Brand loyalty suffered during 2020. That’s why customer retention will be crucial in 2021.
“At the onset of the pandemic, overall retail sales were down,” according to the email marketing platform Klaviyo’s director of performance, Joe McCarthy. “But then a major shift occurred, and it was by far the largest move toward ecommerce that we have ever seen.
“In 2020 we saw multiple years of ecommerce growth….And when we look at , the big question is, ‘Will this shift to ecommerce last?’ From our perspective, we definitely think it will. For smaller brands [the growth in ecommerce] is a major opportunity.”
Taking advantage of this opportunity will greatly depend on encouraging one-time customers to come back and buy again. Here are some ideal strategies to make that happen.
1. Create a community
Building communities around a business or a lifestyle is a trend for ecommerce companies. The idea is to create a Facebook group or, perhaps, a Mighty Networks community where customers can interact with your business and with each other.
Invite all of your shoppers to join the community and treat it like social media marketing, content marketing, and customer service.
2. Provide subscriptions
Offering subscriptions is a much sought after payment model that most brands want yet struggle to enact. Subscriptions provide many benefits, like improving the rate of customer retention. Added to this is easier inventory management, as subscriptions provide predictability in an era of supply chain pressure.
The beginning of 2021, keep in mind the additional benefits of providing subscriptions. If you sell toothbrushes, make it possible for people to schedule monthly deliveries. If you sell coffee, offer subscription plans for caffeine lovers.
3. More content
When it comes to customer retention, “Content marketing plays a huge role,” said McCarthy. “When you think about the emails you receive from any brand, it is one thing to receive a note on a particular product, but you can only send a consumer a product email so many times. They really want to see other things that are going on with your brand.”
Many brands are experiencing that their best performing email messages are not product emails but content emails. Provide the ability for customers to peer into your brand by creating, publishing, and promoting articles, videos, and podcasts to engage and retain customers. Share stories of what your brand is doing, how you’re helping, etc.
4. Give good service
If you offer a good enough customer service, then it takes on marketing functionality. Whether that’s dedicating a team completely to answering Instagram and Facebook messages, chats, texts, and calls.
Putting customers first also means building the prestige of your brands and a greater base for brand loyalty.
Consumers want and increasingly expect digital shopping journeys to be personalized. Developing strategies to tailor such experiences are an important part of any organization that has an online presence.
“A relationship is made by continually building on the small insights that you gather from a customer each time that you interact with them,” according to McCarthy. “So what did they purchase? What preferences did they display in their behavior — purchasing and browsing?”
Underpinning good personalization practices is for a brand to know about their customers, to understand their wants and needs and their shopping habits. Some ecommerce platforms enable brands and retailers to collect valuable insight to build broad customer pictures – such as the heavyweight champion among big-volume brands, Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
6. Bring onboard the customer
In order to retain customers, brands can encourage customers to create an account, download the app, follow them on social media platforms, and subscribe to a brand’s website or marketing channels. In order words, onboard customers.
These onboarding strategies can be automated by a brand, which can be triggered by certain instances. For example, a customer who bought from your site in June of 2020 yet hasn’t returned. You can encourage them by sending a personalized message and perhaps even a small discount on their next order, telling them how you appreciate their support during a difficult moment.
7. The RFM Model
Perhaps one of the most potent marketing forces when it comes to marketing automation is the RFM model, which is the Recency, Frequency, and Monetary value model.
Each customer is given a score of between 1 to 10 when it comes to how recent they bought something, how often they buy something, and the value of their purchases. Using this automated model provides valuable insight into how to market to segments of your customers, giving clear and concise data to tailor relevant marketing campaigns and helping to retain customers.