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The digital world allows organisations to reach diverse new audiences in a more streamlined and user-friendly environment. However, it also increases the level of competition, which means you need to leverage all the tools at your disposal in order to come out on top.
Building and maintaining brand loyalty takes time and money, but thanks to the accessibility and extensibility of e-commerce platforms, you can establish yourself as a transparent business and build loyalty in a completely digital environment.
Baking transparency into your e-commerce offering
As we course through the various pillars on building customer loyalty, here’s the secret ingredient everyone misses! Transparency.
The connections throughout the supply chain – manufacturer, supplier, consumer, etc. – are becoming increasingly remote. Without that tangible human element, honesty and integrity are harder to display. Yet the consumer still demands that their suppliers are transparent.
Through e-commerce, organisations can showcase their corporate integrity, loyalty and sustainability, which can in turn inspire confidence from customers.
Consider a business that advertises itself as being highly committed to eco-friendly manufacturing processes and long-term sustainability. To prove that these are not just marketing gimmicks but innate truths, they could use their digital sales platform to communicate directly with their audience on where and how and where their products are manufactured.
But it’s not just the end customer who is demanding that businesses be more transparent and hold themselves accountable – it’s being pushed from all sides. Other businesses want to know what type of organisation you really are before they will partner with you. Investors want to know they are putting their money into a business with integrity. And regulatory requirements are forcing companies to look internally – rather than only at their bottom line.
Leveraging data to build customer loyalty
You already know that retaining existing customers is far cheaper than attracting new ones. But did you know that just a 5% increase in your customer retention rate can lead to a 25–50% boost to your profits? Loyalty is earnt, not bought, so pay attention to what your customers want.
How can you do that? With data.
Gathering data from your customers can help build a rich tapestry of what they want from your business – you can learn about their buying habits, their demographic profile, their knowledge of competitors, their preference for using promo codes, how long they will read your eDMs before they bounce.
Whether you invest in dedicated CRM software or go the old-fashioned route of customer surveys, once you gather that data you can mine it for insights and use the most relevant information to influence your digital sales funnel.
The value of a loyalty program
You don’t necessarily need a loyalty program to build an audience of customers who are loyal to your brand. However, it may help to encourage return business while giving your customers a ‘gamified’ buying experience.
It’s important to qualify this, however, with a candid statistic: more than three in four (77%) loyalty programs fail within the first two years. The common denominator for most failures is that the organisation builds a tool that only serves to benefit its own profits, rather than the customer.
The good news is that personalising your loyalty program is made all the more easy thanks to data and e-commerce platforms. Use the data you’ve gathered on your customers to offer deals and promos that are customised to the individual’s preferences. Your customers might be members of a dozen or more loyalty programs, but you could outshine them all by delivering rewards that are relevant to their specific wants – all via information you’ve collected through previous sales on your e-commerce site.
There’s no set-and-forget solution
If you do decide to deploy a loyalty program, make sure it’s a living, breathing entity. Over time, your customers’ habits and preferences will change, and they will expect you to change with them. Whether it’s a monthly review or a task you only attend to at the end of the financial year, get feedback directly from your customers and tweak your loyalty program according to their needs.
When it comes to being transparent with your customers and earning their loyalty, it simply makes sense to go digital. Get in touch with the authors to find out more, or read about the solution here.
With over 10 years' experience in omni-channel commerce, John has been a key piece in commerce and consumer digital transformation across much of the ANZ consumer and retail landscape. Some key clients include; Super Retail Group (Super Cheap Auto, Rays, BCF and Rebel Australia), The Warehouse Group (in New Zealand), Mecca, Perth Airport, Amart Furniture, My Muscle Chef, True Alliance, Sony, Apparel Group (Sportscraft, Saba and JAG), Michael Hill Jewellers, Emu Australia, Cotton On, 2XU, Brandbank (Seed Heritage, French Connection and ninewest), SurfStitch and Rodd and Gunn.