9 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty and Maintain Customers
Loyalty isn’t just about repeat purchases. It’s about the positive experience customers have with your products and customer service. It is also about the perceived value they feel they get from you. It can be attributed to you offering the best price or the best selection or, it’s that this customer believes you are the best option out there.
It’s not enough to be carrying a product they want at a competitive price. With so many online stores, they can easily purchase from any of them. The experience you give them provides additional value. This can help increase the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). CLV helps estimate how much net profit you will make off of a return customer over their lifetime with you. For online businesses, this is a helpful tool for projecting future sales. Once someone makes a purchase from your webstore, you want them to continue to come back to you, not your competition.
From a cost perspective, marketing to get new sales is an expensive cost of running a business. It can cost 5-10x more to acquire a new customer, versus nurturing existing ones. Therefore, it’s worth incorporating customer delights that will drive loyalty into your business model.
Here are 9 ways to build brand loyalty and maintain your customer base. They include a mix of proven traditional and modern ways to build and drive loyalty. Building a positive emotional experience with your webstore will increase the CLV.
9 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty and Maintain Customers
Add A Free Gift:
When a customer is buying from you, providing a little extra goes a long way. When the free gift is from your store it increases the inventory turnover. It’s a great way to get rid of excess inventory and at the same time makes the customer feel like they received extra value. This is because it’s an emotional response. Studies have shown that positive emotional connections with a brand or seller influences the decision to buy while also building customer loyalty.
Think of cosmetics for instance who have campaigns of free gift with purchase. Whether it’s a free sample or a gift, these companies experience higher sales volumes and repeat customers who are loyal to that brand.
Create An Experience:
You don’t necessarily need to provide a tangible good. Rewards with insights, games, competitions or treats are another way to build some loyal fans. Depending on your business, this could be considered an extension to your newsletter campaign, which is a great way to promote the experience.
Host a contest to win a popular product or a gift basket of items. This is a great way to get your products out there into the hands of customers, who are your target market. Not only does this reward your customers, but you can also garner some reviews and positive social media feed from it.
Save On Next Purchase:
Most times, you can’t always offer discounts as this cuts into your bottom line. Discounting too much and too frequently can make your product quality appear cheap. Encouraging further purchases can be hard especially if you’re a seasonal business.
You can track frequent purchasers from your customer database and contact them directly with a special discount to thank them for buying from you. Make this a personalized email to them acknowledging their frequent purchases and thanking them for it by offering them savings on their next purchase. Look at their order history to get an idea of how much they purchase and come up with a percentage or dollars off code specifically for them.
Refer A Friend And Save:
Shoppers are more likely to purchase from someone they know and trust. In fact, 92% of consumers trust referrals from people they know AND 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when learning about it from friends or family (Nielson).
Setting up a 2 way referral program allows you to reward the customer who referred the friend, as well as provide a delight for the new customer who will be purchasing from you. You can remind customers that you have this type of program through your newsletter or email blast your customer database every so often to remind them. Another option is to include it on your packaging slip or any other marketing material you send out with the purchase. Referrals work best while the customer is in the moment of your product.
Offer Free Shipping:
As an online retailer you know that shipping is an expensive part of conducting business. For customers, the cost of shipping can impact whether they complete the purchase or not. According to a recent 2016 survey from Walker Sands, 9 out of 10 consumers say free shipping is the #1 incentive to shop online more.
Some webstores are able to use free shipping as an everyday incentive (like Amazon Prime for instance). Others may not be able to carry that cost and can therefore run special promotions with free shipping for a limited time.
Provide Personal Follow Up:
The resurgence of personalisation has come as a result of the technological era that allows people to hide behind screens (whether they meant to or not). Sending a personal note to thank a customer for a purchase goes a long way. It again, feeds into the emotional connection they are going to have with your store.
This is a great tactic to use when you need to be frugal or an established store. A handwritten note that speaks specifically to the purchase sends a message and a feeling that the customer is valuable. Use a pen that will smudge a bit so that the customer sees it’s genuine versus them thinking it was printed.
Send A Birthday Card:
It’s nice when someone remembers your birthday. It’s even nicer when a company knows it’s your birthday and sends you a card wishing you well.
Depending on your budget, you can choose to offer a special birthday discount code, free gift or simply send them an email/card wishing them a happy birthday. Being acknowledged on your birthday feels good to most people.
Deliver Gift Cards:
This is a traditional customer delight to drive loyalty that some argue has lost it’s ability to really build loyalty. Others still see it has value since there is a cost associated with it. While you may be a small to medium sized business who can’t offer their own gift cards yet, it’s not in poor taste to offer a gift card to another company.
The gift card you choose to send out to select high value customers or offer in an email campaign should reflect your target market’s behavior/lifestyle/demographic. Let’s face it, sometimes we need a coffee and a free coffee tastes great!
Follow Loyal Customers:
This simple delight works to build a relationship with the customer. Leverage your social channels to follow your valuable customers. This free tactic can provide you with marketing insights into who your target market is, makes them feel like you care and can help drive social influencing for your store and it’s products.
Try out some of these customers delights that will drive loyalty to build the Customer Lifetime Value and drive more sales.