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Businesses need new customers to grow. Without the influx of new shoppers, company revenue will stagnate, and ongoing success becomes a challenge.
But there’s another side to this story: customer retention.
Keeping current customers happy is critical both to ensure sustained revenue and encourage these shoppers to spread the word about your brand.
This begs the question: What do customers want? What keeps them happy, interested, and coming back?
This post will examine the power of enhanced shopping experiences, discuss what makes customers choose other brands, and offer six tips to help you improve customer retention.
What makes customers choose one brand over the other? In many cases, first purchases come thanks to word of mouth or after buyers encounter an online ad. As noted by Retail TouchPoints, 76% of customers have purchased a product they saw advertised in a brand’s social media post.
But that’s just one purchase — what keeps them coming back?
According to PwC, Canadian customers highlight the importance of in-stock availability (62%), fast/reliable delivery (61%), and a good return policy (54%) when shopping online.
Wordbank notes that in the U.K., 59% of 18 to 24-year-olds say that every company should offer a customer loyalty program to increase engagement, while an infographic from ShoppingGives indicates that 72% of consumers want to buy from brands that reflect their values.
Companies must also account for actions that create customer churn.
As noted by Adobe, 70% of U.K. customers will buy more from brands they trust. If that trust is broken — that is, if products or services don’t live up to expectations — customers will take their business elsewhere.
In the U.S., Retail Dive notes that about 73% of customers will leave a brand after a maximum of three negative customer service experiences. What’s more, 44% will rarely or never complain directly to the company before they leave, meaning brands could be losing the opportunity to keep customers interested — and not even know it.
While there’s no silver bullet for keeping customers interested, there are best practices that brands can implement to encourage customer retention.
Before creating any kind of shopping experience — whether it’s online, in-person, or hybrid — take the time to do some research about local expectations, target audience preferences, and common customer service concerns.
Here, an ounce of proactivity is worth a pound of cure.
Some customers prefer to connect via email. For others, it's text, social media messaging, or over the phone.
To keep consumers coming back, you need to meet them where they are. In other words, you need an omnichannel strategy that allows customers to connect how, where, and when they want. Doing so requires empowering your customer service agents to quickly access data regarding consumer histories and preferences.
Customers don’t want a generic experience — they want offers, sales, and information tailored to their preferences.
For example, you can create a customized email that provides personalized deals on products they previously purchased or notifies them when a specific product is back in stock.
It’s one thing to advertise online; it’s another to interact directly with customers. Social media offers a way to streamline this interaction. Consider creating a special event for buyers who like your social media posts, or ask your audience to tag you in their photos or videos in exchange for personalized offers.
While the pandemic accelerated the adoption of on-demand and next-day delivery, some customers still prefer the retail store experience. Others want a mix of both: As a result, buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) models have also been gaining traction.
According to Insider Intelligence, shoppers will spend more than $95 billion on BOPIS options this year. To help boost customer loyalty, offer multiple options wherever possible so customers can get what they want — when and how they want it.
Last but not least? Always ask for feedback. As noted above, consumers won’t always indicate when there’s a problem, meaning there’s data out there to help improve your experience — if you can find it.
Start with customer surveys — either by email or phone — and encourage customers to connect via social media with honest feedback. Take their concerns seriously, look for common trends, and address issues ASAP to deliver an experience that exceeds expectations.
While you can’t win over every customer and ensure they become a lifetime shopper, you can employ these strategies to delight the ones you have — and the ones you’ll find in the future.
It’s true, too, that customer preferences will ebb and flow, but one thing’s for sure, they won’t be attracted to flat, lifeless interactions. Enhanced shopping experiences are here to stay.
Ready to boost customer retention with enhanced shopping experiences? Download “The Complete Guide to Omnichannel Strategy for Commerce” to get started.
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