6 Expert ‘Tech Tips’ for eCommerce Brands Looking to Build Customer Loyalty In 2020

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How do you create loyalty when there’s no person-to-person connection?

That’s the challenge facing ecommerce brands right now. As Amazon takes
on a larger and larger market share of ecommerce, brands that trade exclusively on price are being squeezed out. Because of the economy of scale that the ecommerce giants have, the smaller brands have to focus on the things that they can do better.

For most companies, the challenge is figuring out just exactly what that is. Building loyalty is both science and art, but there are some fundamental technical details that you can get right if you want to start strong.

2020 will be a crucial year for ecommerce.

With 604 billion dollars worth of sales projected, your brand can count on even more customers being available than before. It’s gone up every year as people make the transition from brick and mortar to online. You need to know how to capitalize on it to build your ecommerce business this
year.

1. Build a Creative Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a time-honored staple of customer retention. Store cards and coupons have been around for ages, but with the advent of the digital age the old way of doing things just isn’t cutting it any more.

Something like Run Everything Labs’s loyalty program takes advantage of the unique status a digital retailer can bring, with tiered rewards based on achieving certain milestones or doing certain actions.

Think outside the box.

Besides just “buy more stuff,” what can you challenge people to do
that will keep them coming back to your site? Give them a reward for posting about your store on social media, for example.

Or commenting on your blog. Create product incentives that aren’t just “X percent off.” Maybe your most loyal customers get a chance to test drive a new product early.

Whatever it is, the unique amount of customer data and engagement you have with ecommerce means your loyalty program doesn’t just have to be
limited to the basics.

2. Send Follow-Up Emails. Don’t Sit and Wait.

Open, click-through and order rates vary between types of follow-up email, but it’s undeniable that a good email automation program will pay
dividends. As one email company discovered, order confirmation and
post-purchase emails can average over a 50 percent open rate.

Cart abandonment emails are a significant source of orders, too, creating an extra bump in sales numbers that easily pays for itself once you’ve
got the automation set up.

Take advantage of the window you have to talk to your customers when they’re still interested in listening. Send those follow-ups.

3. Buy, Don’t Rent

Many ecommerce retailers focus a ton of their time and energy on Amazon or one of the other major ecommerce platforms. While this can be good, it’s not the be all and end all.

We didn’t really see the results we wanted until we stopped focusing on
Amazon
,” said Jacob Elggren, founder and CEO of Andar, during a recent phone conversation. “When we turned to our own site and focused
on building up our sales that way, we exploded
.”

The point being is to stop focusing on just strengths, and look to weaknesses. Failure is the beginning to your entrepreneurial journey.

Last year, I spoke with Michele Romanow, co-founder and CEO of Clearbanc and a technology investor on CBC’s Dragon’s Den about how failure impacts an entrepreneur’s journey, to which she left me with some pretty powerful advice.

“You have to understand that all ideas start very small. The biggest piece of advice I have is that you have to start right now. Literally, right now, where you are today. Once you start, and realize it’s not working, you start to iterate and run these experimentations, until you get what eventually becomes innovative. You have to fail. You shouldn’t feel like you’re not there, or you don’t have the perfect idea—you only really get there by trying a bunch of ideas.”

For Elggren and Andar, they went from $14,000 in 2016 to $1.7 million by the end of 2018 just through Shopify.

“We’re looking to break $3 million this year. 2017 was the tipping point where most sales came through our website instead of another platform, and that’s when the success really started to pile up. When you’re selling on someone else’s site, you’re renting space. People don’t care so much about your brand—they care about Amazon, and they’re going to shop on price. Once you’ve built your own store you can focus on offering them more than that.”

4. Build an App

“There’s an app for that”, said Apple’s famous campaign. And indeed there is.

There are roughly

two to two and a half million apps available in both the App Store and Google Play store, and they encompass just about everything under the sun.

If you have the resources to create an app, it can be a great way to build customer loyalty. You’re not just a web page that they visit at
that point—you’re there on the home screen of their phone, and as one study points out, millennials are more likely to buy from a mobile app
than a mobile web page.
If you don’t go for the full-fledged app, what about a progressive web app? They’re easier to put together than a traditional app and can provide similar functionality. Either way, the more you can get your customer on board with an app, the more likely that they’ll purchase from you.

5. Text Your Customers

Did you realize that SMS has a whopping 98 percent open rate? 45 percent of customers will even reply to a message. But the majority of marketers still aren’t using it.

Many brick and mortar brands rely on SMS for their loyalty programs, but why can’t ecommerce too? Your customers are increasingly relying on mobile for their shopping, and if you don’t hit them where they live you’re
going to miss out on a significant chunk of possible revenue.

SMS automation programs are easier and cheaper than you might think. If you haven’t been capturing phone numbers for SMS campaigns, now’s the time to start.

6. Target, Target, Target

Re-targeting is a well-known strategy for boosting customer engagement, and it’s popular for a reason. Tapping into one of the larger display ad networks like Google’s Display Network lets you touch your customers even after they’ve left your site.
Most prospects take seven to thirteen touches before they
actually convert to a sale, and re-targeting them with advertising is a great way to build up those touches. In combination with some of the other methods we’ve advocated you can really give your sales a boost.

There are definitely more methods than this out there, but these six tips are a great starting point for your ecommerce store. Build up your business in 2020. Don’t leave revenue on the table.

Follow these tips and you’ll be in great shape heading into the
coming year.

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