E-commerce has to prosper despite one big disadvantage – try as it might, it can never reach the same level of immediacy that our traditional brick-and-mortar stores offer. Just think about how many times you have bought something you don’t actually need because the assistant in the local shop has made you smile.
This kind of customer relationship building is crucial for success in the industry. More often than not, it’s the only differentiating point or benefit of e-commerce business owners can rely on. When everything else fails, exceptional customer guidance can keep you afloat. Besides, acquiring a new customer costs 6 to 7 times more than retaining an old one. So, you should learn to boost satisfaction and inspire loyalty when a face-to-face approach is impossible.
7 Highly Effective Strategies of 2021 to Retain Customers in E-Commerce:
1. Use Email to Welcome New Customers
Welcome emails are incredibly effective. In comparison to other promotional emails, they account for 320% more revenue. Your sales funnel depends on numerous touchpoints between your brand and your customers-to-be.
After the initial on-site greeting message that converts a prospect into a lead by offering them an incentive for subscribing, a welcome email is your first point of contact. It doesn’t just need to introduce your brand – more than anything else, it needs to leave the right impression.
Welcome emails come in threes:
- The first one thanks the lead for subscribing, tells your brand story, and makes a promise.
- The second one sent one day after the first, motivates the new lead to make a purchase.
- The third one serves a twofold purpose. It adds value and allows you to collect lead data.
All three types belong to the so-called category of trigger emails and rely on email automation tools to send out the right email as a response to a specific action.
As such, they can be used for lead nurturing, retargeting, conversion, and of course, customer retention.
Their ultimate goal? To show your brand’s care and respect for its community.
Related: How to Setup an eCommerce Store from Home
2. Keep Your Customers Engaged with Newsletters
Unlike welcome emails, newsletters don’t need to be triggered by an action. They provide an opportunity for the deepening of a relationship. At every touchpoint, you learn something new about your customers.
By keeping a history of their purchases in your CRM database and tracking their on-site behavior, you’re collecting invaluable insight into who they are, their needs, pain points, and preferences.
This allows you to personalize your offer based on everything you’ve learned about them. Using this customer data, you can create custom-tailored newsletters for every audience segment and deliver highly targeted content to their email addresses on a regular basis.
Here’s what an engaging newsletter should offer:
- Personalized product recommendations.
- Ideas on how to use your products in new and unexpected ways.
- Ideas on how to pair your products (did somebody say cross-selling?)
- How-to articles, blog posts, market trends, and company news.
- Relevant discounts, coupons, and exclusive sales.
There’s one rule you need to follow, however, never use newsletters explicitly and only for sales.
Useful, engaging, and informational content will keep them interested in what you have to say, which will eventually lead them to your CTA and deeper into your sales funnel.
Remember, a newsletter is not a sales tool, but a way to build long-lasting customer relationships.
So, provide value.
3. Establish Your Brand Presence on All Channels
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter.
Email is not the only communication channel you can use to reach out to your leads and customers.
Social media is where they spend most of their time online anyway, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to befriend them in a more casual environment. And we’re not necessarily talking about social media marketing here.
As a customer retention strategy, being present on popular networking sites will suffice. Needless to say, you need to stay responsive to your customers’ mentions, likes, and messages.
Keep posting fresh content to keep them engaged, but also join their conversations. A simple social listening tool can help you do all this from one place. Plus, leading social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer amazing opportunities for e-commerce businesses.
Product catalogs, “Buy It” buttons, and “Shop the Look Pins” allow you to create smoother customer journeys and make sales straight on social media. Use them to make shopping more convenient.
4. Make Customer Experiences Fun and Frictionless
Never assume that all your customers are cut from the same cloth.
For a majority of them, the opportunity to shop directly on social media will be a game-changer.
However, depending on your target audience, there will still be those who don’t use social media at all or simply prefer other ways of purchasing your products.
That’s why getting to know your customers is key to better relationships.
Here’s what you can do:
- Establish a fun and safe environment for them to reveal more about who they are.
- This insight leads to more effective audience segmenting, which then leads to higher personalization.
It’s a way to make customer experiences fun and frictionless for all of your customers, regardless of how unique they are.
Related: Best Online Payment Gateways for eCommerce Businesses
5. Let Your Customers Know That Their Voice Counts
You can also use your online quiz maker to generate feedback. All customers want to be heard, whether they have something good to say about your brand or not. Never disregard their opinions.
Not only will this hurt your integrity, but it will also inhibit your growth. If you’re not improving, you’re getting worse.
6. Provide Exceptional Customer Service & Support
All of us know that exceptional customer service is key to e-commerce growth. It’s not a new notion, but it is an often overlooked one. Everything we’ve talked about makes little sense if you fail to provide your customers with guidance before, during, and after they make a purchase. Timely customer support is the number one strategy for building long-lasting relationships. Without it, they’ll never return.
Keep this in mind while prepping your customer support reps:
- 70% of customers expect personalization. Keep your CRM database up-to-date.
- Customers always have opinions, so encourage them to rate your service.
- 83% of them need pre-purchase assistance. Add a live chat option to help them.
- If they are shopping on social media, they don’t want to switch tabs for guidance.
7. Crown Your Relationships with Loyalty Programs
Both email and social media are perfect for rewarding loyalty. Keep relying on your CRM solution, and you’ll be able to track returning customers. Then use email to send free gift coupons and discounts as an incentive for new purchases.
This retention strategy is tested and proven, which means that your customers are expecting it. Can you also inspire loyalty using rewards programs? Sure you can.
Social media is the right channel for this, as it allows you to tap into a wide customer pool and create contests and rewards campaigns. Leverage Instagram Stories to create a sense of urgency and offer a special gift or discount to the most responsive among your followers.
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E-commerce might be at a slight disadvantage when it comes to immediacy, but what it lacks in a face-to-face approach, it compensates for with real-time benefits of online shopping.
By employing these seven customer retention techniques, you’re inviting them to stay for good. Just put customers first and show them how much you care. After all, that’s the foundation of every great relationship.