shopping online building e-commerce loyalty

How to Gain Customer Loyalty in E-Commerce

The e-commerce ecosystem has been growing for years, and Covid led to more people than ever shopping online. Still, maintaining customer loyalty in e-commerce can be challenging.

Luckily, there are numerous things you can do to build a loyal customer base for your e-commerce business. 

1. Create an excellent user experience

Many customers know what they want when shopping online, whereas others want to explore your entire catalog. The best e-commerce sites can appeal to both types of users. If your e-commerce business isn’t growing from repeat customers like you want, it may be bad user experience. 

Your site should have robust search capabilities that let users easily find what they want to buy. Additionally, the website should be broken down into categories and subcategories that are easy to navigate. Clear navigation menus are another essential consideration.

Add a “similar items” section to your product pages. These additional sections help your customer find what they’re looking for if their original selection didn’t meet their needs. Additionally, it can be an excellent way to find accessories for the product they’re purchasing.

The user experience doesn’t end at the point of sale. Although you won’t likely run into issues with most of your orders, some customers will have problems you must address. Make it easy for your customers to reach you and provide top-notch service when they have a problem. Most customers will avoid your business after receiving poor customer service, so treat each customer service request with care.

Sites that offer multiple customer service contact channels make it easier for customers to get help. Try to be available via phone, email, live chat, and social media to give your customer a better experience and hopefully gain loyal customers.

2. Consider gamification and customer rewards

Rewarding customers with free shipping, product discounts, and other perks lets them know you care. Additionally, it encourages repeat purchases and higher customer retention.

It can be tempting to reward your customers after every purchase, but this makes the rewards feel less important. Consider rewarding customers once a month or so at most. If you offer subscription services, you can reward customers more often as part of their subscription.

Some e-commerce sites set up loyalty programs that reward customers with points when they purchase. These points can be used for discounts, free products, and other rewards. Many loyalty programs have various tiers that customers can work toward by earning points; higher-level customers often earn better rewards. Gamifying your loyalty program by adding badges can make the experience more fun and engaging.

According to Salesforce, 80% of customers care about the experiences offered to them as much as the products and services provided.

3. Make speedy shipping a priority

Shipping items quickly should be a top priority. Fast shipping begins at your warehouse. Disorganized warehouses bottleneck your shipping speed. In many cases, customers will buy from the site that can get their item to them the fastest. And if your shipping takes too long, customer satisfaction will plummet.

Having multiple warehouses in various locations helps increase shipping speed, although you need a sound organization system to know which warehouse should be matched to each order. Consider using an e-commerce solution that has the tech and processes needed to be better organized. 

4. Make use of data

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for customer engagement. What works for most businesses may not work for you. Use available data and business research to determine which approaches yield the most customer engagement and lean into those avenues. 

For example, if you find that customers involved in your loyalty program tend to make the most repeat purchases, that’s a good indication you should continue to focus time and effort on it.

You can use data to determine and repair process gaps as well. If customers who reach out for service via email tend to make the least purchases, you may need to improve your response times for that contact channel. 

If you find you have many shoppers who abandon their carts without making a purchase, it may make sense to send emails to customers with abandoned carts. In some cases, you may benefit from offering them discounts on abandoned items.

5. Have a great social media presence

Social media is more popular than ever before. Engaging with your customers and your competitors’ customers online is an excellent way to build a customer loyalty in e-commerce. Don’t be afraid to inject your personality into your social media posts. Humanizing your brand is a perfect way to make it more relatable.

Funny posts go a long way. Take Wendy’s, for example; their Twitter account is known for snarky posts and “roasting” their competitors. Wendy’s Twitter page has roughly twice as many followers as competitors like Burger King and Taco Bell. Although this approach may not suit everyone, it shows that customers respond to humor.

When customers engage with your posts, make sure to write back as often as possible. Engaging directly with brands on social media makes customers feel more connected, and hearing back from you makes them feel appreciated.

Building Loyal E-commerce Customers

Many brands focus too heavily on customer acquisition . While this isn’t a bad idea, it shouldn’t overshadow maintaining the customer base you already have. 

Increasing customer loyalty in e-commerce through loyalty programs, social media, and an excellent customer experience can increase sales volume and word-of-mouth advertising. And when you have satisfied customers, you can rest easy knowing they’ll likely keep coming back to you again and again.

Eric Kasper
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