What are the best ecommerce loyalty programs

The 7 best customer loyalty strategies for ecommerce websites

Tired of constantly looking for new customers? Life is a lot easier when you make your existing customers happy enough to keep coming back to you.

It is more affordable to keep existing customers than to recruit new ones all the time.

That sounds great - who doesn't want to save money?

According to this, the probability that an existing customer will buy is 70%, while the probability that a new customer will buy is 5%.

To get the most out of customers who have already made a purchase, let's look at the 7 best retention strategies. These will boost your sales in the ecommerce space.

Implement a loyalty program

It is very likely that millennials will be a large part of your target audience. One thing they want from you is a loyalty program because 68% of this group are not loyal to a brand if it doesn't offer a loyalty program.

Many small businesses and eCommerce stores offer loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat purchases. For example, if a customer makes 5 different purchases, you could reward them with a discount on their next purchase.

Strategies like ‘Buy one, get one for free’ do not work in the eCommerce sector, as this can quickly lead to problems. Instead, you could offer free delivery when a customer has used enough points in the loyalty program or you could offer credits. Both strategies make customers feel good when they shop in your store. Use these rewards to encourage shoppers to return to your store.

Loyalty programs are easy to implement. If you have a Shopify store, you can download their loyalty apps.

Here are some loyalty programs you can implement:

  • The point system: This is the most basic and popular program among eCommerce stores because the points system is super-simple and effective. It works like this: every time a customer makes a purchase, they receive a certain number of points. Larger purchases are worth more points than smaller ones. For example, $ 10 could be worth a single point, while $ 50 could be worth five points. The simpler you design the point system, the more attractive it is for the customer. Who wants to waste a lot of time adding up points?
  • The tier system: The more loyal someone is to your company, the greater their reward. Long-term members benefit the most from this system as the rewards grow over time. For example, you could create four levels that customers can unlock after reaching a certain number of points. Each stage reveals a greater and better reward than the previous one.
  • Recommend to a friend: Many customers use this program, which rewards customers when they recommend the company to a friend. For example, Lyft offers a € 10 bonus to every driver who recommends the service to a passenger.
  • Loyalty rewards for multiple visits: This loyalty program is popular in the entertainment, travel and restaurant sectors. The more people come to visit with a customer or the more they spend together, the more they 'earn'.

Find a way you can encourage customers to make a second purchase.

Research shows that after nine or 10 purchases, a customer does not become loyal and easier to persuade into making a purchase. But this already happens afterwards only three purchases. In fact, research shows that purchases increase 27% after the third order.

That means you have to put all of the hard work in at the beginning so that every customer makes a second purchase. Once they have taken this essential step, they will be loyal to you.

To encourage second purchases, you should put everything in a 'welcome' email. Instead of sending out a general thank you email, do more to create a personalized welcome email and show the customer that they are truly valued. Also include a time-limited offer for the customer's next purchase. This creates a sense of urgency, which could be enough to trigger a second purchase.

Here are more ways to encourage that essential second purchase:

1) Tell them about your loyalty program

If you have a loyalty program, don't keep it a secret. Make sure that new customers are informed about this immediately. Show them how many points their purchase could be worth and how this can lead to free gifts over time.

Use a pop-up to draw attention to your loyalty program. For example, you can show someone who is making a purchase that they could get 100 loyalty points for recommending your business to a friend.

Arouse your interest!

2) Reward customer feedback

Customer feedback is always good as it tells you what you can do better. It shows what customers want and it makes first-time customers loyal. Most customers are willing to leave feedback.

In order to encourage feedback and thereby be able to offer your customers what they want (which in turn leads to repeated purchases), you could offer a voucher in return for feedback.

3) Place recommendations for other products in the checkout email

The checkout email is a great opportunity to keep customers coming back to your store. Instead of just listing the facts of the order, you could include relevant, matching product recommendations that customers may be interested in. This is similar to Amazon’s tactic Customers who bought this product also bought… ’. It's a very effective way of getting buyers to take the next step.

Build relationships

You've probably heard by now that establishing relationships with your customers is huge in 2019. The hard sell tactic no longer exists - at least not in the eCommerce world - instead, interested parties want products to be marketed to them.

In addition, they wish to establish a connection with you.

Of course, building customer relationships takes time. We already understand. However, there are easier way to do this:

1) Show your gratitude

Reward the top 20% of your customers - after all, they are responsible for the most sales - every month with a personalized gift card or thank you email. At Nightwatch we send the users who have given us feedback to refine our app, for example Slovenian chocolates. This strengthens the favor and a positive view of our company. It also promotes customer loyalty.

It's also very easy. Simply use an app like TouchCard and you can send individual gestures with which you stand out from the competition.

2) Create value

No matter where you look - in every area - companies create a lot of added value for their customers. It seems like they are giving more than they are taking.

When you add value, you should also create a sense of benevolence. Customers will see that you add value to them, which creates a positive attitude towards your brand. After a while, that benevolence and positive attitude turns into loyalty.

The easiest way to add value to your customers is to offer them a lot of educational material. What can you teach them about your niche for free? What content can you create that will make a positive difference in customers' lives?

Added value is about giving more without asking for more. If a customer sees that they are getting more benefits from an offer than you, it can lead to their loyalty.

3) Listen to your customers

Ask for feedback - and then really listen to that feedback and act on it.

Good or bad, customer feedback will help you improve your services and products. You don't know what your customers really want until they can voice it.

In addition to soliciting direct feedback, you can also pay attention to what customers are saying on social media. Participate in conversations, interact with people, and answer their questions.

If you choose to respond to negative feedback or criticism as well, make sure you provide an appropriate response. Instead of getting angry, stay calm, have compassion for them and show that you will do everything possible to improve the service.

Personalize the buying experience

Imagine knowing exactly what customers want from you - what products they want to buy, what content they want to see - it would be much easier for you to retain more customers.

69% of customers want a personalized shopping experience. This means that they want an experience that is precisely tailored to them, their needs and wants.

Amazon is already doing that. Every time someone makes a purchase, Amazon saves the history and offers similar products.

Personalization - which you can achieve by reviewing and studying your data before dividing your target audience into smaller sections - improves conversions and sales. Because it gives customers more of what they actually want and less of what they don't need, this can also promote customer loyalty.

Avoid abandoned shopping carts

Abandoned carts aren't great because every time someone leaves a cart, you lose the opportunity to turn that person into a customer. A customer has almost reached the end and suddenly he disappears.

The thing about abandoned carts is that there's always a reason a customer doesn't complete the checkout process. According to data, 56% of customers abandon their purchase due to unexpected costs, for example shipping costs, while 25% abandon the shopping cart due to poor navigation on the website.

At the same time, 21% say that the process seems too long to them and 17% lack a feeling of trust.

In order to improve these statistics in your own company, it is important to eliminate any hidden costs. Your website should be as user-friendly as possible. Also add valid SSL certificates to your shop to strengthen trust.

Here are other ways you can prevent abandoned purchases:

1) Send out emails when the cart is abandoned

If you have already collected the email address, you should immediately send an email to a prospect as soon as they abandoned the purchase. You can create an automatic e-mail for this via your autoresponder.

If the customer still does not return to their shopping cart, you can send a second email after 24 hours.

Show them products and include a call to action that links to your page.

2) Get in touch personally

Autoresponders work fine, but if you're out of luck, it could be because your emails aren't personal enough.

If so, you need to take the time to personally contact customers who have abandoned their purchase. Ask if you can be of any assistance to them and find out what the problem was. Any feedback you receive is of great value as it can reveal the reason customers are abandoning the cart.

3) Look at your funnel

There might be a certain step in your sales funnel that unsettles people.

Take a look at your analytics to find out what's stopping the flow of conversions. This will allow you to get the problem right and see if the results change.

Introduce targeted web push notifications

Web push notifications are a great way to bring customers back to your website as they are only sent to customers who have volunteered for them. This means that all customers who receive such notifications really want them.

This is great and all you have to do is ask them once for permission to send these push notifications before dividing your subscribers into different groups (you can use a tool like VWO Engage) and you're ready to use your notifications, to inform about new products and discounts that may be of interest to customers.

Offer great customer support

Lastly, simply improving your customer support can also help with customer loyalty.

Statistics show that if your customer support is poor, customers are 4 times more likely to switch to a competitor.

Improving your customer support isn't even difficult. However, you will likely need to make a change or two. For one, you should offer support across multiple channels so that customers can reach you where they want. Introduce chatbots to answer customer questions at lightning speed. Also, keep an eye on your social media profiles, especially Twitter, where customers are the most likely to post their concerns. Do not ignore these requests, reply to them as soon as possible.

All in all, loyalty takes a lot of work, but since it saves you a lot of money and increases sales over the long term, it's definitely worth the work. Create a top-notch loyalty program, make the essential second purchase, and work hard on a personalized customer experience.

And don't forget the abandoned shopping carts - they're pretty important.

Author of the guest post

Aljaz Fajmut

Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of and Nightwatch - a search visibility tool of the next generation.

Matej Kukucka

Head of Marketing

I am currently managing marketing efforts here at LiveAgent. I love SaaS products and according to my colleagues I am using too many browser extensions. Outside of my computer I play chess and drink too much coffee.