While there is no doubt that custom acquisition is important in ecommerce marketing, customer retention is even more important. It cost far less and even drive more profit over the long term to invest in current customers compared to attracting new ones. With that in mind, it goes without saying that building lifetime loyal is essential to ensure that your customers keep coming back to your online store.
There are numerous factors that influence loyalty in ecommerce, from user experience to product range and even personal preferences. When it comes to ecommerce marketing, however, there are a few things that can make a major difference in whether or not your customers will become loyal to your store or move over to your competitor the moment they see something they like on sale. In this guide, we take a look at some of the biggest factors that can influence lifetime loyalty to show you how you can apply these strategies to your ecommerce marketing plans.
How to Build Lifetime Loyalty in Ecommerce Marketing
From personalisation to world-class support and incentives, there are a few ways that you can turn one-time shoppers into lifetime supporters. Here are some of the biggest ways to increase lifetime loyalty in ecommerce marketing.
When last did you let your customers know that you value their support? Not for any reason, such as a sale or even for rewards or other strategies, but simply to let them know that you appreciate their ongoing support? This can be done in a number of ways. You might send automated messages via mobile or email to thank customers after their purchase has been made and delivered. You might create an offline message to include in your package, to tell them to enjoy their purchase. Letting customers know that you appreciate their purchase is not only a great way to make them feel valued, but also a good way to add a special touch that goes beyond the average ecommerce purchase. This, in turn, can be great for you to grow your brand into one known for truly caring about customers.
Follow up after purchase
On a similar note, how often do you follow up after the purchase has been made and delivered? Do you offer surveys for customers to rate their experience? Do you make it easy for customers to get in touch in case they are not happy? You could either send an automated email campaign on the same day of delivery or time it for a day after delivery. Keep this message simple but don’t forget to also ensure that channels of communication are kept wide open. In the event that something has not been according to plan or customers are not satisfied, you can quickly escalate and resolve the issue proactively rather than waiting for them to come to you with any complaints or comments. That brings us to our next point…
Deliver on support
Do not ever underestimate the power of good support. Ecommerce marketing can be very cut-throat, with a high level of competition. It does not take much for a customer to jump ship to a competitor, even if they have been shopping at your store for years. By far one of the things that can have the biggest influence on customer happiness and loyalty is support. It is well worth looking at tools such as conversational marketing that enhance your support, providing on-site automated chat assistance 24-7. In the event that your team is not on call, this makes sure that customers always have a way to get in touch. At the same time, you also need to be sure that you are always able to underpromise and overdeliver. If products are not in stock, let customers know as quickly as possible. If there are delivery delays or warehousing problems, keep customers updated.
Personalise the experience
A personalised shopping experience will always beat an impersonal one. Treating your customers as just another purchase makes them feel like they are not important. That doesn’t mean you have to go overboard or get too personal. Remembering customer preferences, saving or favouriting commonly purchased items, referring to customers by name in all communication, and creating personalised email marketing campaigns that are designed to enhance the shopping experience will encourage shoppers to come back to your store. For example, you could send a campaign that highlights similar items to those purchased often or you could highlight a sale on commonly purchased items. You could also look at segmentation and other personalisation strategies to further create a unique experience for your customers.
Create loyalty programmes
Loyalty programmes are an excellent way to encourage customers to return again and again. These can take many forms. You could look at offering points on every purchase, every referral, every spend over a certain amount, every review on products or any other action. You can also reward customers simply by shopping – no matter how much they spend. Every login could result in a point or every item added to cart. Much like loyalty cards, these programmes can be simple. They can also be more complex, depending on how creative you want to get. Take some time to think about how you can encourage customers to earn points. Gamification is a great way to drive loyalty and there are some excellent ways to achieve this subtly, still within your brand framework.
Offer other incentives and rewards
Going beyond loyalty programmes, there are also many other ways that you can incentivise customers. Rewards and other incentives help to encourage repeat purchases. Special deals such as two for one or cross-selling offers that encourage customers to purchase related items are some examples. Other examples include referral programmes that offer rewards whenever referred friends make purchases as well as birthday gifts or even anniversary gifts to mark the day customers made their first purchase. Competitions and giveaways can also be effective, making use of social media marketing, mobile marketing or various other channels. Offering free samples with purchases, either as a surprise or as a check-out option can also help to encourage shoppers to return. Ultimately, it comes down to rewarding your customers in innovative ways.
Involve your entire team
Finally, one of the most important things of all is to make sure that your entire team is on board. When you have your marketing department planning creative ecommerce marketing strategies designed to drive loyalty, and your customer service teams and sales teams are not on the same page, you will run into problems. When everyone works together as a team to increase loyalty, you will soon see the difference. Training, regular updates, and even contribution from customer-facing teams will go a long way in helping you find new ideas on how to keep customers coming back. Use your team and get everyone passionate about making customers happy.
Work Towards Customer Retention and Lifetime Loyalty
Rather than seeing customer retention and lifetime loyalty as something that happens by accident, start seeing as it as something that you can work towards. No matter what the size of your store or the type of products you sell, returning customers can do a great deal to help you grow your business, year on year. Invest in some of these loyalty strategies and you will see how much they help your ecommerce marketing returns.