A loyal customer is more valuable to your ecommerce business than any one-time customer ever will be. When merchants cultivate loyalty, they can expect customers who are more engaged and make more purchases with their brand over the course of a lifetime.
With emerging, effective ways of creating loyalty among your shoppers—like memberships and personalization—brands have even more opportunities to engage with their customers and ensure they keep them for life. Plus, with higher customer loyalty, brands can expect increased customer lifetime value (LTV) and better customer retention.
At Recharge, we know how important customer loyalty is to your business success, which is why we recently shared a customer loyalty playbook for ecommerce brands. It’s full of strategies for building customer loyalty, a few of which we will cover in this blog as well.
- Cultivating customer loyalty can be done in a variety of creative ways, like offering recurring purchase options and excellent customer service.
- Merchants who focus on loyalty will have higher retention and LTV.
- Offering more opportunities to engage with customers throughout their customer journey will help your brand increase loyalty.
Customer loyalty programs & the importance of incorporating other strategies
One of the most well-known strategies for cultivating loyalty has long been the free loyalty program. Offer customers the chance to earn points and rewards by shopping with your store, and entice them to continue coming back to your online store. However, while these unpaid loyalty programs can help reduce churn, they must be combined with other loyalty strategies in order to have the best results.
Additionally, offering discounts is just one way that merchants can encourage customers to come back and shop. Supplementing your loyalty program and discount strategies with additional efforts is the best way to increase brand loyalty and trust, which we’re going to dive into with this post.
So, in order to create a winning customer loyalty strategy, ecommerce merchants should get creative. Loyal customers are well worth the effort of the following six strategies—repeat customers typically spend more and will be more valuable to your business in the long run, especially as customer acquisition costs rise. Utilizing these strategies to boost customer loyalty can have positive affects on your business.
1. Center your value proposition
One of the most authentic ways to find customers who will stick with your brand is by putting your mission first in everything you do as a brand. Stick to your values and ensure shoppers know what they are. A global study recently found that shoppers are four to six times more likely to purchase, protect, and champion purpose-driven companies.
Some best practices to follow when creating an effective value proposition include ensuring your customers know:
- What unique value your product or service brings them
- How and why they should use your products or services
- Why they should stick with your brand over time
Consider weaving your value proposition into copy on product pages, in emails, and shared in social media posts.
2. Cultivate a community of loyal customers
Community is one of the cornerstones of loyalty, and there are many ways that ecommerce merchants can build a community around their brand. When customers feel valued and have opportunities to engage, loyalty increases naturally.
For ecommerce merchants looking to cultivate a brand community, there are a number of options. Consider creating an online community forum to start conversations around your brand and products, or start engaging with customers on social media sites. Additionally, encouraging user-generated content, especially on sites like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, will cultivate customer loyalty and better brand trust.
3. Become a trusted recommender through personalization
As technology advances and more abilities for personalization are created, shoppers have come to expect that your brand will get to know them and offer them suggestions of what they might want to buy. Showing you know your customers can increase brand trust, and therefore prove to be effective for building customer loyalty.
So, what are the best ways for brands to utilize personalization, if they want to increase loyalty? Customer segmentation is one way. Separate your customers into groups based on their demographics and purchase history, so you can offer them the best product options in a way they’ll respond to.
Others strategies ecommerce merchants should consider to personalize the customer experience include cross-selling and upselling. While these are both considered tactics for increasing average order value (AOV), they can also help you improve customer loyalty. Present product options to customers that correlate with their purchase history or with items already in their cart, or ask them to consider an item that’s a higher price point than the option they’ve chosen.
4. Provide convenience & excellent customer service for existing customers
There’s no way any online store will retain customers if they don’t offer both convenience and helpful customer support.
Now that fast shipping is available and has become mainstream, customers expect packages faster and faster these days. Additional strategies to increase convenience and provide better customer service include:
- Providing easy returns and exchanges
- Offering fast shipping options
- Investing in your Customer Support team
- Listening to customer feedback and continually making improvements
When it’s easy for customers to shop with you, edit their orders, make returns, and reach your support team, loyalty will increase because customers know they can count on your brand.
5. Make your offerings flexible
Much like offering convenience and excellent customer service, flexibility is key in retaining customers and therefore in creating better customer loyalty. Merchants can create a flexible customer experience by making it easy and simple to:
- Swap products in an order
- Reschedule a delivery
- Reduce or increase the quantity of an order
- Cancel an order
Even simply offering the option for customers to pause their subscriptions can lead to a huge decrease in churn, helping you retain customers in the long haul.
6. Offer recurring purchase options
Recurring purchase options, like subscriptions and memberships, are another great way to build customer loyalty that goes beyond a traditional rewards program. When done right, subscriptions and memberships can bring your brand to the next level with customers, while earning repeat business.
Subscriptions offer the chance to capture customers at a regular cadence—making it easy for them to restock your products and giving you the benefit of recurring payments. Memberships provide an additional opportunity for shoppers to buy into your brand—with an annual, monthly, or quarterly fee, they get access to special benefits and perks. These recurring options create a loyal customer base for your store by allowing customers to commit to a deeper relationships with your brand.
Getting creative with customer loyalty
For merchants looking to increase customer loyalty—and with it, customer satisfaction—these six loyalty strategies will be essential. By combining tactics and reaching customers along each point in their customer journey, you can create a strong community of loyal customers who will continue to choose your brand again and again. And, by continuing to improve these strategies and test which work best, merchants can continually improve and increase their customer loyalty as their audience grows.