If you’re part of the ecommerce world, you’re probably very familiar with the saying that it’s five times cheaper to retain your current customers than to acquire new ones.
But the benefits of customer retention don’t stop there.
Not only are loyal customers more profitable than first-time buyers, they can also quickly become your brand’s greatest ambassadors; providing you with valuable feedback on your product over time and recommending you to their family and friends.
So how do you get your customers to stay in your life for years to come?
It’s all about connection
In a world where you can buy almost anything at the click of a button, customers today are increasingly driven by high-quality experiences.
In fact, according to Walker, customer experience is so important these days that it’s actually overtaking price and product as the key differentiator between stores.
Essentially, your customers want to be treated like the unique individuals that they are. They want to establish a relationship with you that goes far beyond a simple monetary exchange.
So, while an impressive deal or discount code might be enough to attract buyers to your store initially, you’re going to have to work a little harder to woo them if you want them coming back for more.
And that’s where ecommerce personalisation comes in. Instapage recently reported that 80% of shoppers say they are more likely to buy from a company that offers them a personalised experience, while 44% of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after having a personalised experience with a brand.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most effective ways you can provide your customers with a shopping experience that’s as unique as they are:
#1 Personalise your customers’ shopping journey
If you’re looking to retain more buyers, you’ll need to offer your customers a personalised experience from the moment they ‘set foot’ in your virtual store.
One effective way of doing this is to recommend customers products which are similar to items they have already viewed and shown interest in, just as Nike does here:
Invesp recently reported that 45% of customers say they’re more likely to shop on a site that offers them personalised recommendations, so this is perhaps one of the quickest and easiest ways to up your sales while keeping your customers happy.
For an even more instantly personalised shopping experience, you could also find out what it is that your customers are looking for from the second they arrive on your store’s homepage.
To do this, ask your customers to fill in a short survey as they enter your site or - if you sell clothing - simply ask them to select their gender at the first point of call.
#2 Use email marketing to cross-sell, upsell and build rapport
Email marketing provides you with the perfect opportunity to build relationships with your customers after they make a purchase by speaking directly to them.
One effective use of email is to cross-sell (recommend complementary products) and upsell (recommend additional or more expensive products) to your customers, as research shows that customers genuinely do appreciate and act on these recommendations.
In fact, according to Forrest Research analysis, the processes of cross-selling and upselling to customers account for 10-30% of ecommerce revenue on average.
However, we’d also recommend going the extra mile by sending your customers emails thanking them for shopping with you, offering them personalised rewards for their loyalty or celebrating important moments in their life.
Another popular – and very effective – technique amongst ecommerce businesses is to find out a customer’s birthday, then surprise them with a birthday message or special gift.
If you aren’t doing this already, it’s probably time to start, as Salesforce recently reported that customers were far more likely to see personalised offers like this as important and worth acting on.
#3 Go above and beyond with your customer support
Reaching out to your customers with personalised emails can clearly make a huge difference when it comes to building long-lasting relationships with them.
But when your customers are the ones to reach out to you directly, this is your golden opportunity to show them how much you really care.
To really wow your customers, you’ll have to do more than quickly get back in touch with them with a standardised answer or solution.
Although fixing the problem or providing an answer quickly should always be the top priority, never miss an opportunity to make customers feel truly important by giving all of your responses a personal touch.
This ‘personal touch’ can be as simple as using a customer’s name when you’re speaking with them, or as thoughtful as mailing them a consolation gift after they’ve had a difficult experience using your website.
At Telbee, we champion voice technology as the future of truly effective, personal customer support. This is largely because nothing helps you create an emotional bond with someone like speaking with them - and listening to them talk.
To read more about how you can amaze your customers with ultra-personal customer service, don’t miss our recent article on how to make your customers feel special.
#4 Launch a loyalty program on your store
Invesp recently reported that 83% of online shoppers say they are more likely to continue buying from brands with loyalty programs in place - and with this in mind, launching a rewards scheme on your store seems like a bit of a no-brainer.
By offering your customers the opportunity to unlock discounts, receive rewards and earn points on your store, you incentivise them to come back to you time and time again.
This means more business for you, more rewards for your customers and a longer-lasting relationship between buyer and brand. It’s a win-win for everyone!
We’d also recommend using your loyalty program as an opportunity to get creative, have fun and showcase some of your brand’s personality.
For example, Aussie-based cosmetic brand Frank Body create a welcoming and vibrant community with their loyalty program by asking their customers to sign up (or ‘check in’) to a luxury holiday resort called ‘Hotel Pink’.
Shoppers earn ‘Pink Points’ as they spend, working their way up from ‘The Lobby’ to ‘The Penthouse’ over time, and are rewarded with discounts and product samples for inviting their friends to the party!
#5 Stay active on social media
To create personal relationships with your customers, you also need to be available for them to talk to when they’re not actively browsing your online store.
Keep top of mind by staying active on your demographic’s favourite social platforms, keep followers engaged by sharing genuinely helpful or inspirational content, and make sure you’re liking, sharing and replying to as many of your customers’ posts as possible.
This way, you’ll be able to get across to your customers what your brand is really about - and engage them in a far more personal, fun and interactive way.
#6 Create a strong sense of community on your website
While reward schemes, voice support and birthday emails are all extremely effective methods for building lasting relationships with your customers privately, we’d suggest you go a step further by weaving a community aspect into everything you do publicly as well.
This could include featuring your customers’ photos on your website’s homepage, sending out newsletters including some of your customers’ own product reviews or even integrating a live social feed onto your product pages to share their thoughts, opinions and mentions with the rest of your buyers.
Essentially, you should be engaging with your customers not just privately on your customer support channels, but openly on your website too, so that the atmosphere of your ecommerce store is immediately welcoming, personal and customer-first.
For more top tips on innovative community building for ecommerce stores, have a read of our recent article on some of the best ways to build a strong sense of community using voice technology.
Time to show your buyers how much you care
The world of online retail is quickly and constantly changing. Customers are demanding more personalised experiences than ever, and it’s important to deliver this for them if you’d like to secure an active, engaged customer base who will stick around for years to come.
The good news is that your efforts to build relationships with your customers are sure to be reciprocated - as your buyers want to get to know you too!
To find out how our voice messaging platform can help you create more personalised experiences for your customers, get in touch with Telbee today!