Did you know that according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase? What’s even more surprising (or perhaps alarming) is that it costs 6 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one!
It’s Business Appreciation Month, but life for eCommerce businesses continues to revolve around the needs and demands of today’s evolving shoppers. If you’re looking for new and creative ways to express your appreciation and gratitude toward your loyal shoppers, check out the following tactics that’ll help improve your brand’s reputation and customer relationships.
1. Hand-Written Letter
A small, personal gesture like a hand-written letter can go a long way toward securing a customer’s life-long loyalty. A great thank you note should be personalized with the customer’s name as well as a tailored message that references their purchase.
Instead of writing on the back of a business card, opt for subtly branded stationary or a plain ol' sheet of paper. You don’t want your message to be interpreted as promotional in context or appearance. Remember, your aim isn’t to upsell or cross-sell – but rather to offer your genuine thanks for shopping at your store.
2. An Unexpected Gift
Few things instill an explosive sense of wonder and excitement like receiving an unexpected gift. A memorable moment for people of all ages, gifts are a tried-and-true tactic for eliciting smiles and spreading joy.
Treat your customers to a little something special by including a freebie or small gift with their purchase. Wrapped or unwrapped, it’s a safe bet your customers will have a fonder impression of your brand knowing their happiness is on your mind.
3. Create a Loyalty Program
Give your customers an incentive to return to your store in the future with a Loyalty Program. If customers love your products, odds are they’ll want to return for more. Implementing a Reward Points Program is a great way to not only encourage loyalty – it’s also an excellent tactic for gaining an edge over your competitors too. Shoppers have an unlimited number of options when it comes to online shopping – why not improve your odds of attracting repeat business with a mutually beneficial program?
4. Run a Contest
Everyone loves the suspense of a great contest, even when our odds are slim to none. Contests are not only a smart tactic for building a mailing list, they also make for great promotional fuel, capable of encouraging and delivering invaluable customer engagement.
Ideally, your contest should offer an appealing reward and require a simple entry process, whether in the form of email entry, posting in the comment section of a blog post, or sharing/tweeting your contest via a customer’s social network(s).
5. Offer Free Shipping
High shipping costs is the leading factor behind cart abandonment. More and more businesses are choosing to offer free shipping, with those opting to charge (either via real-time or flat rates) suffering unavoidable blowback.
To meet the demands of today’s shoppers and garner their respect, free shipping is a must. Whether your aim is to offer free shipping for a promotional event, as a reward for certain actions, or as an everyday perk, your customers are sure to appreciate any opportunity that’ll benefit their wallets.
6. Encourage Feedback
Show customers you value their opinion by encouraging feedback, either via a form included in an email (newsletter/order confirmation email, etc.) or a simple survey. Shoppers are eager to shop at stores that offer good prices and a memorable shopping experience, something you can only improve upon with the accumulation of invaluable feedback. Best of all, your customers will appreciate that you’re taking their words to heart.
7. Engage Socially
Whether you’re a natural social butterfly or more of an introvert, it’s important that your business maintains a strong social media presence. Frequent engagement with shoppers via Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms will help you stay connected with customer needs and concerns, and allow you to update customers of important news and exciting promotions.
Building strong relationships is key to succeeding in eCommerce, and choosing the preferred channel of today’s shopper is an excellent way to show your brand isn’t falling behind on consumer trends.
8. Send Personalized Emails
Is a customer’s birthday coming up? Surprise them with a special, personalized email celebrating the big event. Include a promotional offer like free shipping or $10 off their next order. Rewarding your customers unexpectedly is a tremendously powerful marketing tactic that’ll help you retain your existing customers. Everyone loves to be pampered, and in eCommerce, it pays to spoil your customers.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Go the extra mile and express your appreciation in any way you can. Investing a little time and money into their happiness will earn you a lifetime of loyalty that’ll pave the way to your business’s success.
Stay tuned! We’ll be featuring additional helpful articles in celebration of Business Appreciation Month.