This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com - #Growing Your Business
From flash sales to follow-ups, a handful of methods to ensure consumer loyalty in the coming year.
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With New Year’s sales happening all around us, it’s critical to implement customer-retention strategies that will keep your buyers loyal beyond peak revenue periods. After all, why should Amazon be the only retailer or e-commerce brand to grab so much of the sales?
Your customer-experience strategy should also encourage customers to stick around long after January, and into the decade ahead. Here are five customer-retention strategies for long-term customer engagement in 2020 and beyond:
1. Focus on the user experience.
Customers want to enjoy shopping, but they also want to get it done quickly. That’s why they want to partner with companies that understand their expectations. The takeaway here is that you’ll most likely keep customers coming back if you offer a streamlined user experience. Consider implementing tactics such as a single sign-in, mobile optimization, guest checkout and improved search and personalization features.
2. Conduct a post-sale follow-up for in-store and online purchases.
To persuade your customer base to come back, adopt a customer loyalty strategy that, at a minimum, includes a personal thank you and a promotional incentive. This strategy also encourages customer feedback about new products to improve the service experience.
Provide a brief survey with access printed on their sales receipt as part of the online checkout process. Incentivize the feedback request with a discount or promotion that entices them to share their thoughts on the. Analytics tools can then uncover patterns in the responses that identify areas that need improvement.
Prioritize the effort to address problem areas immediately. Once you implement any improvements, announce them personally to the customer through an email or text. Also, share the customer experience changes across all public channels — e.g. website and social media — to catch the attention of potential customers and those who haven’t shopped with you for a while.
3. Add a subscription or membership feature.
New customers and loyal customers enjoy receiving access to exclusive products, events and promotions. They feel like a VIP and enjoy the convenience that such an experience creates. In return, you can increase customer lifetime value.
To add a membership or subscription component to your business model, start by considering what you can offer throughout the year. It might be a curated monthly box of samples or products themed for different occasions, such as holidays and seasons. Alternatively, you may want to use a membership model where your customer base pays a small fee to enjoy free shipping and discounts for regularly reordering certain products.
4. Implement flash sales related to items they regularly buy.
You want to keep customers who appreciate additional value. Flash sale promotions help to stimulate impulse buys. They also tend to generate excitement and surprise. As an added benefit, this strategy can also help you better manage your inventory by discounting the products with extra stock that hasn’t moved.
Use your social media channels and text-message marketing to share news of these sales. Focus on flash sales that reflect the trending products and then move to standard purchases that your Customer Relationship Management database tracks.
5. Nail your service-delivery options.
Increasing the variety of delivery options for in-store and online ordering always helps the customer experience. If you have an existing loyalty program in place, you can create special delivery options like free one-day or two-day shipping services to sweeten the deal.
It’s always possible to decrease churn and even continue improving your conversion rate. You can maintain a solid customer-retention rate through many delivery options that improve customer satisfaction and encourage them to shop more often. The above follow-up strategy is an ideal place to get more information on the type of delivery options your repeat customers most want.
Your goal is to create customer relationships that deliver greater lifetime value. When current customers return throughout the year, you can ensure a higher sustained level of revenue by keeping them hooked. Additionally, you’ll be able to focus on adding new customers that are seeking similar shopping experiences.
These five strategies create a customer-retention program that will help you meet and exceed buyers’s expectations over an extended period of time, while allowing for flexibility that enables your brand to pivot in response to changing preferences.