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Whether it’s offering web audiences a product, content, and/or a service, acquiring customers is just the first step in a process that is full of obstacles. Once you have gained an established customer, you want to retain them. Existing customer retention strategies run rampant in the ecommerce world, many of which are successful. Do your research and adapt successful strategies according to what product or service you are selling online.
Delivering a quality buying experience is the name of the game, and you will soon see customer retention and Delivering a quality buying experience is the name of the game, and you will soon see customer retention and loyalty rise. A customer just really wants to get what they came for, whether it is a product to purchase, a service to subscribe to, or piece of great content to read.
Below are some tried and tested strategies for customer retention, thereby increasing loyalty and improving the online experience in the process.
Social Proof Drives Online Purchase
Your online customer base is a picky bunch. They want to be treated to an online shopping experience they will remember, and you want that experience to translate into a purchase. Delivering a product or a service needs to be a seamless experience. Your customer will want to see existing proof that your claim of a perfect product has been shared by others. Consumer retention rates have proven to head northward when a brand toots their own horn and beckons a consumer to check out their online testimonials.
These testimonials serve as the cyber world’s version of “word of mouth” marketing, as many customers prefer to listen to their peers’ direct experience rather than being overtly sold or marketed to. Links reading “See what 10,000 customers say about us” or “Join 10,000 of your peers” is not only a public relations tactic, but also a surefire way to increase customer engagement and faith in your brand. Social proof promotion is one of the top trusted strategies for customer retention.
Offering free delivery is another proven customer retention strategy. Research firm comScore recently published a survey that reported product delivery and product return received the lowest scores of the overall online shopping experience. Providing free delivery is a great customer retention strategy to implement since it diminishes a major source of apprehension for the online customer. Should the ordered product not fit the buyer’s needs, he/she is protected from the extra costs of shipping (both received and returned), the required payment of which would only add insult to injury.
Shipping costs often drive the customer away from purchasing products, and they will be more likely to find your product in-store or on another website with more beneficial shipping policies. Additionally, the aforementioned survey also discovered that over half of those surveyed said they had abandoned their online shopping carts because the final total was inflated without an explanation.
Delivery Options: The More the Merrier
In order to satisfy customer expectations in the area of product delivery, online shops hawking products, content, or a service must provide a host of options to deliver. The online shopping experience is greatly enhanced when a purchase is met with a diverse mix of delivery service choices, whether it be expedited shipping, choosing a specific time frame of desired delivery, or selecting to pick up from an authorized location designated by the company. Offering a consumer the option to collect their delivery from a place that is most convenient for them is not only a way to finalize the ultimate purchase experience, but also a key strategy to generate customer retention.
Amazon offers a wide range of delivery service options to its customer base. When a consumer makes a purchase for a product, they are offered seven options. Needless to say, Amazon is shaping the field of customer retention and are a great case study for companies looking to increase their existing customer retention rates.
Going Beyond Customer Expectation
One way Amazon has led the online pack is with its high rate of user retention. This facet has translated into higher consumer loyalty and a more satisfied user base. One of the ways it maintains such high satisfaction scores is by beating its own estimated delivery rates. When a consumer makes a purchase as an existing Amazon client, they know that it will be guaranteed on-time delivery, if not sooner than the estimated arrival date
Implementing a loyalty scheme for existing users as well as new ones may seem obvious, but they do keep customers happy, content, and with their club cards and wallets in tow. Existing retention is increased with a good loyalty program offering, as the accumulation of points or other incentives propel the consumer to consciously and continually make purchases from your company rather than from a competitor.
The loyalty program needs to show a benefit to an existing user base, because these are your most elemental targets for user retention. Online purchase activity has increased since loyalty programs started being used, and will only increase retention rates as customers collect their bonus offers and accumulated discounts.
As a prelude to offering your customer base a hassle-free experience, leading them down the path to a purchase, start by using words that they’re used to hearing. Research where your existing customer goes, see how they are pulled in by other online vendors, and frame your content and messaging with that in mind.
Some words that are proven to support customer retention include ‘instant,’ ‘free,’ and ‘new.’ Think about it: if you as a consumer hear any of these words, decide to make an online purchase, and the initial claims =are backed up 100%, it will only increase your loyalty to the brand. You’ll put your faith in the company, perhaps recommend it to friends and family, and likely return back for your future purchasing needs.
On the contrary, should these key retention words turn out to be a guise for inauthentic luring, your customer will cease to be one, and the domino effect will continue. No one wants to support a business or cause that they don’t trust, so be sure your site always sticks to ethical standards and puts honesty and transparency at the forefront.
And that, my friends, are just a few ways for you to increase retention and loyalty online.