Apply Actionable Tactics To Enhance Customer Experience Via Store Credits At Different Stages Of The Customer Lifecycle Journey
Almost all eCommerce stores have some sort of rewards program—either store credits, loyalty points, or reward points.
Now, in the ideal scenario, these programs should run on auto mode. But the reality is far from it.
To ensure consistent success of your programs, you have to create strategies—implement unique tactics to engage customers.
And the fact is, your customers are at different stages in their journey with your brand. So, you’ll have to approach them differently. A one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work for your programs.
In this blog, we take a deep dive, break down the customer lifecycle stages and give you actionable tactics to apply store credits at each stage.
Let’s get started.
The customer lifecycle journey is the different stages consumers progress through on the way to becoming loyal customers. It includes many different touchpoints created by you (business) to engage with the consumers. And at every stage, businesses have a different goal.
The customer lifecycle includes five main stages:
So what are the characteristics of each of these stages?
|Customer lifecycle stages||Definition||Marketing goal|
|Awareness||Consumers become aware about or discover your brand, product or service. They realize that you can solve their problem||Acquire new customer leads|
|Consideration||The consumer has discovered your brand, product, or service and is weighing the pros and cons to make further decisions||Educate consumers and answer their questions|
|Purchase||At this stage, leads are led to take actions such as signing up, sharing their contact details, filling forms, following on social media, etc. Leads get converted to customers—purchase of products or services||Turn leads into prospective customers|
|Retention||The retention stage is all about building future relationships via activities that ensure your customers keep coming back to your Shopify store||To ensure customers keep coming back to your store to buy more|
|Loyalty||Customers make repeat purchases, join rewards programs, sign up for subscription, etc.||Customers turn into long-term brand advocates|
Customer lifecycle marketing is a strategy that helps target, convert, and retain customers at each stage of their lifecycle journey. A well-planned customer lifecycle marketing strategy helps eCommerce marketers achieve a high customer lifetime value (CLV).
In this article, we’ll break down how to use one aspect of customer lifecycle management strategy—store credits or loyalty program—to provide a good customer experience throughout their lifecycle.
At this stage, your potential customer may not be aware of your brand, product, or service, or may be slightly aware. At this stage, your aim is to increase awareness. How do you do that? You have to attract their attention by letting them know you have solutions to their problem.
Here’s how you can integrate store credits into your awareness stage customer lifecycle management.
- Promote your store credits program on all channels. Your customers could be on any channel—your Shopify website, social media platforms, email, SMS, etc. To tap into their attention, create an omni-channel communication strategy involving all channels
- Keep the messaging consistent on all channels. This also helps consumers register information about store credits better
- Use social media channels to spread awareness about your store credits program
- Celebrate your customers who are top store credits earners on social media
- Run campaigns that request customers to share their store credits success on social media. This way you can generate authentic user-generated content around your store credit program. Social proof is one of the best ways to promote your programs
- Create strong SEO, pay per click ads, and social media strategies, because these are the places where your customers will discover your brand/product
Once consumers become ‘aware’ of your brand, products and services, they reach the stage in the customer lifecycle journey where they have to make a decision whether they want your product/service or not. You can share knowledge and information to help them make their decision. Here’s how you can integrate store credits strategies in the consideration stage.
- Make a note of all the touchpoints your potential customers would engage with at this stage. For example, they might read your blogs, watch your YouTube channel, download your ebooks, etc. to understand more about you. These are properties in which you can bring in your store credits program. For example, offer store credits in return of downloads, or to sign up to your blog
- Store credits or reward points can be a key tool to attract consumers. And hence you must ensure your customers know about your programs at this stage. Knowing they can earn store credits for different actions such as sign up or following your YouTube channel can hook them instantly
- Offer them store credits to sign up for the customer account page
Example: Starbucks Rewards
Next is the customer lifecycle stage where your lead turns into customers—customers decide to make purchases. This stage is the beginning of your long-term relationship with customers, and hence your strategies have to start getting deeper and more personalized. This is where your store credits program should also become more valuable to your new customers.
Here are some strategies to combine store credits with the purchase stage.
- Encourage customers to sign up for the customer account if they haven’t done it in the previous stage. In return, offer store credits as welcome points
- Make your store credits program more meaningful via segmentation. For example, senior citizens or students get more store credits. Just a simple way to enhance customer experience but one that works well in making customers feel special
- The purchase stage should be seamless. Customers should be easily able to navigate the purchase process. A poor customer experience during their first purchase can mean you lose the customer forever
- Offer a smooth checkout process
- Provide different payment methods to choose from
- Let customers know the store credits they earned from the first purchase
- If they already have store credits that can be used towards this purchase, make it clear and easy for them to use the store credits
- Create partnerships, collaborations, alliances with other related brands. For example, use store credits earned on your Shopify store to make purchases on your partners’ websites.
Partnerships can effectively help improve the value of your store credits program. For example, when your potential leads see the other brands you partnered with, they perceive it as more benefits and more opportunities.
Partnerships also help your brand,
- Widen its reach to new markets and customers
- Provide additional data
- Increase engagement and value
You’ve probably spent a lot of resources to acquire customers. And you don’t want to lose them. Once you acquire new customers, they enter the customer lifecycle stage in your Shopify store where you’ll have to work toward bringing them back to your Shopify store.
And store credits can be your star performers at this stage, provided you use them well. Here are some strategies.
- Offer store credits on the first purchase
- Offer store credits on every purchase
- Make it easy for customers to earn store credits. Create multiple opportunities for customers to accumulate store credits
- If customers stop interacting with your brand, add free credit points to their customer account to re-ignite their interest in your brand
- Send them store credits on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Example: Sephora’s reward program
At the end of the day, every business aims to keep their customers. At this customer lifecycle stage, businesses aim to deepen customer loyalty employing various strategies. Let’s look at some of the strategies and how to integrate store credits in them.
- Request customer feedback. Customers who’ve purchased from your brand, your product/service will have an opinion about it. And depending on their opinion, they might either leave or stay loyal to your brand.
The best way for you to know what they think about you is to ask them via feedback forms, feedback campaigns, etc. One of the most common tactics to motivate them to share feedback is to give them something in return. This is where you can bring in store credits—offer store credits when they share feedback.
- Run customer satisfaction surveys. Customers stop transacting with brands if they aren’t satisfied. So, to understand whether your customers are satisfied and if they aren’t, how could you ensure their satisfaction, conduct customer satisfaction surveys. Similar to feedback, offer store credits when customers complete a survey form.
- Run referral campaigns. People are 90% more likely to buy from brands recommended by their friends. Moreover, referred customers are more likely to stick around longer because they already have a trust factor built.
So, how to use store credits in a referral program at this customer lifecycle stage? Offer store credits to both the referee and referred customers. However, here’s a pro tip: To ensure you incur less losses, activate store credits only when the referred customers make a purchase, so that your store credits don’t get wasted if the new customers don’t convert.
An example: Solo Stove
- Gamify your store credits or rewards program. Gamification can lead to a 47% rise in customer engagement.
- Make the program challenging to make earning store credits more meaningful
- Showcase customers who earn more points so as to motivate other customers
- Create a tier-based program where customers climb from one tier to the next
- Re-engage inactive customers with store credits. Your customers are other brands’ customers too. And you’re not the only one seeking their attention. So, if customers haven’t interacted with your brand for a while, it’s time to put store credits to work.
Send them reminder messages about the store credits they’ve collected
Tell them how they could use the store credits
Add bonus store credits in their customer account to rekindle their interest
- Personalize the store credits program. Just like your other marketing strategies, personalization plays a key role across your customer lifecycle marketing, including the store credits program. There are many ways to personalize store credits:
- Personalize store credits via segmentation. For example, promoting Women’s Day store credits to male customers is pointless
- Use customer data to personalize customers’ store credit experience. For example, offer store credits when they purchase products from their wishlists
- Keep upgrading and updating your store credits program. With the ever-changing world of eCommerce, you cannot have a static customer lifecycle management strategy. It has to evolve with customer preferences.
- Keep an eye out on your competitors for inspiration
- Ask customers what they’d like to see in the rewards program
- Introduce new rewards
- Merge social causes with your store credits program. For example, enable customers to donate store credits toward social causes
Customers have a different mindset at every stage in their journey. They have different needs and preferences at each customer lifecycle stage. And so, each stage demands its own marketing strategy when it comes to store credits.
As a Shopify brand, you have to be equipped to meet your customers at their respective stages and provide relevant answers and solutions.
For that, you require an efficient store credits app that can help you with automation, data, analysis, and more.
Meet Flits Store Credits App—an add-on app for the Flits Customer Account App.