we are committed to giving them the access to finance they need to take advantage of this.


Apply Now

“We found the process of applying for a business loan with Lulalend simple, and straightforward. With the help of the loan, we increased our stock over the festive season. Without it, we would not have been able to bring in extra product lines and maximise our profit over the bumper retail period. Our profit derived from the expansion was approximately 40% of the value of the loan. We are grateful to Lulalend and would recommend them to any business looking to expand.”

Ivor Caldecott

Owner DVD’s R Us



 Stacey Vermaak

Chief Marketing Officer

Performance focused marketer who is passionate about helping businesses grow.


Black Friday Online – How To Prepare

Black Friday Online – How To Prepare

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Have an Online Store? – Some tips just for you


Since 2015 Black Friday has been taking South Africa by storm. Unlike in other markets, Black Friday actually started in the online retail space with big names like really driving it in the early days. While the brick and mortar stores have come onboard in a big way over recent years, we are still seeing huge growth in online sales over this period. Payfast, for example, processed a 370% increase in sales in 2017 compared to a normal payday weekend.

If you are in online retail the time to start planning and marketing is now. Take a look at our general Black Friday post for some general planning tips or read on for tips specific to online retailing to help you make the most out of this busy period.

1. Follow up with offers for Cyber Monday

Payment systems like PayFast experienced a 180% increase in transactions processed and 200% increase in the gross value processed on Cyber Monday compared to a normal business day. Cyber Monday is definitely not to be overlooked.

The once clear distinction between Black Friday—traditionally linked to offline retailers and long queues of shoppers at odd hours of the morning—and the online equivalent, Cyber Monday, no longer exists.

If you’re an online store with physical outlets, consider linking your in-store Black Friday offers with one-day-only upsells for Cyber Monday. If you’re an online-only store, consider packaging your Black Friday deal with a coupon code that can only be redeemed on Cyber Monday.

2. Ensure that your online store is mobile ready

Shoppers today use a variety of devices to search for and purchase goods.

If this isn’t reason enough to ensure your online store is mobile ready at all times, consider that shoppers are most likely to use their mobile devices for Black Friday purchases. If your online store isn’t accessible on mobile devices, it is likely that potential shoppers will secure their Black Friday deals from a competing store that is.

If you’re not sure whether your online store is mobile friendly, test your website using a free online tool, such as Test My Site (Google), where you can view your website at different screen resolutions.

3. Activate all your payment options

Some banks experienced issues with 3D Secure during Black Friday 2017. Fortunately, if your online store accepts payments through PayFast, you can activate additional payment methods such as Instant EFT, mobicred, Bitcoin and SCode. By activating all your payment options, you provide your shoppers with a range of payment alternatives in cases where banks experience problems due to the sheer volume of online transactions during Black Friday.

With all payment options activated for Black Friday, there would be no reason for shoppers to abandon their carts because of technical errors originating at their banks. If you don’t have a PayFast account, you can simply register online now.

4. Secure your website

With Google Chrome’s new algorithms in July of this year, Google is penalising all websites that do not have SSL certificates installed. If unsecure, your website will display a “Not Secure” notice informing shoppers not to enter sensitive information as it could be intercepted. If you’re not sure how to go about securing your website, chat to your web designer or hosting company about having an SSL certificate installed.

When you consider that the number of users doubled from Black Friday 2016 to Black Friday 2017, Black Friday 2018 is set to be epic. At Lulalend, we’ll do our bit to offer you and your buyers access to all the finance you need to take full advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend in 2018. All you have to do is follow these five tips, stock up, and ensure that your website can handle the extra traffic.

5. Get more Info regarding Black Friday

Don’t forget to read our full tips for making the most of Black Friday here if you haven’t already.


We know that the run-up to Christmas is a time of huge opportunity for retailers and we are committed to giving them the access to finance they need to take advantage of this.

Apply Now


“Lulalend has offered a simple, straightforward platform for us to be able to grow our relationship with our suppliers and expand our product range in the run up towards the season. The benefits of Lulalend’s affiliation with Takealot has meant that we were able to access far more than what any bank would have lent us in those early stages. Their funding contributed to our first year turnover of over R5m, and they have continued to help us allowing us to almost double this turnover in the second year of trading.”

Kirstyn Wanless

Owner ShopAfricaOnline