Customer loyalty is the defining factor that separates a successful retail business from a struggling one. Retaining loyal customers who shop frequently, leave positive reviews, and recommend store products to others should be the pinnacle goal for all retailers. Regardless of the specific nature of your business, building customer loyalty is crucial and requires an investment of your time and effort. For retailers with ecommerce sites, we've put together a list of tips, tricks, and suggestions to help you maximize customer retention through your website and sell, sell, sell.
Quality is King: Deliver Products as Advertised
Unlike in-person shopping, when customers browse ecommerce sites, they can't handle and inspect items to determine whether or not they should buy. Online customers rely heavily on product photographs, descriptions, and physical and technical specifications to help them make informed decisions. When ecommerce retailers deliver what is promised and expected, they greatly increase the likelihood that their first-time customers will return and their regular shoppers will become loyal customers. Delivering products as advertised will cause customers to associate your brand with quality.
Welcome Emails Work: Start Engaging Customers Right Away
Just because your store is online without sales associates to greet shoppers at the door, doesn't mean you can't create opportunities to virtually engage with customers. By crafting a non-invasive pop-up on your ecommerce site that invites visitors to register or subscribe to your email list, you'll have a better chance of collecting valuable subscribers without having to wait until they reach the checkout page to get their email address. Once a visitor has filled out the pop-up form with their first name and email address, you can send them an automated welcome email.
Show You Care: Gauge Customer Satisfaction with Post-Purchase Surveys
When shoppers come to your ecommerce website and place orders, it signifies the beginning of your relationship with them, and that relationship won't end with order fulfillment. Consumers who like your website and purchase items will be the easiest to entice back, but only if their overall shopping experience on your ecommerce site was positive and satisfying. This is where post-purchase surveys come into play. By sending shoppers a follow-up email that asks a few simple questions about how happy or disappointed they are with the goods they received, you will show you care while providing an opportunity for unhappy customers to bring their dissatisfaction to your attention before they have a chance to vent online with a negative review.
DM & Messenger: Provide Excellent Live Support on Social Media
If you don't operate a brick-and-mortar retail store, then you can't offer your shoppers an in-person customer service desk where they can get their questions answered. But that doesn't mean you can't provide excellent live support. Offering strong customer service is even more important for ecommerce sites, because online shoppers tend to be wary of new brands. That wariness grows exponentially when brands make it difficult for customers to connect with ecommerce store representatives. People are accustomed to the immediacy and convenience of social media, and wise businesses use this to their advantage by providing excellent live support on their social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. Ecommerce retailers can build customer loyalty quickly when they make sales staff available to answer questions via DM and messenger.
Take It Personally: Increase Personalization to Promote Sales
One of the biggest benefits of having an ecommerce site is that you can track, record, and monitor your visitors' browsing and purchase histories, and collect valuable customer analytics based on those. For regular brick-and-mortar retailers, accomplishing this is hardly possible, especially when people browse without buying. With strong algorithms in place, your ecommerce site can recommend relevant products to browsers as they peruse your website. By providing this high level of custom personalization, you can increase conversion and turn visitors into buyers effortlessly. When customers experience a helpful interface like this, they often appreciate the personalized touch, which in turn can build trust. Remember: without trust there is no customer loyalty.
Real Relationships: Offer A Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty rewards programs aren't just for in-store shoppers anymore. In fact, as retail shifts towards the digital space and retailers find more success with ecommerce, digital rewards programs are on the rise and far more popular than the old plastic scan card systems. This is great news for business owners who deal exclusively in ecommerce. By offering an easy sign up method to join your loyalty program on your website, you can incentivize your customers to enroll without having to expend energy convincing them. Look for a loyalty program that's fully digital, comes with a mobile app, and has auto-triggers that prompt personalized push notifications, SMS text messages, and promotional emails.
It's been stated a million times, but it bears repeating: it will always cost retailers far less money to retain their existing customers than it would for them to acquire brand-new customers. If you've been with the Loyal~n~Save blog for a while, then you're up to speed in terms of why that is, but in case you've just joined us, our previous article What Is Customer Retention? explains why increasing customer retention is a more profitable goal to set than acquiring new customers.
When it comes to increasing customer loyalty, rewards programs really do work for ecommerce retailers. When structuring your customer loyalty rewards program, be sure to give special attention to the following must-have features:
The Best Bots: Prioritize Customer Service
Ecommerce customer service is a slightly different animal than the customer service that is offered in-store. But just like the customer service counter at a physical retail location, the customer service you offer needs to be accessible and understandable. Luckily, with the right digital loyalty rewards program, you can provide your customers with the means to contact you with their questions and concerns, and the best part is that they won't have to wait in line.
Exclusivity is Key: Provide Exclusive Perks
The main reason customers enroll in loyalty programs is to receive discounts and ultimately get the biggest bang for their buck. But offering sales to your loyalty members shouldn't be the only perk. You can show your loyal customers that you appreciate their business by extending free shipping offers to them on their next order. Exclusivity is key when designing exclusive perks, so be certain that your regular customers won't have access to your loyalty program incentives. This way, you can leverage those incentives to encourage program enrollment.
All in the Fam: Give Customers an Exclusive Peek into Your Business
When a customer signs up for your loyalty program, a brand-new relationship between that customer and your ecommerce brand is forged. But how much does the new loyalty member really know about your brand? A worthwhile and exclusive rewards offer we recommend is to give your loyal customers to peek behind the curtain of your business. You can follow up with new enrollees by sending an email that details some behind-the-scenes action at your company, or you could include deeper glimpses into your business as part of your rewards tiers. This will create a feeling in the heart of the loyalty member that they are a part of your brand's family.
No Shopper Left Behind: Set Up a Retargeting Ad Campaign
Ecommerce retailers know all too well that shopping cart abandonment is real. Visitors are known to peruse websites, collect items in their virtual shopping carts, and then leave before they start the check-out process. This can mean significant losses in revenue for retailers, but only if those shoppers never return. When it's your loyalty members who are abandoning their carts, at least you can do something about it. With a digital loyalty program in place, you can set up a retargeting campaign that will automatically issue push notifications, SMS text messages, or emails to customers who forget to purchase their shopping cart items and leave your website or loyalty app. By using friendly reminders, you will be able to recover income that might otherwise be lost to cart abandonment.
In Touch & Easy to Reach: Offer Multiple Channels for Communications
Your social media accounts are great channels for your customers to use to reach you, but they shouldn't be the only channels. Ecommerce sites that have pop-up chat boxes designed to initiate a conversation give visitors an immediate line of communication, should they have a question. Your loyalty program should have a chat box, also, especially within its app if it comes with one. Finally, though your business might be fully digitized, it's important to include a telephone number where customers can speak with you or a representative of your business, so make sure your loyalty program displays that information clearly. When it comes to building customer loyalty, providing your customers with as many channels for communication as possible will benefit you.
Apps Are Everything: Launch an Ecommerce App
Most loyalty programs have gone digital, at least in part, which means that loyalty programs are seeing a surge in mobile apps. If you haven't yet built an ecommerce app, your loyalty program can double as one. These days, for the average consumer, apps are everything because they offer convenience, immediacy, and a fast checkout experience. With a few taps of the smartphone screen, your loyalty members can quickly connect pertinent banking information to the secure loyalty app and start earning points by shopping at your ecommerce store directly within the app itself. By providing your customers with an easy way to shop when they aren't in front of their desktop or laptop computers, you will be able to create additional streams of revenue for your business.
No matter what specific industry your ecommerce business functions within, it's safe to say the marketplace is highly competitive. Engaging your customers is more important now than it ever was before, and thanks to the popularity of digital interaction, you can keep your shoppers engaged through social media, email, and special loyalty offers when they join your customer loyalty rewards program. With Loyal~n~Save, your ecommerce website can be a hub of customer loyalty for your brand. Our digital technology includes an integrated loyalty app, and if you operate a retail location in addition to ecommerce, no problem. We've got you covered.
This article was written by Loyal-n-Save, an omni-channel customer loyalty solution for retailers looking to increase customer retention and new customer acquisition.