If you’ve been in business more than five minutes, you know it costs more to attract new customers than it is to retain loyal buyers. But that’s just the beginning of customer loyalty. If you can increase customer retention rates by 5%, your profits could rise by anywhere from 25% to 95%, based on research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company.

Plus, loyal customers spend 67% more with a favored brand than newer customers, according to HubSpot statistics. And when you actually forge an emotional connection with those customers, rather than just keeping them satisfied with your service, they will spend more than twice as much with your brand, according to a study by Motista – a difference of $699 vs. $275, annually, on average.

But building customer loyalty requires a lot more than delivering exemplary customer service or implementing an easy-to-use loyalty program that is lucrative for consumers. It requires having the right partners, processes, and technology in place for every element of your business.

Have a System in Place for Easy Checkout to Reduce Cart Abandonments

If you’ve ever shopped with Amazon (and who hasn’t?) you may have set up the “one-click” purchasing feature. This button enables shoppers to make impulse purchases at any time, day or night, without digging out their credit or debit card or even choosing a card saved on file. It streamlines the purchasing experience.

If you run an independent ecommerce site rather than selling through Amazon, Facebook, Instagram or Etsy, you are solely responsible for the user experience and making sure it’s easy for customers to navigate your site and make their purchase quickly and easily.

Consider different ways you can streamline the shopping experience, not just to reduce cart abandonments but to ensure your customers will return time and again, and even recommend your site to their friends.

A digital marketing agency like Sandhill can help by providing a site audit for your website and recommending ways to improve the user experience and increase sales.

Provide Fast, Accurate, Affordable Deliveries

Especially in today’s world when retailers of all types and sizes struggle with supply chain issues, fast, accurate and affordable (or free) shipping is crucial. Seamless shipping processes and free (or low-cost) shipping is part of the expectations of new customers today. But positive experiences with order deliveries also help generate repeat orders and build customer loyalty.

One-third of American consumers say they would consider switching companies after one poor customer service experience. Getting the right orders to your customers, in perfect condition, in a timely manner, goes hand-in-hand with an easy-to-use online shopping cart as the basic starting points for good customer service.

If you’re a start-up or established eCommerce company, you may want to consider a third-party logistics (3PL) firm with experience in nearly every aspect of the supply chain to ensure shipping goes smoothly. Choosing the right 3PL provider can pave the way to shipping experiences that exceed customers’ expectations and build loyalty.

Provide Exemplary Customer Service through a Variety of Channels and Platforms

While easy checkout and fast, accurate deliveries are the starting points for good customer service, there is so much more needed to build loyal customers who become brand evangelists.

Customer service has many elements, including:

  • Answering questions promptly and accurately
  • Responding to (and fixing) order errors
  • Creating clear and customer-friendly refund/return/exchange policies
  • Empowering customer service representatives to make the best choices to serve your clients

Delivering exemplary customer service requires clear and effective employee training. But the right technology can also help.

Explore The Role of Chatbots in Effective Customer Service

Chat-bots can often solve simple problems without human intervention. Consumers are getting used to working with and relying on them. In fact, 74% of consumers said they prefer chatbots for answers to easy questions, and 65% of customers say they feel fine handling an issue without ever dealing with a human being on the other side of the computer.

Chatbots can deliver fast, round-the-clock service, which is crucial in an age where people can shop from anywhere, at any time. They can also save your company time and money. One Gartner study revealed that virtual assistants can reduce chat, phone, and email inquiries by 70%. That way, you can focus your energy and budget on creative strategies to build customer loyalty and use your best customer service representatives to handle harder hitting problems and issues.

Give Customers Multiple Ways to Reach You

Today’s consumers want the capability to reach their favorite brands in a variety of ways. With options of SMS, chat, social media, email and voice calls, no single communication method can please every consumer. One study showed that 57% of customers would rather contact companies through email or social media than by phone, and 33% of consumers say they have contacted a company through social media. But you can also find studies that support the use of phone and text, as well.

When you’re delivering customer service, it’s important to integrate communication methods so that your customer service reps can reply to issues, answer questions and solve problems easily. Platforms like Gorgias, a Sandhill Digital partner, make it easy to centralize support tickets and deliver exemplary customer service through any communication platform.

Offer Easy and Useful Loyalty Rewards

Many eCommerce marketers think of loyalty rewards program as the key to building customer loyalty. Certainly, an easy-to-use and effective loyalty rewards program should be a cornerstone to creating loyal customers, as it helps build an emotional connection and can encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

  • A good customer loyalty program:
  • Is easy for customers to use
  • Delivers rewards that customers value
  • Awards benefits quickly (such as with a sign-up reward) and frequently

In addition, think about ways your rewards program can surprise and delight customers. Beyond perks like coupons on their birthday, consider ways you can reward your best customers with experiences or exclusive access to new releases.

Deliver a Personalized Experience

Roughly 80% of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase when they have a personalized experience. Amazon and Netflix have set the standards for personalization in online marketing, with recommendations engines that deliver exactly what users are looking for most of the time.

Daniel Newman, principal analyst of Futurum Research, writes in Forbes, “There’s a big difference between creating content that ‘agrees’ with someone and providing them with a personalized shopping experience.”

To deliver the latter, leverage technology that can make the best customer recommendations, create and share sales that will resonate with your customers. Retargeting through Facebook ads, customized segmented email campaigns, and

It’s important to balance customer privacy with personalization. While consumers understand the need to sacrifice a certain level of privacy for the personalization they want, they increasingly expect personalization data to come from first-party sources. That is, they want to, and show a willingness to, supply brands with the data they need for a more personalized shopping experience. Consumers seek transparency from brands; they want to know why their favorite brands need their data and what they intend to do with it.

Learn How the Right Marketing Partners Can Help

Building customer loyalty requires focusing on more than just any single element, such as a rewards program or personalized product recommendations. It entails a comprehensive strategy using multiple touchpoints to determine what is most important to your target audience and then delivering that experience.

Finding the right marketing partners who know how to use today’s tools and technology can help you build customer loyalty by exceeding their expectations every time. Reach out to Sandhill Digital for help with your next customer loyalty campaign strategy.

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