5 Proven Ways to Build Customer Loyalty to Your eCommerce Store

By Joanna Kramer

In an age where seemingly limitless options are available at every shopper’s fingertips via the Internet, small business owners everywhere are facing a major question. How do you not only distinguish yourself enough to win over a customer on that initial purchase, but then keep them coming back time after time to shop your eCommerce website?

Improving your customer retention rate depends on fostering these three factors amongst your audience: a sense of belonging, an outstanding customer experience, and trust. When your business is online, this is not always the easiest task to accomplish. For instance, trust is harder to build when you’re conducting a conversation across screens, rather than face-to-face.

Challenging doesn’t mean impossible, though! A simple principle to remember is that happy customers make the most loyal ones. Using that idea as a foundation, we present five strategies you can use to raise the roof on your customer retention rate, all while building customer loyalty.

01. Engage with your customers

Don’t let your customers be strangers. A surefire way to help your shoppers feel like they truly belong when interacting with your brand is to bring them into conversation. Talking: It’s the way we pass time in the office kitchen, and forge our closest friendships. Across the board, it tends to bring us closer. That principle doesn’t change at all when brought into the realm of the Internet. In fact, it arguably becomes even more important, as you have to put in a bit more effort to let your business’ personality shine through. How can you make this happen?

Add live to chat to your website: A crucial step is literally talking with your store visitors. Your secret tool for getting this done is using a live chat feature on your website. With Wix Chat, for example, the ability to set a notification each time an online shopper lands on your page means you can utilize the chatbox to personally greet the potential customer, ask about what they’re looking for, and make specific recommendations according to their answers. That level of detailed attention will make a lasting impression on browsers, leaving them ‘walking out’ feeling pleased about their customer experience and valued as members of your client community.

Be a social media wiz: Your website isn’t the only avenue you can open for conversation. An active social media presence is a must-have these days, and not just for the purpose of marketing to the social media kingdom of nearly 3 billion people (although, that’s important, too). The popular social channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – function a bit like a neighborhood hang out spot or living room. It’s the place where people go to share their opinions, exchange ideas, and feel connected to others. Tap into this atmosphere by engaging with followers on your pages, answering their questions and concerns, developing clever ideas for campaigns and posts, and overall being responsive when customers reach out. Your audience is already here, scrolling through their feeds for memes that will make them laugh or stories that will warm their hearts. Jumping into the conversation shows potential customers that you’re accessible and relatable, two praiseworthy qualities that will help etch your brand into their mind for future purchases.

02. Offer the best online shopping experience around

Another way to win customers over (and back), is to roll out the red carpet for their shopping experience. Preemptively think through – and then minimize – all of the little details that could get between a browsing shopper on your eCommerce pages and a happy customer opening the door to their new package. Providing a seamless purchasing funnel becomes easy when you establish a special login-required section of your website, where registering opens up the door to an easier checkout process. In fact, it’s become the M.O. of most online retail giants to use a sign-in area for exactly those reasons. Now, you can do the same thanks to Member’s Area.

Implementing a login page offers your consumers many benefits. And their feeling of satisfaction as a result will continue bringing them back to buy more. Think about some of the potential obstacles that can lead to an eCommerce owner’s worst nightmare: an abandoned shopping cart (the horror!). One biggie is a lengthy checkout process. The more form fields a user has to complete, the higher chance they get bored or frustrated and give up.

Member’s Area changes all of that. Now, your community of customers can securely save their details, like preferred shipping and billing addresses and credit card details, through their account, so that checkout becomes a simple as one click. Once that purchase has been made, eager customers can review past orders, and track the delivery status for physical items or immediately download digital files for products like posters, fonts, and music files. These are all examples of what it means to stay at the cutting edge of industry standards when it comes to seriously impressing clients. It’s about anticipating the kind of smooth-sailing experience shoppers are looking for, and putting features in place to deliver on that expectation.

03. Stay consistent as a brand

Deliver on your promises: Speaking of delivering, coming through on your stated promises and value as a business is an integral ingredient to building trust with your audience. In short, say what you mean, and mean what you say. Regularly fulfilling your proclaimed commitments to quality and service will position your brand as reliable in customers’ eyes, which is what every business owner aims to accomplish.

Prioritize visual consistency: Being consistent isn’t just limited to your actions. Ensuring your brand is instantly recognizable across the board, from your business’ social media channels to your website, and from your packaging to even your members only pages, is another way of signaling your dependability to customers. It’s visual language for saying: “No surprises here.” It means your audience will know exactly what to expect the second they catch sight of your brand’s signature color palette and logo design. Did you know you can actually use colors to evoke very specific emotions? It’s an interesting field of psychology, and worth exploring a little to find exactly the right colors to express your business’ message. Once you have those down and incorporated them into a defined brand identity, make sure to paint this aesthetic across all elements of your online and physical presences. This kind of familiarity will reassure customers and help establish your brand as a stable go-to for their shopping needs.

04. Perfect your reputation

Going hand-in-hand with reliability is cultivating trust amongst your customers. You want them to feel comfortable making a purchase from your store – not always an easy feat when the online format makes some standard procedures for establishing reassurance, like holding an item in their own hands or having a conversation with a store employee, more difficult. That’s why we’re here to help you take on this challenge, and emerge successful!

Mind your content: While you might first and foremost be an online retailer of ceramic vases or garden mulch, let’s say, we bet you have a lot of wisdom to offer about the topics related to your wares. That doesn’t mean you need to switch careers from potter to blog writer, yet there are still plenty of good reasons to create a blog for your business (7, to be exact, as you can see in that article). Or if writing is really not your thing, videos are making an appearance on business websites everywhere. Filming a product demonstration or producing a vlog (video blog) is another way to share your expertise with your target audience. And don’t worry – it’s not bragging. Any time you show off what you know, you help convince potential customers that you’re the real deal, and they will feel more comfortable buying from you in return.

 Recruit some influencers: Since 70% of millennials are now shown to favor a “peer” blogger’s endorsement over a celebrity’s, your job actually just got a bit easier. You no longer need to secure some A-list celeb to stand there holding your product. Instead, social media influencers are rapidly taking their place. They are perceived as more authentic than conventional stars, both because of their ‘just like you’ ambiance and because having a smaller fan base than your average Hollywood stars means that they can actually converse with their followers.

These influencers can be particularly useful if you’re a brand committed to socially conscious practices. While standing for the same professed values as your target demographic is generally good for business, what’s even better is when you’re not the one tooting your own horn about the admirable work that your brand supports. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Just like IRL (in real life) we might be a little suspicious of someone who endlessly speaks about how much they volunteer to important causes, and how much money they donate to charity, the same idea applies to the online world. Too much self-promotion can come off as nothing but a marketing ploy, and can actually have the unintended effect of keeping potential customers at an arm’s length distance. Instead, collaborate with these influencers to discuss the points of your social good campaigns you’d like them to highlight. Hearing your praises sung from the mouth of a perceived outsider will make your brand seem much more credible, plus will score some ‘warm and fuzzy feelings’ points with your current and soon-to-be shoppers.

05. Reward loyal customers

Back in 1990, a joint study between a Harvard Business School professor and Bain & Company found something startling. By investing just a little bit in retaining customers, businesses could see a massive positive impact on their profits. They updated their study 10 years later as the Internet was taking off. And what did they discover? While the price of attracting new customers can initially be quite high, that profits graph line from returning clients rises quite quickly with time to make the investment worth it – and then some. Your secret to tapping into this proven consumer behavior is dedicating the time and thought to getting your shoppers to come back for another visit.

Personalize promotions: Sales are pretty much universally loved. So is feeling special. Combine the two, and you’ve got a recipe for winning over committed consumers of your brand. Send email newsletters, through Wix ShoutOut, targeted specifically to your mailing list subscribers or past customers. Inside, you can offer special discounts just for them, insider news from your brand, and sneak previews of the amazing content they can find on your website. Want to take your customer service delivery up a notch? Don’t forget to jot down notes from any conversation you might have with a customer within their record in your Contact List. For example, if a shopper was looking for a particular item that was out of stock at the time, but you’ve just received a fresh delivery, send them an email to let them know. Attention to detail like that will make each customer feel valued and amplify the positive association they have with your brand.

 Treat your customers like royalty: Get your members only area feeling like the VIP airport lounge by offering specialized collections or offers on its pages. As in, you can create specific pages that are only viewable to those who have registered an account on your site. That exclusiveness is an incentive enough to sign up. Your next step is to supply these pages with the right rewards to keep customers coming back and checking for more. This is your chance to get creative with the type of sale campaign you launch on your eCommerce site. Options to consider are offering free shipping around major holidays for members, or displaying a new collection on members only pages a full week before it becomes available to the general public. No matter what direction you choose to take this feature, they all share the common foundation of narrowing who has access to these promotions. In eCommerce talk , that’s like telling your members that, as far as you’re concerned, they’re part of the family.

Before you start publicizing your customers’ ability to sign up for a member’s area and start reaping the benefits its pages hold, always remember to do one last double check. Ask close friends or family to create accounts and move through the checkout process. Prepare a checklist beforehand of each step they should expect to encounter, so they confirm everything as it should be. The list can include everything from logging in to adding items to their cart to finding their pre-set shipping details already set to go. Even ask them to complete a purchase (you will refund them, of course!) just to make sure all systems are working properly.

The last thing you’d want is for a customer to discover a bug and to lose their business as a result. Checking things twice beforehand will save you this headache, and make sure you can simply focus on winning those customers over with your charm and flawless online shopping experience.

Ready to build a following of loyal customers? Start by creating a professional eCommerce website today!

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