With so much pressure to attract customers, small business owners often forget about how to retain them.

However, if they have the right payments solution – that not only helps them get paid but also gives them access to valuable customer and business data – they can leverage it for more than simply tracking sales. Using the right data at the right time will allow small businesses to adjust their strategy to better connect with customers and offer meaningful incentives.

Analysts believe the holiday deals have only begun and with a high-performing shopping season in place, it’s a good time of year to build lasting relationships with customers and set up your business for success in the New Year.

A study by BIA/Kelsey and Manta found that 61% of small businesses get more than half of their revenue from repeat customers – so while this season is critical, repeat business is imperative.

We know turning a first-time customer into a longtime client can be challenging. So once you’ve acquired a customer, how do you keep him or her coming back?

As we’ve seen with tailored marketing tactics and countless other experiences like daily deals, customers respond to incentives that reward their behavior. But deep holiday discounts are not a sustainable way to keep customers coming back, and new technology can often be expensive or hard to implement.

Enter the power of data. Data can provide more insights than just a business’s revenue. In fact, using existing data – like sales data from a payments solution – can help small business owners learn more about their customers, develop insights and ultimately grow their business.

There are a few easy ways small businesses can rethink what data can do for them.

Payments data not only shows how much money a business has made, but can also provide insights into different trends and buying patterns. For example, using this real-time data, small business owners can easily update their inventory or services based on seasonal buying patterns and create a more personalized, pleasurable shopping experience for their customers.

Payments data can easily identify the most preferred products or services, helping you maximize selling opportunities and increase revenues. Plus, by using a cloud-based payments solution, small business owners can easily view the progress of their business and make quick business decisions anytime, anywhere.

A well-executed rewards program not only helps retain customers but also builds brand loyalty for small businesses. Data can help small business owners identify less frequent shoppers and offer tailored incentives that are most relevant to customers to drive traffic. When you can easily see what purchases customers make, you can offer relevant offers or promotions to re-purchase or recommend a similar product or service.

While not all customers may be shopping at a storefront, small business owners can offer incentives on the social media channels and apps their customers use most. Not only can small businesses offer special promotions to their business on social media, but they can also offer incentives to gain new followers and grow their brand on those channels.

Perhaps you offer a discount or special add-on if someone likes your Facebook business page or checks in on Yelp. Once you’ve got an online audience on the social channels your customers frequent most, there are many ways to engage with them – whether it’s creating special online shopping events, posting visually interesting content or offering unique online codes.

John Shapiro

John Shapiro

John Shapiro is director of product management of payments at Intuit