So you’ve got your E-commerce business and you’ve managed to create a great shopping experience to generate new customers, yet you still don’t seem to see them returning. To create the meaningful connections and create that loyal customer base you’re longing for, your brand must put the customers first and understand their needs. Customers remain loyal for numerous reasons with an expectation that your products are better quality than the competition and they receive a better experience than the competition. However, to keep those customers you need to leverage your businesses data and learn more about the buyer’s interest and purchasing behavior. Doing this should allow your brand to not only offer the best deals, programs, and targeted emails to customers, but also make shoppers feel valued and appreciated.
1. Don’t hit and hope
Chances are, if you’ve had some success in driving new customers to your site, then you will already know a little more about them and were they have come from be it social media or search engine etc. With this you have to ask yourself the question ‘Why am I sending all these customer the same message at the same time?’
You may use email marketing heavily, or social media or even direct mail to market your business but it is fundamental to make sure that these communications are personalised to directly target specific sets of customers. The more you tailor your communications for different audiences the more chance there is of them rewarding you with a click or a phone call or a visit.
However, personalising each communication to individual customers really isn’t a practical way of marketing. So, you make customer groups, otherwise known as segments. These segments normally contain any type of audience and they can be categorised in any way you see fit, whether it is their specific traits – such as buying or their behavior.
Obviously it’s easier do start with a few broader segments first – such as geography or age or gender – and then you can refine these once you learn a bit more about your customers.
2. You get what you give
This basically means, you give more, you get more back. In essence, you offer more to your customers and design specific offers, deals and call to actions for each segment and give them a reason to stick around. In this situation, just offering the lowest price won’t make your customer stay forever, they will just hang around until someone else offers a lower price. It doesn’t work if you decide to pay people to be loyal to your business, they need to be given a reason to believe in you and what your business stands for.
Reading the above poses the question however, that if paying for loyalty by offering low prices isn’t a good strategy, then what is? The way we see it, most people are motivated by two things – recognition and rewards. This is where you have to think about what you can offer the most loyal customers or your most engaged customers, beyond a price discount.
The important thing here is to start gaining an understanding of what your customers value most. Choice? Convenience? Exclusivity? If you don’t know, then ask them the next time you send out a communication.
You could make express checkouts for members of the site, provide exclusive material to subscribers or let specific customers have early access to new products. The list of things to think of here is endless. However, if you don’t actually have to give it all away, save the best rewards or recognition for your top two to three percent of your top users. They are probably driving the majority of your repeat business anyway and deserve it.
3. Customer loyalty – Customer service?
With the growth of social media, it has now started to become a vital role in the customer experience as it increases the visibility of customer service itself. This means if you aren’t on social media yet, you are already behind.
Research Company ‘Access Development’ reports that 79% of customers would take their business to a competitor within a week of experiencing poor customer service. With this statistic, the estimated cost of customers switching their choice of businesses due to poor service is $1.6 trillion.
We know however, that it’s not just about ensuring you don’t lose customers. Obviously loyalty is the focus here and returning customers increase you ROI we know all that, but just look at this research. Research shows those who receive a positive customer service interaction on Twitter are more satisfied with their experience, are more willing to recommend the company, and are willing to pay more in the future (I mean, again, if you’re not on social media – you’re already behind).
You can look at using specific social customer care teams who can deal with questions directed at your official channels. Done well you can turn failure into advocacy. But to stand out from the crowd and increase brand loyalty, you need to go beyond this simple tactic. Customer care is a chance to delight your customers. By using a social listening tool you can make your customer service proactive as well as responsive.
In summary, get to know your customers, treat them fairly and equitably while building a program that will recognise and reward those who are most loyal. Make sure you provide a quality customer experience and start improving your methods of customer service. Do all of this, and you will be rewarded with an ongoing share of loyal customer wallets that will cost far less than acquiring new ones!
Written by Harvey Booth - 3P Logistics