How important is a strong online presence for customer loyalty?

You’ve built a great product or service and you have loyal customers. It’s going well. What do you do now to ensure your customers are loyal? Do you need a strong online presence to sustain, or even build loyalty in the first place? Perhaps. 

There are also instances where you won’t need a strong online presence to improve your customer loyalty.

Let’s ask ourselves:

  • Your customers are online, shouldn’t you be too? And,
  • Can you have a loyal customer base without a strong online presence?

 

Your customers are online, shouldn’t you be too?

A strong online presence is beneficial for many reasons.  It helps promote your business. Being online allows you to leverage a whole new cohort of potential customers. And rightly so, you’re purposely placing yourself where your current and potential customers are.  You’re allowing them to find you and make that all-important sale.

By having a strong online presence, and interacting with customers, you build a sense of trust with a community encouraging loyalty. It gives your business the opportunity to offer awesome customer service. An online presence allows you to provide your customers with a clear place to go, if they need help or if something goes wrong.  

But is this the case for all ecommerce stores’? Are there scenarios where a company could have a loyal customer base, without also having a strong online presence?

 

Can you have a loyal customer base without a strong online presence?

French accessories and luggage maker, Goyard, contradicts the idea you need a strong online presence to build customer loyalty.

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Goyard only has a small number of products available in a few variations of colour. Customers also expect to wait between one and four months for one of their products. So, you’re unable to view their products, let alone buy them on their website. It features a video describing the history of the brand and some contact details.

Despite this distinct lack of an online presence, Goyard still manages to have a cult following.

How have they managed to do this? We attribute Goyard’s success to three key factors:

  • They appeal to the idea of mystery and discretion
  • They practice and encourage honesty
  • It was never supposed to be a mass produced product

 

They appeal to the idea of mystery and discretion

Goyard’s customers enjoy the idea of a discreet, luxury product untarnished by excessive marketing efforts.

 

They practice and encourage honesty

Goyard doesn’t sell their product online. They use their website as a way to educate customers on the history and traditions of the brand.

Goyard’s lack of online presence works because they already have an established loyal customer base. Their customers have no want to buy the products online. So, there is no need for them to advertise online.

 

It was never supposed to be a mass produced product

Do you remember we said your customers are online, so you should be too? Goyard understands its customers. Most of them are not online, and those that are, don’t need the business to have an online presence.  

You should only aim to have a strong online presence if it makes sense for your company.

 

What does this mean for your business

It is clear there are some great benefits from having an online presence. Yet, it’s not the case that one size fits all.

 In Goyard’s case, it would be unwise to embrace ecommerce. In this instance, the company would be acting in a way that goes against the brand image and heritage.

It’s crucial to understand every ecommerce store is different. If you have found a way to increase and sustain your customers’ loyalty, that’s what you should do. If you’re yet to find a way, why not try increasing your online presence to see if you benefit? To gain loyal customers, you need to know them. You need to know what they need and what they want.

 

Goyard’s flagship store at 233 Rue St. Honorè, Paris

Images by Paul Arps and also taken from Pixabay used under the Creative Commons license. 

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