It’s been said time and time again, but retaining current customers is always cheaper than selling to new customers. But with so many eCommerce retailers selling similar products at competitive prices on the web, post-purchase loyalty is becoming increasingly difficult for retailers to achieve.
According to a recent study conducted by RJ Metrics, only 32% of customers place a second order within the first year of business with an online retailer.
If a customer does make a second purchase within that first year, the odds of them making a third purchase jump up to over 50%. The RJ Metrics study states that, “A customer’s repeat purchase rate steadily increases with each incremental purchase.”
So how do you keep customers coming back to purchase?
One of the best ways to keep your customers coming back is to add a personal touch to your customers digital shopping experience.
Brick and mortar retail stores have the advantage of developing personal customer relationships through face-to-face interactions; allowing their clients to get to know their company and the employees they will be conducting business with. These personal interactions help to establish a sense of trust and respect between the client and the business.
eCommerce retailers are not able to develop customer relationships via face-to-face interactions. They can, however, utilize various methods of digital communication to establish personal, long-term relationships with their clients.
This article focuses on these methods and how they can help eCommerce retailers retain post-purchase customer loyalty.
As an eCommerce retailer, your brand/image is what initially gives your customers insight to your personality, who you are and how your company operates.
Because eCommerce retailers cannot physically greet their clients and offer them a friendly “Hello” like brick and mortar retail stores, their brand/web site is their initial Hello and first impression. Color schemes, logos, an appealing interface and a brief company description are all they get to shake the hands of their clients.
A well-developed, recognizable brand / website creates a sense of professionalism and trust between the client and seller – much like a friendly Hello and hearty handshake. If your branding conveys both trust and professionalism, potential clients are more likely to initially purchase, and return for future purchases.
Social media gives eCommerce retailers the power to be in constant contact with their customers on a more personal level. It gives your company a voice.
Implementing a strong social media presence within your company allows you to publicly communicate with clients, and instantaneously correct any issues or complaints clients may have with your product.
Social media also provides your clients with a voice, and getting your customers to positively discuss your company or product via social media is free advertising. Clients are more likely to trust your company if they are referred by friends via social media. Product reviews and recommendations validate your company to your potential clients. Consider establishing a referral bonus program to customers who spread the good word about your company and bring in new clients.
Social media can be a valuable asset to your company, but be sure that you are the one controlling the conversation. Constantly stay engaged with your clients, squash any complaints or negative press that surfaces and, in general, be respectful and responsive to your clients. Just as in face-to-face interactions, the words Please and Thank You go a long way.
One of the main reasons shoppers choose larger eCommerce companies to purchase from is that they believe the customer support that these larger businesses offer will take care of any problems that may arise with the product they are purchasing.
If the wrong item gets shipped out, they know whom to contact to take care of the issue or return the item. Brick and mortar stores also benefit from this seeing as customers have a physical location to return their items if any issues arise.
You can offer the same service as larger online retailers and brick and mortar stores by offering quality customer support. Be sure your contact information is clearly displayed on your website. Customers will be more at ease shopping from your web store if they know whom to contact in case of any ordering errors. Establishing a responsive customer support system is one of the quickest ways to establish trust between buyer and seller.
Newsletter and Email Campaigns
Following up with customers’ orders via email is a way of letting your clients know you haven’t forgotten about them even after they have purchased.
The follow up email can be as simple as personally addressing the client by name, letting them know when they can expect their purchased item to arrive and telling them to, “have a nice day!” Personalizing this initial follow up email lets your customers know that you view them as a human being rather than just another order. Include your company’s customer support number in the email to further establish that sense of trust between you and your client.
After the purchase has been made and the initial follow-up email has been sent, unfortunately, at this point, it’s easy for customers to forget about your company. To avoid this, consider an email campaign for those clients that have not returned to purchase within 30 days.
These emails should be geared towards, once again, letting your clients know you have not forgotten about them and that you value their business. Send them a list of items they may be interested in based on their previous purchase. Surprise them with a discount to get them shopping on your web store again. Email campaigns are a powerful tool in your digital marketing arsenal. They allow you to customize, personalize and improve your clients’ digital shopping experience with your company.
Educational Content and Blogging
Publishing informative industry related content on your company blog is a great way to generate new clients, build trust between you and your current clients and establish yourself as an industry leader.
Published content on your blog can be read and shared by thousands via social media. This not only draws prospective customers to your website, but keeps your current clients informed on what’s going on with your company. It lets potential and current clients, as well as competitors, know that you are an industry professional with a unique and dynamic voice.
A blog with informative and well-crafted articles can separate your company from the rest of the eCommerce retailers. It lets your customers and competitors know that you are staying up with modern business practices, market trends and the eCommerce industry as a whole.
Cater your content to your audience; potential and current clients, as well as related industry companies and partners. Be sure that your blog posts are topical and informative, and never publish content for the sake of publishing more content. If your blog topics become dry, mundane posts, this can begin to deter rather than attract potential clients.
Personalizing digital retail is tricky, but the aforementioned marketing tactics can both ad a personal touch and improve the post-purchase loyalty of your customers.
In the end, no amount of marketing is going to replace one of the earliest and simplest business tactics: taking care of your customers. Stay in contact with your clients whether it be social media or email campaigns. Work to quickly resolve any issues they have with the your products or the shipping process. Say hello. Address your clients by name. Say please and thank you. Digital marketing can help you stay in contact with your clients, but unless you are truly working to improve their shopping experience, it is going to be tough to keep your customers coming back to buy more.