Sunday, November 18, 2007
Online shopping has quickly outstretched traditional shopping for popularity and overall spend. One of the big advantages that consumers gain online is the ability to comparison shop across multiple vendors (in different areas) for the best deal. However, for the e-store owner or service provider, this can make it difficult to survive without offering the lowest prices and the greatest deals. Decreasing prices has an obvious effect on your revenue and profit so it is vital that you aim for the right target market and attempt to build customer loyalty.
Customer loyalty means repeat business and repeat customers offer the lowest marketing spend requirements. As such, improving customer loyalty can vastly reduce your spend and increase your ROI. Many of the methods of retaining customers for your website are developed from tried and trusted methods used by large organizations and businesses offline.
Know Your Target Markets
By really getting to know and understand your target markets you will have a much greater understanding what it is that they're after. By learning this kind of information you will be better placed to send out relevant after-sales communication and entice your buyers to buy more.
Know Your Competitors
Knowing what your competitors are selling and for how much will help you determine the best prices for your own products. If you have a good customer retention rate it is often possible to increase the amount you pay for a new customer or reduce your prices without affecting your overall profit too much.
Perhaps the first aspect that many of us consider when looking at customer retention rates is customer service. You must supply a high level of customer service. If you go the extra mile for your customer, they will go the extra mile to come back to your site. Being polite in all communications is only a very small part of good customer service. Everything from your website content to complaint responses need to be well thought out and geared towards retaining customers.
The more synonymous your website becomes with the products or services you sell, the more likely that people will return to your site. Make sure that all of your web pages, emails, newsletters, invoices, and other forms of communication include your web address at the very least. Make it memorable and don't chop and change designs and logos unless a re-branding is deemed absolutely necessary.
There is an art to after sales communication, and it is an art that you need to learn to master. So, your website operates online, but that doesn't mean that the whole of your business has to. If you sell digital products that are downloaded then ensure that emails and all online communication includes your branding. If you sell physical products, then your paper invoices, and everything down to your packing labels should also be branded.
Get Your Visitors Involved
Involving your site visitors will help to bring them back to your site time and time again. Web 2.0 applications provide a plethora of ways to involve site visitors. Blogs, forums, and any interactive tool will help to make your site bookmarkable. Even for visitors that don't take action while on your site, you will attract them back more frequently, and the more exposure a visitor has to your website, the more likely they become to make a purchase.
Why Customer Loyalty Is Important To Your Business Website
Return visitors or return customers are one of your greatest assets. You've already done a lot of the hard work with your preliminary marketing campaigns. Ensure that everything from your website to your email newsletter to your packing slips are effectively branded with your website details and always uphold the highest level of customer service and communication. If you can get your site visitors more involved in your site then you stand to profit even more from customer loyalty.
About the Author: Omaro Ailoch is a senior software engineer, an entrepreneur and the founder of OC IT Services a highly skilled California based web development, design, and search engine optimization firm.