What the New Customer Loyalty Looks Like for eCommerce Brands
What does the new customer loyalty look like for eCommerce brands?
It used to be enough to send personalized emails to your customers with exclusive discounts. But now consumers expect this level of service, and doing the basics will no longer help your brand stand out or earn repeat purchases.
So eCommerce business owners and marketers must cut through the noise to capture new customers and think outside the box to keep them coming back for more.
And that’s exactly what a strategic customer loyalty plan does.
It goes beyond treating customers right, offering exceptional products, and throwing around a few discounts. It aims to make your customers feel appreciated and taken care of.
Rather than showing shoppers why your brand beats the competition, the new customer loyalty is all about enticing them with what’s in it for them.
Highlight the benefits of being one of your customers, and shoppers will happily purchase from your brand again and again. Even better? They’ll share their positive sentiments and recommendations with everyone they know.
That’s why it pays to get customer loyalty right.
And with the tips in today’s guide, this won’t feel like such a daunting task.
Here’s What the New Customer Loyalty Looks Like for eCommerce Businesses
Let’s face it: no matter which industry you’re in, the competition for consumer attention is at an all-time high.
So in our overly-crowded digitized world, focusing on your customer loyalty game will help you attract new shoppers, stand out from the pack, and keep customers hooked on your brand only.
This is what an elevated customer loyalty strategy looks like:
Personalized Virtual Shopping Experiences
Since shoppers can’t physically touch your products or visit your eCommerce store in person, it’s up to you to create exceptional shopping experiences on your website.
In our guide on The Top 5 Tips and Tricks To Making Your eCommerce Store Stickier (and What That Is), we talked about the best ways to keep shoppers in your eCommerce store longer. After all, the more time shoppers spend browsing your products, the higher your chances of getting them to convert.
So one of the best ways to accomplish this is by turning your website into a virtual personal shopper for each visitor who lands on it.
The more you can personalize your online shopping experience, the more customers will feel like you’re right there with them, guiding them to make the perfect purchase to solve their problems and meet their needs.
You can think of Amazon’s suggested search as a great way to understand this point. It quickly helps shoppers find what they need and shows them related items they haven’t discovered yet that might be the perfect fit.
This kind of personalization evokes the feeling of having a tiny virtual shopper tagging along to do the heavy lifting for them. It also gives off that VIP experience that makes people feel special.
A few quick ways to accomplish this step include:
- Getting your product taxonomy right
- Improving your product search engine
- Curating lists of similar or relevant products
Your loyalty program should also offer discounts on related or complementary products to encourage people to try new items they’re sure to love. By removing some of the risk, they’ll be more eager to take your suggestions.
Remember, if you’re not actively trying to create this personal shopping experience, customers will turn to other brands that do, which makes it essential not to skip this step.
Creating Loyalty Programs That Feel More Like Winning a Game
On top of designing an interactive, personalized shopping experience, your brand must create a winning customer loyalty program shoppers actually want to sign up for.
So instead of making your program more like another task to add to someone’s to-do list, think about it in terms of a game someone could have fun with.
To do this, first create distinct levels shoppers must perform certain actions to progress through. Then, assign points for those actions, so shoppers can see what they need to do to get from one tier to the next.
For example, a shopper may earn 50 points for signing up for your loyalty program and 1 point per dollar they spend at your store. This incentivizes taking action to bank points they can later redeem for goodies.
To keep your loyalty program customers engaged, surprise them with points on their birthday or discount codes for special days (hello, National Take a Wild Guess Day). You can even add interactive games, like those spin-the-wheel-for-a-prize Shopify apps.
However, for this to work, customers must feel the rewards they could potentially earn are worth racking up points for. So the best loyalty and rewards program entices shoppers with perks they can’t pass up. These might include free shipping, discount codes, or exclusive first-dibs on new products.
Figure out ways to make your customer loyalty program more fun, and you’ll see an uptick in engagement and happy customers in no time.
Meeting Customers Where They’re At
The next way to stand out and foster customer loyalty is to go where your customers prefer to shop.
If they’re busy professionals who prefer shopping straight from Instagram on what limited time they have, you better optimize that experience as much as possible to snag them.
Make it super simple and seamless for customers to browse and checkout on their favorite platforms, and you’ll find they do just that.
Just keep in mind that no matter where your customers shop, they should see the same branding and score the same stellar shopping experience as what they’d receive on your website.
If they detect a mismatch in tone, branding, or even color schemes, they could hesitate about making a purchase. So make sure you’re creating seamless, trustworthy shopping experiences that leave a memorable positive impression worth revisiting on every platform.
Strategic Decisions Based on Data, Not Hunches
As you build out your customer loyalty program, it’s crucial to keep checking the data you pull from your website, email and social dashboards, and anywhere else you gather intel.
This helps you understand your customers more, enabling you to consistently deliver a program that people are actually interested in and engage with.
Instead of just guessing what your customers want and appreciate, you should ask them periodically using surveys and social media polls.
This, along with the data you’re collecting, helps you see where and how you can best serve your customers. Give them exactly what they want -- not what you think they want -- and you’ll have a game plan to keep customers happy and loyal.
Worthwhile VIP Incentives
Treat your once-every-so-often customers right, and they’ll keep returning. Reward your best customers, and you’ll notice higher average order values, more repeat purchases, and glowing customer reviews.
That’s why your VIP shoppers should be a top priority when it comes to customer loyalty.
It doesn’t cost that much more to treat your VIP customers better, yet they’ll feel as if your brand is going above and beyond to make them happy, which is precisely what you want here.
You’ll soon have brand ambassadors who recommend your products to everyone they know. This will help expand your reach and grow your customer base without you having to spend a fortune on customer acquisition costs.
To do this, send your VIPs freebies, exclusive access to sale events, early access to new products, and extra surprises every so often to make them feel special and appreciated.
These special perks may also give your regular customers FOMO (or the fear of missing out). They’ll be more enticed to do everything they can to jump to the VIP level and enjoy these exclusive benefits too.
So try to tailor your loyalty program to the different levels of customers you have. And learn how to identify your VIP customers (and leverage them). This type of personalization will boost the action and engagement of your entire customer base as a result.
Time To Elevate Your Customer Loyalty Program Today
The new customer loyalty is all about showing shoppers what they stand to gain by being one of your customers.
So take your loyalty program above and beyond the basics to help your brand stand out, convert more, and keep customers eagerly returning. Your hard work will soon pay off big time.