The days of checking the local newspaper for product deals and running around to different stores are gone. While flashy window displays and hard-copy coupons may have worked in the past, retaining customers in e-commerce requires a different strategy. Consumers can now simply plug what they’re looking for into online search and receive pages of options.
The competition in the online marketplace is fierce, and standing out is only half the battle. Even if a consumer purchases your product or service, how can you guarantee that they won’t shop with a competitor next time? The key is customer loyalty. There isn’t one easy way to encourage loyalty in your customer base, but if you implement some of these strategies, you can boost the customer retention of your e-commerce business.
Create an Impactful Brand Identity
The first step to retaining new customers is to make an impact. Your brand should stand out from your competitors by being unique and recognizable. That way, when a consumer sees anything relating to your brand, they will know exactly who you are and what you do.
There are many factors involved in creating a brand identity. All these factors should remain consistent with your brand message across all platforms. These include:
- Color scheme
- Social media graphics and artwork
- Website design
- The tone of voice in all written and video content
Establishing a brand identity that consumers resonate with will help you to build loyalty over time. Not only will they come back to you for your quality product or service, but also because they feel part of a community. Depending on who your target market is, you can tailor your content and designs to attract them.
Keep it professional yet friendly. As an e-commerce site, you want consumers to know that they can trust your brand, and that you’re an authority in your niche.
Reward Your Loyal Customers
Consumers are spending their hard-earned money to shop in your online store, and they want to feel good about their purchases. A little goes a long way here, and a simple but genuine “thank-you” message after a purchase will show them that they are appreciated. Ask them for their feedback on their shopping experience and how they like the product or service they purchased. Showing them that you value them will build trust and encourage them to shop with you again.
Create a rewards or loyalty program for returning customers. You can structure it in many different ways, but offering perks and bonuses when they make a purchase is the best strategy to ensure repeat business. You could offer discounts on additional purchases, or a free item when they spend a certain amount. They could also collect points to use at a later date. Whichever route you choose, a loyalty program is a sure-fire way to boost customer retention.
Another essential point to include in your loyalty program is the incentive to make referrals. By offering referral perks to your customer base, you can begin to exponentially increase your reach. More importantly, the new customers will already have trust in your brand, since they’ve had a referral from a friend. One example of an offering could be that if your customer refers a friend, then they both get 10% off—or another similar concept.
Speak to an Expert to Audit Your Current Business Processes
You can’t create a trusted and reputable e-commerce business without a solid foundation to stand on. When you’re building your brand and setting up your e-commerce platform, speak to a qualified IT consultant who can identify any gaps in your processes or application support. Talk to them about your goals and business objectives and develop a strategy for how you can reach them. You can use these strategies to put systems in place that will set your e-commerce business up for success.
When consumers visit your e-commerce store, you want to make their experience as positive as possible from the beginning. The web design should be user-friendly and attractive, the checkout systems should be seamless, and the speed should be fast. All these features will help build loyalty in your customer base, and keep them coming back time and time again.
Use Social Media
Social media is an incredible tool for boosting customer retention in your e-commerce business. Almost all social media platforms will integrate seamlessly into your e-commerce store and allow for easy travel between them. Choosing a few social platforms that are relevant to your brand and business is more important than trying to create a presence on all of them. Using social media correctly allows you to connect with your consumers on a more personal level, therefore establishing a loyal community.
It’s essential to focus on the platforms where your target market spends the most time. Those platforms are where your consumers are most likely to continue to engage with your brand. Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding the best platforms on which to focus your efforts:
- Facebook—best for B2C or software companies. Facebook is excellent for visually-driven products and showcasing contests or coupons. It’s also the best platform for creating a community and engaging with your consumers.
- Twitter—best for B2B and online publications. If you’re a blogger or post articles, then Twitter is an effective platform with which to engage with them.
- LinkedIn—best for B2B service providers or recruiters. If you are offering a service or product that is targeted towards other entrepreneurs or business owners, then LinkedIn is an effective platform.
- YouTube—the best social platform for increasing brand loyalty in e-commerce. You can create informative videos and tutorials using your products in order to give consumers an in-depth look at your brand. Video content makes your e-commerce business more relatable and increases trust.
- Pinterest—best for B2C brands that focus on fashion or food. 70% of Pinterest users are female, and they generally use it for shopping inspiration.
Regardless of the platform that you use to engage with your consumers, make sure that you are genuine. Respond to comments and answer the questions that your community is asking. Avoid any copy-and-pasted responses, as your consumers will notice and find it insincere. If you get complaints, post constructive comments which professionally deal with them, as opposed to deleting them.
Over to You!
As an e-commerce business, the key to growing and thriving is customer retention. By creating a community of valued consumers, you will not only be selling a product but also building a brand. By implementing these few strategies your e-commerce business will be on its way to attracting quality, loyal customers that will stick by you for years to come.