Customers have the power to determine the success of any business. Whether they're looking for a quick deal, like buying a knife or spoon, or something more serious, like looking for a wedding planner to help you organize your wedding. The market is full of options from which people can choose.
Unfortunately, with such intensive competition dominant in almost every sphere, it is impossible to guarantee that people will choose your business. And, perhaps more importantly, it is not known whether they will return to you. The main thing here is to provide your customers with a great experience that they won't forget in the near future. And even better if they will share this with their friends and family.
While good marketing can bring attention to your business, building strong customer relationships helps a business survive and succeed in a competitive market. Implementing various eCommerce strategies can increase customer loyalty and retention which will increase your revenue.
Customer loyalty and its importance
Customer loyalty comes about when you earn customer trust by encouraging them to make repeat purchases from your business. You win customer loyalty when they recognize your business as a reliable source for the product or service they need.
With the growth of your customers' loyalty, they begin to prioritize your business over any possible advantage your competitors can offer. In addition, to acquire a new customer five times more expensive than to retain an existing one, loyal customers are critical because they:
- Attract word-of-mouth customers to your business;
- Less influenced by your competitors;
- Always ready to try your business’ new products;
- Bring stable income to your business.
In e-commerce, your shipping strategy is a method to increase customer loyalty and improve retention.
Every year, customer expectations grow more and more. And in the world of e-commerce, fast and reliable delivery has become one of the most important areas for customers. This factor helps evaluate your long-term suitability as a supplier. If you want to turn new customers into loyal brand advocates, your delivery strategy must demonstrate your commitment to providing a great customer experience.
Best strategies to increase customer loyalty
Now we are going to look at how you can turn something as regular as shipping into powerful customers’ loyalty strategies.
- Offer multiple shipping options.
When it comes to сustomers expectations for shipping, the focus is mostly on free shipping. It seems very simple here: according to a BigCommerce survey, more than 80% of respondents said they had made purchases from a retailer in the last 12 months precisely because they offered free shipping.
However, this is not the only possible option for your business. Free shipping is not available for all kinds of businesses due to the impact on their profit. What's more, many free shipping offers come at the expense of speed. And the speed of delivery is something that consumers appreciate even more than the cost of shipping.
With the majority of online shoppers known to be willing to pay more for expedited shipping, it's becoming clear which choice is now the deciding factor in customer loyalty. By offering two-day and same-day shipping options, as well as free in-store pickup or drop-off, you are significantly better at meeting customers’ expectations.
2. Flexible return shipping.
Since many online shoppers value convenience above all else, they expect a hassle-free return process including return shipping.
Clearly, many consumers may be very frustrated by having to pay for return shipping and packaging. This adds a huge amount of inconvenience and embarrassment to the return process, which won't benefit your customer retention rates.
Using return-ready packaging and including return labels with your orders makes the return process much easier for you and your customers.
3. Use order tracking apps.
It is important to understand that the fulfillment and delivery process is completely invisible to your customers, which can cause a lot of anxiety about the status of their order.
And the only way to calm down your customers is to provide them with the opportunity to track every stage of the shipping process. Providing quality after-sales service in an eCommerce environment requires a reliable chain of communication that will accompany your customer after purchase.
You can use Trackr, Shopify order tracking app, to provide your customers with real-time order tracking information as well as send them confirmation emails and notifications.
In addition, you also need to make it easy for your customers to contact you when they need help. According to Sales Force research, 64% of consumers want to be able to interact with companies in real time. Investing in a live-chat feature for your website increases transparency and interaction between people, which helps build trust in your business.
4. Be transparent.
Transparency is important in ecommerce, so make sure you provide your customers with clear shipping date estimates and tracking information.
Customers appreciate your honesty regarding their orders. It's always better to be clear about your abilities and not promise your customers something that is beyond your control. Be honest that you do not provide a two-day or same-day delivery service, for example. Or do not over promise them that the order would be in time since these conditions are out of your control.
Most customers state that they are more likely to stop buying from the brand if they encounter unforeseen shipping issues. So plan your time and let your customers plan theirs as well by providing honest information.
5. Unforgettable delivery experience.
If you want to impress a customer, it's not enough that the order arrives at their doorstep within the expected time frame. In fact, this is the very minimum that customers expect in such a high competitive time.
If your goal is to win loyalty, then you need to make the most of this important touch point. After all, this is the last impression you are going to leave with your client. And it must be positive if you want customers to buy from your brand again.
A well-designed unboxing improves the customer experience as it shows how much you appreciate their support. You can leave them a thank you note, a 20% off coupon for their next purchase, or just use branded packaging. Efforts in this area will have a huge impact on customer retention rates.
Every business owner should consider eCommerce shipping strategies as constantly evolving units to keep up with customer preferences and company capabilities. When consumers feel that retailers are meeting or exceeding delivery expectations, they are more likely to purchase from them again and be more forgiving if items are not delivered on time.
According to Small Biz Trends, acquiring a new customer can cost 5X more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
Since acquiring new customers costs more than retaining the existing one, it's important to provide a great customer experience. Strong eCommerce shipping strategies can keep your company in the spotlight of customers long after the order has been received.