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Singapore has one of the most vibrant and competitive e-commerce industries in South East Asia. Building online customer loyalty is the secret recipe that helps businesses (both new and existing) get a firm footing in the country.
A recent study found out that repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. This means that a huge percentage of your monthly or annual revenue is dependent on repeat customers.
Here are actionable tips on how to build online customer retention. We will also look at the various customer retention strategies that you can apply to motivate new customers to come back and purchase more products from you.
How To Build Customer Loyalty: The Guide
Research indicates that it costs five times more to obtain new customers than to retain the existing ones. In addition, 50% of the existing customers are more likely to try a new product and spend 31% more compared to new customers.
The statistics above clearly show the importance of retaining customers whether you are running a small business or a big company. Businesses need to build a loyal customer base to stay afloat and drive the growth of their brand.
Customer loyalty can enable your business to boom in the best economic times and help it survive through tough, challenging economic times. Retaining customers is five times cheaper than recruiting new ones.
As a business owner, consider your customers in everything you do, as they are the reason for your business’s existence. It will help you drive more sales and reap long-term business benefits.
It is incredibly crucial to be guided by your business or companies’ values and commitment to deliver for your customers. Your customers need to earn your trust and business reliability to continue to support your brand over a long period.
What Is Customer Loyalty (And Its Benefits)
In simple terms, customer loyalty is the willingness of your customers to give a company repeat business over time. If your business provides great value in products and services, it will build customer satisfaction which will outweigh other factors such as availability, pricing that impact their buying decisions.
When customers are loyal to a product, service, or brand, they are willing to wait for restocking or spend extra money for it patiently. Hence creating consistent revenue for your business.
Here are major reasons why customer loyalty is beneficial.
- Loyal customers yield higher conversion rates for business. New customers have a 5% – 20% conversion rate while existing customers have an average conversion rate of about 60% – 70%. An indicator that you get more value from loyal customers.
- Repeat customers spend more than incoming customers. Because they already trust your business products or services. The more they get value for their money, the more they are likely to spend more for as long as they are doing business with your brand.
- Customer loyalty boosts profits for your business. A 5% increase in customer retention is more likely to increase business profits by 25% to 95%. The more loyal customer you attain, the better profits for your business.
- Repeat customers regularly shop because they have a positive brand image and satisfactory customer experience. Loyal customers shop more frequently than incoming customers.
- Retaining customers is cheaper than recruiting new customers. Retaining loyal customers is much more cost-effective and brings increased profits at a lower cost. Recruiting new customers is around 5times more expensive than retaining loyal ones.
- Customer loyalty helps you in making better plans for your business. You can make more effective anticipatory decisions with loyal customers and effectively and efficiently plan your financial and marketing efforts.
How To Create a Customer Loyalty Program
One of the most critical aspects for the success of any business is having loyal customers. A strong customer loyalty program boosts user engagement and promotes brand awareness, thus increasing your return on investment. This happens because loyal customers are likely to spend about 67% more on your business than new customers.
Moreover, the cost of attracting a new customer is five times more than the cost of retaining an existing customer. It is also easier to convince existing customers to buy more products from you than new customers.
Below are ten affordable and effective loyalty nurturing tips to consider for your business.
Offer Freebies to Repeat Customers
A freebie refers to a part of a larger marketing campaign in which a firm rewards its clients with various items. These goods can be completely free, or you can charge them a modest fee. The main aim of this approach is to boost sales while also boosting awareness and improving your company’s image.
The freebie strategy is typically applied to complementary goods. For instance, if you want to convince potential consumers to buy your company’s primary product, you can provide complementary accessories. A good example is giving your customers free ink after they’ve purchased a printer.
However, you need to be extra careful when using this strategy since it may not work for every company. This is because most people like free goods, and they may not buy your products, thus wasting your resources.
Freebie Strategy Do’s and Don’ts
If you want your freebie strategy to be successful, consider doing the following.
- Know your specific target audience
- Set proper and achievable objectives
- Ensure it’s a win-win situation for you and your customers
- Offer them for a limited time
Here are some of the things you should avoid in your freebie strategy
- Offering goods that are not useful to the consumers
- Giving out freebie products that are of better quality than the product you want to promote
Benefits of a Freebie Strategy
The following are the main benefits of the freebie strategy.
Encourages your customers to buy more– If you provide your consumers with high-quality freebies, they’ll be curious to see what else you have in store. As a result, there’s a strong possibility they’ll return and buy more.
Increases the degree of trust– Your clients would regard you as trustworthy if you offer them quality and valuable freebies. Gaining customers’ trust is essential since it is a difficult task even for large corporations. Also, once consumers get accustomed to a brand and love it, they will remain loyal since it is also challenging to get a trustworthy brand.
Boosts brand awareness– Your business will gain more recognition if all of your freebies are labeled. Your customers are also likely to tell their family and friends about your brand if you offer quality freebies. As you already know, word of mouth is an effective marketing strategy.
Improves customer relationship– Giving your customers something free encourages them to form good connections with your brand, known as a psychological anchor. Psychological anchor is a positioning marketing strategy that depends on how customers rank your brand in their minds.
Encourages customers to try your other products– Offering free quality products encourages customers to try other products that your company produces. These quality products will help in eliminating any doubts they may be having about your business.
Give Your Customers Discounts
Offering discounts is one of the simple and excellent ways to encourage customer loyalty since discounts help customers save some cash.
Here are the different types of discounts you can offer your customers.
Bundled discount– This is among the best promotional strategies since it focuses more on adding value rather than promoting low retail prices. As a result, it helps you in boosting your sales. Furthermore, it also helps you to sell less popular items.
Prepayment discount– This is an excellent type of discount for B2B businesses. It is also the most popular type of discount in the hotel industry, whereby you get a discount if you pay the full amount during booking.
Volume discount- For this type of discount, the more you buy, the more you get to save. It is a common type of discount for people in the clothing industry, especially those who sell expensive items to encourage people to buy from them
It is also suitable for B2B businesses trying to popularise specific products.
Seasonal discounts– This is a type of discount offered during specific periods like Christmas time.
Free shipping– Shipping fees have always been a matter of concern among many consumers. Sometimes it discourages consumers from buying your products. Therefore, offering them free shipping will encourage them to shop with you.
No matter how long the goods take to reach the customers, they will be willing to wait with free shipping.
Buy one get one free– This type of discount works best for complementary goods. It is the best type of discount if you want to increase cross-selling opportunities.
Offer Your Customers Premium Membership Programs
A premium loyalty program refers to when members pay a monthly fee for immediate access to incentives.
In certain situations, clients are prepared to pay more to conduct business with you if they receive sufficient value in return. Therefore, instead of transactions first and incentives later, consumers enjoy the benefits upfront.
These programs are beneficial to the customers since they enjoy the best of what the brand offers. This is because you can customize their experience bases on the data you collect on their purchasing patterns.
However, these programs are a little bit difficult to implement compared to the simple loyalty reward programs. This is because you have to work extra hard to ensure you provide value to your clients without straining your business financially.
Nevertheless, these programs are effective since they ensure your brand comes first to the consumer’s mind whenever they want to make a purchase. It also helps you earn your ROI faster since the program allows you to attract committed consumers that pay upfront.
Give Gifts for Referrals
For any customer to purchase from your business, they need to trust you. As mentioned earlier, gaining trust from a customer who has never interacted with your business can be a difficult task. Therefore, you can rely on your existing customers to refer other people to your business.
When a person is referred to your business, there is a high chance of them becoming loyal customers.
However, you have to reward them for referring other people to your business. One of the ways of rewarding your customers is by giving them loyalty points that they can redeem to buy goods from you whenever they want. You can also offer them a percentage of your sales that you made through their referrals.
Send Your Customers Promotional Emails
After a customer has shopped with your business, ensure to collect their emails and add them to your email list for email marketing. Email marketing is essential since it will help you create personalized content. It will also help you in collecting feedback that you can use to improve your business.
However, ensure you inform your customer that you collected their email address and that you will be sending emails about your business occasionally. This ensures that you don’t irritate your customers if emails are not their most preferred method of communication. You can also offer them incentives for signing up for your email list.
Here are ways you can use emails to create a successful customer loyalty program.
Data-based emails are the types of emails sent out to customers automatically based on their personal information like their birthdays. If you wish to create a loyalty program through email, ensure you collect important information about your consumers.
Sending emails to your consumers on their birthdays shows you care about them, and they are not just your customers.
Consumers always want to feel that you care about their needs. Therefore, you need to collect information about what they think you should improve on.
One of the ways to get information from your customers is by sending them emails and encouraging them to give you reviews.
Another excellent strategy to build customer loyalty is by involving them in your business as much as possible. It entails going beyond the regular inventory updates and product launches.
Give your consumers a behind-the-scenes peek into your employees, their activities, and any other company news not available to the general public.
Hold Customer Appreciation Events
Making customers feel special and appreciated is the best way to build customer loyalty. One of the ways for making customers feel special and valued is through holding customer appreciation events.
When holding customer appreciation events, ensure they are affordable, meaningful, memorable, and sincere.
Here are some of the ideas to make customer appreciation events successful.
- Give customers a surprise upgrade
- Have a customer appreciation sale
- Provide your customers with a VIP treatment
- Share stories of your customers through your social media platforms
- Make donations to charity organizations that your customers care about
Share About Your Business on social media
There are about 4.2 billion active social media users worldwide. Therefore, social media is one of the excellent ways to tell other people about your business’s existence and building customer loyalty.
Social media is among the fastest and cost-effective marketing strategies.
Here are some of the ways you can use social media to enhance brand loyalty.
Engage With Customers
The foundation of brand loyalty is creating a feeling of community and connection with your customers. With social media, all this has become easier than ever.
Customers will feel more involved in your business if you engage with them by reacting to comments and sharing other people’s posts. You should also answer their questions and show how much you value them.
Prioritize Customer Service
Poor customer service can make you lose customer loyalty. Therefore, if you want to build customer loyalty, concentrate on educating your employees on interacting with customers online. Also, ensure you have established a strong social media policy that fosters strong customer relationships.
Share User-generated Content
Posting user-generated content (UGC) is another approach to increase brand loyalty through social proof. UGC refers to photographs, videos, and other forms of content created by customers while using your company’s products.
Consumers will trust this information since it was generated by other consumers, not by the company.
Be Transparent About Your Values
Customers like it when businesses are open about their values. If your values match theirs, they will be more loyal to your brand.
Ensure you create posts showing causes and charities your company supports so they know what you stand for.
Holding contests is an effective and fun way to boost customer loyalty. This is because, through contests, customers can win gifts.
You need to give everyone a set amount of contest entries depending on how much they have spent on your business or the number of times they visit your store.
Contests are also a great way to boost brand awareness and re-engage with old customers.
To hold an engaging contest, you’ll need to use the data you’ve acquired from your customers’ interactions with your business.
Here are examples of contest marketing campaigns.
- Photo competitions
- Event-based competitions
Say Thank You
Saying thank you to your customers is one of the easiest loyalty programs that most people ignore.
Never make your customers feel that you take them for granted. Therefore, at the end of every purchase, ensure you thank them and do it with sincerity.
Most importantly, train your staff to make your customers feel appreciated, and it should be part of your business culture.
Below are ways in which you can thank your customers.
- Say it with actions
- Use words
- Give them gifts
Be A Loyal Customer Yourself
If you want loyal customers, try being a loyal customer yourself. You can’t expect people to be loyal to your business if you are not one. This is particularly true if several other businesses offer the goods or services you deal with.
However, this strategy cannot work for everyone. Therefore, get to know what businesses your customers run and promote them whenever possible.
Also, if a person wants a good or service that you don’t offer but one of your loyal customers has them, refer them to their business. This will delight, and they’ll continue being loyal to your business, thus benefitting both of you. However, ensure they know it is you who referred them.
Every business requires a strong customer loyalty program to succeed. This is because loyal customers help in boosting sales and increase your return on investments. However, earning customer loyalty is not an easy task. To get loyal customers, consider implementing the tips discussed above.
Ways To Estimate Customer Loyalty
Measuring or estimating your customer loyalty is not all about if they stay or leave. There are various ways to measure your customers’ loyalty. The real measure determines their real intentions through repeat purchases, the frequency of purchases, reasons why they stop making purchases or orders, why they buy, and how satisfactory those transactions are.
Every business approaches and applies a variety of metrics to get answers to the above questions. However, here are a few strategies that you can consider.
Customer Satisfaction Levels
Customer satisfaction has five levels:
- Not satisfied: This means the customer needs are not satisfied.
- Slightly satisfied: Some of the customer needs were satisfied, but not all.
- Satisfied: customer expectations were met.
- Very satisfied: Customer expectations were met with rewards.
- Extremely satisfied: The customer needs were completely met and exceeded.
You can gauge your costumes satisfaction levels from star ratings, online reviews, surveys, and conducting customer interviews.
Churn rate refers to the rate at which subscriptions, products, or services get canceled by customers. The metric is crucial for subscription businesses that have frequently paying customers.
A higher churn rate means many of your customers are canceling or ending their subscriptions which can hurt your business.
While analyzing churn rate, visualize it based on the level of customer satisfaction. Figure out why your customers are pulling out through a survey or a one-one-interview; this will require you to provide incentives to obtain more information.
Repeat Purchase Rate
Also referred to as repeat customer rate, customer retention, or re-order rate. It is the percentage of customers that return to purchase your products or services. The higher this rate is, the better for your business.
This metric provides an outline to build relationships with customers. For instance, you can determine your customers’ purchasing habits and frequency to make better decisions about pushing promotions to a variety of customers.
Customer Lifetime Value
The customer lifetime value (CLV) showcases each customer’s worth based on their interaction with your business over time.
It’s important to remember acquiring new customers costs more than obtaining new ones. Focus on increasing value for your existing business customers as this will assist in boosting your business growth. Your current customer base can enhance your chances of attaining new customers.
A business affiliate is a relationship between a business and other brands or individuals whose goal in their involvement with the business is to earn commissions.
For example, a person or a company affiliate can earn a commission depending on how much traffic they attract when sharing information about business products or services. Your beneficial gain from affiliates should be the determining factor of whether the relationship is worth leveraging.
Here are different methods to consider in affiliate work.
- Exclusive coupons: affiliates can be given coupon codes or discounts absolute to their name or business, which the customers or online followers can use to receive discounts. In return, the affiliate earns money based on how well they use their code.
- Affiliate links: a business link is placed on the affiliate’s page to attract and drive traffic directly to other sites. This strategy is most successful when industries provide have the same target audience and are providing the same products and services.
- Social sharing: online affiliate marketing is very popular across social media platforms. An affiliate can post a brand, a business product, or a service and tag them. Hence, attracting and driving traffic to the business site, an affiliate can commission based on posts interactions.
The Guide: How to Build Customer Loyalty
Improve Your Customers’ Experiences
The customer experience (CX) is how your business interacts and the experiences your customer has with the business throughout the customer journey, from the first contact to subsequent interaction of becoming a loyal customer. It is essential for customer relationship management (CRM) because customers with a positive experience are more likely to become repeat customers.
Companies and businesses that successfully implement a customer experience strategy achieve higher customer satisfaction rates, reduce customer churn and increase revenues. Customers remember how a business treats them. The better they feel about interacting with your business, the more likely they become your loyal customers, and better still, they are likely to recommend your products or service.
A 2021 survey indicated that 86 percent of customers willingly pay extra for excellent customer service. The happier customers are with your brand, the longer you stay with them. So, happy customers remain loyal.
Maintain Your Brand’s Voice and Tone
Your brand’s voice and tone are as important as your brand’s visuals; this helps build trust among your community members. In the absence of all visuals, can your customers recognize your brand? Words set a specific tone and feel for your business brand.
Trust forms the basis for emotional, long-term relationships with your customers. A well-curated voice provides an opportunity to humanize your brand hence building credibility and trustworthiness for every customer interaction. An inconsistent tone and voice kill trust.
A positive language, tone, and visuals go beyond in-store interactions. It is essential to maintain it throughout your company communications to keep your brand strong and customer experience solid. Ensure to use specific language in internal communication to avoid conflict that could confuse potential customers.
Here are three areas that you can easily adjust your business tone and voice.
- Match your social media accounts with your customer’s panel. A customer’s first experience with your brand is most often through social media platforms. For this reason, reflecting the same tone of voice is crucial to enhance consistency across the customer experience.
- Echo the tone of your explainer page in the rewards email. Maintaining consistency even after attaining customers is crucial to keep engaging with them.
- Make referral a priority at every program touchpoint. Referrals are the best way to build relationships with customers and build a community using a constant tone of voice.
Create Convenient Ways of Communicating with Customers
Constantly communicating with your customers without nagging them will keep your brand fresh in their minds. It will also give you more opportunities to pass along important information such as details of new products and pricing. Take time to create a database with their contact information such as mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
Then, use this information to send friendly reminders, newsletters, and even birthday greetings. Your email copy should not always be wired to market your products. Just mentioning your brand once is enough to remind them that your brand still exists and you care about them.
Find Out the Best Communication Platforms for Your Business
Maintaining consistent communication with customers is crucial for your business. It helps them keep remember your brand often and provides an important opportunity to pass on important information. It’s, therefore, paramount to determine the most effective channels to engage them. Let’s explore different channels that you can consider.
You can use mails to target and communicate with your potential customers and business brands which do not have a strong social media presence.
Use social media
Social media channels have become a powerful tool for brands and businesses to communicate with their customers; this could be through direct messages or tags or the use of @ mention to call for attention. Brands that have quick and helpful customer service respond to queries, proving business reliability in the public eyes.
While automated phone calls and technology available for chatting may save money, highly-trained customer service representatives build loyalty. They allow customer service terms to build and connect with customers deeper, improving customer experience with the business. The ease of communication will help in building and maintaining trust and loyalty.
It is a platform that allows businesses to have a chatbot, where customer service employees answer frequently asked questions while directing customers to relevant resources. When your site visitor is stranded and needs help, they can strike a conversation in the chatbox.
Seek Out Your Customers Feedback
Sending out surveys, asking questions, and tracking your customers’ ratings while seeking customer’s views can provide a good platform to identify and determine areas that need improvements. Satisfying your customers’ needs helps them stay loyal.
In most cases, if a customer expresses dissatisfaction with a product or service, and it is fixed right away, they are more likely to expresses a bigger devotion to your brand than a customer who has never been disappointed with your brand because of earned trust.
Reviews and comments on social media platforms provide great platforms to respond to positive and negative customer concerns. Thus, enhancing a positive brand image and showcasing your brand’s ability to interact with all customers and take their concerns seriously to offer them the best services.
In case of negative responses, you can address them in a private platform such as direct messages or emails to better serve the customers’ needs. You can showcase customers’ messages and a follow-up interview or any other form of engagement to obtain most of a positive review for the positive feedback. Also, consider rewarding customers for their positive contributions.
Create A Reward Program
The most effective way to reward your loyal customers is through providing additional perks to the most loyal and dependable customers; this will, in return, help in maintaining a positive brand image. It may vary depending on the most appropriate options for your brand and business. Here are some reward programs that you may consider:
The more a customer spends on every business transaction, the more rewards they accumulate. Hence, boosting customer loyalty and reduces churn rates.
In this type of reward, they earn a point for each customer’s purchase for a product or service; the business can transfer the accumulated points to reward or give a special offer to the customer.
A tiered reward program provides a platform to create different reward levels depending on their customer’s spending habits. The more your customers spend in your business, the more likely they will receive a reward in exchange.
It is possible to include all your customers based on their ability to spend and reward them accordingly.
Exclusive VIP program
Some companies and brands offer VIP programs where customers give a monthly or yearly l fee to obtain special offers or discounts. The program offers special benefits only for customers that are already enrolled.
Incorporate Different Payment Plans
With increased advertising methods and promotion of products and services, consumers are now more particular about where to purchase. Consumers gravitate more towards business experiences that exceed making purchases and include rewards. Combining payments with rewards enhances a stronger customer-brand relationship.
These are five strategies that you can leverage for your business payment and consumption.
- Link with debit: Rewards linked with debit presents a way to fosters consumer participation and generate high sales.
- Make payments and rewards easy for your customers: Simplify your customers’ process to enroll for your program by minimizing requirements. You can provide simple visual cues on mobile apps and encourage a single card swipe to earn, redeem points or rewards, and make payments.
- Make “rewarding” part of your brand experience: When you make rewarding synonymous with your brand. Customers are likely to associate your brand with frequent offers that they can easily refer and recommend to friends. Frequent and regular “Thank you”. “Happy birthday” messages are an important part of brand message culture.
- Merge with your customer’s life: The brand-loyal fans are likely to recommend your brand to friends and share on their social’s platforms. Hence, creating a better way to motivate loyalty and attract new customers hence growing a market share.
Engage Customers on social media
Social media provides a great platform to build relationships with customers. It is crucial to have an active business profile on various social media channels depending on your target audience.
You can interact with your followers by sharing behind-the-scenes information about your products and services and engaging your followers in the comment section. As a result, you build a strong online community that encourages customers to return for more.
Consider the following questions while engaging your audiences: Do your posts resonate with the target audience? Are you solving or providing a solution to a particular challenge? What is the most authentic way to engage with the audience?
Store Customers Data
A business that stores customers’ data always provides better ways to interact with their business. For example, a customer who already has an account that has their payment and shipping can be provided with a one-touch solution for ordering and making purchases instead of re-adding this information every time they make a transaction.
Simplifying transaction processes for your business enhance customer loyalty.
Heavy Reliance on Technology is not advisable
Thanks to advancements in technology, there are many tools and programs that you can use to create robust customer retention strategies and stay in touch with the target audience seamlessly. Nonetheless, online customers still yearn for a personal connection with brands.
The frustration of been bombarded with automated prompts when shopping at a Singapore online store is nerve-wracking. Some of the businesses have also gone the extra mile to generate automated responses to queries. Unknown to them is that such flaws chase away customers.
The point we are trying to put across is that as you work on building online customer loyalty, stop relying too much on technology to connect with customers and resolve issues that come up. Automated systems may help you save money, but trained customer service personnel who are always available will help enhance customer loyalty and retention rate.
Know Your Customer (And Let Them Know you)
Learning your customer’s names, stories, and buying habits will help you cultivate customer loyalty. Treating each customer as an individual will go a long way in building trust and a long-lasting relationship. For example, you can send personalized birthday messages with a special deal.
To build your customer’s brand, consider sharing information about you and your brand as well. You could keep them updated on any business news updates and remember to be authentic; this way, your customers see the humanity in your brand, making them more comfortable transacting business with you.
Play To Your Brands Business Strengths and Values
To better frame your brand, answer the following questions.
- What does your business do best?
- What are your unique offerings?
- What do you value most?
To connect and relate with your customers, you have to stay genuine and authentic to your brand and focus on offering solutions in the best way possible. Be consistent and constant in your market. That way, customers will rely on you to deliver. Stay loyal to your business and as you would like customers to be.
Give Customers Reasons to Be Loyal
Brands that entice their customers or followers by offering product or service reveals, sales and exclusive launches events are always successful in building a successful brand. Viewing customer experience beyond customers using your products but based on how they perceive and feel while interacting with your brand or business plays an important part.
Take time to reflect, identify and find ways to handle your potential customers by making their experience worth it. Make their experience of interacting with your business memorable.
Strive to Provide Exceptional Customer Service
One of the things that piss of customers not only here in Singapore but also in other parts of the world is poor customer service. A study conducted in 2014 revealed that 51% of online customers decide to terminate their relationship with online businesses due to poor customer service.
They need to know that you do not just want to make money but also care about their needs and feelings. Apart from making sure that your products and services are top-notch, make sure that you address their needs in a professional and timely way.
Rest assured that, if you treat them badly, they will not hesitate to share their experience with other potential customers. Remember word of mouth can either build or ruin the reputation you have worked so hard to build over the years.
The above actionable tips on how to building online customer loyalty in Singapore will help your brand get an upper hand in the market. You can combine some or all of them with your existing customer retention strategies to get even better results.
Get in touch with us for more details about how to enhance customer loyalty online as well as customized digital marketing strategies in Singapore.