Online shopping portals that retain customers stand to be far more valuable as compared to those who acquire new customers without taking proper steps to retain them. Narrow focus on maximizing customer satisfaction drives the customer away from repeated purchases.
Online shoppers have many options at their disposal in case your business is unable to retain them.
The core of customer retention for online shopping portals revolves around 4 basics that are:
- Love for the brand: For online businesses it is very important to gain attention of a vast audience. Brands need to emotionally connect in order to build an effective relation.
- Value for money: Show the shopper that your product is worth the money. It is a great strategy to display price comparisons on the product page to make it easier for the users to take decisions.
- Word of mouth marketing: In a highly connected digital world, Online influencer marketing (online reviews) is a popular way of influencing customers to select a particular brand.
- Repeat purchase: Emailing regular customers with special offers related to their recent shopping in order to initiate re-purchase proves to be very successful.
Successful SEO or digital marketing strategy not only lies in acquiring new customers but also to retain the existing customer base.
Use the following strategies to build a customer base that retains:
1. Start with good looks
Attractive brand logo and interesting taglines are a great way to make the first impression in the minds of your online audience. Keeping your website minimal and ambient makes it easy for shoppers to browse.
The classic luxury shopping brand Burberry was on the brink of extinction in 2006. But its CEO Angela Ahrendts revamped the brand and site and gave it a new look. She used famous celebrities and beautiful images to drive her campaign and breathe new life in the brand.
The revamp showed staggering results:
Proper use of text, fonts and color adds immediacy, power, and clarity to communications. Make use of tools like Go Spaces for creating logos that stick with your online customers.
Case Study: Amazon Logo
While preparing logos and brand identity for your online shopping portal follow these basics of design:
- Give your brand a name and then give that name a face
- Differentiate yourself so that it’s recognizable
- Craft a visual identity that promises trust and innovation
The Amazon logo is one of the more popular case studies to use when discussing how to create a logo that works. For example, the yellow "smile" doubles as an arrow indicating that Amazon provides "a to z" products.
Some notable examples where taglines offer a promise to the consumers:
- Accenture – High Performance. Delivered
- Amazon – Earth’s Most Customer-centric Company
- CEAT – Born Tough
- FORD – Built for the Road Ahead
- LG – Life’s Good
Recommended Reading: The real meanings behind major brand names
2. Build a novel brand and stay ahead of competitors
The Internet is bursting with a huge number of online shopping brands. Your service needs to be interesting and above all, unique. Don’t waste time in building a platform which has already been mastered; instead innovate and apply creativity to build a niche for your brand.
An interesting concept was used by Oxenford’s company OLX. They targeted the raw market of dealing with secondhand products. And their service was embraced with open arms. It already has over 200 million monthly active users!
Marketers need to gauge customer behaviour making use of behaviour analytics and data science. They need to build a shopping experience around the unserved needs of the buyer.
The online shopping website Grommet works like any other ecommerce platform, albeit with a twist. It seeks out "best and innovative" but undiscovered products and brings them to light on their website. A new product is mentioned everyday!
3. Create partnership with customers
Brands need to build a healthy online relationship with the audience before asking them to buy their offered products. Trust and credibility require time and effort to build and establish. Here are some steps to follow:
- Use data science and analytics to build a database of relevant online shoppers that relate to your product.
- Develop a social media presence and begin interacting with your customers without getting involved in direct selling and flattery.
- Shoot email surveys and social media questionnaires to learn about their shopping preferences.
- Build a product around shoppers’ preferences or revamp your old online shopping brand to incorporate changes.
- Use digital marketing, SEO and SMM to spread the word about your new product.
The image below succinctly explains how an online user converts into a teammate. A general online user does not know about your online shopping brand. Hence he is a (1) stranger.
They get to know about your portal by some medium (social media, online marketing, offline marketing) and gets curious about your service. A (2) fling is developed.
After getting interested they try to find out about your product and communicate with people and online media, turning into a (3) fleeting acquaintance of your brand.
By this time a customer has either made up or given up to try your online shopping brand. Those who buy from you turn into (4) casual acquaintance.
If the user likes your portal (payment, delivery, product quality, customer service) they become an asset and are very likely to recommend your online shopping brand further. They act as a (5) teammate and spokesperson of your company.
4. Measure and constantly try to improve Customer Satisfaction
Say you came up with an innovative and attractive online shopping idea. You build it with finesse but forgot to list the most preferred choice of payment. Even if your customers have filled their shopping carts, they may still ditch buying from you because you don’t offer their preferred payment method.
Not only will you lose a customer, such an oversight may drive customers to buy from your competitor. Thus there is a need to constantly monitor and measure your customer’s satisfaction with your business model.
Apart from that, Google analytics proves to be a powerful feature to measure customer satisfaction:
Cohort analysis – Displays data about the re-engagement of a shopper with your portal after a period of time
SEO referring pages report – a great way to gauge effectiveness of your links and products and track the top referring links to your website.
5. Revamp to deliver excellent shopping experience
There is a specific time of the day when people are browsing websites to find something interesting. Reach out to buyers in their exact micro-moments! If you successfully drive users to your online shopping portal, it’s not hard to convert them into buyers.
Modify your existing shopping structure to redesign your portal’s touch points to match with shopper’s touch points. Think like a customer and find out what they want. Find what users search for when they end up on your website. Examine your performance.
- Are you visited only when the user is searching for you specifically?
- Do you arouse users’ curiosity by providing interesting content related to their products?
- Are you able to engage the shopper by the time the purchase is made?
- Are you able to sell additional products?
Think along those line and come up with a idea that sound interesting and engageable from shopper’s point of view. Some of the more important strategies to implement to your current online shopping portal are:
- To have a responsive site to cater to the ever expanding mobile and tablet user base.
- To have a social media to engage with customer when they are idly browsing through the social websites’ updates
- To provide tutorials and instructional videos to enable the shopper to make the best of your online shopping portal without any effort.
Recommended Reading: 5 mobile experience optimization strategies to increase customer lifetime value
6. Strategize to retain shopper loyalty
An online user is very volatile. They easily switch (or show) their loyalty when shown a better prospect. To maintain a dedicated shopper base not only your business needs optimization experts but also a Customer Retention Specialist.
They make use of big data, cloud computing, business intelligence software, customer analytics and business analytics to improve retention.
Employ the following strategies to make shoppers return for more:
A flawless delivery service – Provide options for faster delivery options. Here is an image that shows the importance of same-day delivery to multiple customer generations.
Invest in Packaging – Packaging is also a very crucial factor in consumer satisfaction. A neat and sound packaging exhibits an appealing and professional touch that inspires satisfaction in your customers.
Offer free and easy returns – In case your delivered product malfunctions be prompt and supportive for return and repayment.
Adopt a reward system – Reward with points redeemable only at your shopping portal. Sometimes this is called a loyalty reward program.
Provide exciting offers and discounts upon subsequent purchases – Provide discounts and sales to show the worth of a product.
7. Personalization of Online shopping Experience
Over the past several years, one thing that has convinced me the most when it comes to customer retention and loyalty, and that is personalization.
Send personalized emails to the consumers. Send unique and tailored coupons to the most loyal customers.
Offer a personalized dashboard to your audience. Customize the shopping cart according to the user and make it default for him/her for future purchase.
Personalization serves as a great emotional trigger. It gives an amicable touch to the relation and makes user feel that the brand truly cares for them.
A new online shopping brand needs to be unique and extremely user-friendly. Though the Internet can never get saturated but your idea must distinctly stand out and be miles ahead of your competitors to make a considerable impact.