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5 Ways Ecommerce Brands Can Increase Customer Loyalty

Every interaction with your customer is an opportunity to build your connection and inspire a sense of loyalty with them. Creating loyal customers is more essential to your ecommerce business plan than attracting new buyers. It can cost five times more to attract a new customer as it does to retain existing buyers. Keeping customers is a company-wide effort; here are five ways to build your customer’s loyalty.

“Another satisfied customer” isn’t enough. It’s one thing to ensure your customers are satisfied with their interaction or transaction. It’s quite another to have them come away delighted by the experience. It’s the difference between getting your questions answered in an efficient yet sterile manner versus having a genuine interaction with someone who expresses enthusiasm, empathy, and warmth. How will the customer feel if they receive their order in the promised timeframe — will they feel even better if it arrives early?

Going that extra mile can be the key motivator the next time your customer is ready to order again. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, people will never forget how you made them feel. Instill a sense of kinship and loyalty in your customers, and you’ll have a fan for life. Better yet, your most ardent followers may promote you through word of mouth. When you consider that 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations, it’s easy to see how delighted fans can become invaluable brand ambassadors.

Anticipate customer needs and staff accordingly. Sales and special events will draw in customers; creating a great experience will keep them coming back. Of course, discounts and promotions build excitement and anticipation among your audience, and the memory of a great deal will play a part in their future online shopping choices. Ensure that memory is positive by planning ahead. With increased customers comes a boost in support queries. Is your existing support plan sufficient to handle the additional influx?

Smart companies look externally for auxiliary support that can flex up and down to match their day-to-day needs. Look for service providers that can offer trained professionals who are not only well-versed in your products, but in the tools you’re using, from Shopify to Magento to Gorgias. These outsourced support agents will seamlessly step in to fill in your needs while providing customer communications that are consistent with your brand. Your customers won’t even be able to tell if it’s your busy period (such as during the holiday season) and will appreciate the ease of their support transaction.

Reward their loyalty. From frequent-flyer miles to reward points to “Buy 10, Get 1 Free” punch cards, rewards programs work. With 75% of consumers favoring companies that offer rewards, these programs can generate up to 20% of a company’s profits. It stands to reason: Being invested in a brand’s reward program means you’re motivated to keep interacting with them. Rewarding loyal behavior will serve to inspire continued commitment. It’s a sterling example of “win-win.”

Use your CRM tools to get personal. Nobody wants to feel like just another customer. Your sales and support teams are likely already using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Zendesk Sunshine to track customer outreach, visits, sales, preferences, and other identifying information. Use the data housed in that tool to make your customers feel appreciated — give them the virtual equivalent of a warm personal greeting as they enter a store. There are ways to move beyond the digital transaction and bring some real-world personal warmth to your communications:

  • Refer to your customer by name on calls or in written communications and refer to their purchase history when appropriate, to underscore the continuing relationship they have with your company.
  • Take the time to hear your customer; asking personalized questions can help them resolve their queries more efficiently and will build their confidence in your company.
  • Follow up your interactions with personalized messages of appreciation and provide information (e.g., documentation on how to use their products, return information) that may prove helpful.
  • Provide more relevant offers or recommendations; you may key them in on products or services they didn’t realize they want or need.

Put a bow on it — literally. As the popularity of unboxing videos shows, we love opening up new packages. Even if it’s a product we’ve ordered ourselves, revealing the treasures within that box can’t help but feel a wee bit like opening a gift.

Companies like Apple have been lauded for their elegant packaging. And while you may not have the resources of an industry giant, there are steps you can take to make the customer think twice before tossing their opened package into the recycling bin.

  • Infuse your packaging with your brand’s style and personality, with design features that enhance the presentation while keeping your merchandise secure.
  • Add in an unexpected treat like stickers, related promotional items, a custom note, educational material, coupons, or a free gift.
  • Have the package itself go far beyond simply displaying your company logo. Add helpful tips to the packaging, or showcase a few whimsical witticisms to bring a smile to your customer’s face.

These strategies offer your company a chance to go above and beyond for your customers, to create beneficial relationships that keep them coming back, and to keep your brand top of mind for your biggest promoters. Make these tips a part of your ongoing customer strategy, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal patrons that will give you many more opportunities to show them they made the right choice.

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