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DDretail CRM series

Build customer loyalty – best strategies you may not have heard before

Every retailer wants it, and the majority has some sort of plan to reach it. We’re talking about customer loyalty. And to be honest, there is a lot of talking and writing about how to reach loyalty that is pretty much all the same. That’s why we decided to give you the best strategies to build customer loyalty – that you may not have heard about before!

 

Start building strategies to create customer loyalty

 

Let’s begin from the very start. Before you can do anything, you have to determine what loyalty means to you. How do you define loyalty in your business, and what do you want a loyal customer to achieve?

 

After that, always begin with your core target audience in mind. And the important word to focus on here is “core”. Because if you focus on a broad target audience, it won’t be as specific as you need it to be. Another thing you can do before building strategies is to take a look at your competition. How do they work with loyalty? Don’t copy what they do, just collect inspiration – and do it better!

 

Ask questions

 

When you have your core audience figured out, it’s time to actually ask them what they want and like. Do yourself a favor and don’t assume you know your target audience as well as you think. Ask them through surveys and social media! What inspires, drives, and motivates your core audience to come back. What matters to them and which core values do they care most about? The more details, the better – because this is your foundation for communication.

 

This is what will determine how unique you can be in your communication – and not just send out random emails to all your customers.

 

Collect contact information through a loyalty program

 

This is the entire foundation for you to be able to work with customer loyalty. Because for you to communicate in a relevant, personalized way and build loyalty – you need contact information! So basically, when you start a loyalty program, the most important function, in the beginning, is to collect email addresses and phone numbers. Simple, sure – but super important.

 

And for obvious reasons, you need to start collecting more and more information as you go, but don’t ask for too much information at a time. Spread it out to make it as easy as possible for the customer to give you information.

 

Strategies to build customer loyalty

 

  1. Give your customers a choice

This is closely related to personalized content. And this a way for you to influence the way you personalize the content!

 

For example, let’s say you are in the DYI business and want to send an email to customers who have made a purchase related to renovating the home within the last 3 months. Engage the customers in the email by asking “What’s your next project?” Then you give your customers different options:

 

  • Painting the walls indoors
  • Redoing the bathroom
  • Fixing the floors

Then, when a customer clicks a certain link to their next purchase, you can lead them to a page on your site that is relevant to their choice. But that’s not all! With Voyado, you can create an automation that gets triggered when a customer clicks a specific link. So say a customer clicks “painting the walls” – they will be enrolled in a flow of emails that sends the customer inspirational content about painting the walls indoor!

 

Segmentation, segmentation, segmentation

 

When working with these kinds of options, it’s super important to be a segmentation pro. Then you can do a lot of fun stuff! For example, if you sell sports goods, you can send an email or text to everyone who bought something tennis-related for the last 6 months. In the email, you can let them know that a Swedish tennis player named Hans has an important game this Wednesday at 4 pm. Give the customer a link to more information about the game and where to see it and finish the email off by saying “Help us cheer Hans on this Wednesday!”

 

  1. Take your gamification to the next level

To really engage your customers today, you need to give them ways to earn points in other ways than just shopping from you. And the first step in introducing gamification is to make the customer want to “play with you”. Make gamification as fun as possible. Here are a few examples of what you can do:

 

  • Let your customers build their avatar or chose a picture on their “my pages” so the environment feels super personal
  • Create a series of emails with clues to solve a mystery of some sort. The faster a customer gives you the right answer, the more rewards points they get (sneak in a few product recommendations in each email to promote sales)
  • Give the customer reward points for writing reviews on your products
  • Work with user-generated content – set up a competition where the customer who takes the best picture or writes the best poem about your brand gets a gift card

 

  1. Inspirational content over money rewards

Inspirational content is what will help your customers connect with your brand and potentially build brand loyalty. So, the go-to when it comes to loyalty is to put more effort into creating inspirational content, instead of just handing out rewards.

 

For example, you’re in the vitamin industry and a customer has just left a natural sleep supplement in the abandoned cart. First of all, you send out an abandoned cart reminder – because if you didn’t know it already, those emails have an open rate of 50 percent, and at least 10 percent of those customers will go back and complete the purchase!

 

Then you use the fact that the customer wants to sleep better and send them a pre-written automation flow of a few emails that gives the customer tips on how to improve their sleep.

 

Inspire to get the customer to the next level

 

Another way to inspire a new purchase is to let the customer know how much money they need to spend to reach the next level. And remind them of all the perks and goodies that await once they have climbed the membership ladder! This may seem simple, but it’s super effective since a lot of customers don’t keep track of how much they need to spend to reach different levels. And if they’re close, they are very likely to purchase to reach new heights!

 

  1. Build a community

Very underestimated strategy to build your brand and customer loyalty! Create a forum for your customers to discuss different topics related to your brand. You can be as involved in the discussions as you like, but make sure you make it clear that it’s your brand that initiated the community on for example Facebook, so that its associated with you.

 

A good way to use the community to build the brand and sell more is to start a discussion about for example “what are your best skincare tips for the fall?” and put in some of the products your brand recommends.

 

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of copywriting

Let’s face it, we all enjoy fun, smart, and relevant copywriting. Many times that’s how and why we remember a brand! But a lot of retailers only use their unique tonality in social media or a few email campaigns. But we say you should take advantage of every single touchpoint with your customer! Spice up your transactional emails, automated emails, and texts. Use humor, feelings, and expressions that fit your brand, and make sure every bit of communication is positive. That’s how you make sure your brand shines through in all your communication – and that will make your customers like you even more, and come back for more!

 

Read more: How to Improve Customer Experience & CX Importance

 

Conclusion

 

When working towards customer loyalty, you need to clearly define what loyalty means to you and what you want to achieve. Then start setting up strategies based on your core target audience. Don’t forget to collect contact information for your customers, so you can communicate:

 

  • Different choices in emails
  • Inspirational content
  • Gamification campaigns
  • Invitations to join your community
  • And wow them with your awesome copy in all communication

Good luck!

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DDretail CRM series

From single purchase to loyal customer

How to retain first time customers and turn them into repeat buyers

On various customers we have seen the same thing, consistently and for years now. Repeat and loyal customers make up less than 20% of the total customer base. Retailers with an aggressive acquisition strategy even drop below 10%. Yet, we all know that it is cheaper to market to existing (known) customers than to acquire them new.

According to research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score), increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%*.

Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Over the years at DDretail we have developed several strategies and tactics that make it more likely to turn one-timers into repeat buyers. Retention is important.

But let’s first look at one other important detail that you would need to consider before we dive deeper into this topic.

 

Opt-in or not opt-in

Since GDPR, the opt-in process for commercial messages, has dropped dramatically across all brands. In some cases, it went from 80% ‘who did not opt out’ to below 20% that opts in. This can be a true headache for obedient marketers. The opt-out means the door to further communication is shut. There are however two message types that allow you to circumnavigate this within certain limits:

  • Transactional messages
  • Service and information messages

Transactional messages are part of the necessary communication after a purchase or any type of other interaction. These emails offer an opportunity to stay connected with customers, which we will elaborate on further.

Service and information messages are any non-commercial emails that accompany a transaction or a purchase. Apart from useful information about e.g. delivery status or loyalty tier status, these messages can contain other information, including (personalized) promotions that could lead to a second purchase.

So instead of one, the promotional message, like a newsletter, there are two more ways stay in touch with new customers.

Who is your new customer?

It is always a good idea to understand why new customers have a first purchase with you. Were they acquired with an offer ‘too good to be true’, is it out of necessity or could it be an impulse buy? Were they referred to you by someone else? This can help shaping up messaging or promotions that you could make them come back.

Strategy, discount or value-add

The idea here is to not only attract and acquire new customers, but to do that in a way that allows you to stand a better chance in turning them into repeat buyers. First thing that comes to mind is to lure them in with an offer. Discounts might convince someone to purchase something it is not a great basis to start a longer, leave alone loyal customer relationship. Of course, if it is the nature of your business to offer products and services at a discount, this approach is key.

We have seen however that value add offers and services attract a type of customer that is more likely to come back. A value-add offer can consist of points that can be earned if they join your loyalty program. It could be an invitation to a sneak preview of a product, before it becomes publicly available, or getting priority access to customer service. You can introduce a subscription model like Bol.com Select or Amazon Premium, that reduce delivery costs to zero and gives a customer access to selectable delivery timeslots.

You can get creative here and in many potential customers will love this. Coming up with the right mix of discounts and value-add promotions is where true marketers can excel.

 

Beyond promotions

Retail is about selling stuff, but many customers also like to contribute. Beyond promotions, you can build a relationship with customers through surveys or by sending relevant and useful information about the product or service they bought. This can happen even years later. Someone who bought a smart television e.g., would probably be happy to receive an email telling him or her that there is a software update available. Someone who bought a case of wine could be helped with information on storing it or with ideas about food pairing. The nature of these messages should be truly informative and engaging and should definitely be inline with the intention of your brand.

The combination of promotions and relevant information will help create a relationship with your new customer and ultimately that is what the R in CRM stands for.

Return to the messaging

Let’s go back to what we initially highlighted, the three different types of messages that we can use build that customer relationship and take you through the opportunities based on a typical e-commerce customer journey.

A customer has finally clicked the Buy button and let’s assume that there is no opt-in. The first thing that goes out a transactional email, SMS or in-app message with a transaction and payment confirmation. If you separate this from a delivery status or tracking email, you now have two messages that you could use to place other relevant messaging. These messages typically have very high open rates so chances are that whatever you put in there will at least meat a pair of eye balls. In our experience promotions in these messages irritate customers easily. They just completed a transaction and now you are asking them to spend even more. It is better to focus on your loyalty program, information sources for the product they just bought, or some entertainment, a link to a Youtube video maybe? If you happen to have a premium subscription service or loyalty program, this is the right moment to point this out. You can show that costs of mailing would have been waived if you would have taken up a membership, including a calculation of what they would have saved. An additional upside of this, is that you can be quite sure that those who do not pick up a membership are more likely to remain a one-time customer.

All other transactional emails, related to the purchase can carry similar content. In the last one, after the product has been successfully delivered and is not returned after a few days, you should not only thank or congratulate the customer once more. Ideally, invite them to participate in a survey, be it something like Trustpilot or your own survey. Or ask the simple question ‘How would you rate our service?’ or measure NPS with the famous ‘How likely is it that you would recommend our services to others?’

The journey does not stop there. From here onwards you should be careful and respect the general rule of thumb that only service emails can be sent, even if there is no opt-in. As I previously mentioned the content of service emails can be inspirational; ‘did you know that you could do this or that with your product?’ or informational, ‘please clean it with a dry cloth, using a non-abrasive cleaning product. The send frequency of these messages should be far apart enough to not generate irritation, they should also stop after three to six months.

And there is more

As I said before, invariably we come across databases with more than 80% one-time buyers and 75% of those are older than a year and inactive in most cases. Some value might remain in these contacts though. If you would apply a re-activation strategy, you might win some of these customers back.

Re-activation strategies can vary from a simple message that your record will be marked inactive if you don’t purchase anything or show a sign of life to a simple survey with some clever questions. Since this is a service email, our recommendation is again to not hard sell anything here or put a promotion forward. Keep it simple and to the point. Anyone that you retrieve this way, often at minimal costs, is a real win. This can also be automated so that it happens systematically in the background.

Your next steps?

Convincing customers to buy again is a subtle art of entering their world with relevant offers and information. Collecting relevant information sources, inspiring customers, or simply thanking them in transactional emails and service emails can stretch your relationship by weeks or months, depending on your product lifecycle. Subscription services and loyalty programs are great sticking points as well. They return value over time in many ways.

And once more, think about Frederick Reichheld’s research: increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

*https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers

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DDretail CRM series

CRM – The Need for Speed

Do you recognize the following?

 

After a long wait, you finally have the reports and dashboards with the results of the marketing activities of the past week. There is a sales report, an email performance dashboard and you take another look at your Google Analytics. After long consultation with your colleagues, it becomes clear that you want to set up a campaign. Still more data is needed. The long road to gather that starts again..

2 days pass by

The campaign strategy is there and the target group is more or less determined. There is a way to get that segment out of your database, but it will take a while. Your team has to fish it out of the system and the fastest way to get it to the email tool is Excel. Let’s go!

Another day goes by

In the meantime, you have received campaign material from the agency. The email template looks nice, but it must first be in the email tool. And you still don’t have your data segment. You know in silence that the email is very heavy and that it does not look optimal on a mobile. But there is no time or budget to do anything about it. That goes on the roadmap and the consultants will have to look at it again later.

2 days later…
The email is in the tool and the test emails can be sent. A few hours later you have approval. The send button can be pressed. Unfortunately, it is now Friday again and you know that this is not the ideal day to send your email, but waiting to send it is out of the question.

So you keep going and hit send. Email is out. It will take a few more days before you have a complete overview of your campaign reports. More than a week has passed between insights and sending. Your customers have now received all kinds of suitable and personal offers from the competitor.

You start thinking about a counter campaign …

 
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The Need for Speed

A lot is possible today, but the feedback we get from CRM marketers is that it all takes so long. Gathering insights, basing your campaign strategy on that, devising campaigns and promotions and finally sending everything out, you can easily do this in 10 days.

Can’t it all be a bit faster? There is a need for speed! Our customer does not wait and neither does the competition!

The answer to that is yes. There is a new generation of software that can operate at lightning speed. And there are best practices in data management that can quickly give you the speed and agility that meets today’s customer expectations.

Step 1: Choose a platform built from the ground up for CRM marketers. This new generation of software is available and is often very competitively priced. Moreover, you can quickly say goodbye to a whole horde of consultants, agencies and service providers. As far as we are concerned, now is the ideal time to discard the knotted set of solutions or the complex platforms created by acquisitions.

Step 2: Get data ready. It sounds simple and it can be if you let an expert analyze your data sources thoroughly. If all data sources are well prepared, you can link them to such a next generation CRM platform.

At DDretail we chose Voyado. It comes from Sweden and was developed with the marketer in mind. We didn’t make that up, that’s feedback from Voyado users. Voyado’s vision is: Making Brands Easy to Love.

Strategy in the morning, campaign in the afternoon, analyze results the next day

 

At DDretail we call Voyado the Tesla of CRMs. A Tesla looks like a car, but the user experience and the entire ecosystem around it make it a totally unique car. The same applies to Voyado. It still looks like a CRM system but with a user interface that is super user-friendly and logical. Voyado has a built-in CDP, loyalty tool, marketing automation, AI and insights. With this you can finally do in 1 day what previously took 10 days.

We’re not going to convince you of that in a post. The best way is to experience how smoothly and surprisingly Voyado works in a demo. Or to talk to Voyado users. Contact us today and we will arrange it for you.

DDretail – For the love of CRM