It costs nearly 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Woah! 5 times! Customers are the fuel that keep your business running. The famous Pareto Principle, also called the ‘80/20 Rule, is also applicable here. It denotes that 80% of future sales for any business will come from 20% of existing customers.
Customer retention is now more essential than ever due to the increasingly fickle-minded shopping habits of the modern consumer. In addition, consumers are not just limited to a single device anymore. So keeping them engaged has become a challenging task. Sellers who don’t keep abreast of changing consumer patterns will surely lag behind and lose precious customers, one after one.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at a few ideas that can help you in building long-term loyal customers for your e-commerce business and keep them coming back for more.
1. Be where your Customers are
There’s nothing wrong with getting basics right. Customer behavior is evolving everyday so its important for you to have top-notch customer service for your e-commerce business. Today, you need to place the customer as the focal point, as they will drive your marketing efforts with regard to where you need to find them and how to engage with them. Customer service tools like 24/7 support help to communicate with customers effectively. Live chat solves customer complaints and queries quickly giving them the reassurance that they are heard and cared for.
Don’t underpromise or overpromise. Give customers a definitive timeline, for example, their query will be resolved in 24 hours or 30 mins. According to Zendesk, 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless customer service experience. Customers see friendly, responsive customer service as a gold standard.
2. Surprise and Delight
Customers always feels connected when they get a personalized experience from an eCommerce website. Be amazing to them, and they won’t ever think twice before opting for your website. Vice versa can happen for a bad experience, remember that!
Your customers will always pay more for a better experience. So, to make your eCommerce website deliver the same, you can try certain things:
Free delivery – Do not let your customers cross a limit for the delivery to be free. Be it any order, of any price range, deliver for free.
Free returns – If a customer plans to return an item, it is either disliked or certainly something wrong was delivered. Always consider the returns to be a mistake from your side and offer the service for free.
Collect in-store – Segregate the shipping process into two parts (i) home delivery and (ii) the in-store pickup. This can be feasible enough for the customers who are expecting a lesser delivery time.
Treat your customers as stakeholders! The moment you feel that something went wrong, try to avoid automated emails and send a personalized email to your customer. Understand the problem and provide a tailor-made solution to them. The best practice for customer-retention.
3. Loyalty and VIP Programs
Existing customers are 50% more likely to experiment with new products and 31% more likely to spend more in comparison with new customers. So obviously, majority of your loyalty program efforts should be focussed on existing customers.
Loyalty programs must reward consumers for their long-term purchase. Let’s suppose, a customer buys 3 pairs of socks, why not surprise him with a free pair thanking him for their business. They are a great motivator to turn existing customers into long-term repeat buyers.
You can also have tiered loyalty program, that rewards customers on the more they spend.
Loyalty programs can come in various forms like-
- Special preview sale for select customers
- Free upgrades
- Exclusive meet and greets, seminars and events invites
- Rewards for reviews, social media sharing
VIP Programs take loyalty or reward points one level higher. They are seen as a status symbol where customers feel elevated and exclusive. VIP programs attract customers in a cycle of continuous buying, as they know the more they spend, the more rewards they get.
Gamification is one of the hottest trends in the world of ecommerce right now. So what is it? As a retailer you need to keep upgrading your style pof selling and engaging with your customers. Old-school buying and selling doesn’t work anymore.
Gamification is a fantastic strategy to pump things up for your customers. Including elements of play combined with game mechanics like badges, points and special gifts can increase interest levels of your customers. Reward customers on their participation with special discounts, free samples, and other prizes.
5. Content community around your brand
As we know, Content is King. content is not just important for brands when they are trying to communicate with customers but also for customers. Customers will always look for necessary information about your brand, products, reviews before making their final purchase decision. Create a content community around your brand, so to speak. You can do that with these tricks:
Give customers a voice- Try making new customers feel as if they aren’t just buying your ‘product’ but a way into a community of people who are passionate about your brand and products. Give customers a voice on your website, in the form of posting testimonials, incentivise social shares to increase engagement with the brand and among customers as well.
Ask for feedback- ask customers to leave their reviews or a short feedback about your brand and products. It’s possible they won’t do it. Treat them with offers for every time they give a review.
Podcasts- in the age of Netflix, why limit yourself to emails and flyers. Produce podcasts giving expert advice, product demos on your website, share them on social media and send them in emailers. The best podcasts educate customers by giving them different perspectives.
Be active on social media- customers don’t like to engage with brands that don’t make an effort to make their presence felt. Maintaining regular activity on social media via posts, trending hashtags, contests, pictures, events tells customers your business is alive and churning. Answer questions, address complaints on social media and provide support to customers through different networking platforms.
With the help of these strategies, brands can build a web of content containing valuable information for your customers to read,engage with and connect better with your brand.
I cannot reiterate enough the fact that retaining customers goes a long way in increasing engagement and sales for your business, instead of chasing customers that are still way below in the sales funnel. Your existing customers are the life and blood of your business. So focus on customer retention, keep them engaged and coming back for more.