Today, online retailers can rarely set themselves apart from the competition by offering low prices. Winning over customers in the long term is therefore more important than ever. Strong unique selling points such as flexible shipping and returns options, personalized communication, or easily accessible help and advice are important points here. In the following article, we show what other options are available to store operators.
'There is an opportunity in 2017 for differentiation, for delivering an experience that is worthy of customer loyalty: providing a relevant, personal, and seamless experience between the many channels and touchpoints on any customer journey.' - Jason Hemingway, CMO Thunderhead
1. Find out who your potential customer is
It is important to know exactly who you want to reach. The idea of the (future) customer could be wrong or incomplete. However, interests, preferences and preferred channels must be known in order to target him. An analysis of website and social media visitors could provide insights here. Ask yourself and your potential customers specific questions: Why are these groups not interested in my company or poorly or not at all informed? Do they know what I offer and that they might need my products or services? Get to know this audience and treat them like your loyal customers - offer valuable offers and resources like free e-books, relevant infographics or blog articles.
2. The website as an active touchpoint
A company's own website is an important touchpoint for customers - it is often the first place they actively visit. High-quality content and a target-group-specific approach are needed here to offer the ideal customer experience. Open, friendly communication builds closeness and thus bonding, so make sure that you greet potential customers professionally, yet warmly, and offer a pleasant atmosphere in addition to relevant information.
3. Customers love social media
Social media is considered the eye-level contact with the customer. It provides insights into the company and generates emotions and authenticity: direct interaction = brand identification = loyal customers.
Be sure to also consider channels used by previously unreached target groups. Customer service can also be done wonderfully via social media - this has become just as popular as inquiries via e-mail or telephone.
4. Your blog as a source of information
A blog offers the perfect opportunity to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Relevant articles on current topics offer added value and your customer may come back to your website when he is looking for specific information - and appreciate that he finds what he is looking for with you. This provides you with another point of contact and the opportunity to build long-term customer loyalty.
5. direct communication in live chat
Whether real human or bot - live chats are more important today than ever. Customers want to be able to ask questions easily and quickly, not have to wait days for a callback or email from customer service. Live chats offer the best opportunity to be available immediately. The chat function makes sense for online retailers in particular, because simple questions about returns, shipping options or the availability of a particular item can be answered within a few seconds. This satisfies the customer and requires quite little effort for the store. If the customer sees too much effort in asking questions, he may abandon it and leave the site to look elsewhere. The chat provides a remedy.
6. Email marketing - quality instead of quantity
Emails, for example in the form of newsletters, are fast, flexible and cost-effective. Product recommendations are sent out just like the announcement of the next sale round - the latter gladly one or two days before the official start as exclusive advance access for subscribers. People often subscribe to the newsletter before they place their first order, so there is great potential here to win them over to the store, or to scare them away directly. The general rule is: quality instead of quantity. Too many irrelevant messages are annoying and lead to the loss of the customer.
However, asserting yourself as a merchant in the inbox of the (potential) customer is difficult, because this type of communication is used by most companies. Emojis in the subject line can be an eye-catcher here, plus the content should be relevant to the particular customer at best. Every customer - whether new or existing - looks forward to the arrival of their order after making a purchase. This offers enormous potential for merchants to create touchpoints. How. With shipping messages for example ➡️
7. Insider tip proactive shipping communication
'Marketers will become smarter in using all of the available insight to make each customer's experience both relevant and timely, understand their needs and wants, and deliver a connected conversation before, during and after the purchase.' - Jason Hemingway, CMO Thunderhead
Communications need to be personalized - with today's flood of emails and newsletters, customers have little interest in reading every message. However, a personalized approach that offers the customer real added value has great chances of being noticed and remembered for a longer period of time. With open rates of 60% and 75% returning customers, personalized shipping messages can offer unbeatable advantages here. This customized solution is extremely well received by customers and can be implemented with lowest effort.
Customer communication is undeniably important, but it is also a highly competitive market. In the best case you use a combination of mentioned channels - but not necessarily at the same time and in moderation. Too much at once may overwhelm and scare away the customer. Nevertheless, you should make sure to stay in touch regularly and offer your customer added value with every touchpoint - deliver what they need, when they need it. The more enjoyable you can make the customer journey for your customer, the more likely they are to return to you.