Businesses, no matter how big or small, are always in the battle for customer loyalty. All companies are coming up with their own ways to get customers back in their shops, or their products reappear on their front porches. Of course, there is a reason for the tight competition for customer retention.
Know the Numbers
For us to know how important customer loyalty really is, we have to crunch the numbers.
- 77% of customers reported having maintained strong relationships with their favorite brands for over 10 years. (InMoment)
- 7 in 10 customers recommend a brand to their peers and family more often if the brand offers a high-quality loyalty program (Brand Loyalty)
- A 5% increase in customer retention results to 25% growth in revenue. (Bain & Company)
- 9 in 10 customers are likely to purchase more than once. (HubSpot)
- Customers who are emotionally connected to a brand will spend up to $699 annually, compared to regular, satisfied customers who spend only about $275. (Motista)
- 37% of American customers take at least 5 purchases from a brand to consider themselves loyal. (Yotpo)
- An average customer spends as much as 67% more on their third year with a brand compared to their first year. (Annex Cloud)
- Almost 65% of a company's business is from repeat customers. (Annex Cloud)
Companies With Exceptional Loyalty Programs
When you ask someone in a Starbucks coffee shop whether or not it's their first time, you will almost always get a 'no.'. This is because Starbucks seems to have mastered the art and science of customer retention. It is through their seasonal (and phenomenal) planners and random free drink refills.
Starbucks Star Rewards loyalty program is considered a role model in the food and beverage industry because of its effectiveness. With an app-based system, their target market (teenagers and young adults) can easily access their accounts, points and redeem freebies.
Marriott Bonvoy Benefits ranks one of the best in the hotel and tourism industry because of its point system. These points can be used to avail of free stays, discounted rates, and other freebies.
Marriott took personalization to a whole new level by gathering data on their customers and tailoring special offers based on their behaviors.
Toms Passport Rewards enables their customers to earn a point for discounts or donations. This kind of marketing allows customers to be part of something bigger than themselves. In fact, in 2020, Toms generated 2 million dollars to donate to the world's fight against Covid-19.
What is Customer Lifetime Value?
A customer's relationship with a brand is measured through their interaction and how much customers spend in the entire length of their relationship.
Say you own an apparel store with products averagely priced at $10. If customers buy a shirt once a month, someone who shopped for ten years has a Customer Lifetime Value (or CLV) of $1200. CLV helps brands know their customers' behaviors so they can personalize deals to keep them coming.
If the saying happy wife, happy life is true for marriage, the mantra for businesses would be: _satisfied customers, higher value_.
15 Ways to Keep The Customers Coming (Back)
By now, it's completely clear that customer retention is an area of business that could help a brand reap great rewards in the long haul when given enough attention. So, to help you retain more of your customers, we have prepared 15 tips that you can keep in your business arsenal.
1. Loyalty Programs
As we have discussed earlier, loyalty programs are effective without a doubt. Members in loyalty programs feel elevated among other customers. Brands with great loyalty programs are more likely to be selected by shoppers. In fact, almost 2 out of 3 millennial and Gen Z shoppers will not commit to a brand that does not have a loyalty program. Also, according to this research by Bond, 57% of consumers want to engage with loyalty programs through their phones. Still, only 51% of loyalty programs have an app.
2. Great Customer Service
When it comes to retention, great customer service is still king. No matter how great a brand's products are, all it takes is a bad customer experience for people to switch to other brands. A sad reflection of this is the $62 billion lost by American companies annually due to poor customer service. Also, almost 7 in 10 Americans would spend more on a brand with great customer service. So, the more they feel good about being served, the more they will return.
3. Promos and Deals
Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) American consumers have made an unplanned purchase mainly because they found a coupon or a discount, according to a survey by RetailMeNot. Discount codes are like welcome banners to new and returning customers alike. Coupons and special deals are a top factor for 74% of American consumers when choosing where and what to purchase online. You can always increase customer loyalty by giving discounts for their second or succeeding purchases.
4. Staying in Touch (Via Emails)
They say the foundation of a relationship is communication. We couldn't agree more. To the relief of trees and exhausted mailmen, staying in touch is now done online. Email marketing is an easy and affordable method to remind your customers of your existence, especially when you offer products and services that are not regularly needed. Just remember to be creative, snappy, and informative with your email campaigns.
5. Random Gifts (Lumpy Mails)
Although mail marketing is slowly transferring its mode online, nothing beats random gifts from merchants to customers through lumpy mails. Lumpy mails are items that are shipped via mail for marketing purposes. It may sound a bit expensive for a marketing campaign, but it's one of the most effective methods out there. A word in the industry even says that lumpy mails have a 100% open rate. Also, 6 in 10 customers think that unexpected gifts or rewards are the biggest reason they will stay loyal to a company, according to a research by SAP.
6. Seek Honest Customer Feedback
Customers love it when they are heard, especially when they can be honest about their opinions. When companies ask for real customer feedback, they are in a posture of improving, which customers always like taking part in. Whether positive or constructive, rewarding feedback will invite more people to participate and try your products or services. Of course, most businesses offer top-notch products and services, so critical reviews should not be a problem that often.
7. Have More Payment Options Available
As technology takes eCommerce to places it has never been before, adjustments in payment plans should also be made. Having flexible payment plans makes your business more attractive to customers who are either on a stretch or just exploring payment possibilities. The recent emergence of Buy Now, Pay Later (or BNPL) payment options gives customers the chance of not shelling out the full payment upfront. Integrating your website with tools such as AfterPay or Sezzle may increase your conversion. According to a global survey by BigCommerce, almost half (48%) of consumers say that flexible payment options or layaway plans influence their purchase decisions.
8. Communicate Your Core Values
Mission-Driven Marketing is so hot right now. It is when a company uses its core value or mission as the focus of all their marketing efforts. The biggest and probably most familiar example would be Toms' Buy One Give One model. Customers love participating in something bigger than themselves. Mission-driven marketing capitalizes on the feeling of satisfaction customers get whenever they buy products or avail services. Of course, this translates to better revenue and customer loyalty.
9. Continually Improve (In Quality)
If you want your customers to stay, you should give them a reason to. No matter what industry your business is in, there is always room for improvement. Companies should always find ways to grow, whether offering new products and services or streamlining business processes for a better customer experience.
10. Give Back (Join Community Outreaches)
One way to keep your brand relevant is to be physically present. Having your logo plastered on community outreach posters will give your consumers a more concrete experience of your brand. Like mission-driven marketing, customers will see that your company supports local humanitarian missions, and they would be more willing to help your brand.
11. Reward Referrals
This could be one of the oldest tricks in the books, but referral-marketing is still one of the most valuable and effective tools to reach more people and keep them coming back. It's effective because we, as consumers, naturally tend to trust our peers and family more than any piece of advertising. Another good thing about rewarding referrals (for eCommerce merchants) is its flexibility. Businesses can give cash, discount codes, freebies, or exclusive access or trials to up-and-coming products.
12. Set Up a Subscription Service
A lot of businesses are now transitioning to or adding a subscription-based model of business. From flower shops to meat vendors, companies offer monthly subscriptions to customers that will give them special privileges and freebies along with their subscription tiers. This is a great way to ensure that customers will stay with your brand for a while.
13. Be Grateful
Handwritten thank-you notes delivered along with the products go a long way. It shows that you care about your customers and that you are genuinely thankful for their support. Of course, hand-writing notes for all customers may not always be feasible, but there more ways to show gratitude, such as emails or printed inserts.
14. Be Human
Customers love connecting to and buying from brands that feel human. This means that your brand must adhere to a voice and tone that fits your brand's personality in all channels of communication. This entails knowing your customers at a level that you can speak their language, feel their challenges, and offer solutions appropriately. When consumers personally relate to your marketing initiatives, they will establish an emotional relationship with your brand.
15. Be Honest
Mistakes are a part of growth and are inevitable. Some companies have tarnished reputations but are still performing well in their respective industries. If a mistake threatens to hold you back from your market potential, sometimes, all you have to do is take a step back and be honest. Keeping transparency between the brand and its consumers will gain more trust than ignoring issues that must be addressed.
Most companies pay more attention to customer acquisition than retention. Customer retention initiatives are usually put on the back burner or even completely ignored, but loyal customers are the backbone for sustainable growth.
You may have heard of the 80:20 rule, or the Pareto Principle, which says that 80% of an effect is caused by 20% of a cause. This applies in many areas of economics, software, and business. By this, we can also infer that 80% of a company's revenue comes from 20% of its loyal customers.
Taking care of long-term customers can be hard at first, but with consistency and genuine care, customers will choose to stay themselves.
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