A Customer Is for Life, Not Just for Christmas

by Matt / Posted

customer-loyalty

Five Ways to Build Lifetime Customer Loyalty

It’s nearing that time of year again and your inbox is no doubt filling up with advice on getting your store ready for the Black Friday and Christmas rushes.

But sprucing up your store to maximise seasonal sales is only half the picture. You want to entice your Christmas shopper back for more – again and again. Increasing customer loyalty means less time and money spent getting your products out there, and less reliance on the year’s busiest periods to meet your sales targets.

Here are our top five ways to convert your casual shoppers into regulars. In the coming months, we’ll be writing in more detail about some of these strategies to help you engage with your customers and do more business with them, more often.

1. Segment customer data

marketing-color-wheel

Create email lists based on customer buying behaviour profiles: for example demographic, frequency of purchase, average spend, products purchased, passive vs active customers.

Use Mailchimp or a similar service to enable you to send targeted emails.

There are many tools available to help you segment, for example Retention Grid and Nosto. Alternatively, the Shopify reporting dashboard can be configured to help you understand this data.

Target customers with personalised recommendations, discount codes and thank yous.

Use your segmented lists to send customers emails with relevant and valuable content, for example:

  • Customers with high intent (likely to purchase): send product-focused communications (specific products and ranges)
  • Customers with medium intent (need some persuasion): send product and brand-focused communications (product ranges, latest blog posts, social channels or competitions)
  • Customers with low intent (passive customers, need re-engaging): send brand-focused communications (competitions, blog posts, social channels)

All of this work means you’re targeting the right people at the right time, about the right things. The end result? You’re more likely to be communicating relevant and valuable information, which in turn will keep people coming back for more, all of which directly impacts on the level of your customer loyalty.

Check out this case study for more great insights into the power of email segmentation.

2. Curate a newsletter or blog that your customers will want to read (for a great example…well, look no further 🙂 )

blog

In any industry, as a store owner you have huge potential to be a thought-leader. If people are browsing your website and actively engaging, they respect you as a source of information in the areas they are most passionate about.

With great power comes great responsibility: this is your opportunity to provide engaging, original and exciting content to an avid readership. Simply using this to hard-sell your products will turn your readers off and add your newsletter to growing piles of spam and junk mail. If you stuff your newsletters full of genuinely valuable content, industry news, thought-leadership, humour and insight, they will soon be looking forward to it dropping into their inbox. Get excited about your industry: what’s new; what’s upcoming; why is it great? Sales will follow naturally!

3. Make use of a customer loyalty scheme

The benefits of a loyalty scheme cannot be understated – they don’t only encourage customers to repeat-buy (although that is an excellent reason to use one). Here are just some of the other key ways you can use a loyalty scheme to engage your customers, and the benefits to your business:

  • Reward customers for making referrals – what easier way is there to acquire new customers than to have your existing ones bring them to you?
  • Reward customers who leave product reviews: 61% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision. They help build trust and drive sales – and if you’re worried about negative reviews, even they can be helpful when dealt with in the right way.
  • Spread the word: get some free advertising by rewarding customers who share your details on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Increase spend: if you grade rewards (for example, extra points are earned if a customer exceeds a certain spend threshold) you can increase overall customer spend while making them happy to boot!
  • Win-back ex-customers: the success rate in approaching ex-customers can be up to four times higher than prospecting for brand new ones. Tempt them back to you with an attractive loyalty scheme!

Sweet Tooth is a great example of a rewards package that ticks all the right boxes and allows you to configure your own loyalty scheme.

It’s absolutely key to make your loyalty scheme effective – you need to give people a reason to sign up, subtly remind them it’s there and constantly connect them to it: tie it in throughout the purchase process and make it fun! We’ll be covering the best ways to implement loyalty schemes in an upcoming blog piece so keep your eyes peeled!

4. Build an active community in real life (i.e. not just in cyberspace)

meetup

These days, we’re so used to interacting on the internet that we forget the power of ‘IRL’ (in real life) relationships. While the power of connecting people online has changed our entire world forever, it’s worth remembering that people do business with people they like. Meeting customers, and potential customers, can have a huge impact on their buy-in to your brand, and their loyalty to you.

We followed our own advice earlier this year and organised our first meetup for online store owners and people looking to take their first steps into the world of e-commerce. It was a huge success and a perfect opportunity for people to network, gain insights and exchange ideas about the industry – in person. Temporary pop-up stores and networking events are great way to engage with people and build customer loyalty.

5. Involve customers in your business decisions

A basic tenet of human nature is that if you involve people in the decision-making process they will feel more engaged and supportive of the process. Carry this over to your customers: give them a hand in your brand and they’ll want to be an active part of it!

More insights, perspectives and problem solving is all provided free of charge if done correctly – be careful, however, not to have too many cooks spoil the broth and make sure you retain control of the process!

If customers feel that they’re involved with your business decisions (by having the opportunity to comment on and steer potential new products or services etc.) they’ll feel like a stakeholder and will be more engaged with your products and services. Instant customer loyalty – plus their insights can help improve your products, so everyone wins.

And finally, remember:

  • Measure, Learn Fast, Iterate
  • Customers may move between different segments over time, based on their buying behaviour.
  • Data will drive insights from previous activity and inform future activity.
  • Not everything you do will work as well each time, but you can learn, refine and iterate accordingly
  • You need to ensure that your data is refreshed periodically in order to deliver relevant and timely communication. Relevance is key over volume.

So there you have it – five great ways to engage with your client base and increase customer loyalty – not just at Christmas, or throughout the year, but for a lifetime!

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