Ten Key Points to increasing customer loyalty
So you’ve got an online ecommerce website, people are using it, which is great but now let’s talk about taking it to the next level and building on your baseline. Improving customer loyalty, will increase your returning visitors and not only increase your repeat business, but get things right and it can also help to increase average basket value. Creating a good experience will encourage those returning visitors to share their experience and bring new customers, which in turn may become loyal returning customers and so on.
Keeping it Simple
So to simplify things to their most basic level, let’s look at internet shoppers. People tend to shop on the internet in two main ways:
Customer visits an online shop they already know and search for the product they want.
Customer searches for the product they want, and then goes to whatever online shop comes up in their search results.
For the second scenarios, we need to talk about SEO and make sure your shop is one of the shops that are found. We’ll leave that for a separate blog.
But for this article we’ll look at scenario one, and ideally turning scenario two customers into future scenario ones! Put another way, get your customers to remember you and think of you first before turning to Google or other search engine.
So here’s some things to consider, and questions to ask yourself.
- Strong branding.
- Do you have a strong memorable brand, if not you’ll be easily forgotten.
- Do you have a recognisable logo, a simple icon that people would see and instantly know who you are?
- Clear bold message.
- Are you putting out a clear message about who you are and what you do. i.e.
Welcome to Ron’s Classic Car Sales,
We Sell Classic Cars to people like you!
Sometimes it really is as easy as that to enforce the message, but when you run a business you can start to take it for granted that people know what you do. Don’t forget to tell people who you are and what you do. Keep it simple, then they’ll remember you for it.
What if it’s not that straightforward?
If you offer a wide range of products and services sometimes it’s hard to sum up in a sentence, so think about a memorable strapline of some kind – “Every little helps” springs to mind.
Those things so far will help people to remember you, but now you want to make sure they remember you for the right reasons. From here on in offer your customer a bad experience and they’ll make a mental note NEVER to come back to you.
- Good user experience.
- By far the simplest way to build loyalty is to have a website that is easy (and I mean easy as in almost a pleasure!) to use.
- Present popular and/or relevant (seasonal if that suits you business) products directly on the homepage.
- Make sure your process of finding products is simple and effective, use categorisation to put products in the correct and logical department.
- Think about a good search, with filtering if your products have many options or if your products are quite technical.
- A painless checkout will leave people with a smile on the face, thinking “well that was easy”.
- Be transparent.
- Be upfront about prices, especially delivery, don’t make people jump through too many hoops just to find out what their order is going to cost. Most online shopping is price driven, if you hide the price behind pages of customer registration that’s not good. If you need an address to calculate shipping, you can at least show your customer an estimate of the total price before they register.
- Give information about delivery options, shipping time scales and outline your returns and refund policies, let them know they’ll be OK if they order something wrong or change their mind.
- Good customer service.
- Help your customers! Whether online chat, or help and advise pages, giving your customers information reassures them you know what you’re talking about.
- Show customer reviews, these can be reviews of the products, or of your business. Both of these are valuable, and if positive will reassure customers that you’re worth saving to their bookmarks.
All good so far, but if steps 3 to 5 aren’t backed up with 1 and 2 your customers might remember the experience but forgot who it was that offered it to them.
DON'T forget aftersales
- Follow up, but get the timing right.
- If you have a review system, leave it a length of time and send your customer an email to ask them to leave a review. And why not push the boat out and give them something in return, a discount voucher for a future checkout if they leave a review. But time it right or it could backfire, don’t ask people to review a product before it’s been delivered!
- And make sure you give people the choice to opt out, we all get enough junk in our mailboxes already, adding to unwanted emails is a definite no go.
- Reward loyalty and make people feel important.
- Points and reward schemes help to entice customers back. Or allow users to sign up for emails marketing, but if you’re going to put something in someone's mailbox make sure it’s worthwhile.
- Allow customers to sign up for a VIP club, allow them early bird discounts, or let them see new products first. Give exclusive deals and run competitions.
- What better way to build on repeat custom than making it so easy you almost take the thought away from it. If you’re in the business of FMCG and sell a product that gets used up regularly; tea and coffee to businesses, pet food to pet owners, etc. think about a regular order system or subscription service.
- Know your audience.
- It’s important to understand who you are marketing to and adjust your communications to match your target audience. If you sell fitted kitchens to consumers, sending existing customers a monthly email won’t be much use. Once they’ve bought a kitchen it’s unlikely it’ll need replacing for 10-20 years. However if your customers are property developers then there’s a very strong chance they’ll purchase a kitchen every couple of months.
Tell the world
And finally spread the word, or better still let others do it for you!
- Don’t forget your social accounts.
- Are you active on social media and if not why not? It’s a great way to engage with your audience, reply to questions and get reviews.
- Allowing users on Facebook to share your posts and give each other recommendations, equals free marking and increases brand awareness.
So if you want your customers to return time and time again, please get in touch and we’d be happy to talk to you about how you might improve customer loyalty on your website.