04 May User Experience, Customer Engagement & Retention
While all businesses put great store in attracting new customers, many often forget about one of the more important aspects of eCommerce – making sure you get them coming back for more. Creating a user experience that sticks in the mind for all the right reasons and making the effort to engage after that first sale are all strategies that ensure your business continues to grow even as you look out for new customers.
Creating a user experience that sticks in the mind for all the right reasons and making the effort to engage after that first sale are all strategies that ensure your business continues to grow even as you look out for new customers.
Make retention a priority
If you don’t want your customers to disappear into the internet mist or wander blindly off to your competitors, then you need to change your priorities. That means you give as much focus to customer retention as you do to finding new visitors. There are many different ways that you can do this and everyone has a different view about which is the most important.
According to NGDATA:
“Smart businesses know that the first purchase is really just the beginning, and that the real business value lies in retaining that customer.”
Consistency is key
Most eCommerce companies nowadays operate across a number of platforms and devices. You need to ensure that your delivery is consistent not just when a customer visits you on their mobile, tablet or pc, but the messages you send out across marketing platforms such as social media all work together. This comes from having a clear brand identity and a well developed
plan for the future.
Your customers are people
Your customers are not simply card numbers on a database or product selections. They are people and you need to treat them as such. The moment you stop thinking about the sale and become more concerned about the service you provide and whether it meets your customer’s needs is the moment when you begin to get the hang of retention.
Start by thanking your customer for their initial purchase and go from there. If someone makes a nice comment on your Twitter feed or Facebook timeline, get back to them with a generous response.
Focus on the whole experience
Finding the right eCommerce site is key and usability – how easy your customers find it to buy – is a large part of that. When someone visits your site…
- How easy is it to find what they want?
- Do you have a simple to use checkout with payment that is suitably secure?
- Has your customer got all the tools available that make their shopping experience a pleasure rather than a test of their computing skills?
- Do you have the whole customer experience covered from the marketing to the sale and beyond to the after sales care?
Engagement fosters loyalty
Getting to know your customers is not something you can generally automate. Using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter properly is equally important when you come to respond to online queries.
Creating competitions and other ways to engage means that you keep your brand in front of customers as much as possible, so that when they are looking to buy again they think of you first. Always give new customers every opportunity to follow you on social media. Combined with a regularly updated blog this can provide a powerful and simple way of staying in touch.
Have something more to offer
Putting in value added extras can set you apart from the competition and help keep you in mind for customers the next time they want to buy. You also need to evolve your provision to keep up with customer expectation which means that you shouldn’t be resting on your laurels.
Keep an eye on what your competitors are up to as well. They may well come up with an idea that lures some of your customers away so you will need to respond quickly.
Create loyalty programs
If your customer keeps coming back time and again then it’s a good idea to reward that loyalty.
Whether that’s offering them a free gift or a discount every now and again, it makes them feel special and ensures they continue to use your eCommerce platform. Simply put, don’t take regular customers for granted.
Provide opportunities for partnerships
There are a number of ways that you can do this from fostering brand ambassadors who will blog or tweet about how great you are to getting customers involved in your future development through surveys. You can create forums that promote discussion and even put in a chat room where customers can talk to you and other fans live.
There are plenty of ways for eCommerce businesses to open up their virtual doors and work in partnership with their customers.
Resolve issues quickly
There isn’t an eCommerce business in the world that hasn’t received a complaint once in a while. It’s part and parcel of the online world and resolving issues quickly and visibly to the customer’s satisfaction is highly important.
Try to avoid sending automated responses if you can because customers can spot a standard response a mile off. Using a difficult situation as an opportunity to gain more customer trust is a powerful way of boosting your brand reputation.
Keep pace with the technology
If you run an eCommerce site and it’s reasonably successful then you may not feel the need to keep track of the tech that’s up and coming. You should be constantly asking how new platforms and tech innovations can help you serve your customers better.
The online world works at a furious pace and you need to stay focused on it.
Have the right way to collect customer data
You can’t keep track of your customers and bring them back to buy more if you don’t have their details and a way of sorting and ordering them. Investing in a good CRM system is vital for this.
Many eCommerce platforms have either a rudimentary CRM available or one that links into marketing strategies, but learning how to use this excellent tool properly will ensure you keep track of all your engagement.
Retaining customers and providing them with the perfect user experience that keeps them coming back for more takes hard work and application. It pays off and has a number of benefits.
Word of mouth is crucial in marketing – still the most powerful tool in your armoury. If your customer likes your eCommerce site and finds it useful, feel that they are a valued part of your brand and that you have their best interests at heart, they are not only likely to return, but tell their friends about you too.
By Nastya, Content Marketing Executive at Media 7