There are no shortcuts to success. Customer retention is essential to build credibility and foster conversions alike. In short, the success of a business is predicated on customer loyalty it inspires in its prospects, leads and existing clientele. Retention teams, however, need to be build a customer loyalty program that offers not just short term benefits like increase in average order value, but also foster brand evangelism and spur referrals.
The customer marketing landscape is changing dramatically as 2019 begins. The market is already competitive and saturated. Ecommerce retailer Amazon alone accounts for 49 per cent of ecommerce sales, according to TechCrunch. Therefore, with half the market share already snagged, retailers all over the world need to think of creative ways to retain customers. This is where brands like Amazon score with peer reviews and deals like free shipping. Ecommerce brands and e-tailers now need to incentivise customers for their loyalty. Rewarding loyal customers is a pivotal trend which will only flourish in 2019.
- The Need for an Omni-Channel Loyalty Program
When products are advertised against hundreds of competing brands like Amazon, Walmart and Google Shopping, standing out in a crowd can be tough. As per CommerceHub, 86 percent of clients switch online channels while making purchases. So sustaining customer interest and retaining loyalists is easier said than done. By implementing an omni-channel loyalty program, personalised incentives can cause measurable lift in sales volumes.
In a collaborative, sharing culture, storytelling plays a critical role in building trust. People put more value in others known to them and word-of-mouth marketing, as against ads. As brands utilise storytelling in the years ahead, it is vitally important to partner with brand advocates, loyalists and influencers who stand behind an organisation and what it represents.
- The Evolution of New Technologies
New technologies are emerging each day, taking business customer service efforts to the next level. So, quality consumer retention in 2019 is as much about data integration as it is about catering to niche segments. As the marketing landscape is constantly evolving, the biggest tech trends out there are catching on. For example, consider AI and machine learning.
The deep learning online retention experts can bring about through analysis of existing customer data is simply astounding. Personalisation and AI are essential to create hyper-segmentation in marketing campaigns. With this, it’s easier to attain solid ROI and the ability to predict what will reinforce customers ahead based on past purchases.
Another new tech trend emerging is mobile payment. Mobile wallet or payment systems are doing away with credit cards and loyalty programs are now embedded in mobile payment options. Relevant mobile wallets like Venmo are making buyers less reliant on currency. What do technologies like mobile wallets or even blockchain mean for client retention? For one, there will be fewer transaction costs. There is also greater security.
- Why Customers Need to be Retained
While there are no shortcuts to retaining customers, the value of customer retention cannot be stressed enough. According to Harvard Business School, raising retention by 5 per cent raises profits by another 25 to 95 per cent. A quick way to grab customer attention and build loyalty is to create a strong relationship with the brand and this takes time. It’s critical to stand for something that matters. CEB’s research on 7K customers in the US found those who could relate to a brand primarily had shared values with the business. Positive social proof is the essence of effective retention.
- Reducing Friction
For a smooth and flawless sales experience, all businesses need to sell to different kinds of buyers differently. According to neuroeconomics professors, one-fourth of buyers are conservative or budget-conscious spenders, as per Carnegie Mellon research. So, bundles, reassuring words and reframing strategies are essential to sell to such buyers. Psychologist Norbert Schwartz even found as little as 10 cents can be a source of building reciprocity and fostering brand loyalty!
- Why Personalisation Matters
The build it and they will come approach no longer holds water, if you want a sales volume that tips the scales in your favour. A psychology study found waiters increased their tips by 23 per cent by returning to the table with another set of after dinner mints. Personalisation and a sense of being valued creates loyalty among customers. What keeps people coming back for more is quality. Research by Pathwwway Ltd found customers were 9 times more likely to be engaged with a brand that was positively perceived as opposed to being merely timely in its deliveries.
- Choosing the Right Platform
An essential part of effective customer retention strategies is to choose the right channels which are also utilised by customers. You need to pick a channel that makes the most sense for business. For example, whether customers prefer chat or email can influence how you address their concerns. On the other hand, it is equally important to know what prevents customers from being loyal. A study by consumer research experts Xavier Dreze and Joseph Nunes found that the biggest obstacle that prevents customer loyalty programs from sticking is getting customers going. They demonstrated how people were more likely to complete loyalty program cards if they were automatically rewarded at the start.
Research also showed that people love being VIP members of a program. Research by Stanford University professors has also shown people are more likely to participate in a loyalty program which is positively perceived. Tactics can work, but when it comes to customer retention, there are no shortcuts or magic bullets.
- Meeting the Connected Customer’s Needs
An important means of addressing customer needs and preferences is omni channel marketing. Media and ads need to be sequenced across devices and channels to ensure there is consistency and relevance. Brands need to focus on customer retention as a growth lever for the business. Part of the job focuses on using the context, such as what life cycle stage the customer is at, what action is undertaken and what the next best action should be are critical. Creating customer interaction and driving engagement is important. Marketers also need to identify touchpoints of the customer’s lifecycle requiring digital intervention.
Personalised marketing makes it truly exciting for customers as brands define new parameters for customer engagement, making the online sales experience unique. Brands can use a plethora of customer retention tools to drive customer discovery, education, exploration and support.