How to keep your customers coming back for more.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. If you treat them well and give them an incentive to keep coming back, you will make your business stronger and more sustainable. This is the power of customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty counts—82% of businesses agree that retaining customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones.
With 24/7 access to information and a wealth of choices at their fingertips, today’s consumers are in the driver’s seat. But by gaining the trust of your customers, you will encourage loyalty.
Despite the fierce competition, there are several ways of increasing customer loyalty as a retail or eCommerce business owner—and we’re going to explore them here.
But first, here are some insights you should know.
Why should customer loyalty be your top priority?
Not only is customer loyalty a cost-effective way of growing your business, but by converting first-time buyers into loyal repeat customers, you will create brand advocates that will recommend you to their friends and family. When this happens, you will gain even more loyal customers.
Also, loyal repeat customers:
- Are 60 to 70% more likely to make a purchase from a simple marketing communication like an email, blog post, or Facebook ad.
- Tend to spend more per purchase (have a higher average order value) than occasional or one-time customers.
- Are likely to invest in your products or services during annual events or key times, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Christmas.
10 essential tips for building customer loyalty
Now that you know how powerful customer loyalty is in the modern age, let’s look at how you can convert first-time visitors into devoted repeat buyers.
1. Create a customer experience (CX) strategy
If you want to give your eCommerce or retail business a fighting chance of earning customer loyalty, working on your customer experience (CX) offerings is essential.
Experts predict that by the end of the year, the experience you offer your customers across channels will become more important than product or pricing. Get your CX offerings right, and you will give your customers a reason to come back time after time.
Our step-by-step guide to CX strategy will help you improve your customer experience offerings and lay solid foundations for increased customer loyalty.
2. Get personal
Eighty percent of customers are more likely to invest in a product or service from brands that provide personalized experiences.
As a retail or eCommerce business, personalizing your communications will increase trust and make you more valuable in the eyes of your customers. In turn, this will encourage loyalty.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Use your site’s cookie data to create personalized landing pages based on the behaviors or preferences of certain segments of your audience.
- Display recently viewed items to your customers as they browse or revisit your website.
- Send emails to your first-time customers sharing content, tips, or product suggestions that suit their specific needs.
3. Offer exclusive deals & discounts
Expanding on the previous point: if you give your customers deals and discounts that are tailored to them, you will increase customer loyalty.
Seventy-two percent of digital consumers only pay attention to personalized offers or discounts. Once someone has bought something from you, offering them a next purchase deal or discount based on their geographic location or product interest will keep them coming back for more.
4. Launch a loyalty program
Launching a customer loyalty program will increase consumer loyalty rates while creating a long-term communication portal between you and your audience.
Offer your prospective or first-time customers an incentive to sign up for your loyalty scheme or download your loyalty app to gain the ability to send exclusive content, personalized communications, and tailored deals—the key ingredients to cementing customer loyalty.
Eighty-three percent of customers feel that loyalty schemes keep them engaged with certain brands. eCommerce and retail players such as Amazon, Starbucks, and TOMS have all enjoyed success with their innovative loyalty programs.
5. Host experiences & events
If you’re looking to gain the loyalty of younger generations, consider hosting an event or experience.
Research shows that millennials prefer experiences over material possessions. And while Generation Z likes gadgets, cutting-edge fashion, and cool products, it also cares about brands that reward them with experiences.
If you hold a brand event, host a virtual Q&A, or launch a Zoom workshop, for instance, you will create a platform that will empower you to personally reach out to new customers and showcase your value in an engaging, practical way.
This will spark the interest of millennials and Gen Zers, earning their customer loyalty.
6. Sweat your data
We touched on using your cookies data to personalize your landing pages and communications.
Taking this idea one step further, you should work with every single strand of valuable data you have at your fingertips to offer a flawless level of customer service while getting to know your consumers.
The better you know your customers, the better your service and communication will become across channels (from your website to social media, email, in-app, and beyond).
Utilizing your Google Analytics data will help you create initiatives that will increase customer loyalty—as will our essential guide to consumer metrics.
7. Offer multiple communication options
This might sound obvious, but many retail and eCommerce business owners overlook this simple concept: give your customers as many communication options as you can.
The number of communication options you can realistically offer your customers depends on the size of your business (you want your responses to be swift and helpful, after all). In the modern age, you should aim for phone, email, online chat, and at least one social media contact point as a minimum.
If you’re a small business with many plates to juggle, investing in chatbots for your online chat service will help you boost your output, improve productivity, and increase customer loyalty.
Tip: Always prioritize responding to any review or public feedback, positive or negative, as quickly as possible. This will showcase your customer commitment and brand transparency, which, in turn, will earn you loyalty.
8. Join the conversation
By meeting your consumers where they are most comfortable, you will get to know how they connect with their peers, allowing you to join the conversation (sharing relevant social media content, leaving comments on feeds, or sparking discussions) in a way that is natural and offers value.
From surveys and polls to social listening, there are plenty of ways to join the conversion—and get to know your customers better in the process. But one of the best ways to tap into your customers and drive loyalty is through user-generated content (UGC).
Eighty-five percent of people find visual UGC more useful than branded pictures or videos. Invite an existing loyal customer to share their thoughts, feelings, or opinions on one of your social media channels or share relevant content from your followers.
9. Create valuable content
Branded videos, blog posts, and infographics that are original and speak to your audience on a personal level will position you as a thought leader in your field.
If you’re seen as a trustworthy industry thought leader, you will stand out in your niche and entice people to subscribe to your mailing lists, revisit your branded blog, regularly scour your social media channels, and ultimately, become loyal customers.
To help you on your quest for loyalty-boosting marketing success, here’s our guide to creating thought-leading blog content for your business.
Last but not least, let’s talk about retargeting. If someone has interacted with a specific page or made a certain product purchase through your website, you can entice them to return with well-placed retargeting messages on other platforms. Retargeting can boost your conversion rates by up to 150%.
These tips will help you get your retargeting efforts off the ground:
- Promote new products to customers through retargeting ads.
- Advertise new deals, offers, and discounts.
- Upsell products related to your customers’ previous purchases or interactions.
- Work with tools and platforms suited to the scale and size of your business.
“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.”—Robert Half
If these uncertain times have taught us anything, it’s that customer loyalty will help you survive or even thrive in the most challenging of times. Follow these essential tips, and you will build relationships that will accelerate the growth of your business, one interaction at a time.
Do you need help in these challenging times? Here is a full list of COVID-19 grants and loans for small businesses that may interest you.