How to Keep E-commerce Shoppers Coming Back for More
Loyalty may not exactly be the first thought that comes to mind when you talk about running a successful e-commerce store. After all, how is this virtue relevant in a noisy and busy business landscape where customers are won and lost at a click of the mouse?
The truth is, customer loyalty is an economic and competitive necessity. Without it, even the most popular and trendy e-commerce site will collapse. That’s why it’s extremely important that you pay attention to customer retention as much as to acquisition. But what is customer retention, and how do you maintain a base of loyal customers for your shop?
What is Customer Retention?
Customer retention refers to the activities or processes taken by a business to get customers to stay loyal to their brand. The concept of customer retention is simple—happy shoppers who feel important and enjoy a pleasant shopping experience with you will keep coming back and buy more, more often.
According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention by 5% results in a 25% to 95% increase in profit. Given this huge figure, retaining customers is as essential as it’s ever been.
So how do you keep customers returning to your store?
Of course, you need to cover the basics. Among other things, you need an excellent product or service, a great digital storefront, competitive pricing (although not necessarily the cheapest), and exceptional customer service.
Once you have all of the above, it’s time to apply the following strategies:
An oldie but goody, loyalty programs are a fantastic way to improve customer retention. A points-based loyalty program, for instance, is ideal for retailers offering products that need to be purchased regularly such as pet supplies, groceries, and health supplements.
When shoppers are given points for purchasing from your store, it becomes difficult for them to switch to your competitor on their next purchase knowing they will be leaving points (money) on the table.
With a points-based loyalty program, you can also choose to reward customers for more than their loyalty. You can also structure your program to reward customers with points for all sorts of profitable actions, such as account registrations, customer referrals and reviews, and social sharing.
If you don’t have a loyalty program yet, it’s about time you consider coming up with one. A good tool to use is Sweet Tooth. It’s a points and rewards module that can be integrated with today’s leading e-commerce platforms, such as Magento, Bigcommerce, Shopify, and Woocommerce.
2. E-mail Marketing
If you think e-mail marketing is just a fad, then you’ve never been so wrong. E-mail marketing has always been one of the most cost-effective ways for driving conversions and keeping clients. Why?
E-mail makes your customers think of you, thus, ensuring that it’s your brand that comes to mind when they make a purchasing decision. E-mail also gives you a chance to capture impulse purchases. Say, for example, one of your clients is distracted at work and then receives an intriguing offer from you. Your offer will likely be well-received, and the chance that your customer jumps onto your website and buys from you spikes.
Aside from these, e-mail marketing also lets you develop a sense of familiarity with your audience. By regularly sending personalised, insightful and informative content to your clients, you position yourself as an authority in your field. These are all positive attributes any brand would want to have associated to their business – emotions that are proven to drive conversions and repeat purchases.
To ensure success in your e-mail marketing efforts, make sure you collect e-mails at every opportunity. Then, make sure to reach out to your contacts consistently and regularly.
Some tactics you can try include:
- Post-purchase e-mails
- Birthday or event e-mails
3. Support Systems
The last thing buyers want to experience is to purchase your product and not know what to do with it, especially if they run into some problems. This is why providing support systems such as helpdesk software like Freshdesk or Zendesk, or live chat support like Zopim or Olark has become essential.
Offering customer support provides a few key benefits. First, it lets you address customer concerns and conflicts quickly and efficiently. And everyone knows that a quickly resolved concern makes for a pleasant shopping experience and a satisfied, lifelong customer. Second, live chat software lets you connect with clients in real time. Unlike e-mail enquiries, live chat is direct and customers don’t have to wait to get a response from you.
Support systems are ideal for your e-commerce shop if you’re selling technical products. They’re also suitable if your buyers likely need additional instructions or information.
E-commerce shop owners have a tendency to focus their efforts on courting new shoppers. But if you want to boost your bottom line, you must also pay attention to the customers you already have. Work towards retaining your customers and you’ll, no doubt, see a significant increase in your shop’s sales.
What other strategies can e-commerce businesses use to improve customer retention? Don’t forget to leave your suggestions below.