Monitoring customer activity, maintaining a frequent communications calendar and checking periodically on dormant customers are gestures that can enhance customer retention strategies. However, online retailers still make a mistake in choosing the wrong ideas for client retention. Following are some examples of how weak ideas cannot help in re-marketing.
#1 Building informative website and social media network
Using these digital tools to provide as much information to customers as possible is most welcome. However in case of online businesses where the customer has no means of physically seeing or feeling the product, the idea does not hold good for customer retention. These days websites are used for educative purposes as well. Building customer knowledge on the product by way of video tutorials and on the industry in general by means of blogging, guest blogging and email campaigning are worthwhile ideas for retention.
#2 The one-size-fits-all approach in packaging
Standardized packaging was viewed as a branding tool in offline businesses. However, it is losing importance in the online retailing scenario. E-commerce establishments have come up with novel and engaging ideas for the customer as he unwraps his products. Most importantly, personalization in packaging is accorded top priority. Adding a personalized note adds a touch of humanness to the sale and every customer feels so privileged that they keep coming back for re-purchase. Differentiation in packaging, such as a fun pack for kids or colour coded boxes (blue and pink) according to gender etc. are excellent endeavours for engaging and retaining customers. Packaging is now becoming a profit center instead of cost center in online retailing.
#3 Compensating the customer service executives with fat pay checks
The customer service helpline or the chat service is the only human link between the business and its customer. In case of online retailing, customers are bound to have plenty of reasons, both pre-sales and post-sales to approach the helpdesk. Businesses need to enhance the performance of employees by building lucrative variables and incentives in their pay structure. Every positive feedback must result in adding up incentive points. On the other side, strict KPIs must be fixed for non-performance and negative feedbacks. A good and yielding compensation structure is one of the best Pathwwway client retention ideas for online business.
#4 Setting time as the metric for evaluating customer query resolution
This strategy is not viable for online business, since the digital customer has become more demanding that it does not merely suffice to resolve queries on time. Quality of query resolution is what is expected by them and this goes a long way into building customer loyalty. Building mechanisms to monitor customer query handling and providing room for due escalation of queries for finding the perfect solution, matter a lot, rather than solving the query in record time of a few seconds. Time is important as well, but not at the expense of quality. Many online retailers earmark loyal customers as the most privileged and even offer personal relationship managers.
#5 Product orientation ideas
Online retailing has made a phenomenal shift from product orientation to market orientation. Being product oriented is no longer a viable tool for customer retention. Businesses cannot afford to be tied to product development and systems alone. They need to understand the target market, buyer preferences, buying patterns and must build a unique selling proposition (USP) that addresses the pain points of customers. Online retailers need to organize their offerings around the needs and preferences of customers in order to retain them. By deploying customer intelligence mechanisms, online businesses are keen on shaping their product portfolios according to customer requirements.
#6 Celebrity endorsements
While it is a welcome publicity tool for creating brand and product awareness, the customer in the online retailing scenario considers a critical review from fellow users far more reliable and useful in influencing their re-engagement with the brand. A shrewd customer looks for negative and critical reviews and how the retailer has been successful in addressing it. This extends to product, its usage instructions, shipment and delivery, after-sales service and much more. This is why critical reviews and their resolutions are considered by online retailers as one of the best retention ideas.
#7 Free trial offers with auto-conversion to paid versions
Traditionally this was considered as a brilliant idea to retain top-of-funnel prospects by ensuring continuity of service, as the free trial period is about to end. However, many customers raise a sceptical eyebrow when their payment credentials are demanded for a free trial. Of course, there is an in-built unsubscribe option, but busy customers tend to forget to use it and come to think of it only on being charged. This creates an unpleasant experience and customers think twice before coming back.
#8 The Direct Sales model
Every attempt to sell to the existing customer is a retention endeavour, but, in online retailing visibility is very difficult to obtain due to intense competition and the easy availability of close substitutes. To retain customers, the retailer has to place the product in as many channels as possible. Depending only on direct sales has become a redundant retention strategy. In addition to direct selling models, a combination of subscription model, cross-selling and multi-level marketing are the emerging trends. Listing the products on famous e-commerce portals and getting them certified are exercises that can build customer trust.
#9 Customer profiling
Customer profiling is the process of segmenting the market and grouping them according to various similarities including demographic factors such as age, gender and so on. Customer loyalty builds up when the business knows and recognizes them personally. However, online retailing has to go the extra mile and empower their customer database with customer analytics and customer insight analysis. Understanding buyer psychology using predictive analytics is a powerful retention tool.
#10 Measuring customer satisfaction
The idea is no longer viable in the online retail sector, where even the fully satisfied customer switches between brands without a second thought. A satisfied customer is always welcome in online retailing, whereas a loyal customer is an asset. Instead of measuring customer satisfaction, the retailer must apply thoughts and energies towards measure.
The above retention ideas can be tweaked and used in conjunction with other ideas in order to exert the maximum influence on the re-visiting customer.