5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty Online

Building customer loyalty can be tricky. With more options than ever before for where consumers buy products, read content and everything in between, brands must work hard to earn that loyalty. In addition to the topics below, personalization across your website, email and owned media properties is one the best ways to create loyalty. Brands like JustFab have used personalization as a central part of its ecommerce strategy and reaped significant rewards. Check out JustFab’s case study on building loyalty and revenue with personalization here. 

According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customers, on average, are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase, on average. The takeaway? Customer loyalty is very important.

Now, building trust through a computer screen is a challenging task; but it’s definitely not impossible, and more importantly, it’s essential for customer retention. Of course you want those one-off visitors to convert into at least one-time customers, but that alone is not a sustainable business model. When you realize attracting new customers costs five times as much as keeping existing ones, you see you need to hold on to the ones you’ve got.

In the modern marketplace, where more than 60 percent of people use the Internet to research products before they buy, it is more important than ever to focus on your online customers. Traditional business owners and salespeople may feel they are missing an opportunity to connect with potential customers with that “vital” face-to-face interaction. Indeed, as online sales continue growing, it would seem personal interaction is missing. However, there’s a host of ways to connect with your potential customers online, and in fact, you may feel almost relieved to say goodbye to that face-to-face interaction!

It’s not even always necessary to offer your customers a quick-fire deal or discount to keep them coming back for more. Clinton Njie, director at online gift brands ToxicFox and ClaireaBella, has been quoted as saying, “True brand loyalty is hard-earned and about more than discounts and the monetization of the marketing strategy.” The tendency to see loyalty as a reward is ill-conceived.

Social Media

Social media is a great place to speak to your customers. Online consumers are used to the idea of reaching out to businesses through various social media platforms, using their various devices. That being said, in a sea of brands on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin, it is not enough just to have a social media presence. You need to offer something in return for your customers’ trust and loyalty online. Give your target market what it wants: Great content matters. Without content, your brand has no reason for being on social media. Even a vague content strategy will give you a starting point for when to post what—e.g., light and high level vs. more in-depth, informative content.

Why not get a conversation started? Engagement establishes a connection between your brand and the user. Your audience begins to see your brand as more personable and “human,” making it easier for them to form an emotional connection and keep coming back for more.

Constant Customer Support

Whether you’ve got a live chat option on your site, or a 24/7 contact or support phone number, you want to make sure your customers feel you have their back. There is nothing worse as a customer than having an issue with the checkout process or a specific product request, and feeling you have nowhere to turn. This can affect your company’s legitimacy in the eyes of those who matter most. You want to appear transparent and trustworthy throughout the sales funnel, and every sales funnel your customers face thereon.

Payment Options

Giving your customers payment options puts trust back in their hands. Whether you offer installment plans or single payments (if this model is viable for your business), test these options to encourage customer retention. Everyone likes to have choices and be in command of his own funds; so give your customer alternatives.. Whether you offer Paypal, Visa, etc., a recent study found that more than 70 percent of online consumers like to see several payment options when making online purchases.

Don’t Force Customers Back

Don’t bully your customers to come back to your website with repetitive email Don’t pester your customers by flooding their inboxes with email ad campaigns; eventually, your brand will seem a nuisance rather than helpful or relevant. Customer loyalty programs are good ways to increase conversion from current customers. This scheme should provide incentives and exclusive rewards to thank them for loyally supporting your brand. Offers such as money off their next purchase, or targeted discounts based on shopping habits, can personalize the customer experience and ensure they return willingly, rather than being bombarded with emails they’d rather not read.

Stand for Something

It’s one thing to have an excellent sales temperament when your customers visit you in-store or when they call you, but your company website can say things about you and your business that doesn’t come across in a short, in-person chat. Appeal to your target market’s interests and pains. What do they care about? By supporting an important charity or non-profit organization, you say a great deal about the type of business you’re running while appealing to your target market’s heartstrings and supporting a great cause.

This article is by Adam Chudy from modestmoney.com.