One thing can be especially true when it comes to conceptualizing and building an online store—it’s easy to get caught up in the money side of things. Profit is a very important factor, of course, in building your online shop, so it’s only natural that we think of profit off the bat.
While this is all fine and well, ensuring the long-term success of your business means connecting with your customers and building an ecommerce store with services and business ethics that leave a resounding positive effect on your buyers and online store visitors. Working with a business scheme that revolved around getting as much money out of your customers can seem seedy and can harbor distrust in your customers.
Building a relationship with your customers that goes beyond a cold business transaction is key to learning and understanding your customers’ needs—an understanding that is also key in gaining return customers, referrals, and more profit in the long run.
Brands that can maintain great customer relations have an edge in the sometimes crowded and fiercely competitive world of ecommerce, and those brands that focus on creating great customer relations are building a strategy aimed at long-term success.
For small online businesses, one advantage that you have is that the size of your company will better allow you to build rapport, connect and reach out to your customers at a personal level. This strengthens your customer relations and can give you an edge over ecommerce industry giants.
This article is all about how to create that great and long-lasting customer relationship, how to nurture it, and how to keep it strong. To learn more, let’s keep reading and dive into the five ways you can create a better relationship with your online customers.
1. Reward Them
When you reward loyal customers, that gives them an incentive to keep on coming back to your store. One thing that you can do is implement a reward system or loyalty program to entice your shoppers to make purchases with you.
When you implement the use of a loyalty program in your store, you are setting up a reward program that offers your customers rewards, coupons, discounts, merchandise, etc. Think of it as a way to shop appreciation for your customers, because you value them and you value their loyalty.
A cool example comes from South-East Asia’s leading online shopping company called Shopee, which rewards customers with daily points for logging into their store. Shoppers who visit 7 days in a row, get more points, which corresponds to currency. They even have games on their site for shoppers to win points, and they give out free shipping vouchers a few times a month. This tactic has led to hoards of shoppers visiting every day, earning points while planning out their future purchases.
One other great arrangement your store can try is a simple point system where your customers can earn points every time they complete an action on your site or whenever they make a purchase. Point systems are a super-effective way of getting your customers to keep coming back to your store as increasing their points is an incentive in of itself.
Points can correspond to money that customers can redeem to get a discount, freebies, or VIP benefits.
Setting up a way to reward your loyal customers can be a great way to give value back to your customers and can actually make the online shopping experience more fun, giving them more incentives to shop with you than with a different brand.
In any relationship, we all know that communication is vital, and this remains true for ecommerce stores as well in developing a better relationship with your customers.
One of the greatest sources of frustration for people is when they approach a company with a concern, they either get a generic, unhelpful, and automated response, or they never hear back from the company at all! This is enough to make anyone abandon their previous loyalty to you, and find another business with better and more responsive communication channels. And they really should.
One awesome thing you can do for your customers is to offer them the option of live chat. Live chat is great because it a way to get your customers’ problems solved quickly and easily. Live chat also just so happens to be the most preferred platform for getting in touch with businesses, because it is convenient and it spares everyone involved the awkward phone call conversations. Customers are reportedly more satisfied by live chat as it saves them a lot of effort to get in touch with you.
Live chat isn’t just great for your customers, it’s also great for you, the business owner—especially if you are running a small online shop and you deal with business in a very hands-on manner. Offering live chat on your dropshipping website can be a great way for you to boost revenue and gather useful consumer insights. Chatting also allows for immediate support, which allows you to satisfy customers right away.
3. Ask For Insight
By asking your customers for insight, we mean more than just asking them to write up a review for their latest purchase. When you care about your customers’ insight, it is a way of involving your shoppers in small, but significant aspects of your shop. It’s one great way of showing them that their opinions matter to you and your online business.
You can gather feedback from your customers through surveys, by monitoring your social media comments and messages, encouraging reviews and testimonials, and having a rating system on your product page.
A nice example of involving your customers in your decision-making is to introduce social media polls, like on Instagram Stories, so that your customers can have a vote and feel valued for their opinion. What they vote on can be as simple and as trivial as whether your customers prefer a range of new t-shirts in pastel or neon.
When you give customers the option to interact with you through feedback, this means that as a business, you care about your customers and want to provide them with great service, while not shying away from criticism and your customers’ desires.
4. Social Media
Think of social media as your way of going to where your target customers are. It’s the ultimate way to connect these days, especially when you operate an online-only shop.
Social media is downright crucial these days, not just for posting ads, but for connecting with and engaging your customers. To successfully establish a better relationship, you’ll have to prepare to engage on a variety of social media platforms. Think Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms where you know your target consumers like to gather.
Examples of brands that are killing it on social media right now are Netflix on Instagram. They’ve got witty captions to their pictures, and reply to customer comments with equally witty and sometimes funny verbiage.
Their interactions on Instagram feel natural, almost as if one of their online users or customers wrote them. The result is that people love what Netflix is doing on social media, they comment on their posts and often give some feedback that the brand often comments back on, creating a great environment for engagement, some fun, and two-way interaction.
With this in mind, it’s time for you to start doing some research into creating your social media strategy, and one of the best ways is to look at brands that are doing it right by using these platforms to connect with their customers.
5. Be Honest And Transparent
One other important aspect of any relationship is honesty and transparency. Today’s customers are especially well researched, knowledgeable about their purchases, and demand for fair practices—resulting in shoppers that crave honest brands more than ever before.
Think of brands that advertise falsely and outright lie to their customers like Nutella, Vitamin Water, and every cigarette company in the past. Today, brands like that will get called out for their lies and false claims, because customers know better now than to buy into false claims.
Remember that trust is the foundation that leads to deeper engagement with your customers; it is what builds a strong business and a brand’s reputation. It’s important that when you do things like writing product descriptions and advertising, that you are not tricking your customers into making a purchase with false promises that your product will not be able to deliver.
Customers are loyal to brands and businesses that they trust. If you are unable to deliver what you promised through your brand and service, this will give your customers valid reasons not to trust you, and to look for a better, more trustworthy store elsewhere. Remember, the point is not to swindle your customers to improve your bottom line.
Transparency in dealing with customers is also important. Another important aspect of communication means that you have to provide clear and honest answers to any customer questions or concerns.
Transparency also involves giving customers reasonable expectations for your products and delivery services. One way to make this easier for you is to create an FAQ page, allow customers to track their orders, and include detailed product and service information across your product pages because it is your duty to keep customers informed and adequately educated about their purchases.
Back to You
Remember that the most important things to building a great relationship with your online customers simply comes down to showing that you value them by rewarding them for their loyalty, as well as asking for their feedback, having open communication that includes honesty and transparency, and engaging with them through various channels like social media, and by making it easy to reach you through communication channels like live chat.
In today’s online world where ecommerce and online shopping is on an ever-rising tide, focusing on developing better customer relationships is more significant than ever before. The work that you put into building and maintaining this relationship can help you build an online store that is made to last for the long run because you’ll be riding on the wave of your customers’ loyalty, which will really pay off in increasing your revenue and growing your business into something greater than you may have originally imaged.
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