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How to build and foster customer loyalty using personalization

A woman is using a laptop to build and foster customer loyalty through personalization on a purple background.

Ecommerce is a notoriously impersonal platform. Why? Well, the stores are missing a physical presence. Shoppers cannot be immersed in the experience and feel the essence of your brand. 

Secondly, there’s a lack of communication with shoppers. More than 70% of consumers prefer interacting with a human when they reach out for customer service. With no sales assistant present, it’s more difficult to direct customers to the correct areas of the store or answer their questions.  

It is also more difficult to greet and make connections with customers who have visited before. Anyone can look on your site several times a day, but unless you find out their name and a little about them, you can’t greet them correctly each time.

Navigating these challenges can be tricky. But, they also create opportunities to come up with creative ways to connect with customers on a personal level. 

This is critical because, in our recent consumer research report, Loyalty: Up close and personal, we found that: 

78% of consumers want to be individually recognized and rewarded for their loyalty. 

Loyal customers want to be seen as separate from other consumers. After all, if they’re going to shop with you again and again, it’s expected that they’re recognized and rewarded accordingly. 

Customers also want to be personally recognized before they become loyal to your brand. We found that 65% of consumers were motivated to shop with a brand by personalized offers. And, 61% were motivated by personalized product recommendations. 

Adding personalized interactions to your shopping experience will help drive and foster loyalty. Here’s how:

  • Product recommendations
  • Personalized messages
  • Individual loyalty experience

Take my word for it

According to McKinsey, 35% of Amazon’s total sales come from product recommendations.

Visitors to your site always leave a digital footprint. It could be items from a previous order, an abandoned basket, or recently viewed products.

Use these touchpoints to show shoppers product recommendations. Seeing relevant products at the right time is an effective way to cross-sell and upsell. You can also send personalized offers on these recommendations to sweeten the deal and maximize the chance of a conversion. Customers seeing that you know their likes and dislikes is an important step towards them becoming loyal.

Communication is key

Imagine walking through a shopping mall. What do you see? Maybe it’s Ulta, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters or similar. You probably don’t need to shop at them every day. But, you know they’re there when you need them.

In ecommerce, it’s important to reach out to your customers on a regular basis to remind them you’re still out there. Adding personalization to your messages will allow your emotional connection with customers to grow. So, when the time comes, they will think of you to fulfill their needs. 

Cosmetics brand, Beauty Bakerie, send regular personalized updates to their customers to encourage them to visit the store, addressing them by name and showing their loyalty points balance. 

fostering loyalty with personalization example

Personalized messages increase the chances of getting your customer’s attention. It shows that you remember them, are thinking of them and recognize them as individuals. 

Here are a few ways to effectively communicate with your customers on a personal level to nurture loyalty:

  • Send their product recommendations, perhaps with personalized offers or when their favorite product has been restocked
  • Loyalty program updates showing how many points they have and what rewards they can claim
  • When they’re close to moving up a loyalty tier, show them how many points they have to go and what they can buy to cross the threshold
  • Celebrate their birthday with a gift or special offer

Individual experience

Just as you might recognize a loyal customer when they go to a brick-and-mortar store, show a returning customer you remember them when they visit your site. Greet them as you would a friend and give them reminders of your relationship. 

A personalized loyalty experience should include:

  • Greeting customers by name when they arrive
  • Knowing their name when they ask for assistance
  • Using their name in pop-up messages
  • Having a place where they can see their loyalty history, such as an integrated loyalty page

Beauty Bakerie has a dedicated page for its loyalty program that enthusiastically greets returning customers and shows their past activity.

fostering loyalty with personalization example
fostering loyalty with personalization example

A personalized experience like this promotes trust in the brand while displaying appropriate care and attention to the customer. This allows loyalty to thrive.

Key takeaways

Personalized interactions are important to consumers. Show customers that you know them by name, understand their shopping preferences and that you recognize them for being a loyal customer. Consumers are looking for these kinds of interactions to become and continue to be loyal to a brand. 

Three ways to use personalization to foster this loyalty is with product recommendations, personalized messages and individual loyalty experience. 

You can read more about the five key factors that drive customer loyalty, including personalized experiences, in our in-depth report, Loyalty: Up close and personal.

This article originally appeared in the LoyaltyLion blog and has been published here with permission.

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