This is the last chapter in our free How to Sell Online Ebook. You will also find other tips, methods, and tools that you can use to grow your own business in the other chapters. Enjoy!
You may have missed: The most important eCommerce analytics metrics that can help you improve the performance of your store’s Traffic, Conversion, and Retention in Chapter 9.
Did you know that it is 5 times more costly to attract new customers than to retain existing ones? It makes sense, given the overwhelming time and resources to go out and find new customers, you just have to keep the existing ones happy. And, keeping them happy doesn’t lessen your profitability either. In fact, increasing customer retention rate by 5% can increase your profitability by up to 75%.
But today’s customers are more informed and empowered, traditional customer retention and loyalty strategies don’t work effectively anymore, making them more likely to switch to a competitor anytime.
Customer retention strategies and loyalty initiatives must start by asking the right questions. Which of our customers are not satisfied? Why are they not satisfied? What can we do to make them stay? What makes customers stay loyal? A study revealed that the biggest drivers of customer loyalty are product quality and customer service.
In this article, you will learn how to retain customer by understanding the above motivations, and the actions and strategies needed to encourage customer loyalty.
This complete 10-chapter guide takes days to finish. How about downloading an ebook version to read on your Kindle for bedtime reading or while you’re on the train?
1 – Do not compromise quality, deliver the products as displayed and promised on your website
88% of shoppers reported that product quality is the main reason why they stay loyal to a brand. But in an eCommerce environment, customers can’t hold and see the product in person before buying, so they can’t be certain of a product’s quality. This is why customers rely heavily on product images displayed on an eCommerce website. Thus, making product images as crucial drivers to successful conversion.
But, you should draw the line between overdoing your product presentation and posting a realistic product image. 44% of shoppers are more likely to engage with a brand that posts real pictures of its products online. More importantly, customers will keep on buying from your site if from their first product purchase you have delivered what was promised and expected.
Shoppers can easily destroy your online store’s reputation if you don’t deliver the exact product displayed on your site.
2 – Excite new customers with a warmly welcome email
Everyone online marketer talks about applying personalization in selling online these days. Is personalization limited to suggesting products people want to buy, say Hello, their name on the website page or auto pre-fill their information on forms?
Personalization is more than that. It can starts with a simple warmly welcome email sent from the store’s founder after customer’s first visit, registration or purchase on his store. A long-term customer relationship can be ignited by a sincere greeting and thank-you message.
Start encouraging your customers to register or subscribe email by presenting the benefits of doing such when they first enter your store. An example is a coupon popup that rewards a discount coupon on the first purchase to email subscribers:
Create a coupon popup to collect emails with Better Coupon Box app
Once customers have successfully subscribed, engage with them by setting up a triggered welcome email to acknowledge their registration. Craft an email that is personal and thankful. Say how delighted you are to have them visit your store and help them with anything they need. Schedule to send the email 30-60 minutes after customer registration to make it natural as if being written by a real person, not software.
With the help of Happy Email app, every new customer to your store will receive an automated welcome email in a very personal look and tone as if it was composed and sent by you.
3 – Send post-purchase survey to gauge customer satisfaction
Most eCommerce companies stop their engagement once a product is bought and delivered. However, getting and fulfilling an order is just the first step in establishing a customer relationship. Few online sellers understand that a customer’s shopping journey is a cycle, meaning it always revolves. So, what happens after a purchase is as important as the first order.
Customers will feel valued to know that you cared about how they feel after their purchase making them more inclined to buy from your store again. Create post-purchase customer satisfaction surveys to give customers a way to voice up their experience with your store.
Lazada amplifies its customer retention strategy by sending a post-purchase email satisfaction survey a day after the purchase is completed.
Sending surveys to collect customer opinions will give you great insights to improve products, service, making customer experience on your store gear more towards customers’ expectation.
4 – Deliver excellent Live Support on Facebook Messenger:
78% of consumers will not return to a business if they’ve experienced a poor customer service. Fast and efficient customer support plays a crucial part in the customer retention rate of your online business.
While the traditional on-site live chat still does a good job, you will find that transferring the channel to Facebook Messenger will make this much simpler and more convenient for both you and customers to engage with each other, even after customers leave your store.
It no more requires customer support agents to get online or email correspondence if customers send messages when you’re offline. Instead, you can instantly chat with customers on Messenger anytime anywhere with your mobile devices.
While eCommerce sees an average email open rate below 20%, chat open rate on Messenger can be higher than 90%. That means you can be assured that most of your customers will read your product advertising messages on their Messenger.
Integrate a Facebook live chat widget on your store with Quick Facebook Chat app
5 – Gamify your loyalty program
Loyalty programs aren’t just about offering incentives for purchases anymore. Upgrade your activities with game elements to get your customers excited to participate. Utilize tiers, leaderboards, and badges to motivate your shoppers or start a friendly competition to create a buzz around your brand and tap into your shoppers’ social networks.
Gamification adds more excitement to your shoppers’ overall shopping experiences. Ultimately, it amplifies customer engagement and fosters positive reviews of your brand and products to help you drive customers in repeat purchases.
Target has a Cartwheel coupon app which gives shoppers online access to its on-going deals and promotions. But, the best thing about the Cartwheel app is its gamified component. It encourages shoppers to earn badges by finding deals on certain products:
6 – Integrate Advocate Loyalty with User-Generated Contents
Turn your shoppers as brand advocates by encouraging them to create user-generated content (UGC), anything that a customer posts online about your product or brand. UGCs may include pictures, ratings, reviews, blogs, etc. Users who interact with ratings and reviews are 105% more likely to buy. Moreover, UGC creators have an average 300-700% higher conversion rates too.
As you encourage shoppers to create UGCs, make it a rule to engage with them. If shoppers have social media updates about your brand or product, make sure to like, favorite, retweet and share them. You can also incorporate galleries on your site by using the photos they’ve shared on social media. Just like how Bed, Bath, and Beyond features photos from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with their “Show Us What You Love” on-site campaign.
7 – Increase personalization techniques
86% of consumers say personalization plays an important role in their buying decisions. Today, personalization has become advanced that websites can now address website visitors by name. 87% of shoppers said that when online stores personalize, they are driven to buy more.
Show shoppers the products related to what they have previously browsed and bought using personalized recommendations. Send them relevant product reviews, images, and ratings to drive them to conversion. Shoppers like to feel special, so give them a personalized experience that showcases who they are and how important they are to you.
Amazon is highly recognized by implementing a highly effective personalization technique. In fact, 75% of shoppers said Amazon offers the most personalized experiences. While Amazon has their own in-house department to develop and optimize personalized recommendation algorithms, small and medium online stores have none and cannot afford an engineering team for this.
Apps like Personalized Recommendation come extremely helpful to help small & medium online businesses implement this strategy on their store. The algorithms are built with the capability to collect & analyze data, then learn from the data patterns over time to generate most relevant recommendations to each customer.
8 – Stay fresh and relevant with useful and engaging contents
Do not try to force a sale at every customer interaction. Instead, engage with your shoppers by creating high-quality, fresh, and relevant materials that help their needs or solve their problems. Customers are attracted to online stores that offer more than just their products. And great contents do that. You can communicate your brand message, and reinforce your position as a niche authority.
People are more drawn to contents and they keep your brand stored in your shoppers’ subconscious. You can use written content in the form of blogs, however, highly engaging contents are a mixed of imagery such as infographics, how-to manuals, and most especially, videos. Today, videos are booming marketing contents that promise 10-times increase in ROI.
BirchboxMan creates beautiful guide videos to help its shoppers with common men problems.
9 – Celebrate customer milestones like birthdays and anniversaries
68% of businesses lose shoppers because they feel that the company is uncaring about them. What better way to make someone feel extra special than to celebrate special days such as birthdays and anniversaries?
Your customers’ birthdays and their registration anniversaries are great avenues for interaction. For example, email them a happy birthday and subsequently, offer a free product and exclusive deals or integrate your loyalty program by giving them extra points. Compared to traditional marketing emails, birthday emails have a 179% higher click through rate and 342% higher revenue per email.
Marks and Spencer sends a celebratory birthday email to its shoppers.
10 – Establish a sense of community with Corporate Social Responsibility
Nowadays, shoppers are critical thinkers. They buy products because they want to be associated with the morals and values that a company upholds. They want a brand that aligns with their personal beliefs. This is where the practice of corporate social responsibility is a good opportunity to establish a long-term relationship with your customers as 93% of shoppers are more loyal to companies that engage in corporate social responsibility.
Customer retention and loyalty should go beyond short-term activities and monetary incentives. Long term activities, such as corporate social responsibility, have a bigger impact and widespread recognition to your target market. For example, Sephora started a Sephora Stands campaign which aimed at empowering 100,000 people with its beauty Bootcamp and mentorship classes.
Make every moment last
It’s a universal knowledge for online businesses to understand that attracting new customers are more expensive than keeping existing ones. And there’s the probability principle that states 80% of future revenue will come from 20% of existing customers.Thus, the success of an online store relies heavily on the value that customers can offer over their lifetime.
Faced with informed and empowered shoppers, customer retention and loyalty strategies have become more sophisticated. To harbor retention and loyalty, online businesses must drive authentic customer emotions — satisfaction, trust, authenticity, and engagement, above any short-term incentives.