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Building a Core of Repeat Business

By: Catherine Burrows - Updated: 2 Feb 2011 | comments*Discuss
Building A Core Of Repeat Business

Regardless of the state of the economy, starting a successful art business relies on one golden rule: build your business with a solid core of repeat business. This gives you added security and also increases your profits. Whatever the nature of your art business, this principle always applies.

Why Repeat Business is so Important

When art business owners are new to the game and bursting with enthusiasm they often become so consumed with attracting new business that the value of regular clients is overlooked. It’s a dangerous practice for several reasons:
  • Attracting new customers incurs very high costs. You will need to set aside a larger proportion of your budget to generate publicity and run advertising campaigns.
  • Repeat business encourages ‘brand loyalty’. Even art needs a brand and it acts like the glue that binds customers to your business.
  • Loyal custom is a valuable source of new business. If you have customers who keep coming back to your business with good reason, you can be certain that they will be telling their friends and families about their experience with you. Word of mouth publicity is by far the cheapest and most powerful form of advertising a business can generate.

How do you Attract Repeat Business?

Another common pitfall for art entrepreneurs is to believe that price is the main motivation for keeping customers loyal. Price is a major factor in any buying decision, especially during times of economic hardship. However, if art is one of the first things that falls by the wayside when times are tough, having a good reputation in the market will guarantee that you will be able to generate some business.

The art business is often personal and emotive. Customers in this sector will be more likely to buy with their hearts as well as their minds!

If price isn’t the driving force behind your core of repeat business, what is?

Outstanding customer service

Outstanding customer service will keep your business uppermost in your customers’ minds. It must stand out from other businesses. The buying experience from the moment they step into a gallery or log on to a website to the moment they hang their new purchase must be outstanding. Hanging on to your customers means looking after their needs and interests long after their last purchase from you.


As well as selling quality art, your service should be consistent. This is the main idea behind building a brand. People are initially attracted to your business by their affinity with the art or the gallery. Stick with the stuff you know your regular customers like, give them consistency and security.

How do you Hang on to Repeat Business?

The strategies for developing a good core of repeat business are very simple and extremely cost effective but sadly often overlooked. Get ahead of your competitors by making sure you address each and every one of them.

Get to Know What your Customers Like

Get to know exactly what your customerslike about your business and act on it! When they visit your business or make a purchase, ask them about their buying decisions and experience with you. Listen, log their responses and capitalise on the valuable information. When they see you do this, they are more likely to return. It’s a simple process that can be verbal or with a short questionnaire or survey. Don’t bombard them with questions though. It must be subtle and targeted to succeed.

Stay in Touch

Stay in touch with your customers and work hard to build a relationship. When they walk away from the gallery or your business, make sure that’s not the last you see of them. Send them cards at Christmas, update them with information about your business with an informative and interesting newsletter or direct them to a blog. Do these things and make sure your company stays in their minds or pops up on a regular basis.

Make Them Feel Special

Make your customers feel special. Nobody wants to be one of the crowd. This is a powerful tool employed by the biggest companies throughout the world with loyalty schemes and exclusive club membership schemes. Offer loyal customer discounts, priority tickets to viewings or open evenings and special previews of your work.

The Best After Sales

Make your after-sales care second to none. Long after their dealings with you, ensure they know they can still approach you for advice. If you impress on your customer that you are happy to go on looking after their needs, you are the first business they’ll return to when they wish to make another purchase.

Set in place systems for building and maintaining a core of repeat business and you’ll find that your profit margin will increase and you will establish a strong safeguard for the future of your business.

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