Building customer loyalty: how to stay one step ahead in ecommerce
The customer is king these days. If your customers, website visitors or potential buyers are not satisfied with your business or product, at some point you will have to fight for economic survival.
So what is crucial to be a successful online business?
Customer acquisition is definitely an essential component, but this can be very difficult and expensive. For this reason, it is especially important to create customer loyalty among your existing clients. If you have a few existing customers only, you should analyse your sales strategy and figure out if you need to make any changes.
Build loyalty among your existing customers
Attracting new customers is not only necessary but in most cases also time-consuming and expensive. Therefore, you should always remember that investing in existing customers may be very worthwhile and correspondingly cheaper.
Many customers appreciate good service and prefer a seller with whom they have already had a positive experience.
This article is about building customer loyalty to your company. Read on and find out how you can improve it.
Turn your customers into fans
It is advisable to give your customers the opportunity to interact. This can be done through a forum or social media, one of the key drivers of e-commerce. Make your community feel like they are part of something special. You can, for example, organise a competition or you can launch coupon promotions.
See the chart below to check e-commerce conversion rates by social networks.
How can you turn your customers into fans?
- Take time to please your customers so that they recommend your shop.
- Take time to get to know your customers well and talk to them.
- Create a strong community that has a positive effect on your brand.
- Share updates.
- Give your customers the opportunity to enter into dialogue. This way you will get a lot of useful feedback.
- Value your customers and make them feel welcome.
- Remain authentic and be honest.
- Make sure your dealings with them are always friendly and humorous.
A positive digital shopping experience increases customer loyalty. Talk to your customers personally and focus your offers on specific target groups. Develop apps to be closer to your customers and make sure that your customers are informed about your offers and updates.
What could personalisation involve?
- A personalized newsletter with relevant offers and information.
- A service app: be there with offers for your customers – at the right place and at the right time.
- Personal recommendations: if your customers are satisfied with your store they will recommend it to others.
- Individualised customer service and individualised customer support have a positive effect on sales figures, brand loyalty and trust.
If you reward your customers for loyalty, they will think twice before buying from another store. For example, your buyers can collect points or receive bonus cards and vouchers. Make it clear what your customers will be missing if they do not participate in the bonus programmes.
Free shipping can be your reliable marketing tool and online sales booster. Free delivery is an important factor that can either lead to the customer leaving the store without finalising purchase or to the successful execution of your sale. So add the shipping cost to the selling price. For the customer, nothing will change as far as the total cost is concerned, but from a psychological point of view, your offers become more attractive.
Of course, it is also important that your products are delivered on time, especially when they need to be sent abroad.
Watch out! Delivery times may have the biggest impact on customer loyalty to your online store. Dissatisfied customers who had to wait a long time for their delivery tend to give very poor reviews.
Free & uncomplicated returns
Complaints and returns are always time-consuming and stressful. For this reason, returning goods should be free of charge: ensure a simple process requiring little effort from your customers. This will create trust and will lead to customer loyalty.
Make everything user-friendly
Make sure that your site is self-explanatory and easy to use. Optimise the online shopping experience for your customers.
Be there at critical moments
Do not forget the cornerstones of excellent customer service: speed, efficiency and professional support are the basis of customer satisfaction and a positive shopping experience. Support should be provided not only via email or telephone, but also through other channels such as social media, Skype and chat.
As for online shopping, there may be some critical points where potential buyers need support. If you are there for your customers at these critical points, you will improve your conversion rate and your customer loyalty.
What are critical moments? For example, if the customer has a question about a service, an item or a product in the shopping cart. Hence, the accessibility of your support service is very important and often decisive for completion of the sale.
In a nutshell…
Closing the deal is very important, but it only marks the beginning of a long-term relationship. You should of course take time to attract new buyers – but it is absolutely crucial to help your existing customers bond with your online store.
Bear in mind the importance of:
- Building loyalty among your existing customers and turning the potential ones into fans
- Personalisation in your approach
- Rewarding your customers for loyalty
- Free shipping & returns
- Timely delivery
- User-friendliness & general customer support.
So work on creating customer satisfaction, so that they remain loyal to you. This costs less than acquiring new customers and provides an enormous advantage for your business.
Finally, remember that the cheapest solution may work to your benefit short-term, but may turn out to be pretty costly long-term.