Customer retention is a big deal in business today. It is a strangely overlooked aspect of customer relations that cost a lot of companies millions of dollars every year. Research shows that it costs more to get new customers than to keep existing customers. To many businesses, acquiring new customers is more important than improving customer loyalty. It seems the fact that a customer can go away never occurs to us.
Some companies think the opposite. Look at a company like Amazon, for instance. Keeping their customers happy is a priority for them. Their strategy proves that happy customers can bring you more customers. So why can companies like Amazon keep their customers happy and loyal, and how do they do it?
Amazon has always been a giant in the online marketing industry. They pioneered buying and selling a variety of products online and shipping them to your doorstep. Yet, they wanted to take it a step further. They did their research and found out that customers like fast deliveries. Buying from the mall was quicker than buying online. So Amazon created Amazon Prime.
This feature is accessible via a subscription. Pay a small fee every year, and you get same day or two-day free shipping depending on where you are located. For free, no matter how much your order total or where you live. Subscribing to Amazon Prime made same-day deliveries possible, and quick. Everyday products that customers got at their local malls became available through big sellers on Amazon.
And Amazon loses billions of dollars annually because of Amazon Prime. Free delivery has to cost someone, and it isn’t the customers. If Amazon Prime is so expensive for the company, why do they still do it? Because it has allowed them to retain a great number of customers.
As customer loyalty increased, Amazon got increased sales. Though they lost out on free shipping, they gained in customer sales. Amazon even added features to Amazon Prime, including Prime Instant Video and Prime Pantry. These features have increased the value of Amazon Prime to its customers, and sales are still very high.
There is another cool thing that Amazon does. They give customers a 30-day trial of Amazon Prime before they subscribe. This way, people get to use the feature and decide whether they want to continue to subscribe. Amazon Prime has millions of members, both in the United States and internationally. That just goes to show what a great customer retention strategy can do for your business.
Take A Page Out Of Amazon’s Book. What Can You Do To Create The Best Customer Experience For Your Customers?
It’s The Little Things
Abandoned Cart Emails
Email marketing is one way to improve your customer engagement. With personalized emails, you add value for your customers. Because these emails are personalized, they fulfil their purpose better than one-size-fits-all emails. Customers are more likely carry out whatever action you need them to.
Personalized emails reminding customers of their abandoned carts a great to improve customer retention. Abandoned carts are a problem for every e-commerce website. It is important for you to encourage your customers to buy items in those abandoned carts.
If a customer has abandoned items in a cart, you can send them an email about it. The email has to have a friendly and personal tone. It is meant to remind the customer that they have left something in their cart. You can give them several options on what to do about it. You can also find out why they left items in their cart, and see if it is something you need to improve on.
Customer Feedback And Review Emails with Suggestive CTAs
Getting customer feedback and reviews is not a new thing. What is new is the way that Amazon makes use of it. Getting feedback from their customers is a priority. That should be the same for you. After a sale, you can send an email asking for their thoughts on the product they purchased. A simple review system allowing customers to rate your product and service. More positive reviews for a product result in more customers buying that product.
The reason feedback is important for customer retention is because your customers feel their opinions are important. When they see you put their suggestions to good use, you have them for life.
Coupons and Discounts/Promotional Offers
There’s not much that can go wrong with free stuff. You’ll always get your customers’ attention. Promotional offers entice new customers to visit your website and loyal customers benefit from offers as well.
Everyone loves a good deal.
Offering coupons and discounts is a great way to keep your customers loyal. You must’ve seen a rise in Black Friday promotional deals emails from many e-commerce sites. You should send out yours too. Customers should know that they could save money on products on Black Friday. Capitalize on events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Valentine’s day, Easter, Christmas and New Year. You can also give discounts when your customers buy a certain number of products. You can give them discounts for buying a particular product.
Reward programs, such as giving them coupons or discounts for referring customers, is always a win. Big or small, many e-commerce stores are taking advantage of this. Why shouldn’t you?
It’s The Little Things
There is a host of things that customers want businesses to offer them. Businesses, on the other hand, don’t seem to know this. As an online business, you need to anticipate your customers’ needs. Make provision before they even realize that they have that need. Always strive to impress them and exceed their expectations. Don’t just assume that you have a lot of products and a lot of customers, so you are fine.
Happy, loyal customers should be your main goal. There are some little details that you can take care of that will ensure you reach this goal. Amazon has seen these ‘little things’ and has capitalized on them. This has given them the large customer base they currently have. It has also ensured that their customers will always be loyal to them.
There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.
– Jeff Bezos
These Little Details Include –
Free Shipping –
Many customers do not like online shopping because of one small thing – high shipping costs. They probably went to a mall and saw that product there, but it was way above their budget. So they visit your online store. They see that they can get it cheaper, or at a discount. What’s more, there is a free product tossed in for good measure! Full of excitement, they proceed to the checkout page and see the cost of shipping. The total cost now is higher than the price of that same product at the mall. Free shipping is a gold mine if you really want to retain customers. You don’t need to go all out like Amazon – offer free shipping on certain items that sell very well. Or you can use free shipping instead of discounts on products during the period you’re running promotional offers.
Free Returns –
It is usually tricky to return purchases that are wrong for some reason. The dress could be the wrong size, or the shoes the wrong colour, or something. It is more difficult to make returns to an online store as compared to a brick and mortar store. Your potential customers might hesitate – so you make them feel comfortable. Make it easy for them to read your refund policy and offer free returns on products that they want to return. You can even offer a money-back guarantee to build trust. So they can return the product and get their money back if they don’t want another product. However, you should be careful. Some people might want to take advantage of your money-back policy. If you are doing that, make it a limited-period offer. But on a general note, make product returns free and the process easy. Your customers will love you for it.
Fast Two-Day Shipping –
Customers do not like waiting a week for their orders to arrive. It makes them antsy. They would rather go to the mall down the street, even if the prices were higher. Amazon Prime provides its members with two-day shipping, no matter where they are. This is something that totally exceeds customers’ expectations, and that is why it works so well. You can offer same-day delivery to your local customers. Fast delivery is labour and capital intensive. It is worth it if it allows you to retain happy customers.
Wide Range of Products –
Amazon has a wide range of products. What they don’t have, they have affiliated with third-parties to provide. Literally, anything you want can be purchased from Amazon. Why would its customers want to shop anywhere else? A wide range of products gives your customers variety and more options to choose from. It will also make your customers keep coming back because you have all that they could possibly need. It is very convenient, and they don’t even have to leave their homes or offices to go shopping.
Easy Checkout –
Checking out shouldn’t be a lengthy process. Customers truly appreciate what Amazon has done. Amazon’s checkout process is simply a one-click thing. You don’t have to enter your PayPal or credit card information whenever you make a purchase.
Mobile Optimization –
Your e-commerce site should be accessible on mobile phones. Not everyone has the time to boot up their laptops just to get onto your website. Optimizing your site for mobiles earns you even more customers. This will give an edge over companies that haven’t optimized their sites for mobile. Plus, customer satisfaction and retention is guaranteed.
Amazon’s marketing model is based on customer-centricity. The company is committed to keeping its customers satisfied and improving loyalty. This should be a challenge to you, as well as a huge motivation. Just as Amazon has done, you should make efforts to improve your customer-retention strategy. Give your customers the best customer experience they will ever have. As far as e-commerce is concerned, you will stay ahead of the competition. You will exceed your customers’ expectations. Look at what Amazon has done, and implement those ideas into your plans for customer retention. These ideas will improve customer loyalty, keep them coming for more, and bring you even more customers.