We’ve seen a common goal businesses are raising in 2020 and planning on in 2021: Better customer retention! Organizations are looking for new, effective ways to keep customers coming back and improving customer loyalty. New businesses and companies working in competitive industries are especially invested in retention practices, but they are something every brand can benefit from. Here are several key updates businesses should consider heading into 2021.
Make Online Ordering Easier Than Ever Before
It’s no surprise that online ordering really took off in 2020 due to social distancing and lockdowns, but once customers have built up a habit, they tend to expect the same from all companies. That’s why now is an excellent time to make online ordering easier and help improve retention. If you don’t already have an online ordering portal at your site, make 2021 the year to finally add this update. If your orders absolutely require personal communication, think about adding a chatbot to your site that can guide interested visitors to a live person with timely notifications.
Your site isn’t the only one that can help you sell, either. Facebook, for example, has robust business page tools that allow you to set up online ordering for anyone on social media (features that are also making their way to Instagram and other sites). If applicable, consider supporting ordering platforms like DoorDash, Grubhub, or Postmates as well.
Add Product and News Alerts to Your Site
Customers will be more invested in the brand if they are waiting for something specific, as opposed to just getting general newsletters and offers. One effective and affordable option is providing product or news alerts on your site (here’s an example from Swym). These alerts help let customers know when products are back in stock (great for companies running into inventory challenges, too), when specific product discounts come up, and when new features or pricing tiers are available. That helps keep people interested in your notifications!
Offer Better Shipping Deals
Shipping deals are often an unsung hero of customer retention, especially when ordering online. When buyers find a vendor that can offer them reliable free shipping, shipping within a two-day timeline, or a combination of both, they are much more likely to start with that company when making future purchases.
Without a lot of supply chain power, it can be difficult to offer these deals. For growing businesses, we suggest taking a look at local third-party fulfillment centers and carrier rates, and see what you can offer by making a few changes. There’s often room for more efficiencies so you can offer better shipping options while still keeping an eye on your margins.
Personalize with Style
“Personalize your offerings” has been a core piece of customer retention advice for years. That also means it’s a common tactic these days – but the good news is that few brands actually do a good job with it. That leaves room for your strategies to stand out! There are many ways to personalize from brand to brand, and Blue Atlas will be happy to help you narrow down the right options, but here are two big pieces of advice right now:
1. Offer customization and bundling options during checkout. One of the best ways to help customers personalize is to let them do it themselves. If you don’t have many options here, consider adding more personalization as a 2021 goal.
2. Send offers and target ads with a focus on additional products. People are used to getting emails that refer to their names or past products they have purchased. They’re more likely to pay attention to an email that headlines a product they don’t have or a new product from your brand that compliments what they already have.
Focus on Social Media Subscriptions
Email subscriptions are always nice to have, but they don’t do much to improve customer retention if they keep getting stuck in spam filters or ignored. 2021 is a great year to start focusing on social media subscriptions as a strong alternative. Subscriptions to YouTube channels, Instagram feeds, and business pages mean that customers will see your content more often during their natural every-day browsing. It also makes it more likely that they will notice your updates and the latest news, keeping the brand present in their minds.
Shout Out to Your Customers
Social media interactions are an effective way to earn customer loyalty. When customers find a brand that actively responds and listens to them, they are more likely to stick with that brand in the future, especially if their concerns are quickly addressed. This means responding to the majority of social media comments (even if it’s just a quick “thanks”), as well as noting and sharing any customer-created fan content with a special call-out.
Active social management like this takes time, and a clear view of your brand’s tone and proper engagement with customers. If your business is still taking steps in that direction, it’s an excellent goal to work toward in 2021!
There are many metrics your brand can use to measure customer retention, from time-depending purchase rates and return rates to revenue or customer churn. If you want to know more about measuring your retention success or would like help with managing some of the new features we’ve discussed, contact Blue Atlas Marketing today.