80/20. 80% of your e-commerce store’s business will come from 20% of your customers. While you may have lots of first-time, one-time buyers, it’s important to concentrate and drill down on how you can keep your customers hooked to your brand and coming back for more.
Although minimum advertised price policies may limit the use of pricing tactics to grab customers, you can still keep your customers away from your competitors with these five areas of focus to ensure your customers only have eyes for your e-commerce store.
Deliver Top Notch Customer Service That They Rave About
The best kind of marketing for any business is when customers do the work for you! Don’t get us wrong, it has nothing to do with being lazy, but everything to do with with the customer experience that you deliver. When your customers spread good things about your brand with their family, friends, and colleagues without having to ask or incentivize; it’s safe to say you’re doing all of the right things. That kind of marketing is priceless. On the other side of the coin, if your customers have bad experiences, that can have an equal if not greater impact on your brand.
One of the key drivers of a great customer experience is the quality of your brand’s customer service. According to Vision Critical, about 42% of Americans will stop shopping with a brand after just two bad experiences; so much for the three strike system! Customers are getting more critical of businesses and the expectations are high for top notch customer service.
At Trade Vitality, we focus on delivering unparalleled customer service at every single touchpoint with our clients. Some of our best practices include:
Responding as quickly as possible to emails. If that’s not possible for your brand because of the sheer amount of inquiries that you get, set the expectation at the beginning. Let your customers know when they will receive a response, simply on the contact form itself or in an automated follow-up email.
Leverage all communication channels. All customers are different; some like the phone, others live chat, many email, or even social media. Whatever channel it is, make sure you’re interacting with customers in the ways that they like to communicate.
Strive for 100% customer satisfaction. If a customer comes to you with an issue, question, suggestion, or concern, always try your best to address their inquiry. This means exhausting all of your options to ensure that your customer is happy with their interaction.
Reward Your Customers For Their Loyalty
Everyone loves a good reward or treat, and why not offer something to customers who keep showing their love for you?! Plus it’s much less costly to reward customers for their loyalty than it is to acquire a new one: it can be up to 25x more expensive, depending on the industry.
With loyalty programs being known to boost revenue, profits, and offer return on investments, why not consider putting together a little something special for your customers? Not only is it a way to reward those who keep returning, it’s also a method for encouraging others to come back as well.
Some ideas include:
A one-for-one or tiered points system that can be used to purchasing products from your store and / or giving away sample products.
Charging an upfront fee for access to VIP programs where customers get special offers and discounts.
Offering all-inclusive offers to partners deals and / or discounts if they spend a certain amount.
Make Shipping Easy And Your Return & Exchange Policies Even Easier
One of the ways to get your customers running away from your store is through unexpected shipping costs and complicated return and exchange policies.
Kissmetrics noted that about 30% of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if they are surprised by shipping costs. Now you have a choice: you can use shipping and your return and exchange policies as reasons for shoppers to go to your competitors or you can use them as reasons to have them buy from you and come back for more.
When it comes to shipping, set the expectations and lay out the costs at the beginning. Don’t make the customer do all of the guess work. Instead of showing shipping costs on the checkout page, consider adding it to the shopping cart so customers can see their estimated total immediately. Aside from the cost, shipping should be fast and reliable with notification updates sent to your customer through each step of the process. Some of the best strategies we’ve seen include notifying customers through email and text message when orders have been received, fulfilled, and sent out for delivery. It’s always a nice surprise when you get products faster than you thought!
As for return and exchange policies, keep it simple. Make it so easy for customers to return your products that they won’t blink at making a purchase. This may seem counter intuitive, but doing so indicates that you’re confident that the customer will love your products so much that they won’t need to return or exchange them. That kind of confidence as a brand is transferred to the customer.
Create Relevant, Engaging, and Useful Content
Not enough ecommerce stores leverage the power of content! Depending on your customers and products, we’re talking about everything from Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to blog posts and newsletters. One of the main drivers of retention and loyalty lies in the emotional connection that you’re able to make between your brand and your customer.
That comes from using visuals and storytelling to demonstrate that your brand is more than just a business, it has a face and story of it’s own as well. When people can connect beyond the surface level substance that typical marketing fluff puts out there, brands start to see customers flock to them and keep coming back for more. When a customer feels like they’re understood by your brand and have formed a deeper connection with the values and lifestyle that you represent, they feel more inclined to stay loyal to your brand, as they would a friend.
Some content ideas include using eye-catching images and videos on your social media channels to feature new products or showcase how some of your popular products can be used inthe daily life of your customers. As for blog posts, you can focus on topics that relate directly or indirectly to your products.
Personalize Your Store Experience to the Each Individual
Imagine you walk into one of your favorite clothing stores. You’re greeted by one of the sales representatives by your first name and are taken directly to an area with recommendations based on your previous visits. While you’re shopping, the sales representative is giving you tips, offering feedback, and providing you with alternatives and / or complements to the products that you’re looking at. That right there is some serious personalization!
The online world and technology makes that type of personalization for your customers possible in your e-commerce store. It’s that feeling of comfort and familiarity that makes people want to come back to brands for more. If they already have history with you, why would they want to go somewhere else?
Is your e-commerce store collecting data from the moment someone interacts with your website? All the interactions that you have with an individual are opportunities to create and tailor their entire experience around their preferences. Everything from product recommendations, the products they see when they first land on your homepage, the promotions they receive through email, the advertisements they see as they browse on web, and how they like to be helped.
How many of these areas are you already focusing on? Together, this wham-bam combo will help create a customer experience that keeps them loyal to your brand. Are there any other things that your e-commerce store does to drive loyalty and retention? What’s worked and what hasn’t worked for you?