Customer loyalty is a critical factor for eCommerce businesses, especially in the increasingly competitive market today. With a few taps of the keyboard or mouse, consumers can drift elsewhere on the web to make purchases, so eCommerce sites must do the work to keep people coming back for repeat purchases.

That work can pay off, though. Increasing customer retention by just five percent can drive overall profits up by as much as 25 percent! Get seven tips below for creating customer experiences that foster loyalty.

1. Use Email Marketing to Assist the Customer

Email marketing tools aren’t just a way to bring customers into your fold. They’re a great option for keeping communication open and providing helpful services to customers.

Abandoned cart emails are a great example. Someone might be shopping on your site and find a great deal or item they’re interested in. They put the item in their cart but get distracted before they can finalize the purchase. Perhaps they didn’t have a credit card handy, or they may have wanted to double-check about the size or color.

Sending an abandoned cart email within 24 hours of that activity supports customer loyalty by:

  • Reminding the customer to return to your site to complete the purchase (as opposed to buying somewhere else)
  • Giving a heads up that the purchase was abandoned in case it was temporarily forgotten
  • Providing the customer with important information, such as the fact that only two items remain in inventory and they need to complete the purchase to claim one

2. Employ a Text Message Tool To Communicate

Text messaging tools can do the same thing as email, and often in a more direct and faster manner. Use text messages to give loyal customers the inside scoop on an upcoming sale, remind them of items in their cart or let them know about important account information.

It’s important to remember only to send text messages or emails when customers have opted in. And if someone opts out, honor that request. Customer loyalty isn’t built when you ignore someone’s needs.

3. Leverage Rewards Points to Create Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty programs are a proven way to build long-term rapport and keep consumers coming back to shop with you. Some ideas include:

  • Creating digital punch cards. Each time someone makes a purchase on your site, they get a “punch.” Five or 10 punches scores a free gift, free shipping, or percent off their next order.
  • Use a points system. For every dollar spent, customers earn points. Once they get enough points, they can cash them in for a discount on their next purchase.
  • Gamify the rewards system. This might be a fun addition as you prepare your shop for the holidays. Create a bingo card that customers must complete to earn a discount. The card might include things like placing an order, sending a referral email, reading and commenting on a blog post or sharing a social post.

4. Provide Paths for Customers To Become Brand Ambassadors

More than 90 percent of consumers aged 18 to 34 trust online reviews and recommendations as much as a recommendation from a personal friend. When you create referral programs, you open the door for people to become ambassadors for your brand. Consumers are more willing to listen to those peer brand ambassadors than to your advertising, making this a win-win proposition.

5. Work Toward Shared Goals

Values are important to many consumers, and when you can share a project or goal, you create customer loyalty. Consumers who work alongside you to do something they perceive as good for the world remember that experience later, and that can bring them back to your store when they’re ready to order again.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to let customers know which causes you support or that a certain percentage of profits go to a specific charity or cause, such as environmental research. You can also set up programs to help customers help others by sending goods to rescue missions or families in need.

6. Create Customization and Personalization

More than 90 percent of customers are likely to make repeat purchases when they experience customer service they feel is excellent. Customizations help provide that good experience. Personalize your eCommerce store experience by:

  • Recommending products the customer might like. Do this based on what they’ve browsed or purchased on your site before.
  • Sending dynamic emails that include links to content on your site that speak to certain segments of your target audience (as opposed to sending the same content and recommendations to everyone).
  • Attending to small details, such as ensuring that you have enough convenient payment options. If someone shops on your site and has to jump through hoops just to pay, they may not come back.

7. Connect With Customers on Multiple Channels

Finally, create multiple paths for communication to support ongoing customer loyalty. Not everyone wants to call, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants to handle issues via email or chat either. And the choice might come down to what the issue is; if it’s a complex manner, someone who would normally turn to chat might prefer to make a phone call to get the matter settled that day.

Provide multiple contact options for customers on your site and make those options easy to find. Don’t bury them on a FAQ page. If your eCommerce store has an active social media presence, make sure you have someone tasked with keeping up with direct messages on those sites. If customers DM you and don’t get a response, they may assume you don’t want their business and go elsewhere.

About National Merchants Association

National Merchants Association (NMA) is a merchant advocacy group dedicated to reducing or eliminating the unnecessary fees associated with accepting credit card payments. Since 2004, NMA’s payment processing solutions have been delivering tailored solutions, best-in-class customer service, and high-quality service offerings for businesses across multiple industries. Whether it’s high-risk or low-risk, brick-and-mortar or eCommerce, NMA will create the best processing experience for your company. For more information, visit us at our or by calling (866) 509-7199.