For any business, customers are its biggest assets. But in this overcrowded ecommerce space, one of the biggest challenges often faced by brands is retaining customers.
More online stores means more choices for your customers. More competition for you. And more difficulty in retaining your customers.
This is where loyalty marketing comes into the picture. It can help you grow your loyal customer base, boost revenue, strengthen your position in the market, and do much more.
Loyalty marketing is a strategy designed to boost customer loyalty towards your brand/ products. But what do we mean by customer loyalty?
It is a customer’s willingness to repeatedly engage with your brand – buy products, use your services, or engage in other ways such as participate in discussions, advocate your brand, take interest in your products, etc.
Loyalty marketing is the steps you would take to increase customer loyalty. It includes the strategies you would put in place to ensure your customers stick to your brand. It is a marketing activity that provides long-term gains to your brand.
Among the best Shopify customer loyalty marketing strategies is loyalty programs. When done right, it can be the most profitable for your business.
For example, according to a study, Sephora’s loyalty program, Beauty Insiders, brings the brand 80% of its transactions.
Loyalty programs could be of different kinds – store credits or points program, referral program, VIP programs, etc.
How does a loyalty program work? In a loyalty program, customers are incentivized with benefits such as points, discounts, free shipping, special events, first-access to sales, etc. for joining the program.
And how do loyalty programs benefit your store?
- Boost customer engagement – loyalty program campaigns you run help your brand keep in touch with customers and engage them
- Increase repeat purchases – customers keep coming back to your store to make more purchases and avail benefits
- Improve customer loyalty – when customers experience the benefits, they tend to stick around for long as well as share your brand recommendation with their close circles
Pro tip from a Harvard Business Review study
A study by Harvard Business Review shows how to make the most of loyalty programs. You could easily take this approach in your ecommerce loyalty marketing plans.
The study found that high-spending customers, after joining loyalty programs, mostly continue to spend the same amount. So, the study concluded that instead of focusing on customers who are already purchasing a lot from your site, the focus should be on promoting your loyalty program to customers you’re at a risk of losing to competition.
These customers would be more valuable to you as they can earn you the highest ROI and increase spending by 45% through the loyalty program.
Here’s a peek at Sephora’s Beauty Insider page on its website.
Don’t have a loyalty program on your Shopify store yet? Get the Flits app today.
Members of Prada’s private club are handpicked and invited to be part of the club. Rolls Royce’s invitation-only Whispers is a community of owners which gives them access to events, experiences and connect with their contemporaries.
This feeling of community can be cultivated by any ecommerce brand by creating online and offline communities.
And this is how it impacts customer loyalty: “True loyalty is emotional and irrational and leads to customers feeling like they’re part of an exclusive membership group which then leads them to become loyal subscribers or consumer network participants.”
Here’s how you can weave in a community in your Shopify customer loyalty strategy.
- Create an online community on one or more channels such as social media, online groups, etc.
- Organize online and offline community events and experiences exclusively for the members.
- Make the community activities educational, informative, engaging and exciting, and not transactional (involving sales).
- More than exclusivity, focus on belonging. Think consistent hands-on service, enabling exchanges and conversations between like-minded community members, making members part of your product decision-making process, etc.
Fitbit encourages its members to coach one another. Adidas Runners is an international community of people who love to run and encourage each other to become better runners. Poshmark created local events called ‘Posh ‘n’ Sip’ – experiential marketing and influencer meet-up. Livstrong introduced yellow bracelets that took over all across the world.
What is common in the above examples? All the brands are trying to build a ‘movement’, bring a change, develop something.
So, how and why does movement marketing work? Movement marketing is when the product and values of a brand become something more than transactions with customers. They build excitement, emotions and engagement in and around the movement.
According to research by Deloitte, these are the key elements your movement marketing should include for it to be successful as a loyalty marketing strategy:
- It should have a purpose – something more than the brand and the transaction
- It should be something deep and cultural
- It should have a strong call to action and a clear role for customers
- It should change mindsets, drive cultural and behavioral change
- The movement should have an enduring impact
An image from one of Poshmark’s Posh n Sip community meetup.
Advertisements and promotional campaigns are everywhere. As every brand tries to grab consumers’ attention with these marketing strategies, consumers are feeling fatigued.
Consider these statistics: 1 in every 4 internet users have installed ad blockers. 64% of customers find advertisements irritating.
Customers are looking for other ways to engage with brands and avoid promotional content. This brings us to value-add marketing.
Think educational content, expert advice through blogs, hands-on service, surprise samples and free products, experiential events such as webinars and workshops, etc.
Through value-add marketing, you can bring your customers at the center of your loyalty marketing strategies.
Here’s how and why value-add marketing helps boost customer loyalty:
- Value-add marketing is a cost-effective way to engage customers over a period of time. Traditional advertising is a costly affair and may not be sustainable for businesses.
- When you provide something more to your customers, it helps build trust and sows the seeds of long-term relationships.
- When customers feel cared for, attended to, and that your brand has their best interest in mind, they would like to continue to engage and transact with your brand more.
- Customers who find value in your brand would automatically become your brand advocates, refer and recommend your brand within their networks.
As paid social media advertising goes through a lot of changes, social media communities/ groups/ forums are gaining more importance as a customer loyalty strategy.
Social media communities can be of two types:
1. Natural communities that your customers have formed themselves around your brand/ products. In this case, you should identify and connect with those leading these communities.
2. Communities started by brands. Figure out why people would join this community. Can the community provide more value to people? In what ways can you build connections between people through your community?
Moreover, these groups/ communities can be private or public.
And there are many benefits of social media communities and groups:
- You can easily drive product innovation. Your customers are the best people to help you build and improve your products and services through feedback and surveys.
- You could use data gathered from social media communities to understand your customers better – their sentiments and thoughts about your brand and products.
- Social media communities and groups can do the work of your support staff. When customers ask questions about your products, other customers can answer those queries. Your business can reduce support cost this way.
For example, there’s a Facebook group of Instant Pot, an electric cooker brand. Here, members ask questions, share recipes, and the experience of cooking with Instant Pot products. The brand also uses this forum for troubleshooting and sharing information about new products.
The Shopify customer loyalty strategies that you should use for your store would depend on your business goals. All the strategies that we’ve shared above might excite you but that doesn’t mean you should include all of them in your marketing plan.
Choose the strategies that are most relevant to your customers. Always keep the customer at the heart of your loyalty marketing. Once you narrow down on the strategy, install a Shopify loyalty app.
Flits customer account page app can help you run a number of customer loyalty strategies on your Shopify store such as loyalty programs, store credits, referral programs, etc.