Why customer loyalty will be even more important this Golden Quarter and beyond
Our recent consumer research confirmed two important facts about this Golden Quarter: Consumers are planning on spending less this Christmas and they only plan to browse or buy from the brands they know and trust. In short, consumers have made it clear that trust and loyalty will be even more important in the already uncertain sales period ahead.
We have already delved into how to ensure they spend that cash with you in this blog. Now we look to tell you our top tips when it comes to building loyal customers with a trusting relationship. It doesn’t begin and end with product quality and customer service. Their experience with your online storefront and what you do to build a connection is paramount.
Why trust and loyalty will be key to winning sales this Golden Quarter
While price is still ranked as a key to most influential factor when choosing whether to buy a product or not, sale scepticism is also high. 73% of consumers believe retailers bump up original prices to make discounted prices look more appealing with 27% saying they strongly agreed.
If different brands are offering similar products at a similar discounted price, consumers are influenced by the quality of products or services (54%), previous good experience (25%), reputation (8%), recommendation from others (8%) and ethical brand (5%). All these factors in the decision cycle can be influenced by loyalty.
A word on brand affinity
Before we get into the nitty-gritty on how to build loyalty, a word on brand affinity. They are one and the same thing. A website built on content that builds brand affinity establishes your personality, purpose, and ultimately builds credibility. These are the foundations of a connection with a customer, making them more likely to expand or maintain a relationship with a brand.
Retention happens through an authentic interaction that is highly relevant and valuable to them. Most importantly though, customers and prospects will build relationships with a brand that has a purpose, a personality and gives them a reason to spend time there.
How do you do that? Read on for our top tips.
Making a customer feel welcome at every interaction
Use the opportunity to communicate your brand message and reinforce your position as a brand to build a relationship with. To build retention and loyalty, try to drive authentic customer emotions at each interaction — satisfaction, trust, authenticity, and engagement over and above the sale. Price is an important factor in the purchasing decision, but brand confidence is what will sway your researcher out of bouncing from your site to another.
This could be through a personalised product recommendation based on their previous search history or welcome emails and millstone celebrations. Onsite technology like guided selling tools gives you the power to help customers find the product or give them the information they need to make their purchasing decision. You welcome them to the “family” in a follow-up email to a purchase for example or encourage them to have their say on reviewing the product.
Revisit your email remarketing and cart abandonment. During the busy Christmas shopping season, cart abandonment could be down to issues around price, shipping information or just forgetfulness. A cart abandonment email can be a great way to remind a customer not to miss out, offer them a personalised off or discount or product recommendation.
Encourage user participation
Another way to make a visitor feel like they are visiting a community rather than an ecommerce site is by enriching your site with and encouraging user-generated content.
This could be through a hashtag and tagging campaign, encouraging users to “Show us what you love” or “Share your style” on social media, or the chance to interact with ratings and reviews online. Once they have interacted with your site, make it a rule to interact back or include their content in galleries etc. this gives customers a sense of belonging.
Offer perks and discounts for those who join “the family”
Discounts, free shipping offers, and promotional codes are not always possible for businesses across the board. But they could be an additional perk for loyal customers. Encouraging customer loyalty with regular perks and discounts will leave customers feeling excited to continue working with your brand over another.
Celebrating milestones like birthdays and anniversaries with these perks is one option but be careful. Discounting too regularly will leave customers expecting too much or sceptical of the actual price you would be charging.
A customer loyalty program is another option here. Not only does this encourage customer retention but it encourages repeat business through points and rewards systems. Just make sure these are well explained with the benefits to registering their loyalty with you clearly laid out.
Saving the most important to last.
All roads to loyalty begin with personalisation
Personalisation is no longer a nice-to-have on ecommerce sites. Customers expect a certain level of personalisation in an online space, more than they would in-store. When they can turn to Amazon for just about any purchase, your key to unlocking their hearts and minds comes down to connection.
By assembling clues about a visitor, you can identify how and why they visited the site. Show them the products related to what they have previously browsed and with product recommendations. Send them relevant product reviews, images, and ratings to drive them to conversion. That personalised experience showcases that you know who they are to you and how important they are to you.
How? Onsite technology is your friend. This should be an intuitive tool that enriches and experience with related products, product codes or guidance to the product they need. Email retargeting is also a helpful tool here, giving you the chance to remind the customer what they might have been searching for or make more recommendations.
Some onsite third-party tools and email remarketing tools are connected, giving you the opportunity to further personalise content for the customer throughout the journey. In this scenario, the customer views products that interest them and onsite technology logs that interaction regardless of what device they used.
Give them the chance to personalise their experience with you from browsing to checkout. If you have encouraged account registration, give them quick checkout options with “Buy now” buttons and multiple payment options. Giving customers choice over how they make their payments is a great differentiator considering Amazon’s very public feud with Visa.
Loyalty sets you up for the long run
Put simply, customer loyalty and trust reflect a customer’s willingness to repeat purchases and choose one company’s offerings continuously over competitors. They lead to profitability both in the frequency they purchase from you and the referrals they bring to your business. While your efforts to encourage loyalty may seem like a long-term answer to a short-term problem of revenue and profits, it is still worth your while.
Brand affinity and loyalty set you up to be the brand of choice when the consumers are in the market to part with their money. So, adopting the right technology, analysing your customer interactions and establishing a program to build loyalty is not a long-term task. It is one you should start today.
If you want more information about how Ve can help reach your loyalty targets, check out our latest product update: Your Digital Assistant is more flexible and scalable than ever.