How to build a loyal customer base

How to build a loyal customer database

We can all be quite predictable in our shopping habits, can’t we? We stick to the brands we know and love. That’s why it’s so essential to build a loyal customer base if you’re looking to grow your ecommerce business; customer retention keeps your bottom line healthy, and it’s cheaper than acquisition. 

According to Shopify, the ecommerce marketplace, customer acquisition costs are soaring; both paid search and paid social ad spending are up by around a quarter. So most online businesses are focussing their ecommerce strategies on keeping existing customers loyal to them.  

How, though, do you build that all-important loyalty in the first place? Here’s four main ways to build a loyal customer base:

  • Under promise but always over-deliver 
  • Make it easy for your customers to reach out
  • Stay in touch 
  • Give them plenty of incentives

1. Setting the right expectations

It’s always tempting, of course, to promise the world with an ambitious customer service strategy. But setting realistic expectations, then surprising customers when you over-deliver, can be much more effective in creating lifelong customer loyalty. It shows them you’re making a consistent effort to go above and beyond for them. 

You’ve probably seen how customer service teams often promise a response within 24 hours. Then they come back to you in just 90 minutes later, and that feels good; it shows you they care. So try to over-deliver on your own promises, and if, for any reason, it doesn’t go as planned, you’re not letting anyone down; the customer knows what to expect. 

2. Be there when customers need you

Always being on hand for a customer is a really important part of their experience on your site. They should feel like they’re in your high street store with you – like they can ask questions, interact with your products and feel confident in their purchase. 

That’s where live chat comes in. You can use it to answer customers’ questions, ask some yourself (like finding out what they’re looking for, so you can show them relevant products), and offer recommendations within the chat.

3. Stay in touch

Customer experience doesn’t end when someone makes a purchase. It’s a good idea to follow up by email with some messaging and content that’s personalised to them, based on what they’ve bought. 

Zest_email_Order Confirmation Email Offer with PureClarity

Perhaps they ordered a PlayStation last week – so you could send them a round-up of the top games out this month (with, of course, some links to where they can buy them on your site).

Or maybe you sell pet supplies, and they’ve bought some dog shampoo; now’s a great time to send them a helpful blog post or article about grooming, nudging them back to the dog brushes you sell too. 

In this example, for instance, Zest have emailed a customer a copy of their order confirmation. They have spiced up their email with a dynamic banner and product recommenders based on Hannah’s recent purchase. Not only do the product recommenders persuade Hannah to revisit their site, the discount advertised in the banner is even more of an incentive for Hannah to become a repeat buyer.

Intelligent ecommerce personalisation software, like PureClarity’s, lets you automate the whole process. The AI can keep track of how each and every individual behaves on your site then send them the content that’s right for them, making for a completely personalised customer experience. 

4. Tempt customers back

This is where incentives come in. Customers often need only the smallest reason to choose your ecommerce site over your competitors’, and freebies are a sure-fire way to win their loyalty.

At least two thirds of customers say, for example, that giving them free delivery makes them more likely to complete a purchase. More than a quarter, meanwhile, will abandon their basket if they discover an unexpected delivery cost. So make it worth their while to come back again! 

You could also give them a more personalised incentive, like an offer on items they’ve been browsing or a discount on their birthday, using an intelligent ecommerce tool to build your customer loyalty.

PetPlay A/B Content Campaigns

PetPlay used this enriched banner campaign to persuade a certain customer group (done through segementation) to purchase one of their ‘stylish, 100% washable and eco-friendly lounge beds’. This is done by offering a 10% discount code when purchasing this product.

And it seems to be working, since implementing PureClarity’s ecommerce personalisation software, PetPlay have increased their average order value (AOV) by 13.7% – the proof is in the pudding.

Build a loyal customer base with PureClarity

PureClarity’s intelligent ecommerce personalisation software, powered by machine learning, helps businesses large and small to be as good at personalisation as Amazon. With careful use of live chat, personalised email campaigns and incentives tailored to each individual – and much more besides – we can help your business grow.

Get in touch for a discovery call to see how >