Any business wants to acquire new customers, but in doing so they often lose sight of their existing ones This is a mistake; repeat customers spend 67 percent more than new ones, they’re also more likely to be cross- and up-sold products, especially from promotions.
So how do you retain more of your customer base? One effective strategy is to establish a loyalty program. Doing so will improve the customer experience you offer, and usually, lead to increased revenue. Here are five ways to build customer loyalty programs for your e-commerce brand.
Points are the most straightforward loyalty program you can institute. Offer customers a ‘$1 for every XX spent,’ or encourage customers to spend more by giving points only for orders over a certain amount. Consider how a cosmetics brand could sell makeup with this strategy. Maybe the data says that customers spend around $20 per purchase. A rewards program that gives points for orders over $35 makes customers have to consciously choose between losing the points or adding to their order total. Many will choose the latter, and just like that, an average order value can skyrocket.
Not every customer base wants cash-back rewards. Depending on the company and brand, the customer base may be more interested in an outcome. What are your company values? How do they align with customer values? What do your customers care about? What would be an outcome they’re happy with? A women’s clothing store might donate some of the proceeds from a customer’s purchase to an organization that helps former trafficking victims. A pet accessories store might do the same for an animal shelter.
Being involved in a cause that your base is engaged with allows you to attract more customers and turn them into brand loyalists.
Tiered systems are especially useful for companies that sell relatively expensive things that are needed regularly, like flights or lodging for a business person. The idea is to motivate customers over the long-term by creating tiers that aren’t too easy or too hard to reach. You want each level to take time and require adequate spending, but not so much that customers feel the reward is out of their reach and stop trying to attain the next tier level.
Offer a limited product selection? Can’t identify a central cause that unites your customer base? Is your product use case not frequent enough to warrant a value-based system? In these scenarios, you can offer rewards that have nothing to do with your brand at all. By creating a coalition of brands that align with your target buyer, you can give your loyal customers more options to redeem their rewards. And if a partner brand does the same for your store, you’ve just heightened your brand awareness as well.
Many loyalty programs are designed for the moment the customer can use their rewards; there’s little to no element to the process in between. This is the opposite of a gamification strategy. Think McDonald’s and their Monopoly sweepstakes or Starbucks’ rewards program that gives customers stars (that resemble cups) every time they purchase a product.
In a digital marketplace crowded with competition, the only reliable way for a business to achieve growth is by developing a robust, loyal customer base. Loyalty programs help make that happen.
Or Take a Hybrid Approach
When brainstorming the different ways to build your customer loyalty program, remember that there’s nothing wrong with using a combination of strategies. In fact, many of these methods will work better when mixed. After all, we’re in an age where the customer experience reigns supreme. A hybrid approach could just mean a more tailored, personalized offering for customers to enjoy.
At the same time, it’s important to realize that not every brand will benefit from a loyalty program. If a niche is so unique and/or a product/service fills a gap in the market so perfectly, there might not be any need to encourage repeat business because customers will become loyal on their own without any additional prodding.