Retaining loyal customers is valuable for a business. When you have secured a customer, keeping their custom is more cost-effective than trying to secure new leads. The numbers prove it:
- More than half of a company’s sales come from existing customers.
- It is between 5 and 25 times cheaper to retain customers than to obtain new ones.
- Increasing customer loyalty and retention rates by just 5 per cent can increase profit by as much as 25 to 95 per cent.
- Repeat customers are twice as likely to try new products.
- Loyal customers spend 31 per cent more on your business than new buyers.
So developing a loyal following is important for the profitability of your business. Developing a relationship with customers that secures their trust long-term is a complex process that requires you to do more than provide an excellent product or service. There are six steps that any brand can take to help foster customer loyalty and secure its brand reputation with its target market.
Customers Are Real People
With so many online eCommerce competitors in B2B and B2C, you need to give potential customers a reason to choose your brand. You then need to provide a connection for that customer to want to return to your brand. Part of a great marketing strategy includes identifying closely your target audience. The more defined your customer persona, the easier it becomes to recognise customers as individuals, a major factor in building customer loyalty. Let’s take a close look at how seeing your sales figures as individual people can transform your customer retention and loyalty.
Customers are used to being rewarded for their loyalty. The idea of rewarding customer loyalty with discounts, giveaways and reward points is so built into the psyche of customers today, that if your brand doesn’t offer ‘rewards’, you are unlikely to gain customers’ loyalty.
However, what matters more than a giveaway is brand transparency. If you can connect with customers when you are out of stock of a certain item, or if you are experiencing technical difficulties, this goes a long way to securing customer loyalty. It is important when your product or service is back online, you reward those customers who were patient with your appreciation.
Tokens of appreciation can come in the form of discount coupons, samples, cash-back offers, and other gratuities. A dedicated customer loyalty program that repeat buyers can sign up for is another attractive way to secure loyalty. Customers can receive promotional items and custom merchandise, discount codes, alerts to your latest sales, invitations to exclusive events, or even personalized messages on special days like birthdays and holidays. In return, you get customers who are invested in your brand and some who use your brand as part of their identity, such as people who wear branded clothing.
Meet their needs
People buy products and services that answer their needs. For some purchases, the purchasing process can be lengthy. People might have questions, or need more information to help them make a purchasing decision. As an online business, a customer might need time to navigate your site and inventory.
Essentially, people might have questions that need to be answered before they make a purchase. When you take the time to recognise that customers have questions, and you address those questions, you inform the customer that they are valuable to your brand. It shows that your business respects the individual needs of customers making a decision.
To meet the needs of customers, create a FAQ page that addresses the common questions customers have before making a purchasing decision. You can introduce an AI chatbot that responds in real-time using a customer’s name to help build a connection. You can also provide email or phone details so people can connect with your business for more complex issues. Making your brand accessible elevates you above competitors that are closed to the comments and criticisms of their clients.
Make it easy
As an eCommerce, your website is key to the experience of your customers. Your shopping experience is core to the customer experience. Navigation, access, payment options and cart ease are all elements that contribute to the success of making a purchase on your website. The easier it is to search your inventory, see the details of an item or understand how a product is used, the easier it will be to secure sales.
Make your site accessible and intuitive. You need to include easy access to options for site accessible options. The flow of information should feel logical and like a forgone conclusion. Your purchasing suggestions should be clear, such as on a fashion retail site, link the shoes and dress in the picture to suggested items when the customer is checking their cart. The more effective the algorithm used to make personalized suggestions for customers, the more likely you are to upsell, but also, to have the customer return to your site for their next purchase, because your site made it easy.
Designing a winning experience
Developing your brand awareness is key to customer retention. People can’t follow your brand if they don’t know you exist. One of the most important elements of your brand is your logo – the image that you use to represent your brand to the world. Graphic design is very important for your brand, and you should take the time to create a logo that represents your brand with a lasting impression.
A logo or visual presentation of a brand or name has been part of society for centuries. The British royal family are an example of how a symbol that represents a royal can become an easily accessible image for people to recognise, particularly when the majority of people were illiterate.
A symbol that represents you makes you memorable. A visual journey is stimulating for online audiences, and your use of colour, graphics and logical flows will help you create a winning online experience that encourages customers to return time and again.
Unboxing is still a ‘thing’ online. While it is not as popular as it was in 2020, your packaging is still important. If you are sending a physical product, consider how your ideal customer receives that product. Your brand should be very clear with the logo made visible. You should also consider the type and amount of packaging used – do you need to use plastic or can you use enviro foam beans to protect the product?
If you are sending a service online, consider the email, its layout and presentation, and how people see the service and access it or add it to their tool kit. Your product should be beautiful and representative of your brand. If you take the time to consider how you are presenting your product, it shows the value you place on your customer experience, which can secure future purchases.
Customers increasingly want individualised experiences. Online data collection makes it easy to make things personal with one of the easiest ways to personalise the shopping experience – using the customer’s name. Requesting traffic sign up to your website with a sign on personalises the customer experience so that when your customer returns, they are welcomed with their name, are directed to products or services that are relevant to their needs, and presents them with offers that encourage sales.
Personalisation is the key to the individualisation of brand messaging. Email. Chats, check-out messages, invoices – almost any communication you have with your customers can be easily personalised using automated controls on your website. This message personalisation is proven effective in customer retention.
Providing information about your product or service is common sense. You need to inform potential customers about the benefits of your product to convince them to make a purchase.
However, you can also provide high-quality materials that are not directly related to selling. Blogs are an effective way to produce materials that secure customer loyalty. When you publish high-quality information that addresses common questions or provides interesting insights, or answers questions, you develop a loyal following. People then are more likely to purchase from your brand because they feel not only a connection to your brand through reading your material regularly, but they also associate your brand with quality and your product with prestige. Sports brands do this very well. They publish articles related to training and sport, from nutrition to performance optimisation. This places in the mind of the reader the simple association that the brand provides the answers and that their products are part of that answer.
Taking the time to develop a marketing strategy that includes the development of customer loyalty strategies ultimately saves you money and places your brand in higher esteem. The steps used to secure loyalty can be simplified with automation tools that enhance your website by using traffic data. The development of a customer loyalty strategy is fast and easy to implement – the building of customer loyalty takes longer.