Every brand, however big or small, relies in some way upon loyal customers returning to buy more. But, why would a customer return?
The number 1 rule for building up loyal customers is to make the business focused solely on customers, not solely on making money. Providing a service, product or information which a customer cannot find anywhere else is the key. How does this rule apply to ecommerce?
Within e-commerce there are three main reasons why a consumer wouldn’t buy from the same place/site again, these are:
The product has been found cheaper and the customer is looking for value.
The service (buying, receiving or following the ‘purchase’) wasn’t as expected.
The customer forgets the brand or no longer requires what you offer.
A brand is required to constantly work on all of its ‘brand molecules’. These are the project or key messages of a company, all of which need to support each other. Importantly, each ‘brand molecule’ requires its own campaign if the brand is to be built and customers are be loyal. By understanding what parts of a brand are seen in a positive or negative light, the company can refocus how to build certain areas of the brand and see how to expand upon them.
The number 1 rule for building up loyal customers is to make the business focused solely on customers, not solely on making money.
Here is the brand molecules of O2 – you will recognise all of them, yet know more information on some more than others, this reflects which campaigns you have connected with the most. It almost becomes a pyramid structure of trust, where if a customer doesn’t believe in a brand message/services, then a sale isn’t very likely. Say that I believe that McDonalds (not that it is!) is an unclean place with unfriendly staff, the likelihood of me buying a burger there is slim.
To build your brand’s customer loyalty, follow the guidelines below:
Ensure you work on all your brand molecules – not just what you offer, but how you offer it. Remember, the first impression of your brand is the most important.
Try to offer a service or product that a customer cannot receive anywhere else for either your price or of your quality.
It goes without saying; reward your customers as much as possible with a scheme – allowing them to either build points/rewards for themselves or personalised one off offers for them only.
Listen and change. The customer knows what they want, so if possible (within reason) why shouldn’t you provide that for them? Making a customer feel like they are connected and helping a brand is the fastest way to build that relationship.
Let the customer feel even more connected by story-telling, if they can see the path which led them to you as a brand or how a brand operates then that consumer won’t only remember you but feel part of that story if they buy/enquire.
You can see that brand building and loyalty building in ecommerce is common sense. Even so, it is not easy. It takes vision, clear analysis of customer input and attention to detail. This applies not just to your product or service but how you sell it. It also applies to your website design and how your customers use your site. If your site doesn’t build trust then irrespective of the size and importance of your brand, the visitor will leave your site. Build your trust pyramid with a very firm foundation.