Each year, the eCommerce market becomes more competitive. Online stores are learning all the time, what does and doesn't work for their customers. Overpromoting across your communication channels likely deters rather than attracts customers. Offering mass sales can put a dangerously large dent into profits.
Not to mention how important it is to maintain these fruitful relationships. Existing customers spend 67% more than first-time buyers. If you’re looking for strategies to build customer retention, then you should check this article after.
What you really want to know, and what we’re going to show you in the next few minutes, is how to create an association in your customer’s mind between your product and your brand. You want a situation where they won’t even consider going to your competitors to purchase your product because….
Well, we’ll get into how you're going to build customer loyalty later in this article. For now, let’s focus on building customer loyalty.
Step 1: the basic of building customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is not attained. It’s a state of belonging where you customer thinks:
- This brand makes me feel good.
- I love how my values align with this company.
- There’s something about this online store that keeps making me come back for more.
You’ll see that there’s nothing in this statement about their customer service/ website design/ checkout process is phenomenal. And that’s not to say that these aren’t important.
They are crucial, and it’s only when these aspects of your business are sleek, effective workhorses can you start to build in the “wow factor.”
Step 2: calculate your churn rate
Definitely keep an eye out for this; it’s the rate at which you lose customers. The churn rate is a vital metric directing you to what’s not working and giving you the chance to improve.
Many businesses find that their negative churn increases when they haven’t updated their marketing strategies or their customer service is sub-par.
How your customers interact online continuously morphs, so what might have worked six months ago will need a revamp to work to the efficacy.
Step 3: calculate your Customer Effect Score (CES)
CES is an excellent indicator of correct effort application within a business. A lot of your customer loyalty stems not from high-effort marketing initiatives, but in providing an amazing customer experience.
Customers will recommend their top picks to friends, both on- and offline. On the other side, a Harvard study shows that 46% of respondents will tell at least 10 people about a bad customer experience.
Finding your CES is most effectively done with a brief survey after a customer interaction.
You’ll also get a much higher response rate if it’s accompanied by an incentive. SurveyMonkey gives a helpful list of monetary and non-monetary incentives. This means that you’ll get a more accurate score, not only more people partake, but also people of all opinions will respond.
These surveys often show you the extreme opinions as those with a “good, but not great” experience tend to voice the mediocre.
Evaluate marketing frequency
There is a cut-off point where customer engagement becomes overwhelming.
Customers can become tired of incessant noise coming from a single brand. This causes them to block out the content or even to source another company.
The best companies don’t need to email three times a week, their products and customer experiences do the majority of the work in satisfying and impressing their customers.
What starts to happen if you go overboard and have a high CES, is customers question why your company needs to push their products. Customers go on high alert for anything suspicious, or signs that the product will not live up to the highly marketed promises.
Focus on the customer journey
It’s not a matter of less is more. However, we’d advise placing less time and resources in designing fast and furious email campaigns, newsletters, social media posts.
Instead, concentrate on how you can make the customer passage from discovery to order delivery as entertaining, hassle-free and unique.
Step 4: create memorable customer experiences
How? With community.
Research the best platform for your target market. And start a social media calendar. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or Youtube channel, make it engaging.
Give your customers the above and beyond. Show to them that you are not just a store with products and profits. Instead, reveal to them the people behind your business, your ethos and how your customers help you to reach these values through their support.
Allow customers to interact with each other.
And always, always encourage feedback. Think of each review, social media comment, tag and share as a trinket to be treasured.
Even if the review leaves little to be desired in the way of compliments, thank them for taking time out of their busy lives to help your company evolve. It’s often when an online store receives a negative comment shows their true colours. This is your time for redemption! So don’t shy away, rectify the customer’s grievance and provide an extra treat for their honesty.
It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. 10% off their next order, or even once, I received a single sweet and a handwritten note in a package after my order got lost in the post. It made the difference.
Step 5: convert your customers into brand ambassadors
Now we’re finally ready to put our new found knowledge into play. People love to share their experiences, social media is proof of that. So give them the opportunity to share their amazing experience with your brand. Create a branded hashtag and have a monthly draw with spot prizes for people using this hashtag.
Think outside the box. For instance, take your eCommerce store out of the internet and into the real world.
Host an event, create a pop-up shop just for your previous customers. You may not be sold on this idea, thinking that there you won’t reach enough people for this to make financial sense, however, you can encourage customers to share this online. And with platforms such as Eventbrite or Meetup, it can be an affordable expense that provides an ROI.
Providing your customers with exclusive experiences can really put your brand on the map. It makes people want to be a part of your movement.
Step 6: Thank you
And be quirky with these methods. Set a budget and squash as many delights as you can within this boundary. Send handwritten notes or freebies, samples, and post-purchase discounts.
Another powerful area to say thanks is to give them some exposure. If a customer tags you in a post showcasing your product, it’s very flattering for them if you place this on your Instagram grid stories.
So there it is!
Growing and nurturing your customer and converting them into brand ambassadors requires a shift of company thinking. Away from the marketing campaigns, and instead take time to see how you can impart joy on your customer. Look at each step of their journey with your brand and see if there is a way you can make it memorable.
It is natural for a customer to recommend these wonderful experiences to others. They want other people to feel as good as they do, and are often happy to direct people towards innovative companies.
We have companies come to us looking for ways that they can achieve the special something that will help raise them out of the crowd of competitors so their customers can appreciate all that they have to offer. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, then we’d love to discuss more once you drop us a line.