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Even though we have heard time and again that acquiring a new customer is far more expensive than retaining existing one, ecommerce marketers spend most of their time and budgets in acquiring new customers. According to a report from Forrester, ecommerce marketers spend almost 80% of their interactive marketing budget on new customer acquisition channels like search and display advertising.
The report further concludes:
The underlying belief behind this fascination with traffic growth and new customer acquisition is that's what marketing is all about. But as the above stats show, it is not quite so. Since ROI from loyal and repeat customers is much higher than that from new customers, more attention needs to be paid to generating repeat customers.
But how do you generate repeat sales? How do you make your customers more loyal? That's what today's post is all about and we will discuss 6 strategies that can make your customers more loyal and massively increase your marketing ROI. These strategies include loyalty enhancing tools and techniques like transactional email marketing, customer loyalty programs, discounts on repeat purchases, conversion rate optimization, personalized product recommendations and more.
Let's discuss these one by one.
1. Make Your Brand Trustworthy
Customers will come back to you if they trust you and your products. Making your brand trustworthy isn't just about branding and advertising. It's about every brand interaction right from brand awareness to actual product usage. If you have done everything right and your products speak the same language as your advertising claims, customers will trust you and your products. This trust will, in turn translate to further sales.
But isn't this what all ecommerce brands strive to do? Yes, they do, but only a handful manage to remain trustworthy through top quality products, a great shopping experience and personalized customer support. Amazon is a top online retailer not just because it has the biggest stock of products but because it is most credible and tries the hardest to make every customer happy.
2. Provide Exemplary Customer Service
Building better customer relationship is actually part of the overall branding process, but since customer relationships are so important that they can make or break an ecommerce business we will discuss it separately. According to a brand loyalty survey by Clickfox, great customer service is one of the biggest (second only to the product quality) reasons customers stay loyal to a brand. Equip your online store with self-support options like documentation, FAQ, community Q&A, etc to solve as many customer queries as you can, without them having to contact you. In case, none of this answers customers queries provide multiple options for them to contact you including live chat, contact forms and toll free numbers. And when any customer does contact you, make their effort worthwhile and solve their issues as fast and as quickly as you can. This experience is so critical for the success of your business that if you need to put in place sophisticated systems, it's totally worth the investment.
Providing exemplary customer support is also a matter of organizational culture and a by product of satisfied and motivated employees. If you employees are happy they will keep your customers also happy.
Nowhere is the effect of great customers support more evident than in social media. Today social channel is the de facto route for solving customers queries and if not handled well, these can snowball into a major PR disaster and can cost the brand dearly. Conversely, great customer support on social media can get broadcasted to thousands of people overnight and can act as a major publicity tool for a brand.
3. Give A Personalized Shopping Experience
Personalized product recommendations is a great way to generate repeat sales by recommending relevant and highly desirable products to your existing customers. The goal is to induce them to buy more stuff from you, and if you are doing everything right, there is no reason why they wouldn't.
When you visit an online store you almost always have to search for your favourite category or product. What if the home page always showed product categories that you are interested in and usually shop, based on your shopping and browsing history? This what Amazon has been doing so well since they started out.
Or when you visit an online fashion store, what if you get the right recommendations based not only on what would suit best on you but also what is most trendy in the market? This is what Bombfell, a one-of-a-kind online fashion store does. It gets customers details and asks its fashions stylists to make the best recommendations based on the details provided and on what's hot in the market.
Another way to personalize shopping for buyers is to allow them to personalize their products using a good online product customization tool. For example, if you have an online gift store wouldn’t your customers love it, if you allow them to easily personalize their gift items for their loved one and make them “unique”. After all, who would want a unique gift with their name or picture on it?
You can also allow customers to pick their own delivery dates for the products they order from your store, giving them another good reason to shop from you.
4. Launch Customer Loyalty Programs
Launching a customer loyalty program is one of the best ways to make your customers loyal and come back to you again and again. Any good loyalty program rewards customers each time they make a purchase. This reward can be in the form of store credits, discounts, or one time rewards. You can also make your loyalty program social and benefit from the viral nature of social media interaction. Let take a closer look at some loyalty program ideas:
Store Credits – Offer your customers store credits for every purchase that they can redeem in their subsequent purchase. So every time they buy something from you they get some credit and to redeem that they again buy from you and accrue some more credits. This results in a cycle that let you keep your customers to yourself.
Gamification/Points System – Another good way of implementing a loyalty program is to reward your customers for every action they take on your store like filling up their profile details, adding a profile photo, adding product reviews, referring other customers on social media and off course, buying more stuff from you. All these points get accumulated and once they reach a predefined limit they can be redeemed by the customer.
Discounts/Gifts – You can also offer discounts or gifts when a customer makes a certain number or amount of purchases from your store. This will induce customers to make more than one purchase.
5. Delight Your Customers
Personalized emails and handwritten notes, specially the ones that surprise and delight customers can be a great way to engage with customers, establish trust and make them more loyal. Ecommerce customers generally don't expect personalized emails and certainly don't expect handwritten or postal mails.
In an age when everything is getting automated and mechanized, personalization and communication, the old fashioned way can go a long way in delighting customers and making them more loyal.
Here are some actionable strategies you can use:
6. Send Newsletters
Newsletters are a form of transactional email marketing that goes a long way in maintaining high brand recall amongst your customers.
Send out content from your blog, personalized product recommendations, new product launches and other updates about the business in a periodic newsletter. Strike a balance between sending too frequent (daily) mails or sending so infrequently that they forget your name by the time they receive your next newsletter. Ideally send a newsletter every week.
None of the above loyalty ideas will work if you don't sell quality products and services. There simply isn't anyway you can get away with poor quality products or service, no matter how great your loyalty program or how high your discounts.
But assuming you have done everything you can to make your product offering at par or better than your competition, these strategies will give you a home run as far as retaining customers is concerned. Ecommerce industry is notorious for customers switching from one shop to another depending on who is offering the higher discount. So if your loyalty strategy is driven entirely by discounts and offers, then it isn't a loyalty strategy at all.
So focus on building a great ecommerce brand that stands for quality products, and exemplary service and support. If you can do this successfully, your customers will never leave you.
Australia is home to the second largest online population in the Asia-Pacific region and one of the biggest ecommerce industries in the world. In 2015, the Australian ecommerce industry was worth $19.02 billion and will be close to $21 billion in 2016. Complementing this huge industry and assisting in its growth are the shipping companies of Australia. Without a reliable shipping partner any ecommerce business is guaranteed to fail.
Australia has many global shipping brands as well as Australia specific shipping providers. Let's take a look at 3 of the best shipping option you have, if you are an Australian ecommerce store owner.
Australian eCommerce industry has brought a massive change over the past few years. Australia Post has adopted hottest trends such as same-day delivery, video marketing, omni channel buying behavior, mobile commerce and many others. All these features helped them grow sales adequately. Here are the highlights of Australia Post and primary reasons why it is the leading shipping company in Australia.
1. Constant Modernization:
Being a renowned Australian shipping partner of e-retailers, Australia Post consistently innovates shipping solutions as per their customers’ needs and feasibility. They have bifurcated delivery into priority delivery and standard delivery, created effective delivery network nationwide, and incorporated various technologies in delivery mechanism. Australia Post, through its API also provide live shipping rates to ecommerce businesses. You can easily incorporate live rates in your store using Australia Post Shipping extension.
2. eCommerce Oriented Business Method: Australia Post is known for its eCommerce focused business strategies and actively invests strengthening its eCommerce solutions for international and domestic market.
3. Collaboration With International Shipping Companies:
So as to reinforce its international delivery capabilities, Australia Post collaborates with international shipping solutions to form a wide delivery network.
4. Wide Range Of Shipping Options:
Whether you want to pay by distance and size or pay fixed prices for your packages, whether you want international or domestic delivery options, whether you want Australia Post to do packaging for you or you want to pack parcels for yourself, there are a plethora of options available.
5. Customer Focused Personalized Shipping Solutions:
With approximately 40% customers choosing to have custom shipping solutions on their purchase, Australia Post does the same. It also offers return shipping services like Paid Return Services, eParcel Services and many others to choose from.
DHL is a major global player in International courier and shipping services and is a major player in Australia too.
1. Easy Shipping Process:
DHL offers easy shipping process to its users. Using DHL eCommerce shipping solutions, you can calculate shipping costs, choose services, ship online, schedule a parcel pick up and many more.
2. Business Across The Globe:
Since international trading is a tricky process, with DHL, customers can get global custom requirements easily fulfilled with local import & export support and resources. This expands business opportunities for Australian merchants.
3. DHL Express Partnerships:
DHL Express Partnerships help support your eCommerce business discounts, specialty services and solutions to benefit your company.
4. Facts About Countries:
You can learn about major countries, get to know their trading internationally and understand their requirements of potential customers. You can select a country to learn the most important business facts.
5. Shipping Advice:
With DHL’s shipping advice, you can clearly know before you ship by parcel’s weight, size and commodity advice. You can access help on the basis of need for small to medium size business.
Why FedEx is another major global player prominent in Australia too, behind Australia Post and DHL. Here are some of the reasons why you should go with FedEx.
1. Small Business Shipping Solutions:
FedEx helps merchants have small business shipping solutions & services. With FedEx, you can schedule a pickup, get prices and transit times, find locations, order shipping supplies and handle shipping activities. Pick any online tool, mobile app or integration service to utilize various shipping solutions of FedEx.
2. Web Services:
Be it a small size business or big, you can integrate shipping, tracking, rating and more to your eCommerce store, without taking a help of a programmer. FedEx has Web Integration Wizard which is a free web app that generates ready to use customized HTML codes. The wizard handles the toughest aspects of developing and coding FedEx web services into an eCommerce store.
3. Well Compatible Solutions Program:
Have you set up an eCommerce store and tried a lot to grow it to the next level? Avail with a software solution with FedEx built in functionality. Merchants can create shipping labels; manage shipments with software to use it every day.
4. Worldwide Shipping Services:
You can have 8 different options to ship across the world. Use International Shipping 101, get basic rates, create labels, find documents and more. If you an assistance on documents, duties and taxes, FedEx offers that too! You can also use FedEx Electronic Trade Documents to proceed further for the custom documentation.
5. Promotions & Offers:
With FedEx can save money by using their FedEx alliances with exclusive small business offers and discounts which help you grow your eCommerce business. You can efficiently manage shipping, tracking, document printing and many more elements.
If you are in the ecommerce business in Australia and you only shipping domestically, i.e. within Australia, then Australia Post is your best option. If you also provide international shipping then you can go with any of the above shipping partners.
Meet Frank. He is a smart, clever, passionate and determined business person. Frank runs an online store. He is quite business savvy and understands the value of satisfied and repeat customers for his online store.
So Frank has been using one of the most popular CRM tools, SugarCRM for quite some time now. His customers are happy and his business is growing steadily.
One day, Frank realized that he is too much reliant on intuitive decision making and needs feedback from his customers and internal stakeholders for some of the important business and marketing decisions.
Frank knows from experience that doing survey through phone calls or on ground activities are far too expensive. And online methods like emails or general surveys from a web page are not efficient methods of using existing customer data from his CRM system.
After much frustration and many days of helplessness and inaction, during one of his online searches, Frank came across SurveyRocket, and he immediately knew this is what he wanted!
Frank had a sneak peek into Survey Rocket and its features – Create, Design, Send & Analyze – and various other benefits it offers. Frank was finally going to conduct surveys just the way he wanted it and was really excited.
He can now create multiple surveys using templates and send survey invitations easily to accounts, contacts, leads and other users. He can now conduct surveys faster and easier than before.
Frank is now not solely dependent on his intuition and guesswork. He gets real time feedback from customers, whenever he wants.
Frank is contended, relaxed, happy and having more cuppa coffee than before.
How well is your organization at helping customers solve their concerns quickly and easily? What practice do you follow to keep your customers contended? How do you take follow ups on your offerings? The key is to come up with a solution that allows you to smoothly integrate customer feedback into your services. Staying in touch with your consumers after they have bought your products is important in order to ensure that they come back to you again and do business with you.
Turning visitors into loyal customers is of course a tough thing and you need to be ready with an appropriate strategy to get desired results. Targeted online surveys to help you understand what your customers want is a great way to turn casual visitors into paying customers. Surveys those are short and to-the-point get the best responses from customers.
Here are 10 tips that will help you create the perfect online surveys.
1. Define Purpose Of Your Survey Clearly
First step is to know the purpose of creating an online survey. Don’t just create a survey and jump into results that take you “Nowhere”. Ask yourself What is the purpose of your survey? Why do you want to create it? What do you expect from the survey? How will you use the survey data? What impact will the feedback have on your customers?
All above questions are necessary to ask while defining the objectives of your online surveys. Getting the objectives right will help you create quality surveys that get the right feedback. Feedback that you can use for improving your product offering and services.
2. Keep Surveys Focused & Short
Surveys that are short and focused benefit you a lot from both quality and quantity point of view. Short surveys normally get higher replies and low abandonment among survey respondents. It is human nature to get things done as quickly as possible. And that is why your surveys must be to the point. Ensure each question is straightforward to help meet your defined objectives.
3. Create Simple Questions
Ensure the questions created are easy to understand. Try to avoid technical words and the usage of jargons. Also make them specific and direct all the time.
4. Use Closed Ended Questions
Your survey should consist of closed ended questions with specific options as answers. This helps survey respondents answer quickly and you have done all the thinking for them. These questions can take the form of yes or no, rating scales or multiple choices. Closed ended surveys are far more effective in getting the right and standardized responses and thus makes survey analysis fast and easy.
5. Create Rating Scale Questions Constantly
Rating scales are an ideal way to compare and measure sets of variables. If you decide to use rating scales, keep them consistent in the survey. Use the same number of points on the scale and ensure meanings of high & low are consistent.
6. Logical Ordering Of Questions
Ensure the survey questions flow in a logical manner. Start off with easier questions that motivates the respondents to complete the survey. Use the more difficult questions in the middle and again end the survey with simple questions. This practice generally gives better results.
7. Test Surveys In Advance
Ensure you pre-test online surveys with a small group of target audience or co-workers who already know you are testing the survey. This would help find glitches before sending final surveys.
8. Keep Your Audiences In mind
Always keep your audience and their behavior in mind while executing surveys. According to experts, for online surveys, highest open rates and click rates are observed on Tuesdays and Fridays. But you must send your survey keeping in mind your audience. For example, if you are sending the survey to college going students, you would better send them on weekends when their colleges will be closed.
9. Consider Sending Reminders
Always remember to send reminders to those who have not replied to your surveys. It will boost the response rates. There is a high chance that you will not get optimum response the first time you send the survey. If you send reminders you maximize your survey's chances of getting replied to.
10. Offer An Incentive
It depends on the type of survey and your audience. You can offer incentives to greatly improve your response rates. People always like the idea of getting something back in return for their efforts. And if you give something back you can expect a much more enthusiastic response of your audience.
One of the biggest benefits of internet is the global reach it provides. And that's why online businesses like ecommerce are missing out on a great opportunity if they are not tapping into different geographical markets as much as they can. But targeting different geographies also means dealing with multiple languages. No matter how popular a language, it can't cater to a global audience.
This is especially true for the ecommerce industry as people will definitely not buy something they don't understand. The whole point of ecommerce business model is to transcend physical and geographical barriers and sell globally. Hence the need for multilingual ecommerce websites as they help target a much wider audience without much incremental efforts or monetary investments. For example if you have a Magento store, making it multilingual can be as simple as adding a language translator extension. If you do international shopping for your products, there is definitely no reason why you shouldn't have a multilingual website.
If you need more convincing here are 5 benefits of multilingual ecommerce websites, covered in some detail.
1. Increased market reach and bottomline
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a multilingual website is increase in market share and customer base. For example if your online store is in english and catering to only english speaking countries you can simply have a Mandarin version of your store and you will be able to cater to a billion plus chinese market. Or you can have a spanish version of your store and target Spain and whole of Latin America. Increased customer base would mean more revenues and profits.
2. Better Conversions
People love to be addressed in their native language. Having a multilingual store means that you get to convince more customers to buy your products. If you are an English speaker, imagine someone selling you a product in Russian or Chinese. Will you buy it? Even though people in most countries are familiar with English and may already be buying from your English only online store, you still have a huge opportunity of converting many more customers if you pitch to them in their native language.
3. More Customer Satisfaction
Not just better conversions, a multilingual store will also result in more customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. In today's age of commoditized online stores and cut-throat competition, it's great to have satisfied and loyal customers. Customers will appreciate the fact that you care about them enough to create a store in their language. And they will repay will repeat business.
4. Better SEO
Aside from the customer's perspective, having a multilingual store is also good from search engine's point of view. An online store with a country specific domain name, in the country's native language will always have an edge over a global store in English, all other things being constant. An ecommerce website in local language will have tremendous local SEO advantages over language neutral website. You can add your website in local business listings, have local partners and get visibility in local search results.
5. More Trust
If you encounter two similar ecommerce websites - one only in English and the other in English, Chinese, Spanish and French – which one will you trust more? Obviously the later one. You, like many others, would think that the second website would be bigger and would have more presence in countries that speak those 4 languages. You would think the second business is more “global” and would trust it more even though you are an English speaker. Having a multilingual store gives more weightage to your brand as the perception would be that you must have better resources to cater to multiple geographies in a dedicated manner.
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