1. Prioritise Customer Service
- Example: Amazon prioritises convenience and efficiency with options like one-click ordering and reliable 24/7 support, removing pain points from the shopping experience.
- Software: Zendesk offers an all-in-one solution that includes ticketing, live chat, email support and self-service options that can aid in improving ecommerce customer service.
Customer service and ecommerce customer loyalty go hand-in-hand. According to the 2023 Microsoft Global State of Customer Service Sophistication report, 96% of customers will switch brands due to poor customer service.
Being able to provide answers to queries consistently and efficiently builds a relationship of trust and confidence among your consumer base.
Customers who wait days for a simple response to their email likely won’t stick around to make repeat purchases.
Here are ways your ecommerce brand can better its customer service:
- Offer multiple communication channels: Live chat, email, phone support, and social media messaging.
- Make information easily accessible: Create a comprehensive and searchable help centre that includes FAQs and return policies.
- Implement chatbots: These can handle simple inquiries and provide 24/7 support when human support is unavailable.
2. Build a Reliable Brand
- Example: Patagonia backs its products with a lifetime warranty and offers repair services to extend the life of its gear. This shows that the brand has confidence in its products and fosters customer loyalty and trust.
- Software: QIMAone offers a comprehensive platform for managing inspections throughout your supply chain, including pre-production checks, in-production audits and final inspections.
Building a reliable brand name involves providing consistent and dependable services and products that will keep customers returning over and over again.
Customers generally look to engage with a brand that offers smooth transactions, quality products and timely deliveries. Excelling in these areas can build strong customer relationships, which fosters repeat business.
With endless ecommerce shops out there, you want to cultivate a reliable brand that creates satisfied customers by providing:
- High-quality products: Deliver on your promises regarding product quality, functionality and customer service. Invest in quality control and consistent product development.
- Transparent business practices: Be clear about pricing, shipping policies, return processes and your terms of service. Avoid hidden fees and misleading information.
- Secure and reliable transactions: Implement strong security measures to protect customers’ data and ensure safe online payments. Diverse payment options also allow for customer convenience.
- Example: Glossier‘s founder, Emily Weiss, actively engages with her community through social media by responding to comments, hosting Q&A sessions and offering insights into the brand.
- Software: Hootsuite‘s platform allows you to schedule posts, track social media analytics, engage with your audience, and collaborate with your team across different social media platforms.
According to data from Statista, the average person in the UK spends around two hours of their day on social media. Potential new customers could be using some of this time to learn about your online store and the products you offer.
Additionally, social media allows you to connect with your customers directly. This creates a two-way conversation so customers can form a personal connection with your brand.
Here are some simple ways that you can use social media to build customer loyalty:
- Host contests and giveaways: Generate excitement and reward your followers with exclusive discounts, product giveaways or early access to sales.
- Respond to individual comments and messages: Take the time to personalise your interactions with customers, making them feel valued and appreciated.
- Create unique and valuable content: Share engaging posts, stories, and videos that go beyond mere product promotion. Offer tips, tutorials, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and user-generated content.
4. Personalise the Customer Experience
- Example: HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service, analyses past orders and preferences to suggest new recipes that its customers might enjoy. This keeps the meal selection exciting, while also aiding in customer retention.
- Software: Dynamic Yield uses AI and machine learning to personalise product recommendations, banner ads, and pop-ups of your ecommerce site.
Offering a personalised customer experience is a surefire way to boost customer loyalty in ecommerce. Breaking the general cookie-cutter approach to online shopping ensures your brand stands out from the crowd, which naturally improves customer satisfaction.
Additionally, tailored recommendations, targeted promotions and relevant content resonates more with individual customers compared to mass-produced marketing efforts.
Some other ways to improve customer satisfaction through personalisation include:
- Product recommendations: Suggest items to your customers based on their past purchases, browsing history, or similar interests. This also ensures you secure purchases from repeat customers.
- Targeted promotions and discounts: Send personalised offers on products that your existing customers are likely to be interested in.
- Automated birthday messages and special offers: Showing your customers you remember them and value their business is one of the best ways for increasing customer loyalty.
5. Implement a Customer Loyalty Program
- Example: Sephora offers its customers a three-tiered loyalty program based on their annual spending. These rewards range from free birthday gifts on the basic level to free makeovers on the top tier.
Software: Smile.io offers software that allows ecommerce brands to customise their reward systems, referral programs, and VIP tiers, while also providing automated email marketing for customer engagement.
Introducing a loyalty program where customers can earn points for every purchase they make is a no-brainer when it comes to customer retention. (After all “customer loyalty” is literally in the name!)
This type of program can also be a great way to bring more loyal customers on board. Offering exclusive deals and the chance to receive cash-back or future discounts can improve customer acquisition. It’s like being a member of an exclusive club.
There are several types of loyalty programs an online store can implement:
- Points system: Earn points for purchases, reviews and other activities, which can be redeemed for discounts, products, or exclusive offers.
- Tiered program: Offers increasing benefits and rewards based on different spending levels or engagement.
- Value-based program: Provides customers exclusive access to sales, early product launches, or personalised offers.
6. Retargeting and Abandoned Cart Strategies
- Example: Boohoo incorporates fun quizzes and games in its abandoned cart emails. For example, customers are asked to rescue their wishlist by revealing hidden discounts or playing a quick matching game to unlock special offers.
- Software: CartStack leverages real-time data to deliver prompt email reminders, maximising customer conversion potential.
Retargeting ads can remind shoppers of products they’ve viewed but not purchased. Abandoned cart emails can be gentle reminders, potentially converting lost sales into successful ones.
We’ve all been there, we add items to our cart but when it comes time to actually make the purchase, we’re not committed to follow through or something comes up that takes our attention away. Cart abandonment is one of the biggest obstacles faced by online businesses.
However, gentle reminders can reignite that product commitment and persuade your customers to follow through with their purchases. These reminders can be sent through:
- Live or AI chatbots
- App notifications
- Retargeting banner ads
7. Delivery Excellence
- Example: ASOS offers free next-day delivery on orders over £30, exceeding customer expectations. It also offers free returns within 30 days after the purchase is delivered.
Software: ShipStation‘s platform can be used for multi-channel order fulfilment, shipping label creation, real-time tracking and carrier integrations.
Delivering your products promptly and hassle-free isn’t just important for customer service; it fosters customer loyalty as well. Nobody wants to have to struggle with a company to receive the product that they paid for.
An easy return or exchange process can also go a long way. Shoppers can be hesitant towards online shipping due to uncertainty over aspects like the size or quality. However, an easy return policy can encourage them to take the leap and make the purchase.
Ensuring an optimised logistics service that meets customer expectations can be achieved by implementing:
- Real-time tracking: Provide detailed tracking updates via email or app notifications so customers can follow their package every step of the way.
- Self-service return portal: Offer an online platform where customers can initiate returns or choose exchange options without contacting customer service.
- Transparent and concise return policy: Make your return policy easily accessible, outlining timelines, eligibility criteria, and refund or exchange options in simple language.
What are the four C’s of customer loyalty?
There are four categories that loyal customers can be classified into (otherwise known as the four “C’s”). These include captive, contented, convenience-seekers and committed customers.
Understanding these four dimensions can help ecommerce businesses segment their customer base and tailor their loyalty programs to address the specific needs of each group.
What are some common metrics for measuring customer loyalty?
To measure customer loyalty, you can use one (or all) of the following indicators:
- Customer churn rate (rate of customers who stop buying)
- Net Promoter Score
- Repeat purchase rate
- Customer lifetime value
Creating ecommerce customer loyalty doesn’t happen overnight. However, with careful planning and by implementing these strategies, you can build a loyal customer base that not only buys your products but also advocates for your brand.