How To Retain e Commerce Customer Loyalty
Competition among entrepreneurs has never been more aggressive. After all, instead of your largest rival residing a few blocks (or more) down the street, they’re now just a tap, scroll, and click away. Today we’ll discuss how you can increase customer loyalty and retention for eCommerce so you can surpass your competitors and scale your business for years to come. How to Drive eCommerce Loyalty & Increase Customer Retention
The value of loyalty is high — and quantifiable. In fact, customer retention techniques are proven to be 5 times less expensive than new customer acquisition methods. So, how can you, an eCommerce business owner, drive customer loyalty without ever seeing your shoppers face-to-face? The answer is simple:
- Adhere to Core Brand Values
- Implement Quality Customer Support
- Highlight Important Shopping/Shipping Deadlines
- Personalize the User Experience
- Provide Social Proof
- Track Customer Needs
Let’s learn a bit more about each of these 6 steps and see how they can help you drive eCommerce loyalty and increase customer retention.
1. Adhere to Core Brand Values
By identifying, establishing, and displaying core company values, you fulfill two important roles. First, company values help attract customers who are also motivated by or resonate with similar beliefs. It’s a great way to foster a deeper, emotional relationship with shoppers — and, of course, emotions promote loyalty.
Plus, brand values offer an opportunity to set your business apart from others. The values that you promote demonstrate that your company is more than just a warehouse of robots pushing products; rather, there are real humans behind the screens who are just like the customers — they have lives and families, too.
For example, some online stores focus on giving back, and donate proceeds from sales to related charities or organizations. Other companies focus on using only the most sustainable materials and business methods. No matter what moves you, be sure to share that motto, mantra, or belief with your shoppers to earn their loyalty long-term.
2. Implement Quality Customer Support
Recent studies show that around 72% of customers view quality support and responsiveness as a highly influential factor when choosing where to shop. That’s almost 3 out of every 4 customers. So, how can you realistically improve customer service when it seems that the channels of inquiry are expanding almost daily?
It all comes down to knowing what your customers need. Pay careful attention to your analytics and KPIs from the past few years, and look for patterns. Find recurring issues and common inquiries from your customer base. Locate long-term growth preferences for customer support channels, and evaluate which platforms are less utilized. Then, apportion your support staff as needed to preemptively address common problems, patrol the most popular support channels, or facilitate more effective responses.
Plus, many online stores have succeeded by using automation to help streamline internal and external communication. This method helps provide faster support to customers, but it also creates a more organized internal system of communication, facilitating more helpful support, too.
We recently published a blog post that details the 19 most important customer service metrics and how you can improve upon them. Be sure to check that out to find specific ways to elevate the quality of your customer service, which directly increases brand loyalty.
3. Highlight Important Shopping/Shipping Deadlines
One uniquity to eCommerce (versus in-store shopping) is the abundance of deadlines — the end of a sale, free shipping margins, standard or express shipping times, and Holiday delivery cut-offs, just to name a few. In recent eCommerce studies, 28% of shoppers displayed a desire for retailers to emphasize important deadlines. After all, imagine the disappointment upon finding the perfect gift, adding it to your cart, planning the packing and wrapping for it, only to discover that it won’t arrive until two weeks too late.
To avert any possible disappointments, take precautions to clearly display shipping deadlines or sale stipulations. Many online stores have found success using dynamic countdown timers. Not only does this eliminate confusion and enhance clarity (which leads to loyalty) it also fosters a sense of urgency (which increases your conversion rate, too.)
4. Personalize the User Experience
Considering all of the great eCommerce apps and integrations on the market these days, personalization is easier than ever. It’s with good reason, too, since over 80% of customers polled indicated they were more likely to shop from an online store that customized content for them. How can you more effectively personalize your customers’ UX? Here are a few ideas:
- Utilize dynamic web content to customize a shopper’s site experience based on location, demographics, shopping history, browser type, search queries, and more.
- Offer upsell, cross-sell, and down-sell recommendations based on products searched for, added to the cart, or purchased.
- Personalize messaging copy (email subject lines, body text, SMS messages) with shoppers’ names and/or relevant products to humanize your brand and grab customers’ attention.
- Send triggered emails based on a customer’s journey (abandoned cart emails, price drop alerts, back-in-stock notifications, product accompaniment recommendations, etc..) Around 24% of shoppers polled wish that more retailers would send price drop or stock notifications for items they viewed in the past or those that they buy regularly.
In regards to personalization, the key lies in providing a singular user experience across all brand platforms. So, endeavor to personalize each step of the sales funnel in any way that you can. By doing so, you’ll better meet the needs of your customers, connect with them on a deeper level, and earn their loyalty for good.
5. Provide Social Proof
Almost everyone who has shopped online has been influenced by a product’s reviews at one time or another. So, what better way is there to instill trust in a new customer, than by showing them past examples of your goodwill? Yes, by sharing customers’ reviews and ratings, you’re letting new shoppers know that your store is worthy of their purchase, too.
After all, it’s not called “social proof” without good reason; by providing solid examples of satisfied customer experiences, you demonstrate to new shoppers undeniable facts. In turn, these facts help customers feel comfortable making a purchase, one of the first steps in building a loyal relationship.
6. Track Customer Needs
At the end of the day, customers are loyal to brands that effectively address all of their needs. Whether that’s simply the finding of a solid product, or the assistance with further shopping issues, when handled properly, customers will shop again. However, how will you meet your customers’ needs if you have no idea what those needs are?
The most successful online stores are those that pay rapt attention to the details — or, their analytics. Create user personas by tracking customer behavior patterns, common pain points, overall goals, and majority demographics. Then, consider the journey a user takes to land on your site, navigate, and leave it.
By assessing each area of your sales funnel with a critical eye, you can build content strategies and marketing campaigns tailored to meet your customers’ needs. At the same time, you’ll eliminate major pain points, bugs, and issues that could otherwise undermine a customer’s experience on your site. The result of doing so is simple but valuable: you’ll build a foundation in which customers feel confident to place their trust — and, they’ll return to shop again, and again.
Increase Customer Loyalty & Retention to Surpass Your Competitors in 2022 — and Beyond
In this ultra-competitive eCommerce market, a simple website and “word-of-mouth” advertising isn’t going to cut it. You need to give shoppers solid reasoning to hit the “Buy” button on your site — otherwise, they will go to your competitors.
Thankfully, though, the methods to surpass the competition aren’t out of reach. By applying these six necessary eCommerce practices, you can increase customer loyalty and retention more effectively than ever before. Then, as you retain more shoppers, you’ll see the benefits unfold exponentially.
Unsure about your online journey? Our eCommerce experts are here to help. Whether you need a website, strategy, or just a helpful partner off of which to bounce ideas, you’ve got us. Reach out today to get started.