The best kind of customer is one that comes back around and continues to choose your products and services over your competitors’. Whatever line of business you’re in, you’ll want to retain customers by any means necessary, since they can quickly turn out to account for the bulk of your profits.
It isn’t always easy to keep your clients happy and willing to come back to your offer. It is particularly the case if you’re working in eCommerce, where you can’t really establish a personal connection and people generally tend to opt for stores with the lowest prices, not paying attention to much else.
Customer retention requires putting in a lot of time and effort on a daily basis. You’ll need to navigate between impeccable customer support and an attractive, inviting web design. Between the phone answering service cost, marketing expenses, and various other expenditures, a solid customer retention strategy will almost certainly have an impact on your company’s finances.
This is why you need to plan ahead and educate yourself on running an online store that will have customers coming back for more. This article will take you through the fundamental areas of customer experience and business operations that will definitely impact your retention rate.
Table of Contents
Top-Notch Customer Support
The customer service department is never the most appealing aspect of working at any firm, but it’s still a very important one, especially in eCommerce. Ordering things online is associated with a risk that simply doesn’t apply to physical establishments. Products can break mid-delivery or they can simply be different from what the customer had in mind. Add unexpected delays and incompetent couriers to the mix, and you’re facing a flood of difficult messages from disappointed customers. And that’s when your business is doing well.
This is why it’s absolutely crucial to staff your customer support with competent and experienced employees. If you don’t believe you can afford the wages of a veteran in the field, you can always outsource this job to a virtual assistant.
Real Incentives to Come Back
Your store needs to stand out from the home page to the checkout box. If you already have a solid base of customers and want to focus on retaining them, then your marketing efforts need to be directed at making the shopping experience as swift and seamless as possible. Whenever people are looking to buy something online, they usually don’t want the process to drag on forever — if they did, they would have just gone to a regular, brick-and-mortar shop.
Aside from streamlining the shopping ordeal, you should try and make your customers feel cared for and important. In other words, let them know that you value and appreciate their business by actively trying to retain it. The most obvious and effective way to do so is by providing them with incentives to keep ordering stuff via your website. They have to provide tangible benefits, such as a discount with the next purchase, or a customer loyalty program like the ones you’ve surely encountered at coffee shops or restaurants. Once people realize that if they buy 10 things at your online store, they’ll get the 11th one on the house, their likelihood of sticking with you for the long run will be significantly increased.
The Buying Game
You can even take it a step further by establishing a points and leveling system, something akin to a video game mechanic. The gamification of eCommerce is already a widespread phenomenon and will surely capture the attention of any new customer and have them buy more things than they normally would in hopes of breaking the threshold for another discount or free shipping.
More than an e-Shop
In order to turn new customers into repeat customers, you’ll need to create structures around your eCommerce business that will keep people entertained and thinking about the site even when they’re not shopping. One of the better, wholesome ways to tap into your customers’ leisure time is devising creative social media campaigns. For example, you can come up with a series of Instagram Stories or Facebook videos depicting cool and inventive ways to utilize products available at your store. It’s a clever way to sneak in links to purchase these things while at the same time providing people with quality entertainment. If you stick with it for long enough, you’ll surely see that average order value shoot up!
Retain, but Don’t Forget to Grow Your Base!
Running an online store that only depends on current customers is not a very long-sighted business model. Customer retention is one thing, but if you want to really break the bank, you need to make sure that your number of customers is steadily growing. You can chase growth by combining it with your retention efforts in many clever ways. A well-established, highly effective trope in eCommerce is providing customers with invite codes that will activate discounts for both first-time buyers and veteran members after the newcomer logs in with their friends’ code.
Once you have a large base of customers, retention can lead to a long period of steady profits. Make it a permanent aspect of your marketing strategy, and you’ll see your store change from an obscure online novelty to an established brand.
Maciej Grzymkowski – an avid traveler with a particular affinity for Southeast Asia. I love to explore the differences between corporate cultures and ways of doing business in different parts of the world, and I’m always keen on adopting alternative and exotic solutions in my own work.