Customer loyalty and retention are challenges in any business, and particularly for an eCommerce business. The digital world is not inherently conducive to loyalty, with so many available options at your fingertips.
While it’s different and sometimes more challenging, there are ways to have a loyal customer base as an eCommerce business.
Many businesses found out in the early days of the pandemic that a digital experience doesn’t necessarily have to lack human appeal. There are a lot of things you can do to create strong connections that foster loyalty.
Simplify Your Returns Process
This sounds a little counterintuitive—focus on your return process to build loyalty. You might wonder why you should care about a customer who’s making a return when you’d rather not have the return at all.
To be strategically competitive, start looking at returns as an opportunity.
Your customers want to know how to return things easily. They want transparency and return notifications to retain brand loyalty.
A good way to achieve a positive returns experience for your customers and promote a long-lasting relationship is to automate it. You can then spend less time dealing with returns, and you’ll have happier customers who are more likely to shop with you again. You can also find unique opportunities to drive engagement after sales.
With return notifications, you can increase customer confidence and brand recognition, and through customization of the returns process, it’s seamless for your employees and your customers.
Once you have an automated returns system in place, you can use the data and analytics to drive decision-making that will allow you to lower your rate of returns.
As an additional note about returns, if your policy is too strict on returns, customers will likely look elsewhere for the product.
Connect Outside of Sales Transactions
You want to show your customers that you care about them and want to have a relationship with them outside of direct sales transactions. This is something you can do to set yourself apart and gain a competitive advantage.
For example, maybe you can have in-person or virtual events and activities that create value for your customers beyond just shopping with you.
Another way to connect outside of trying to sell to your customers is to create quality content.
There’s so much content in the world, so what you can do to make yours stand out and resonate with your audience in a way that drives loyalty is to make sure that you’re offering things that actually will solve a problem or improve their lives.
Be useful when you’re creating content—don’t be a salesperson.
Your content doesn’t even have to be directly related to your products, at least not all the time.
Have and Share Values
Modern consumers prioritize doing business with brands that share and reflect their values. That’s leading companies to become values-led. More than 70% of consumers said they like to buy from companies that align with their values in one survey.
Be authentic in defining and sharing your values. Don’t try to create values that you think your customers want to hear. Authenticity is one of the things that consumers see first when dealing with a brand.
Instead, really sit down and think about what values are relevant to your business if you haven’t already done so. Then, you can begin to share how your business reflects those values in the day-to-day.
Make the Investment In Your Website
If you’re an eCommerce business, your website is your business. If you want to be successful, you need to make your website well-branded and designed, user-friendly and fast.
If you have any element on your site that’s frustrating to customers, they’ll take their business elsewhere because it’s so easy for them to do so.
Personalize Recommendations and Content
Customers don’t just want but have come to expect personalization in their interactions with brands. People want to see content, products, and services that solve problems they face and are relevant to their life.
People will feel that companies resonate best when they’re offering them products, content, and services that are of interest to them. That’s just natural.
When customers feel like they’re getting something personalized, they’re also willing to pay a premium.
You can offer product recommendations based on any number of factors, including previous purchases.
Along with sending product recommendations, from time to time, create personalized non-sales content, too, like videos or blogs.
Perks and Discounts
No matter how the world of retail changes over time, some things are constant. The fact that people like perks and discounts is one of those constants.
The way you offer them can change over time, but the concept remains the same. People will continue doing business if there’s something in it for them.
What’s in it for them is up to you and what you think is best suited to your targeted customers. For example, maybe you offer discount codes or free shipping.
When you offer perks to regular customers, it can also help with increasing the average order value.
You don’t want to give perks away too frequently, though. You want it to feel special when you do.
Consider a Subscription Program
Depending on your business and what you sell, you might consider developing a subscription program in 2022. A subscription program is a way to automate loyalty.
If you are going to offer any kind of subscription option, you have to make sure that it’s well worth it to your customers.
For example, maybe you have a subscribe and save option on items that people buy monthly or a membership that offers free shipping for a low monthly fee, similar to Amazon Prime.
You’re putting loyalty on autopilot if you can come up with a subscription program that will add value to your customers’ lives.
It’s essential that the customers willing to pay for the subscription or loyalty program do feel like they’re your VIPs. Create a program that’s compelling enough for your customers to spend money on it every month.