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Ecommerce community: The stats you need to make a case for creating your own

The pandemic has forced companies to rethink their approach to community. More than ever, brands have had to depend on committed and engaged community members to help get them through trying times. 

Many think that community is a vanity metric. However, it is clear that customer communities have lots of power and can bring long-term value for ecommerce businesses – no matter your size or industry.

To help you make a case for building your own ecommerce communities, this blog will highlight key stats around how they can bring you and your customers value.

Ecommerce community ROI stats

  • On average, internal and external communities generate 6,469% ROI for organizations. (Higher Logic, 2019)
  • In an advanced community, a member contributes $67 of value per year and receives $614 of value per year. (Higher Logic 2020)
  • The top three business outcomes connected to external community values are: Customer retention (61%), Lower support costs (52%), Innovation (32%) (Higher Logic, 2019)
  • On average, brands with communities see a +1,352% return on their investment (ROI) after just two years. This increases as communities age. After 10 years, brands can see as much as a +10,000% ROI. (Loyalty Lion, 2021
  • ROI tends to follow this trend as communities age: at 2 years: 1,352%, at 4 years: 6,295%, at 7 years: 7,593%, at 10 years: 10,158% (Higher Logic, 2019)

These statistics illustrate how customer communities create a positive ROI and the goals that motivate organizations to invest in communities. 

How an ecommerce community benefits you

We have found that a community gives ecommerce brands value in four distinct ways: cost-effective acquisition, greater conversion, open and honest feedback loop, and high customer lifetime value and brand loyalty. 

Cost-effective acquisition

Community allows you to achieve sustainable acquisition without breaking the bank. It is easy to draw in new customers if you have a community of Insiders who advocate for your brand and spread the word. 

  • Researchers have found that a 10% increase in WOM translates to between a 0.2 and 1.5% increase in sales

This is ideal. Organic WOM helps you save money as you’re bringing in new customers without investment in costly acquisition channels.

Greater conversion

Community also enables a greater conversion rate. When you have an authentic and thriving community, with members that get others involved, it is easier to establish trust. Insiders create UGC for the brands they love. This social proof increases trust which makes new customers convert quicker. 

A community creates trust and this ensures that converting unengaged browsers into loyal customers is easier than it used to be. 

An open and honest feedback loop

One of the great things about community is the conversation. When you have a diverse range of customers in your community that engages with your brand you will receive more open and honest feedback. You can use this feedback to inform future products and improve your existing services. 

An open feedback loop is the result of a well-cultivated community. The feedback loop also benefits customers because it makes them feel like they are a part of the brand’s onward journey. 

High customer lifetime value and brand loyalty

A community gives you long term consistency. If your customer base is full of Drifters and Lurkers with no emotional link to the brand you will struggle to achieve long-term success. Whereas an engaged community of Supporters and Insiders will spend more, spread the word and recruit new members.

When you can point to customers in your community who have been with you for years it is clear that community isn’t a vanity metric. Engaged customers who are constantly interacting with the community contribute to a high customer lifetime value and reliable brand loyalty. 

Stats on what customers want from an ecommerce community

Our research has shown that customers want three things from a community: financial perks, experiential perks, and brand alignment. 

Financial perks have always been a simple and reliable way to get people to join your community. Our research revealed:

  • 86% of community members said free delivery was important in motivating them to complete more community based activities
  • 82% of all community members say access to discounts are a top priority in motivating them to complete more community-based actions

But it’s not all about the money. Customers also hope their online shopping experience will be improved by joining a community

  • 70% of customers are motivated to complete community-based activities if they can access more product knowledge by being a member
  • 61% said they would be more community-minded if they could access content on topics they’re interested in.
  • 45% of customers say they would join a community if it makes them feel like a VIP
  • 76% of Insiders said that the opportunity to test new products would make them join a community
  • 68% of Supporters said that first-look access to sales and new product drops would make them participate more

Finally, customers are also looking to gain an emotional connection with a brand. Not every shopping experience has to be a soulless, empty exchange. When you are part of a brand’s community you will be able to follow their journey and connect with other like-minded community members. 

  • 69% of shoppers say that being able to communicate directly with the brands they like would make them join its community
  • 76% of brand Insiders said that a greater understanding of what a brand stands for will make them complete more community-based actions
  • 74% of Insiders said that understanding the brand’s story and history would make them engage in a more community-minded way
  • 48% of the people we surveyed said they’d join a brand community if they could have conversations with customers who are like-minded
  • Using the community to talk to others with shared interests is important to 76% of Insiders
  • Being able to use the community to contribute to a cause they care about is important for 80% of Insiders

Engaged community members use loyalty programs too. Our research showed:

  • 82% of Insiders are members of their preferred brand’s loyalty programs, versus 28% of Drifters 

Implementing your own loyalty program is a great way to maintain a strong connection with community members and attract new users too. 

Create your own community

Customer communities can benefit your brand across the board. Your ROI will improve, you will be able to rely on customers to spread the word about your brand and you’ll be able to improve your products. 

Customers want three things from an ecommerce community: financial perks, experiential perks, and brand alignment. These elements are easy to deliver through a loyalty program that is fully incorporated with your brand. 

About the author

Mollie Woolnough-Rai

Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. LoyaltyLion helps thousands of retailers worldwide to build fully customized loyalty programs, proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. After graduating from UCL, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content strategy and copywriting. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources.

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