By spending a significant amount on ads and remarketing, nearly any eCommerce business can acquire new customers. However, the hard part is figuring out how to convert those customers into loyal patrons and persuade them to make repeat purchases on your Shopify store.
It is already a well-known fact that repeat customers buy more often, spend more on products, and are way cheaper to retain. But the most important part is what you should do ahead of time to make your customers stick around with your brand.
Keeping that in mind, we will talk about ways to build a loyal customer base on your Shopify store by scaling and optimizing it with some effective strategies.
- Importance of Loyal Customers
- Take a Customer-Centric Approach
- Let Your Customers Try Your Product before Buying
- Offer More Delivery Options
- Provide 24/7 Support via Live Chat
- Offer Better Personalization Using AI
- Show Pictures of Real Customers as Social Proof
- Integrating Your Store with Social Media
- Differentiate with Storytelling and Demonstrate Authenticity
- Attract Customers with the Right Loyalty Rewards Program
- Best Practices In Using AliExpress Dropshipping Center
- Engage Post-Purchase and Stay on Top of Their Mind
- Invest in the Right Loyalty Apps
- Nurture Existing Customers to Drive Repeat Purchase
I. Importance of Loyal Customers
In simple words, customer loyalty is a customer's desire to interact with your brand or buy from it regularly. Customer loyalty is important for a brand to sustain and thrive in this competitive market.
Loyalty for customers mainly stems from positive experiences with a brand, increasing their chances to make repeat purchases.
Studies show that loyal customers spend nearly 67 percent more on products/services than new customers. Although your loyal customers make up only 20 percent of your total customer base, they generate as much as 80 percent of your revenue.
Before discussing how to develop customer loyalty, let us talk about the factors that contribute to brand loyalty. These factors are crucial to meet your retail goals of retaining quality customers.
Here is some data by Shopify:
- 86 percent of customers say reliability and protecting privacy develops loyalty;
- 81 percent of customers say getting support when required influences their buying decision;
- 69 percent say recognizing their loyalty, builds more loyalty;
- 51 percent say receiving the latest product offers, or quality services develop brand loyalty;
- 42 percent say family and friends wanting to do business with a brand encourages loyalty.
The above statistics show that customers appreciate a brand’s effort to recognize their business and consider them important.
In a competitive eCommerce market, customer loyalty matters now more than ever.
You need to make sure to keep your loyal customers happy with quality products and personalized services so they keep buying from your Shopify store and not from your competitors.
II. Take a Customer-Centric Approach
Keeping in mind the turmoil caused by the pandemic, an increasing number of retailers are taking their businesses online to Shopify and other eCommerce platforms.
Now, in this more cluttered eCommerce space, gaining new customers is already challenging. This is why you need a customer-centric approach to keep your customers coming back to your store.
By applying the following strategies, you can inspire loyalty among your customers.
1. Let Your Customers Try Your Product before Buying
Letting customers try your product or service before they buy will give them the liberty to make a buying decision based on their experience.
For example, the Swedish FinTech company Klarna offers various payment options to customers, such as Pay Now and Slice It, and Klarna Pay Later, which they can choose based on their needs.
The advantage of Klarna payments is that customers buy a product and try it first before actually paying. If customers decide to return a product, they need not wait for the refund.
Klarna Payment Options (Source: shoppop.com)
Klarna has recently integrated its payment services with Shopify, which allows Shopify store owners to align Klarna services with their products/services.
2. Offer More Delivery Options
Most consumers, who buy products from online stores, look for fast delivery. Especially, eCommerce giants like Amazon have raised customer expectations. Getting the products in their hands faster, giving customers instant gratification.
You can use the service of a company that provides excellent last-mile delivery solutions to offer your customers the same-day or next-day delivery. There is an option to schedule a 60-minute time slot for delivery the next day, too. But who wouldn’t want an online order delivered to their doorstep within hours?
The Interface of a Last-Mile Delivery Solution (Source: shoppop.com)
You can even offer customers an option to pick up their orders themselves. Shopify apps like Zapiet’s Store Pickup plus Delivery will schedule your customers when and where they want to pick up their order.
Zapiet’s Shopify Stock Pick up App (Source: shoppop.com)
A customer-centric approach like this will likely keep your customers coming back to your store.
3. Provide 24/7 Support via Live Chat
By using a website chat widget, you can offer a live chat service to your customers round the clock so they get quick answers to their questions or doubts. You can combine the live chat feature with marketing tools like abandoned cart recovery for even better results.
For example, let customers choose to receive notifications on Messenger during your next collection. Align chat agents to ask customers about their buying experience or other engagement strategies to turn them into loyal fans. It is an effective customer-centric approach to grow your online business.
A Plug-in for Live Chat (Source: shoppop.com)
According to Facebook, retail businesses that are using the new chat plug-in have witnessed a 45 percent spike in customer inquiries about their products/services.
4. Offer Better Personalization Using AI
Many eCommerce stores use personalized recommendations to upsell more products. It is a good idea, but their conversion rates will not improve if they offer the wrong products to the wrong customers.
Now, AI and Machine Learning tools can help you make perfect recommendations to customers. For example, the Bold Brain app uses AI to collect customer data to pair products and recommend upsells.
The app gathers data points, including purchase history, customers’ interest, trends, and intent to automatically generate upsells.
Bold Brain AI App (Source: shoppop.com)
It is a type of personalization that focuses on customers’ needs while increasing average order values for your store.
5. Show Pictures of Real Customers as Social Proof
Social proof is an age-old concept that works every time. Especially, photo reviews of your products can be the real attraction for prospects. Real pictures of customers with their reviews or statements on using your products will encourage other customers to buy from your store.
Customers’ Photo Uploads(Source: shoppop.com)
A tool like Flowbox can help you display customer images and videos in customizable galleries to improve engagement and increase conversions. This is a good example of visual marketing.
6. Integrating Your Store with Social Media
Shopify has partnered with Facebook to help online stores with Shopify architecture. It means if you already run an eCommerce business on Shopify, you can easily integrate it with your stores and link your product catalog.
Shopify and Facebook Alliance (Source: shoppop.com)
It is a customer-centric strategy to provide a seamless shopping experience to your customers.
III. Differentiate with Storytelling and Demonstrate Authenticity
Running an online retail store successfully in this intensely competitive eCommerce landscape needs more than just having a beautiful website, a good product, and easy checkout.
When customers reach your shopping cart, they do it after encountering various brands along the way during their long buying journey.
These days, consumers get familiar with brands in a multi-channel environment across various platforms. The concept of a captive audience is a thing of the past. Now, storytelling is crucial to differentiate your brand and establish its authenticity before the target audience.
1. Tell Stories in Your Customers Want to Hear
Listen carefully to customers, and look for opportunities for great storytelling to engage them.
Customers like stories that they can relate to. For example, some customers may like your story because that reminds them of the nostalgic memories of their lives.
The humane aspect of stories is what evokes emotion, and if your story can do that, your brand gets closer to customers’ hearts.
Pay attention to your customers and find their motivations, aspirations, and fears. By aligning your brand with the factors that drive customers, you will find the connection of your product with their lives.
2. Focus on Authenticity
Good brand storytelling has to focus on authenticity to engage customers and get a response from them.
Tell different and unique stories every time that customers can relate to their memories or desires with your brand in the backdrop. It will make your stories credible.
A good example is the storytelling of Barclaycard. The brand created two films, telling stories from a different perspective to portray how a couple got along with each other’s passions.
Barclay Card Storytelling (Source: askattest.com)
Authenticity is more important in storytelling than polish and glamor. Customers are intelligent, and the brands that are only interested in selling their products, tend to ignore those brands. Authenticity makes all the difference for them.
3. Show, don't tell
Successful brands know that storytelling is not a marketing gimmick. Rather it is the foundation of communications with their customers.
Retail businesses often struggle to tell good stories because they are often stuck in bragging about their history and their products. Their websites mainly talk about their accomplishments, how long they are in a business, and offer pointers about their great service.
This approach does not work because it is unable to establish a real connection with customers and often turns them away.
The sports apparel and equipment brand Under Armour ran a #IWILLIWANT campaign that was designed to target women to promote their athletic apparel. The campaign mainly focused on what women can do if they want.
Under Armour’s Storytelling (Source: coredna.com)
IV. Attract Customers with the Right Loyalty Rewards Program
Introducing a loyalty program may prove to be one of the effective ways to improve customer engagement. When customers feel a strong connection to a brand, they will likely spend more.
Various studies have revealed that average consumers spend by more than 10 percent when they receive rewards or bonuses.
A loyalty program can make your customers feel exclusive, keep them loyal, and boost your revenue by offering them additional benefits.
- Keeping your customers happy is crucial to growing your business. Rewarding customers for their loyalty is one of the best ways to show your appreciation.
- You can offer reward programs in the form of discount coupons, gift cards, or reward point reimbursement. Customers can use those reward points at a store aligned with your company.
- When offering rewards, make sure you make it easy for customers to get those benefits.
- Most customers love to be a part of a loyalty program. Many even actively seek opportunities to get a membership.
For example, in the loyalty program of Anthropologie’s AnthroPerks, the company offers various benefits for joining the program.
AnthroPerks Loyalty Program (Source: sleeknote.com)
The benefits are below:
Benefits of AnthroPerks (Source: sleeknote.com)
When customers sign up for a loyalty program, they will get better chances of receiving special discounts and offers.
V. Engage Post-Purchase and Stay on Top of Their Mind
When you collect customers’ email addresses, make good use of them with email marketing. Sending personalized emails keeps the conversation going with your customers after they have purchased a product. Post-purchase communications help foster brand loyalty.
A report by GlobalWebIndex (GWI) shows that sharing useful information is one of the highest motivations for brand advocacy. Nearly 32 percent of online users have mentioned that they will be more likely to promote a brand online when they find information relevant to their interests.
Using post-purchase emails is an opportunity to share helpful tips with customers to use a product they purchased. These emails are also effective for product recommendations based on customers’ purchase history. It is an effective technique to generate repeat purchases.
Post-Purchase Product Recommendation Email by Ralph Lauren (Source: salecycle.com)
Loyal customers are likely to come back from time to time to buy their favorite product, or they might try your new product or service due to their positive experiences in the past.
VI. Invest in the Right Loyalty Apps
A Shopify customer app allows businesses to capture the attention of loyal customers through social media, contests, loyalty programs, and more.
Shopify apps are both merchant and customer friendly and come with the following features:
- Product and site reviews
- Automation of marketing
- Thank you page
- Upselling and cross-selling
- Connects your eCommerce store to MailChimp
- Social proof in emails
- Text messaging
- Two-way SMS communication.
Technologies have changed the way eCommerce businesses operate now. The same technologies can work for your online store and develop a loyal customer base for you.
VII. Nurture Existing Customers to Drive Repeat Purchase
Let your customers realize that you have invested in them by keeping regular communication after each sale.
Here are a few suggestions for post-purchase communications that will foster relationships with your customers.
- Offer Special Discount: Offer customers special discounts for a limited time on a specific product segment.
- Customize Shipping notifications:Shipping notifications are transactional. Hence they have a high open-rate. What if you insert product recommendations, educational content, or a pitch of subscription within these emails? It will result in a higher rate of conversion and drive repeat purchases.
In the following example, Crate&Barrel has offered a 10 percent discount on the customer’s next full-price purchase.
Crate&Barrel Discount Offer (Source: smartmail.io)
The bottom line is as long as you put your customers first, appreciate their business, and reward them with the strategies listed in this post, you will witness their loyalty and increased sales.