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How Can Retailers Drive Online Customer Loyalty?
As online retail continues to flourish, it is showing no signs of slowing down. We spoke to retail experts for tips and tricks to establish strong customer loyalty online in Australia.
Establishing a connection with the consumer is imperative, and while attracting an audience is important, retaining customers and promoting repeat purchases can be one of the more difficult tasks. We spoke to e-commerce and marketing experts to discuss how retailers can drive loyalty with online shoppers in Australia.
Carolyn Breeze, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, at GoCardless: “In Australia, 70 percent of the population, or 18 million people, count themselves as subscribers, spending an average of $660 per month on recurring goods and services. Naturally, 70 percent of businesses in Australia and New Zealand plan to shift to a subscription model within the next two to three years.
“Since the rise of e-commerce, consumers have been drowning in choice, enabled by accessible online market comparisons. It’s no longer enough to have the lowest price or the best product; consumers want smooth end-to-end shopping experiences at every touchpoint, ensuring everything from Google ads to the checkout is personalised, multimedia-friendly, and seamless.
“Payments, in particular, are crucial to the customer experience, as they are the last touchpoint to make or break conversion.
“Subscription-based business models are a mutually beneficial trust agreement between a company and its customer.
“To consumers, subscriptions feed a desire for usership over ownership. Research by Zuora indicates that 70 percent of people believe subscriptions free them from the burden of ownership, with 57 percent wanting to own less ‘stuff.’ Subscriptions also eliminate lock-in contracts, boosting affordability through regular small or micropayments. For brands, subscriptions lead to earned loyalty through consistent delivery of convenient and personalised consumption-based consumerism.
“No two customers are the same so you need to know the payment preferences of each of your market segments. The modern consumer is brand agnostic: if you’re not offering their preferred way to pay, be it direct debit, BNPL or Bitcoin, they will find a competitor who does.”
Annabel Gray, Founder of Mini Clem: “Strategy: Surprise discounts with a personal touch. We reward our customers by tracking the number of purchases that they make and writing them a personal email thanking them and giving them a discount code for a future purchase.
“The surprise element is really well received by our customers and they enjoy the personal touch. It is particularly valuable for us as an online-only retailer as it helps us to open dialogue with our customers and build relationships with them.”
Natasha Ritz, Co-Founder at ARNAonline: “Reviews: Asking for product reviews and publishing those reviews both positive and negative is a great way to build trust with customers. By also publishing negative reviews and responding to them, customers can see a level of transparency with the brand which can actually drive conversion through trust.
“Email marketing that is personalised and timely, emails continue to be the highest conversion tool for e-commerce retailers. The best way to drive loyalty through email is by offering personalised content, for example, a $5 – $10,00 voucher for someone’s birthday, promotional or event emails based on the specific area a person lives in.”
“Quick response times, chat windows – when shopping online, especially over the holiday season, customer service teams should be readily available and quickly. People want their questions answered and fast so they can get their shopping done.”
“Add value content that keeps people coming back – blog content, video content, how-to’s, interviews and any additional powerful messaging can support why a customer comes back to you. Just listing products is one thing but offering people a view into the behind-the-scenes of the brand and inviting them in to your values, mission and vision offers an opportunity to align their values and connect on a deeper level.”
Calum Cosgrove, Head Of Marketing at OKMG: “Referral codes can reward your customers for being loyal to your brand and your products and this encourages a shared experience and new business.
“Competitions and sweepstakes get customers excited and strategically planning these events so that they have to stay in your ecosystem long term really helps to maintain relationships and create repeat engagement.
“Personalised content and Community groups can help a customer really feel heard and a part of something greater. You don’t necessarily get the chance to do this offline. By listening to customers and giving them MORE of what they want through digital channels is a great move to deliver a better experience to your customer.
“Lastly, help your customers with content. Content marketing focused on educating and supporting your customers who use your products is a great way to keep the conversation going at scale. Help them get more out of your products through on-demand content on social media or youtube and encourage them to share with friends and family.”