Customer loyalty is closely linked to the service quality assessment of a business by its markets. Factors like product quality, performance, customer service and customer experience are some of the key determinants of retention, that have remained constant over time. Ecommerce businesses will find it worthwhile to benchmark their loyalty campaigns against those of their brick and mortar counterparts. For the CX-based customer retention programs to function at their best, it does not matter whether the business sells offline or online, so long as customer pain points are addressed well.
Digitization of trade has taken the world of business by leaps and bounds with no looking back. Notwithstanding the evolution, there is much to learn by reflecting on early loyalty marketing programs.
- Customer-Friendly Shipping And Returns Policy
When Ecommerce was making its debut rounds, delivery at doorstep was a perquisite in itself. But now, delivering bought goods and shipping back goods for return and replacement are the bread and butter for Ecommerce businesses. It is a major make or break factor for customer loyalty. One essential take away from traditional programs is that of under-promising and over-delivering. Why make tall claims when the future is uncertain? When you promise to deliver in a week and actually end up doing the same in 3 days, you bring smiles on customer faces, prompting them to do re-engage, time and again. Similarly articulate your returns policy so that there is no after-sale confusion that can spoil relationships.
- Negative Feedback Is An Asset, Not A Brickbat
Businesses try to make the most out of compliments and praises, but critical feedbacks are literally ignored. Unlike the case of customer help-desks of early days that had to mandatorily resolve grievances face-to-face, digital feedbacks are susceptible to get ignored, especially the negative ones. Strengthen your online customer support team with adequate training and development to treat every negative feedback as a great learning opportunity. A critical query, once resolved becomes the medium of engagement for the future. In other words, when compared to acquisition of fresh clients, customer satisfaction and retention marketing are far more cost-effective.
- Pitching For Cross-Selling And Up-Selling At The Apt Moments
Incremental revenue is always rewarding and they increase the average order value of customers. But it takes a great deal of patience to cultivate trust in the minds of customers. Customers must not misinterpret the remarketing efforts as greedy and coercive gimmicks to increase sales. In the case of offline stores, such remarketing efforts are made when customers have sealed the deals, in other words, after securing their buy-ins. Ecommerce websites must follow this cue and ensure that the shopper is not distracted with umpteen deals on the home page itself. Bundle offers, premium upgrades and supplementary products must be recommended after decent time intervals. Strategic placement of the required CTA buttons in a manner that does not delay or complicate the checkout process, boosts customer retention.
- Tier The Rewards System; Motivate To Buy More
Though remote technology has impacted lives and revolutionized loyalty programs, the excitement of freebies is still the same. Getting a little more is always welcomed by customers. Taking precedents from traditional customer retention programs, many Ecommerce businesses have made the loyalty rewards tiered. This creates a sense of compulsion and motivation among existing customers to move to the next tier in order to qualify better for the rewards. It is an organic way of improving sales and also a potential move at making the switching over process costlier. Having accumulated reward points and being on the verge of moving to next tier of loyalty, customers will think twice before opting out of your brand.
- Aim For Long-Term Successes And Not Short-Term Gains
Early customer loyalty programs were all built for long-term relationships. In the urge to break-even at the lowest possible time, many Ecommerce portals do the mistake of pressurizing customers for more interactions and more sales in a short period of time. The whole process becomes counterproductive. To secure something for the long-run, Ecommerce businesses must give back something in the short-run. Empowering customers by giving free access to blogs and articles without gating every part of web content will increase customer engagement. Similarly, allowing customers for a cooling-off time with your brand, begin the post sales communication slowly, by thanking them and asking for feedback. Instead of asking a lot of questions, provide information based on real-time insights from their last online activity. Offer more and expect less is the way to win customer satisfaction. The target will prove extremely beneficial in the long run.
- Towards Data-Centric Customer Retention Programs
For Ecommerce businesses, the website is the physical store. Just like how your walk-in store is crafted to perfection with warm, hospitable salesmen and clear in-store navigations, the Ecommerce websites must place usability first. An illustrative products page with competitor price analysis, customer testimonials, live chat, simplified payment and check-out processes are all ways to secure revisits from existing shoppers. Building Pathwwway mobile responsive sites will make shopping with your brand a pleasure, over and over again.
- Never Ignore The Power Of Social
Customer retention in the earlier years was targeted by way of SEO marketing. Many unhealthy and black hat practises were associated with it. Buying links and using low-quality content were rampant in online businesses. What needs to be stressed here is that good website rankings are core of building brand loyalty even in new age businesses of today. But the end-result is achieved by promoting the social side of businesses. Being active over social media is a credibility-building practice. Providing social media logins, making content shareable over social media and solving customer complaints using public forums are all organic ways of building customer confidence.
One of the greatest drawbacks for Ecommerce stores with regards to customer retention programs is that they cannot take shelter under the proximity advantage, like their offline competitors. For the tech-savvy online shopper, every store is within the proximity of his Smartphone. As such, there is a need to create differentiate the loyalty programs. One well-learnt lesson from early programs for the e-tailists of today is not to reach out for the wallets for existing customers alone, but to build bonds with their emotions.