Customer loyalty is the great workhorse of any business. It is not only about the customer buying, but also about the customer coming back, getting used to using our website and including it in their favorites. A loyal customer is the best way to pay off the marketing investment necessary to capture it for the first time. In highly competitive markets such as insurance, for example, investing in online and offline marketing is a huge cost for the company.
Some time ago, WordStream published an infographic with the CPC (cost per click) of the most demanded words in Google Adwords … and the word “insurance” could reach an astronomical 54 dollars in the American market (the same word costs around 7 euros of CPC in the Spanish market).
Is it profitable to invest so much in customer acquisition? Obviously not if it is an occasional client, but it can be if we manage to retain an important part of those first clients , something in which insurance companies are true specialists (also counting on the invaluable help that insurance is a type of product with strong resistance to change by the customer).
For an insurance company, it is profitable to invest large amounts in attracting clients, if with it it achieves a degree of loyalty that makes that economic effort profitable. Loyalty thus becomes an objective necessity that we must include in our strategy, and not a posteriori, but from the first design of it.
In successive posts we will analyze in more detail some specific aspects, but customer loyalty in eCommerce must affect each and every one of the aspects of the online sales business. Many people mistakenly think that loyalty is only a matter of price.
The argument used in these cases is “the online customer seeks the lowest price on equal terms.” Affirmation that, while remaining true, contains a fundamental key: that “equality of conditions”. Loyalty means remaining in the customer’s mind and that the latter associates our product, brand or store with the impulse to buy any of the products or services that we offer.
If I sell cheese, I want the customer to think of me first every time they want to buy cheese. And also, if I can recommend my cheeses to other people (convert the client into a prescriber) I will be winning many clients for the cost of attracting just one.
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Criteria for customer loyalty in eCommerce
A priori, eCommerce has a handicap compared to physical commerce that acquires special relevance when it comes to loyalty: the absence of physical contact and personal contact with the customer.
It is one of the great barriers to entry to eCommerce (personally I think it is THE great barrier) and probably the most difficult to eliminate. But it is key in the loyalty process, so we must spare no effort in making the client feel worse treated on the online channel than they would feel on the physical channel.
How is this accomplished? There is no magic loyalty recipe that works equally with all products and all types of customers. However, there are some criteria for majority application:
- Personalized treatment. Let’s call each customer by name. Let us make you feel that it is important to us. And above all, we must believe it ourselves.
- Correctly manage databases. They contain a lot of information to communicate with the customer based on their interests and their purchase history.
- Not be invasive. Let’s respect their times, their schedules and their privacy. An example: Sending a promotional email at 3 in the morning involves waking up a significant number of people who receive their email on their mobile phones and, for whatever reason, have not silenced the notifications. Do you think they will read it with pleasure the next day? Will they speak well of you? Regarding privacy, it is true that we can obtain a fairly adjusted customer profile based on knowing their browsing habits, their behavior on social networks, etc etc … but before doing so, ask yourself if that is what the customer really wants and how going to be valued. Each customer profile has a different sensitivity to privacy.
- Exquisite customer service and conflict resolution. The agility in handling complaints and the ability to close them satisfactorily for the client are key to avoid disgruntled clients. Correctly managing a crisis is essential to keep customers satisfied.
- Run away from the fine print on your eCommerce website. Do not allow a customer to buy without having all the information you deem necessary to correctly make a decision. Don’t play “if it strains, strain.”
- Not all disgruntled customers complain. In fact, most do not, but rather go elsewhere. If I really want to know what the customer thinks of me, I have to ask him.
- Maintain a positive online reputation. What they say about us will weigh much more than what we say.
- Establish direct communication channels. The customer service phone is still an essential tool. We must always have properly trained people to take those calls. Not just anyone. Now you can also use a chat or even a chatbotwith the ability to send consumers to receive “human” attention if necessary.
- Use remarketing tools. There are many tools that serve to remind customers that we are there and that we continue to have attractive products for them.
- Use promotions and offers appropriately,both in their content and in their periodicity. The same client should find news on each visit he makes to us. The greater the degree of personalization in promotional communication, the more interest we will awaken and the more loyalty we will have.
- Put an eye on your competitors. Or better both eyes. Don’t let them get ahead of you (they still will).
- You win, the client too. Always ask yourself what the customer earns when buying on your website. Do it objectively and contrast it with the opinion of real customers. If the client does not perceive an added value, it is difficult to convert him into a loyal client.
What is engagement: keys to reach the hearts of your customers
More about customer loyalty in eCommerce
Selling a product is much more than a simple act of transferring that product from point A to point B in exchange for a certain amount of money. Selling implies providing services. Think about which services are most valued by your customers, or better ask them, and you will have many keys to set up a good customer loyalty strategy in eCommerce.