Retaining Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age

With the plethora of retailers at the digital customer’s fingertips today, many businesses have opted to focus their resources on attracting new customers for immediate results. The general consensus is that customers are prone to shopping wherever they please.

Yet studies have demonstrated otherwise, with returning customers making up 48 percent of all online transactions in late 2015 and spending nearly double of what new shoppers did in the same period[1]. The value of the repeat customer cannot be underestimated, as they consistently demonstrate higher conversation rates and lower bounce rates than their counterparts.

With this in mind, here are some tips as to how email marketing can encourage further customer loyalty within your business.

Post-purchase follow up emails

With the value of repeat customers established, it is particularly concerning that only 30 percent of enterprise-sized businesses and 16 percent of mid-market businesses follow up with their customers after an order[2]. In Australia, loyalty programs from brands such as Woolworths – one of the two biggest supermarket chains in the country – clearly demonstrates that many do recognise the importance of customer loyalty, yet the majority of them fail to touch base with their customer’s post purchase. As a great example of building on the customer relationship post-sales, Woolworths follows up clients that are on their loyalty program with product specials once a week based on what they bought previously.

It almost goes without saying that the customer’s interaction with your brand does not end at the payment stage. Follow up is a crucial part of the customer’s brand journey and reinforces that the business isn’t just interested in their cash flow. For example, sending a feedback request email soon after the order is received can help to collect valuable insights for your business and fosters ongoing rapport with your customers.

Post-purchase marketing can also help promote various actions and messages – from driving further visits to the website, increasing the frequency of purchases, to highlighting other tempting and relevant offers, these emails are designed to keep customers engaged and loyal to the brand.

Retaining Customer Loyalty in the Digital Age email marketing e-commerce

Personalise their interactions

Most corporations recognise the value of basic personalisation, such as name, location, or the gender of the customer they are addressing. Yet, a post-purchase follow up email can utilise real-time purchase information such as a reference to what the customer is interested in.

Whether it’s products that are similar to what the consumer has just purchased, or products that typically accompany the order, this is another way to capitalise on the moment of intent.

Email marketing automation can be used to scale up these personalised interactions; for instance, automations that follow up with relevant content on customers’ recent website history are effective in demonstrating that the brand is in touch with their consumer base. In the situation that these technologies aren’t in place, perhaps consider pushing through a list of top sellers from a related category to encourage further interest.

Help them use the product

Instructional content is powerful in that it fulfils a dual purpose – it demonstrates that your business is an industry expert whilst ensuring the customer is getting the most out of their product, and maximising their purchase value.

Buying something new should be an exciting experience for customers. Making sure that there are guides and explanations for any tricky products will ensure that they will walk away with a positive experience. Appliances Online, for example, ensures this by providing product video demonstrations with a Frequently Asked Questions and review section.

Keep the flame alive

Another method of retaining customer loyalty is through use of loyalty programs. Whether it’s VIP membership clubs, branded credit cards, or ‘get your 10th purchase free’, these are all examples of things that can work in boosting customer loyalty within the e-commerce space.

The key to these programs is to make them simple, accessible, and rewarding. Consider promotional campaigns that are focused on earning points rather than traditional discounts as a way to build consumer interest in the long term. This is something that Hotels.com implements effectively with their rewards program where customers earn a night of free accommodation after booking 10 nights.

At the end of the day, a customer’s loyalty to a brand is driven by their perception of how much the business understands and cares for them. Continued engagement via post purchase emails allows for their relationship with the brand to grow while effective personalisation will make sure that the communication remains relevant and interesting.

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