Do you struggle to retain customers? Or wonder what more you can do to inspire customer loyalty?
Transforming shoppers into loyal customers can seem like one of the hardest tricks in ecommerce. But break it down into smaller steps, and it becomes much more straightforward.
Essentially, gaining customer loyalty is all about the science and strategy of emotion. You must create positive experiences to develop a happy, trusting relationship with your customers.
Here we explore how to build customer loyalty online, using expert insights and our own study with more than 3,000 consumers across Europe.
Here’s what we cover:
- How to get to know your customers
- How to collect customer data
- What inspires customer loyalty
- Why brand authenticity is key
- How to be authentic as possible
- How Mollie can help
Get to know your customers
If you run an online business, you probably know your customers well. But how can you get to know them even better?
It’s not only about knowing why they buy – but also how they shop.
To do that, you need to investigate their behaviour, including these things:
- How frequently they shop
- The times they visit your website
- The products they like
- What messages and offers engage them most
- The payment methods they want to use
If you understand all this, you’ll be better armed to engage and delight your shoppers. And create repeat customers.
And how to make sure you have all the information you need for success? Use data.
How to collect customer data
Data can be a great way to improve the customer experience and increase sales, but knowing where to find it isn’t always obvious.
Here are some of the best ways (and places) to gather customer data:
- Website analytics
- Social media
- Analytics tools
- Market research
- Payment gateway analytics
- Other websites
Want to get to know your customers better? Then treat all the technology you use as a chance to learn more about them.
After you’ve researched what they need and how they act, map out their journey to create the best experience possible and increase conversion.
Learn more about using data to increase sales.
What inspires customer loyalty in online shopping?
Whether times are good or bad, gaining customer loyalty is vital to keeping your business healthy. Building a community of loyal customers will increase your average order value and lower your customer acquisition cost.
But what makes consumers feel happy to return to an online store?
We surveyed 3,000 consumers across Europe about their online shopping behaviour and what businesses need to offer to entice them to make repeat purchases. Here are the three things they said are crucial to building loyalty:
Our data shows that payments are crucial in building customer loyalty: almost 9 in 10 (88%) shoppers say that an online retailer’s offered payment methods influences their decision to buy from them again. And 78% of consumers said they want to be offered a quick and efficient payment method when shopping online.
So, to build loyalty (and get shoppers to buy in the first place), you need to offer the payment methods they need.
Want to know the best payment methods to offer your customers to increase conversion and build loyalty? Find the best options for your business.
Shipping and returns policy
Shipping is also a vital part of building trust with consumers, with 79% saying that being offered effortless shipping and returns would entice them to repurchase from a business.
So, how can you perfect your shipping and returns? Let’s hear from Rob van den Heuvel, CEO of shipping software specialists Sendcloud.
He says: “The shipping process is arguably the most crucial part of the ecommerce experience as it has the most customer touchpoints, and one bad delivery experience can make consumers hesitant to reorder.
“The best brands offer their customers multiple shipping options, send branded tracking notifications, and offer a hassle-free returns process. As a result, they get better reviews and build loyalty.”
Our data shows that 78% of consumers say brand trust is vital to gaining loyalty. But what’s the best way to ensure customers trust your brand?
Here are some key things you can do to build trust:
- Deliver exceptional customer service: Use conversational commerce techniques, create a personalised experience, and offer excellent customer support.
- Show social proof: Add customer feedback and reviews to product pages. Create testimonials or case studies to show the benefits of your products or services.
- Display your returns policy and contact information: Offer a clear and transparent returns policy and make it easy to find your contact information. Create a frequently asked questions section to explain returns.
- Display trust badges: Place these icons on your website to help tell shoppers that it is trustworthy. Also, display your business’s score on review platforms, such as Trustpilot, on your site.
Show social media links: Add links to your social media accounts to build trust. Keep the accounts active by posting regularly and replying to comments promptly.
Brand authenticity: show customers who you really are
So, now you know how to establish trust with consumers. And what to offer them to make them return.
But there’s still one thing you need to make sure they stick around: brand authenticity.
So, what is an authentic brand? Forbes says: “An authentic brand is transparent and consistent in its messaging and branding initiatives. It has business values it remains true to, and most essentially, it is honest.”
Today, modern consumers want to know that brands are authentic and feel like their values align with their own. In fact, data shows that 82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to match theirs – and won’t buy from them if they don’t.
In short: consumers are constantly watching and researching your business to see if they like what you do and stand for. And they want to be offered honest and authentic experiences at all times.
How to make customers love your brand
Do you feel like your brand is always consistent in its messaging? Or do you worry that your customers struggle to understand who you are?
Either way, it’s always good to check that you’re doing the right things to effectively sell your business (and products and services).
Here’s how to make sure your brand is as authentic as possible.
Ensure all your messaging and communications match your brand identity and values.
You’re likely writing blog posts, sending emails, and running digital marketing campaigns. And you want to make sure everything you publish represents your business in the right way.
Why? Because inconsistent messaging will make your audience uncertain about who you are. That can make customers feel unsure about trusting you with their hard-earned cash.
To be as consistent as possible, develop or refine these things:
- Your brand vision and mission
- A tone of voice guide that embodies your brand
- A robust review process for all content
- Training and content that helps others understand your brand
Live up to your values
Of course, consistency is great. But you must also deliver on the promises your brand makes.
We already established that consumers are looking at how your brand behaves. So it’s vital to deliver on promises and tell visitors about what makes your business unique.
To do that, create an honest and unique ‘about us’ page and explain what you stand for throughout the customer’s journey – adding taglines and logos to pages to show off your brand identity.
Engage your audience
Nowadays, it’s not enough to just post a single page that explains who you are. In a world where people are more connected than ever, creating communities is also vital to success.
It can feel daunting, but engaging and speaking to your audience is a brilliant way to show off your brand. It also offers you the chance to get to know them more.
Whether on social media, review sites, or other channels, always try to engage your audience and talk to them in a way which shows off your brand personality. Share updates about your business and join in on conversations online. Ask questions and answer customer queries, and always let people know you value being able to talk to them personally.
And one of the best things about this? These conversations can be one of the most valuable – and rewarding – parts of running a business.
Reward your customers
Another good way to show off your brand is by looking after your loyal customers. And an excellent way to do that is through loyalty programs.
By running reward programs – or even just getting in touch with customers to know you appreciate their business – you create a more trusting, positive relationship with them.
Stay in touch
With so many technology tools at your disposal, keeping in contact with your shoppers and customers is now easier than ever. That’s a good thing, as sending out emails or running ads can be a great way to stay top of mind with your customer base and build brand recognition.
In his book ‘Building a Story Brand’, brand expert Donald Miller explains how he once increased sales for an employer by sending out a direct email that, in his own words, ‘all our customers threw away without even opening’.
How did this unread direct mail succeed? By reminding customers that the company existed, even if it did go straight into the bin.
So, remember to keep your communications constant and as consistent as possible to build a better relationship with your customers.
Inspire customer loyalty with Mollie
In a world where you’re more connected to your customers than ever, there’s lots to think about when it comes to inspiring loyalty. But, the opportunities you now have shouldn’t be feared. And by being thoughtful, honest and consistent in what you offer customers and how your brand acts, you have a better chance than ever to develop long and lasting relationships with customers.
Want to make one aspect of inspiring loyalty as effortless as possible? With Mollie, you can offer all the payment methods your customers love to use and offer a seamless checkout experience to increase conversions and build loyalty.
And, to inspire loyalty from our own customers, we offer all of our products with transparent pricing and no hidden fees or lock-in contracts.
Find out more about payments with Mollie.