Customer retention is the name of the game. If you are an online retailer, you cannot thrive in the market without conserving a loyal customer base. Oftentimes, this is the major conundrum that the average online retailer has to face – how to retain customers? But why is customer retention so important?
Loyal customers are like equity. And the more loyal your customers are, the higher its value. One cannot create a successful business without having customers shop more than once at their store. Look at the numbers – nearly 35 million people shopped online in India in 2014, and the number is expected to go to 100 million in 2016. Although the market is steadily rising, so is the competition. The only way to survive, then, is customer retention.
The point is that everybody knows this. Its out in the open. So every seller is essentially doing everything they can to gain and retain customers. They are offering loyalty points and discounts and referral points and bonuses. It is an online quagmire, and you have to create your niche here.
Let us tell you how.
How to Retain Customers and Gain Their Loyalty
Define Your Target Demographic
First things first – do not try to sell to everyone. It will be a waste of time and effort and you wouldn’t gain much out of it. Instead, demarcate a section of the market that you want to focus on. This will be decided on the basis of your product, your logistics systems and your marketing reach. Once you do this, pull your energy into creating novel ways to retain a customer base in this zone. As your customer base grows, you can think about expanding your target demographic.
The key to customer loyalty is customer service. A new customer needs to be shown that all their needs would be met with you. This means running a tight ship in terms of all your processes. Basically, do not give the customer a chance to complain. But we all know that not having a complaining customer is a fantasy. So keep your lines of communications always open. Make sure you are always polite in interaction and deft at conflict resolution. Be prompt and timely in your responses and make sure that the customer is satisfied with your service. Find ways to bridge the gap between you and the customer. like offering customer service on social media.
The Feel-Good Factor
You have to give your customers a happy shopping experience. Make sure that they feel special when they are shopping with you. This can be anything from festive packaging to a freebie gift. For example, if you are an electronics equipment provider, you could provide free servicing after regular intervals. Depending on the sector you are working on, you could provide online and offline help to loyal customers that sign up with you. Anything that makes a customer feel special comes in this category.
The online community is like a giant water cooler. The chatter that you hear on various social media websites ultimately trickles down into public perception. Having a social media presence is a must in today’s day and age. But more than that, you must really give a thought in meticulously sculpting your online persona. A piece of advice is to be knowledgeable about the sector that you are operating in and share your knowledge. Know how to initiate a conversation, and make sure you don’t become one of the countless memes and examples of companies being making a fool of themselves on the internet.
Reward the Returning Customer
It is the second time that a customer shops at your store that you have them hooked. Show them that it means a lot to you that they chose to shop with you again. This does not necessarily have to be via gifts and loyalty points. Even a smart website design helps make the customer feel special. For example, Amazon allows users to create a new account with an already registered email address, automatically disabling the old one. This beats having the users to scour through their mailbox looking for that long lost password to access their account. Show the user that the system recognizes them and is happy that they came back. Interesting loyalty programs and rewards can be crafted too, like offering deals to social media followers for a discount for the third time shoppers. Be creative!
This is what we have on customer retention. To know more or to ask questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!