The competitive nature of ecommerce means that there will be more than one (in fact, many) businesses can offer a customer the same kind of product. Being able to build customer loyalty is one of the key factors in having a successful business.
1. Define customer loyalty
The fact is, customer loyalty is relative. A customer can exclusively and consistently buy products from 3 or more different merchants while stay loyal to none. Companies have different ways to define and measure customer loyalty, based on which they build their loyalty program. Some measure it by calculating the amount of money they spend over a period of time, others by determining the number of occasions customers make purchases. By having your own idea of how ‘loyal’ should be defined with your business, you will be able to craft your own unique program.
Just remember that customer loyalty comes from customer satisfaction and customer retention. It is more likely that people who stay with your business for an extended duration will give you valuable remarks and insights on service and products in general (not that one-time buyers don’t, but they are more price focused). It is also less costly to invest in existing customers in comparison to those who buy and bounce.
2. Use the right ecommerce site to run your content.
Quality content is an essential part in building a community of loyal supporters. It is where you connect your value and ideas with that of customers. A site healthy ingredients and superfood won’t thrive on selling the products alone; there are always blog posts about inspirational recipes, lifestyle, and cooking videos. Make sure you are using the best ecommerce platform that can utilize marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization), helping you acquire and gain visitors.
Quality content goes two-way. Besides your own, have user-generated content on your site. Embrace both positive and negative reviews because believe it or not, negative reviews can create loyal customers as it shows you are a genuine business.
Also pay attention to visual content to maximize customers’ focus on your site.
3.Live chat across all types of devices.
Personal service is important, especially when you can offer one-to-one real-time Q&A sessions. It is a no-brainer to have a chat function enabled on your site. All ecommerce platforms have this function for you to install.
According to Statista, there are about 2.32 billion smartphone users in the world in 2017, and this number expects to reach 2.87 billion by 2020. There is no doubt that you must have a responsive website that works across all types of devices, especially smartphones and tablets.
Ecommerce is competitive. It’s either you or your competitors. Searching for online stores that sell that same kind of product that you do is easy with just a mouse click. It is vital that your customer service team can always provide help on the spot, or answer enquiries in a timely manner. After all, if customers have to ask, they are already interested. Your job is to convert that interest into sales. Consistently and quickly giving customers answers when they need you to builds trust.
4. Have a kickass customer loyalty program.
It’s best to have a combination of monetary and non-monetary loyalty program. Many e-businesses give something to new customers as an incentive for their first time purchase in form of discount. They are encouraged to earn points by performing specific activities like referral, comment, subscribe, etc. Later, these points can be redeemed into cash discount. There can be as many as 1088 combinations using plugins and customization on ecommerce platform to build your program.
While cash discounts are common practice, non-monetary reward program is what make a business unique. This is especially true if you can tailor personal gifts which show your appreciation to repeating customers. Use a platform that can help you easily manage and keep track of customers’ bookmarked items, what they put in their ‘buy later’ tab, and products that they frequently check to get a grasp of their interest.