When a company really resonates with its customers on a deeper level, there are tangible benefits for both the buyer and the brand.
A 2018 industry study found that retail customers who feel an emotional connection to brands will spend at least two times more with their preferred brands. Moreover, they can generate a 306% higher lifetime value compared to consumers who are satisfied but don't feel the same connection.
"Retail customers who feel an emotional connection to brands can have a 306% higher lifetime value."
All of this support for the brand doesn't come out of nowhere. Rather, it's the result of aligned values, exceptional products and services, and positive customer experiences time and time again. But, as ecommerce businesses know, it's not always easy to find new ways to keep your customers engaged.
Here are several fresh ideas for staying connected with loyal customers while also providing helpful resources and gaining valuable insights from customer interactions.
1. Curated newsletters
Personalization is a fast-growing consumer preference. A 2018 Accenture survey of 8,000 customers worldwide found that a staggering 91% of consumers would be "more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations."
Loyal customers, in particular, expect to be treated as people who keep coming back. They've spent enough time browsing and buying that ecommerce companies should be able to curate email newsletters featuring personalized product picks suited to their tastes.
2. Gamified activities
Instead of creating ads and informational resources to promote products and services, digital magazine CIO suggests distilling the key points into a free online game so customers can experience the services and their impact firsthand.
For instance, a bank might launch an investing game or a sports apparel brand might create a racing game — all the while, the customer will learn how to apply best practices and get ahead in the game and the real world. Making the game easy enough for customers to win and populating it with discounts and other deals will help make it more fun and rewarding.
3. Behind-the-scenes experiences
When customers feel connected to a brand, they love getting glimpses of what happens behind the scenes. Try sharing stories, pictures and other virtual experiences that show who makes the magic happen and how they do it. This can make already loyal customers feel like part of the team. Plus it's a great way to show your company's values in action.
4. Social media engagement
According to an ongoing research project summarized in the Harvard Business Review, branded social media posts that were "relational" and "intellectual" were the most successful in generating sales from customers who were members of a loyalty program.
As the authors explained, "Relational posts make a connection beyond the recipient, for instance encouraging the use of product together with others, or as part of a tribe of interested consumers. Intellectual posts prod the recipient to engage in conscious mental processing, perhaps through humor, problem solving or creativity."
Using social media to forge relationships across the customer community help foster feelings of belonging. Meanwhile, detailed and informative posts give curious and well-informed buyers the level of information they're eager to consume. Both methods promote staying connected with loyal customers across your social accounts.
5. Customer satisfaction surveys
Your most loyal customers probably have a lot to say about your brand, from what they've loved all along to the aspects they would like to see changed or improved. Invite customers to share their opinions in a quick and easy customer satisfaction survey. Then, demonstrate how you're responding to customer input. These are both important ways to gather meaningful insights while making valuable buyers feel like they're being heard and valued.
To start staying connected with loyal customers through these types of surveys, personalized communications and other experiences, contact SFG to learn more about our industry-leading customer care services for ecommerce businesses.