Ecommerce in simpler terms is the activity of buying and selling of goods and services over the web. With the increasing reach and accessibility of internet day by day, online mode of business transactions is gaining prominence. For any business, retaining customers is more advantageous than acquiring new ones.
The root of customer retention for any business digs deep. And here are few stats to show the depth of its importance:
- Almost around 41% of online revenues generated are from retained customers that too just by 8% of the retention rate.
- If an ecommerce site can increase their customer retention by mere 5% rate their sales can increase by 25% to even 125%.
- Unsatisfactory customer service takes a toll on a business. About 71% of unsatisfied customers end their relation with the vendor.
As the importance of customer retention is being cleared, the next question to pop up is the method of retaining customers. You have to keep note of the important aspects that lead to retaining customers effectively. Here are a few handpicked proven ways to retain your customers and thus improve the sales.
1. Gesture of appreciation
A simple gesture of appreciation or offer or discount can do wonders in enhancing sales. Unexpected surprises or gifts are something which is appreciated by everyone and can cement your relation with your customers.
For this you can add extra discounts, offer vouchers or can send the customer some gifts with a handwritten ‘thank you’ note couple of days after buying. This unexpected gesture of appreciation will divert customers’ attention towards your site.
2. Email marketing
Your customers already provide you with data about their choices and preferences. However continuous email campaign is a subtle but effective way of expanding your customer database. Expand the items that are being added in the emails.
Try to innovate the offers and discounts, add newer items to increase your customer’s preferences and keep tracking them. Track which sequence of emails is gaining the highest hits.
3. Gold membership
Probably the most used, yet efficient way of customer retention is VIP privileges and Gold membership etc. A policy including reward points and hierarchical VIP status enabling your customers to various privileges offers etc. act as significant ways of improving sales. The alluring offers and VIP memberships will entice your customers to shop more.
4. Customer Services
A seemingly consistent and personalised customer service is what controls most of the brands nowadays. Most of the market researches show that it’s the customers who modulate and decide the fates of the brand. So be where your customers are for cementing a professional relation with them.
5. Showing diligence
Just occasional email campaigning and gifts and vouchers aren’t enough for successful customer retention. In the era of high-end competition, if you are not careful about the needs, preferences, requirements and most importantly, the complaints of your customers, no matter how much offers or VIP privileges are provided, customer retention is impossible.
Being proactive to the needs of customers, engaging them continuously as well as collecting and reacting to their feedbacks are the three major steps for any customer retention scheme.
6. Create value for Customers
If you are buying online , will you choose to buy from a website that sells low quality products at a cheap price? The answer is certainly no because everybody desires for quality in terms of shopping. Also, cost alone isn’t valued by customers, there have to be multiple components of value addition to optimise the overall shopping experience for your customers. As an e-commerce company, you need to master the elements of making a successful e-commerce website and later work upon your plan.
7. Limited period offers
Almost all ecommerce sites nowadays follow the policy of giving limited period offers and big bash discounts etc. A large-scale promotion before the said offer period, and some lucrative offers along with VIP privileges can help.
Improvising the existing privileges too can lure the existing customers into more shopping and hence enhance online retail sales.
8. Transparency in sales
Honesty is the key to success in any field of life. An ecommerce business site is no different. It takes painful long period of time for building up a company’s reputation. The only cue card that vouches for the reputation is transparency in sales and company’s policy.
The more transparent you are the better feed you get in return. So, whatever be the service you provide, keeping hidden policies and hidden charges is a strict no-no.
9. Promise and supply gap
It’s good to aspire for more, for bigger contracts, more sales but aspiration shouldn’t blindfold your capabilities. Continuous offerings to customers, more discounts and bigger promise for retaining them shouldn’t go beyond your limits and you end up giving lower outputs in reality.
This, in long run, hinders your company’s reputation to a considerable extent as well. So, promise only according to your limits and not beyond.
10. Building up a customer community
Humans are social beings by nature. The brand you are selling can actually act as a platform for different customers. Add a community chat room in your site where your customers or the Gold members can login by their credentials and discuss the pros and cons, offer fresh ideas, match and compare their services etc.
This allows for a rigorous service assessment, customer needs, and fresh idea generation for increasing sales and knowing the pulse of the shopper.
11. Enhancing social shares
This is an add-on feature of the preceded one. Your clients are your potential buyers some of whom are even potential giant-scale buyers. To churn the need of buying in them, incentivise your social platforms. You can do that by putting brand ambassadors’ photographs and ask for a competition amongst the clients.
Alluring offers and gifts for the winners will also make it an enticing professional deal. This can act in both retention and outreaching to newer clients. Also, these gifts and competitions can enhance the word-of-mouth publicity as well.
To wrap it up
Retaining customer is as important as reaching new ones. In fact in long term, customer retention plays a pivotal role. So a proper, polite and courteous customer service, a prompt feedback and complaint resolving team, transparent policies and quality performance on-time are few attributes that can retain customers and take your business sky high.