There are several factors that impact a customer’s buying experience and ultimately dictate whether they continue buying from a brand. Many eCommerce companies make the mistake of focusing all their marketing efforts on attracting new customers. However, according to Forbes, US companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to customer switching. Keep your customers happy and engaged with these 7 customer retention considerations.
Customer satisfaction is a key factor in customer retention. According to research by HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. Additionally, when you provide excellent customer service, customers are also more likely to share your products or services with friends and family, providing free word-of-mouth marketing. Timeliness, a positive professional attitude, and consistent communication are all factors that contribute to providing great customer service.
For many consumers, convenience is a critical factor in their purchasing decisions. For many eCommerce companies, some of the features that make a business convenient are unattainable. For instance, not all eCommerce companies are able to offer curb-side pick-up. However, making the buying journey as fast and easy as possible should still be a top priority. Opportunities to make your store more convenient in the eyes of customers include, offering a guest checkout option for faster checkout, saving payment information for customers who make an account and providing free returns and fast shipping options when feasible.
It is no secret that pricing plays a major role in a consumer’s decision-making process. Offering a discount on the first purchase or waiving joining fees can be an effective way to attract new customers who can then be converted into repeat purchasers.
In a similar vein to pricing, providing existing customers with extra incentives will influence their purchasing decisions. Offering exclusive perks for repeat purchasers like free samples, member pricing, early access to select inventory, or free shipping will inspire loyalty.
Online customer communities are a great way to increase customer retention. Customers who feel a sense of connectedness to a brand or fellow customers are more likely to make repeat purchases. Furthermore, University of Michigan research found, on average, customers who become part of a brand’s community spend 19% more. Content marketing is an effective way to build your brand community. Providing customers entertaining and informational content like blogs, podcasts and social media posts promotes loyalty. Remember, communities require two-way communication. Meaning, along with educating your customers about your brand and products, customer communities provide unique insights into customer needs and expectations, which can be used to improve other aspects of your business.
When customers trust a business, they are more likely to purchase from them again. Things like hidden fees or costly returns will make a customer feel betrayed and dissuade them from repeat purchases. In business, trust is built through transparency, reliability, and competency. Customer testimonials, accessible customer service, and a transparent return and exchange policies, will all help build customer trust. Additionally, following through on promises is vital. For instance, if you promote 2-day shipping, it is important to make sure you are meeting these expectations consistently. On the rare occasion that parcels are delayed, providing customers with clear and timely updates will avoid unnecessary friction.
Customers are more likely to purchase from businesses with values like their own. For instance, according to the Business of Sustainability Index, 66% of US consumers and 80% of consumers aged 18-34 are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Engaging in corporate social responsibility efforts is an effective way to attract and retain customers.
Average customer retention rates vary widely depending on industry. However, in all cases, a consumer’s purchasing experience will drastically impact your retention. In fact, a study by Forbes found, 77% of consumers consider a company’s customer experience just as important as the quality of its products. Analyzing your customer retention data and reviewing customer feedback will help identify any patterns among customers who don’t return, or any common pain-points that need to be addressed.
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