6 Ways to Build Loyalty Through the Entire Customer JourneyJun 3, 2017 - by Jai Rawat
Acquiring customers is good, but it’s just the beginning. You only win big if you can nurture them into loyal customers.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, it costs six to seven times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain current ones. Or consider this: According to Harvard Business Review, increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.
When merchants engage users at every touch point of their journey on their website, merchants deliver users a satisfying emotional experience, thus creating loyalty. However, building loyalty needs to go beyond mere customer satisfaction. Here are six ways ecommerce merchants can engage users at every touch point throughout the customer journey and create loyal customers through 360 degree engagement.
1. Enroll Customers in a Points-Based Loyalty Program
Given that a well-designed customer loyalty program is the most effective retention strategy, it is imperative for businesses today to implement a loyalty program to sustain growth. (highlight to tweet)
Research from Gartner shows that attracting new customers will cost your company five times more than keeping an existing customer. A points-based loyalty program can boost in-store purchases and online conversions. It can be integrated with your website, social media channels, and email marketing to offer holistic engagement with the customer.
Predator Nutrition, one of the leading sports nutrition companies, has integrated a loyalty program within its core marketing strategy and amplified its average order value by 33%. The brand has implemented a 360-degree engagement model. Customers are awarded points for purchases. In addition, they’re rewarded for referrals, subscribing to newsletters, writing reviews, and following the brand on social media.
2. Engage With Customers via Social Channels
The popularity of social media has presented a huge opportunity for brands to connect and win over customers. 72% of consumers say social media helps them stay more engaged with brands. Popular social platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer engaging ways to respond to customer complaint requests on the go and ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Incentivizing various social actions like sharing, tweeting, liking, and commenting also helps in inculcating customer loyalty with brands. Awarding points for social activities is a great way to engage users on a frequent basis.
Starbucks has been especially successful in brewing customer experience through social media. The brand continues to engage its customers via social channels and is focused on cultivating relationships. Starbucks encourages users to share good experiences and leverages social listening to provide unmatched customer experience, thus inculcating brand loyalty among its customers.
3. Encourage Customers to Become Brand Ambassadors via Referrals
Nielsen reports that advice from family and friends is the most persuasive influence on respondents’ buying decisions. Get to know those customers who already promote you. Use social listening tools to find them. Recruit them through interactions on various channels. It is also a good idea to include points for referrals as a key incentive in your loyalty program.
The Color Run, a 5k event series and the largest one of its kind in the world, harnessed the power of word-of-mouth recommendations to transform its happy runners into brand ambassadors. The brand encouraged its website visitors to share the event with their family and friends via social channels, offering incentives and thus creating loyal brand advocates.
4. Leverage Email Marketing to Update Customers
Despite consumers’ rants about the volume of email messages they receive, email is still a remarkably effective channel. Email marketing drives more ROI than any other marketing channel, including search and social, with an average 4,300% ROI, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Email marketing can be utilized to amplify the number of both repeat purchases and continued subscriptions. Newsletters, thank you emails, surprise emails, redemption reminders, and exclusive deals are just a few of the types of emails that can be used to engage a customer on an ongoing basis. Include occasional point awards in your email campaigns to increase email engagement rates.
Amazon is one ecommerce brand that takes email personalization to a whole different level to build customer loyalty among its shoppers. Every email sent by Amazon is personalized based on past shopping experiences, purchasing behavior, location, age, gender, and more. From newsletters to post-purchase thank-you emails, Amazon does it all and engages with the customer at every touch point.
5. Delight the Customer on Special Occasions
Don’t believe that remembering customers’ special days matters? A study by analytics and technology provider Fulcrum reported that 75% of customers who received a birthday message from a company with which they did business thought more highly of that company, and that 88% of those with positive responses showed increased brand loyalty.
Incentivize customers to provide their special dates when they opt in to your newsletter. Include such dates in the information they provide you when they sign up for your loyalty program. Reward them with bonus loyalty points for their birthday.
Birthday emails are a great way to delight your customers without turning them off. Macy’s leverages this as an opportunity to engage with their customers and encourage sales. Macy’s sends a well-designed email to the subscriber along with an offer to persuade them to take action. Delighting the customers on their special occasions also helps Macy’s build brand loyalty.
6. Support Seamless, Omnichannel Customer Experiences
Omni-channel customer experience is not just an option—it’s a necessity. An overwhelming 89% of respondents to an Exolevel Seamless Retail Study expected retailers to allow them to shop for products through a channel they found convenient. Engaging consumers with the precise message at the right time on the right channel is a key driver of customer loyalty today.
Best Buy is one of the classic examples of successful omni-channel retailing. The brand embraced a customer-centric approach to compete with the might of ecommerce merchants by differentiating itself with better customer experience. The brand merged its in-store and digital operations to offer customers a seamless omni-channel experience. One of their successful initiatives allows customers to “click and collect” by requesting in-store pickup. As a result, Best Buy drastically reduces the number of clicks required to purchase online. This turns stores into distribution warehouses for online purchases and aligned pricing on all channels.
Nurturing consumers into loyal customers is growing more complicated as customer touch points proliferate. However, a 360-degree engagement with them at those touch points is essential. Identify those touch points, integrate them into overall customer journey, and watch your conversions grow.
This article is by Jai Rawat from convinceandconvert.com.
Learn more about creating a marketing campaign that will keep customers engaged and loyal throughout their journey.