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Ecommerce: building customer loyalty

Written by Andy McGowan: Digital marketing executive.
· 4 minute read

Traditionally, ecommerce websites were about driving the most amount of customers (relevant or irrelevant) towards your site and flashing large sales and huge product ranges in front of them with the hope that you would nab a few sales. This is still quite common in the fitness market with supplement-giants like MyProtein, GoNutrition and Protein Works all battling it out to create the best possible discount at the best possible time to the most amount of semi-relevant customers. This probably still works for them but overall, the ecommerce market and how it gains customers has changed dramatically in the last 2 to 3 years with brands putting more of a focus into customer loyalty and then rewarding said loyalty.

Loyalty is the golden nugget of ecommerce marketing. If you can gain loyalty from a customer, especially in a congested market space, then you’re on to a winner. Name any market sector and you can almost guarantee the market will be congested and highly competitive so the importance of loyalty is the most prominent it’s ever been.

As a digital agency who works with multiple and highly competitive ecommerce companies, we’re always looking for the newest and most creative marketing idea to increase customer retention. Below are some of our observations from working in this space.

Quality over quantity

Pumping out large amounts of adverts and a high media spend works for a lot of brands but isn’t always necessarily the best option if making a sustainable ROI and profit margins are important to you as a business. A good idea with a good creative and targeting method will always perform well and generate a high amount of engagement. Video can be key in this but an offer users simply can’t turn down can also work.

This is not to say you have to offer a 70% discount across all your products but the offering of a freebie or a spend X get X discount can be really effective here. A compelling, sustainable offer alongside a really good creative idea is a match made in marketing heaven. Graze.com have always done a good job of this, offering free or ‘taster’ boxes to new customers with the hope of getting them subscribed on a long term basis.

Quality adverts and offerings are a better way of increasing customer loyalty than spamming your users with intense, urgency-driven discounts with a poor creative.

image captured from graze.com

 

Audience segmentation

WooCommerce, Mailchimp, Firetext and multiple other marketing/customer platforms now offer powerful audience segmentation tools that allow you to categorise customers based on their order and then market to them accordingly.

This is good for two reasons: 1. you’re not annoying your entire customer base by showing them irrelevant marketing messages from products they don’t care about or have never purchased. And 2. Keeping your audience segments separate allows you to be far more creative and specific with your marketing messages as opposed to just throwing every customer the same advert.

For example, if your website sells a wide range of trainers including casual, sports and designer trainers, users who use your website to purchase a pair of men’s running shoes may not care about a trendy pair of casual women’s trainers and therefore are less likely to convert – wasting your media spend and time. Take advantage of the tools your ecommerce and marketing platforms offer to you as this could be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a lack lustre one. Companies like Amazon and Groupon are experts at this and are constantly looking for new ways to make sure their campaigns are relevant to their audiences.

Not seeming ‘spammy’ in your marketing approach can help increase the chances of gaining some kind of loyalty from your customers.

 

Remarket & reward

Not a million miles away from audience segmentation but having a clear list of new and returning customers can be important for most ecommerce websites. Having a ‘loyal’ customer email, SMS and remarketing list gives you the opportunity to reward customers for continuing to order business from you but also gives them an incentive to keep ordering your products going forward.

Rewards can be something as simple as a free box with your next order, a 10% off your next order, a points scheme (like Tesco Clubcard) or a even ‘Thank you for sticking with us” email can go a long way. Users don’t like change and they genuinely like it when they find a company that meets their needs but also creates a degree of trust between the supplier and the customer. Customer trust is a hard thing to earn and rewards can be a good way to earn it.

 

It’s not all about sales

Don’t get caught up solely running sales driven adverts which push nothing but products and offerings that run alongside them. Creating an awareness of your brand is a huge part of expanding your customer base but also ensuring your returning customers know you’re still there.

A brand awareness campaign can be something that runs continuously across social. It’s something we always encourage our clients to do – allocate a small, monthly budget towards a couple of adverts that shout about the brand as opposed to sales and run them consistently throughout the month monitoring which brand voice/imagery/creative is most effective with which audience.

Show people a brand that they might actually like. As opposed to a brand that people are forced to like.

 

Run2 are experts in ecommerce marketing having worked with multiple clients across a wide variety of sectors. If you’re looking for advice on your ecommerce digital marketing, get in touch with us.