You don’t just open up shop online one day and expect droves of loyal customers to come out of the woodwork. Retention is not about finding new customers but valuing and maintaining our current customers. However, these days when the concept of brand durability is continually brought into question, how can an online store fight back against market saturation?
Here at Elkfox, we’ve put together a collection of strategies to retain your customers by fostering brand investment.
Personalization is the trend that’s driving customer loyalty in 2018. 80% of customers are more likely to do business with a company if they supply them with a personalized experience. However, many online stores reproduce a watered down approach of what AI has made possible today in the field of personalization. Shopify stores can create an experience that’s so tailored to customers’ desires that what they’re looking for is front and center of their screen.
Using AI, the shelves of your online shop are completely adaptable for each customer, so they’ll feel as if your store was made for them alone!
A big part of this is using your customers’ data, and making use of this valuable backlog of information to set you apart from your competition.
More on Personalization
- Getting Started With Personalising Your eCommerce Experience
- Why Retaining Your Customers is More Important Than Acquiring New Ones
- How AI Integrated Chatbots Can Help Solve Customer Service Issues
I know what you’re thinking, rolling your eyes and calling me out as Captain Obvious. Just because you’ve made a sale, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a satisfied customer on your hands. You may be offering a perk that your competitors don’t, such as free shipping, a more extensive product range, or free returns. Sometimes, it’s simply habit that causes customers to stick around.
However, if a competitor company striving for top notch customer satisfaction swoops in with the same service, you can bet that your customers will flock towards them.
Customer satisfaction is the barometer for customer retention. It shows us a person’s attitude towards a business based on past experiences. Customer loyalty is how customers will act in the future. So, any work you put in now to increase your customer’s experience and fulfill expectations will increase the chance of you seeing them return to your store.
More on Customer Satisfaction
- Your New Favourite Metric: Customer Lifetime Value
- 10 Ways to Become A Competitive E-Commerce Retailer
These are the top three aspects that retain customers when they’re communicating with your eCommerce store. AI customer service agents can help with the first two, providing round the clock care across social media channels, as well as manning live chat and emails.
As for tone, it’s beneficial for retention to upkeep your brand’s voice when delivering customer care. Formalities in customer care are out. AI bots use machine learning to adapt to your set tone as well, so it’s got to be consistently friendly, approachable and helpful.
More on Customer Service
- Use Gorgias to Enhance Customer Service Through Your Shopify Store
- How to Offer Good Customer Service
- How to Nail Multi-Channel Customer Support
Loyalty programmes take charge of rewarding store actions, VIP bonuses, social media shares, and likes as well as driving referrals.
Retaining customers revolves around making them feel valued and special.
Forget for a moment that these programmes force the AOV up by 30 percent. Instead, chew over the fact that 60 percent of customers admit that loyalty programmes influence their decisions.
We’ve actually arrived at a time where customers expect a loyalty system for shopping with a brand. 63 percent of millennials and Gen Zers won’t commit to a brand that doesn’t offer loyalty benefits.
More on Loyalty Programmes
- Use a loyalty program in your Shopify store to encourage repeat customers
- Reward Your Customers With Smile.io
An exclusive alternative to the loyalty programme; a VIP programme is a chance to show your most valued customers how much you mean to them by offering them the luxe treatment. Consider personalized packaging, discounts, and early entry to flash sales as a few examples.
We show you in this article how to run a flash sale for specifically for your most valued customers. These events showcase your appreciation of your repeat customers and encourage them to continue to be brand ambassadors, whether it’s through word-of-mouth recommendations or uploading snaps of their new goodies from your store online.
More on VIP Incentives
- How To Re-Engage Your Most Important Customers Using Flash Sales
- Use Flow on Shopify Plus to Reward Your Top Customers
To elicit and develop an emotional bond between your brand and its customers requires an understanding of their motives. But boy does this research pay off. Customers visit a store 32 percent more often and spend 46 percent more money if they have an emotional connection to that store.
A beautiful thing happens when you enter your customer’s personal memory bank, and here it is:
“70% of emotionally engaged consumers spend up to two times or more on brands they are loyal to, compared to less than half (49%) of consumers with low emotional engagement.”
Like flicking on a light switch, your customer automatically thinks of your brand when it needs a product related to your industry. And that’s why we’re always banging on about using passion to drive sales.
More on Emotion Connection
Five tools to increase sales through psychology and emotional targeting
- Brand Storytelling on Your eCommerce Store
Build a community
Look to social media platforms, notably Instagram, and get people commenting on your posts and sharing hashtags. Create value around all aspects of your store. Make your network interactive and open. Let them know that you’re keen to listen to what they want.
People are craving social connection which you can satisfy by encouraging your online community to connect and submit content. This user-generated content combined with:
- interactive polls;
- answering queries with Instagram stories;
- promoting discussions on social media;
all help to foster engagement. And this is an incredible foundation for building customer loyalty.
More on Community Building
- What’s the big deal with user-generated content?
- 4 strategies and 18 tactics to increase sales with user-generated content
- Capture Customer-Generated Content with Okendo
Crush decision fatigue
I know if you run a Shopify store, you can empathize with your customers on the pressure to continually commit to decisions. If you can streamline the product hunt for customers, and ensure that operations from cart to doorstep runs smoothly, they’ll eventually form a habit of shopping at your store.
Your ability to free up their time and remove a hassle in their lives is often the tipping factor in attaining a loyal customer.
More on Decision Fatigue
- How to Experiment With Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
- Use Search Tools to Improve Conversion Rates on your Shopify Store
- Speed Up The Checkout Process with Dynamic Checkout
The scientific paper published last year, Does Customer Loyalty Depend on Corporate Social Responsibility, recommends that businesses should recognize corporate social responsibility (CSR) as an important strategic task.
How your company behaves in its environment and how you express these actions to customers can make a big difference to your bottom line. While 87% of customers will purchase from a brand because they advocate issues that are important to them, the opposite is also proven to be true. 76% of customers are willing to walk away from a product that doesn’t align with their moral values.
So, there you have it, improving ethical standards and altruism work in your favour when it comes to retaining customers.
Resolve issues quickly
When an order goes topsy-turvy and gets lost in the post, appeal to your customer’s human side. Offer sincere apologies, keep it friendly, and offer a discount or freebie. Explain what happened and that people make mistakes. People appreciate honesty and these minor slip-ups give you a chance to show your customers that you prioritize their experience.
Even with the amount of choice available on the market, there are still brands each of us has a particular connection with, so all is not lost. However, if you feel lost in the sea of market competition, contact our team at Elkfox. We’ll make sure that not only will you stay afloat but you’ll be riding the waves to success (too cheesy? I don’t think so). Also, check out our blog for more solutions to common obstacles that eCommerce merchants face.