Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce was big business. In 2019 alone, 1.92 billion people purchased goods online. And once the pandemic hit, many stores stayed open by shifting their resources to e-commerce. Now, however, they’re finding difficulty in retaining the same level of customer loyalty they got from their in-store patrons. So how can online retailers build and keep customer loyalty through e-commerce channels?
- Provide great customer service and experience
- Invest in your website
- Add personal touches
- Offer customer loyalty programs
- Customer loyalty is about more than just price
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Provide great customer service and experience
Customers want simplicity when they’re shopping, especially online. They often know what they’re looking for, and they shouldn’t have to guess where on your website they can find it. Search tools, well-defined categories, and clear navigation menus will help improve your customers’ online experience and keep them happy with you.
In addition to experience, you need to provide good customer service before, during, and after a purchase. Out of consumers that have a bad customer service experience, 39 percent of them will avoid a company for at least two years after that. And they’re likely to tell their friends and family about their bad experience, meaning you’ve not only lost their business but that of their circle as well.
Invest in your website
For your e-commerce business to be successful, you need to invest in your website, making it fast, responsive, and easy to use. Slow loading times are going to frustrate your customers, and 40 percent will leave if it takes your site more than three seconds to load. One tip to improve your load speed is to optimize and scale down your images before uploading them to your site.
You should also invest in a website builder that includes responsive designs. This means that the page will adjust based on the size of your user’s screen. Responsive design keeps information from being cut off, and your customers won’t have to scroll sideways to read your content.
You’ll also need a mobile-friendly version of your website, considering mobile e-commerce sales are projected to reach 3.56 trillion dollars by the end of 2021. Keep your designs simple and use a large font that will show up well even on small screens.
Add personal touches
Personalization can go a long way in both email marketing and upselling, but it goes further than just adding their name to a subject line. On your product pages, consider adding a section with similar items or products that other customers also bought. This helps customers find what they’re looking for even if the original product didn’t quite meet their needs. It can also help them find any necessary accessories.
You can also customize your email blasts to show products similar to what your customers have purchased before. Since you already have data on what they’re interested in, you can use this information to keep them coming back. For example, let’s say you’re a women’s clothing retailer. You might set up an email blast that features new products. But one of your customers has only ever bought shoes from you, so her email blast only includes new shoes, rather than all the new products that she likely won’t care about.
You should also consider personalized email blasts based on the actions your customer took on the site. For example, if they put something in their cart and then left, have your system automatically send them a follow-up email to remind them to complete their purchase. Some retailers even offer a discount at this stage to further entice the customer.
Offer customer loyalty programs
Customers like to feel like they belong, and one way you can offer this to them is by creating a customer loyalty program. These programs reward customers with points when they buy from your store, which they can then use for future discounts or free products. Some customer loyalty programs also offer exclusive content to keep their customers engaged.
Customer loyalty programs often customize their rewards, separating members into levels based on their engagement. They also may offer points for things like following the brand on social media or referring a friend to shop with them. Users should also be able to access their loyalty program through both their mobile device and computer.
Top software for creating e-commerce customer loyalty programs
Customer loyalty is about more than just price
While customers care about price, the lowest price isn’t going to convince them to stick with your brand. You’ll only do that if you provide them with a great, personalized experience and give them a reason to be loyal to you. Your website needs to be fast and responsive, and customers should be able to easily find what they’re looking for.
To build your own customer loyalty program, check out our Product Selection Tool to find software that can help. After answering a few short questions, you’ll get a customized list of software recommendations for your business.