Sales are the bread and butter of any retail business. You can have a user friendly online store front, an intuitive check out system and unique products, but without sales there is no opportunity to grow and expand. Sales also determine the longevity of your business – so it’s easy to see why so many retailers put so much emphasis on them. While sales will always be a vital part of operations, they shouldn’t always be your number one focus.
Too often, retailers make sales and bottom of the funnel initiatives their number one priority. But there is a lot to be gained by building brand loyalty with your customers. Below are some things to consider.
- Engage with customers. Although people are increasingly turning to online channels to make their purchases, it doesn’t mean your personal interaction with them should slip. Getting back to emails quickly, solving issues and being present on your social media channels will build trust and confidence in your service, knowing you are there even if they aren’t physically in your store.
- User Experience. UX, or User Experience, is a little like service at a restaurant. When it’s good, you don’t necessarily notice it. You just know you’ve had a great night and will be back again soon. When the service is bad however, the littlest things start to bug you and there is a high probability you won’t be giving it a second chance. Take time ensuring your online shopping experience is friendly for your end user. Can they find the checkout easily? Are your contact details prevalent if they have an issue that needs to be solved quickly? If their browser shuts down unexpectedly with items in their cart – does it save them or do they need to start again? A great user experience = repeat business.
- Invest in training. Being left on hold for long periods of time, overcharged, ignored or not having an issue resolved promptly is enough to make anyone’s blood boil. Ensuring your staff are competent when it comes to dealing with customers will not only increase loyalty but referrals, as people share the great experience they have had with your brand.
- Reviews and feedback. According to Zendesk, 88 percent of people are influenced by customer reviews online when making a purchasing decision. Want to help build the number of reviews your online business has? Why not offer 10 percent off your customer’s next purchase or booking or give them something for free if they leave a review on your website or social media channels? On the off chance that the review is negative, don’t panic. Instead, respond publicly so people can see you are being proactive and are trying to find a way to resolve the issue.
- Make it personal. The online world provides a smorgasbord of detailed information about each and every one of us that brands can tap into to communicate in a highly-personalized way. And it isn’t just about separating males from females or Millennials from Gen X anymore. Start talking to people based on their likes and dislikes. Just like any relationship, we are drawn to those we share interests with.
Play the long game. Put sales out of your mind and concentrate on building lasting relationships with your customers. You will retain them for longer, turn them into loyal advocates and discover your profit margin and revenue will lift.
Ryan Murtagh, CEO, Neto E-Commerce Solutions