Securing a sizable base of loyal, returning customers can be quite a mountain to climb in a variety of saturated retailing segments. The challenge for many retailers is not only to be accessible on many channels or touchpoints, but for those channels to deliver a consistent and integrated service quality – as this significantly impacts shopper satisfaction and customer loyalty, and serves many other benefits for the brand.
In today’s post, we’ll look at a number of ways retailers operating both online and offline can inspire loyalty in their customers and enjoy the ripple effect of word of mouth – a concept widely understood to be a powerful driver of sales.
Optimize your delivery options
From offering free delivery on orders over a certain amount to rewarding customers with free delivery for a limited time, these perks have the potential to sway shoppers towards placing orders on your site, or even in-store. Next day delivery and free standard delivery have arguably become expected options when it comes to fast fashion. Offering excellent delivery services is a great way to capitalize on and win customer orders, and ultimately encourage customers to return to your site or store.
To boost customer loyalty, consider introducing certain days where cheaper delivery options apply. Or alternatively, follow in the footsteps of fast fashion brands who regularly offer unlimited delivery for a set one-off fee per year. If customers know they can enjoy this perk with your brand, they’re more likely to visit your site or store before anyone else’s to check for what they need.
Increase your responsiveness
Social media can be a great customer service tool, resulting in high customer satisfaction rates from speedy responses. Conversely, slow responses can cause customers to fail to prioritize their purchases, and become distracted from it – and consequently, your brand. The average response time for leading businesses is 157 minutes, which is increasingly becoming an expectation for customers.
It only takes one frustrating experience to turn customers away from your service, so a fast response time and an effective resolution to your customer’s concern could be the key to winning back that customer and increasing loyalty to your brand. Slow responses can often be regarded more negatively by customers than when a business doesn’t respond at all.
Consider opting for a ‘live chat’ service, which is an efficient way to ensure customer needs are met as soon as the concern is raised. Increasing speed not only reduces customers steering away from your brand, but also results in a positive experience for the customer – and an improved customer relationship.
On the other hand, more customers are expecting to be able to solve their customer service issues themselves. If customers can look up an answer and fix the problem in 30 seconds, it’s not only more convenient, but facilitates the customer experience. It also reduces the time it takes a customer service agent to solve the issue – an efficient process for everyone.
Demonstrate visible ethics and eco-friendliness
Promoting your environmentally friendly processes and visible ethics can set your brand apart from your competitors and attract new customers who are like-minded and prioritize the same values. Most consumers will do what they can in support of others who are also striving to make a positive difference, including purchasing products from eco-friendly and ethical-minded businesses.
Offering products which support a charity or a cause, or products made from recyclable, compostable or natural materials can be unique selling propositions to a growing number of customers. This technique could also provide the impression your brand is forward-thinking and leading the market to more humane and transparent manufacturing practices – in opposition to many industrial and corporate production processes. Businesses that make the effort to tell the stories behind their products symbolize best practice, and come across to customers as more than a brand that just wants to make money.
Offer rewarding loyalty programs
Personalization is a key feature of successful omnichannel brands. Mobile is a key way to achieve this effect, bringing proximity and immediateness – it’s all about creating a seamless and convenient experience for customers. Customers cultivate loyalty through convenience and proximity, using engaging programs which integrate everything from payments to discounts in one place.
Introducing an in-app scheme where customers can improve their rewards level or earn points by leaving reviews on social media sites is one way to reward a customer’s engagement among the community and is crucial to building loyalty. Through convenient omnichannel features such as online forums or a community live chat, brands build strong and sustainable loyalty programs which go the distance and thrive against competitors.
Consider influencer promotion
Influencers leverage the reach of their existing following and strong reputation to support your brand, endorse your product or co-create content – with the intent to increase brand awareness, drive brand engagement, and, ultimately, influence sales. From discount codes and affiliate marketing to competitions and giveaways, influencers bridge the gap between the face of the brand and consumers by enhancing brand image and facilitating direct communication with the customer.
The three big goals around influencer marketing include building brand awareness, attracting a new market and driving targeted traffic, and facilitating sales demand – gaining broader target markets and consumers. Using a trusted voice is an excellent way to build the customer-brand relationship and build an interactive platform with your brand audience using social media. After all, the more people who know about and are attracted to your brand, the more successful your offers will be towards increasing customer loyalty.
Whether you’re a beginner when it comes to omnichannel retailing or are interested in boosting customer loyalty for an existing brand, I hope you’ll be inspired to channel these techniques to secure a base of returning customers and enhance the success of your brand.
About the writer: Elizabeth Raw is the web sales manager for R+R Packaging, providers of biodegradable and eco-friendly packaging materials for businesses within a wide variety of industries.
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