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Loyalty Connect: Building long-term connections to retain

As part of our Loyalty Connect event, we held a number of panels exploring the latest trends in ecommerce and customer loyalty. We brought experts and keynote speakers together to virtually share the trends set to build your customers’ loyalty and elevate your retention rates in 2022. 

In this third panel, we spoke to representatives from Recharge, Omnisend, Okendo, and Gorgias. We explore how brands can build long-term genuine relationships with a result of increased retention rates and long-lasting brand loyalty throughout 2022. 

Not got time to watch? We’ve summarized all the key points in the rest of the article.

1. Every brand is aiming for lifetime loyalty.  What is the main factor that makes a shopper loyal to a brand? 

First and foremost, it’s the product. If you don’t have a product that is fulfilling some consumer need then you don’t have the base for lifetime loyalty at all. 

Once the product is right, then you can make sure elements like personalization, customer service and community are optimized. If they’re done well they will help to encourage customers to come back. 

From a subscription standpoint, providing flexibility is also key to securing lifetime loyalty. Allow customers to conveniently access their subscriptions, make adjustments to suit their habits and make their decisions a little bit easier. Get closer to the customer. This will help to prevent product fatigue and churn out. 

You should also make sure you segment your customer base. Don’t waste marketing resources on customers that are already VIP customers. 

A recent Forbes article proposed that on average we see around 10,000 advertisements a day in one form or the other. So you also have to be able to be super relevant because there is lots of noise out there. Think about how you can provide relevancy from the first moment that a customer interacts with your brand.

2. Some merchants find it difficult to build customer relationships. How do you make building customer relationships part of your day-to-day operations without the process being too time-consuming?

Start with the segments you know will convert at a higher rate. For example, with Omnisend customers around 40% of revenue is driven from automations. So there’s a lot of potency in automations like cart abandonment or browse abandonment. If you get these segments right then you will be able to drive a large portion of revenue. 

Once you have the basics in place then you can start thinking about what is unique about your brand. How can you segment further? For example, if you’re a skincare brand would you message oily and dry skin customers with the same content. 

3. How can you turn good customers into advocates? 

One simple thing to do is to automate your review request process. Then if a customer leaves a positive review you can start a two-way dialogue. To do this, integrate Okendo reviews with LoyaltyLion’s loyalty program and use these reviews to inform their future customer experience. This is a low-cost way to turn your loyal customers into brand advocates and use them to bring more customers on board.

From a subscription standpoint, we see that lots of brands have subscribers that make recurring purchases and use the benefits, especially if there is a loyalty program in place. Within that model, there is an opportunity to tap into your loyal customer a little bit more. You need to seamlessly connect your marketing and your retention strategy.

4. A lot of merchants are scrambling against each other to acquire customers. Have you seen any interesting acquisition efforts to fight against the current cost of acquisition? 

A big trend of the moment is evangelizing your customers. Let them be your brand advocates. 

Things started with macro-influencers. Brands were finding the biggest celebrity and paying them loads of money to advertise their product. This can work for certain brands. However, more and more we’re seeing brands turn to micro-influencers to increase acquisition efforts. 

You can go a step further by turning your everyday customers into micro-influencers themselves. Brands can leverage their Instagram follower information to pinpoint their most valuable customers and create brand advocates. 

The resurgence of micro-influencers in recent years has been great for acquisition because it’s local, it’s targeted, somewhat acquaintance-based and it’s not cringey. You can own the narrative and own the conversations. 

5. The opt-out era is one of the biggest challenges facing brands today. What should brands prioritize to make sure they are not over-promising and under-delivering? And what is the number one recommendation to help merchants build long-lasting relationships? 

Personalization is the key. In today’s market, customers already expect this level of service so going into 2022 it should be about how you can improve your personalization features. 

Zero-party data is going to be critical to improving personalization, especially with iOS privacy cookies going away. Getting data directly from customers is going to be the key to creating personalized experiences moving forward. However, don’t go crazy. Make sure you are only asking for data that you are actually going to use. 

Consumers are already hesitant about giving brands too much information. So, from a review or survey perspective, make sure you are asking relevant questions and collecting useful data. This will help retain your customers’ trust and improve your personalization efforts. 

Getting to know your customers on the micro and macro level is also vital. On the micro-level, you can learn through individual interactions via email or help desk. On the macro level you should look at your customer journey and understand where, along that journey, your customers are making certain decisions. Ultimately, you want to create less friction in that customer journey, adjust and reiterate. 

You should try to give as much power as possible to customers themselves. You can use self-serve portals that allow customers to take action without having to interact with customer support. 

To learn more about building long-term connections to retain, download the 2022 trends ebook

2022 Trends ebook: 10 trends shaping the ecommerce loyalty landscape