Loyalty And Other Customer Retention Strategies

Loyalty And Other Customer Retention Strategies

4 MIN READ
Research by Hubspot has indicated that a huge 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service. 

 

Ask any retailer and they’ll tell you that their most profitable customers are the ones who come back time and time again. So why are so many retailers fixated on acquiring new customers rather than looking after their existing ones? 

According to research conducted by Bain & Co, increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.

If that isn’t a statistic to make retention a priority for you, then I don’t know what is! 

We’ve put together our top tips on how you can keep your customers happy and increase repeat purchases.

Implement a loyalty scheme

 

Loyalty schemes are a great part of any customer retention strategy. Give customers more of an incentive to shop with you by offering them a reward every time they do. Not only will these rewards make them feel valued but they can help prevent them from swaying towards your competitors. 

The kind of loyalty scheme that’s right for your business will depend on your customers and the products you stock. For frequent low-value purchases, points-based schemes are often preferred but for higher value items, tiered rewards schemes are popular – encouraging customers to spend that little bit extra every time they shop.

If you have both an online and bricks and mortar store, make sure your loyalty scheme is multi-channel so that customers can redeem their rewards both on your website and in-store.

Don’t let customers forget about you

 

The buying cycle doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase. Make sure that you’re using post-purchase email marketing to keep customers engaged with your brand. 

As a starting point make sure transactional emails include brand personality, are engaging and inform the user of any important aftercare information. You can even use these emails to tempt customers back to the site to purchase complimentary items or to read your recent blog posts.

A big no-no when it comes to email marketing is to bombard every customer in your database with every newsletter you produce. If you do this you’ll most likely see low open rates and high un-subscription rates. Instead, send your user’s personalised emails based on their previous purchases and browsing history. If you have the customer’s birthday it’s a nice touch to email them with a discount during their birthday month – a technique that works well for a number of retailers we work with.

If you don’t want customers to forget about you then don’t forget about them! If a customer hasn’t bought anything from you in a while then send them a personalised “We Miss You” email with a discount to encourage them back. 

Don’t forget to join up to dots by providing email receipts in-store. This will allow you to merge in-store and online customer data and prevent customer frustration. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving an abandoned basket email with a discount code for something you’ve already bought in-store! 

Integrate with a third-party review site

 

Reviews are not only great for creating trust, but they will also help you to provide better customer service and can be a key part of your overall customer retention strategy. 

Third-party impartial review sites give you the opportunity to find out where there are problems within your business and prevent them from happening again. 

Not only this, the star ratings that can be pulled from third party reviews are great for improving your click-through-rates from the SERPs.

It goes without saying but where customers do make complaints or leave bad reviews, make sure that issues are resolved quickly and that the customer is left feeling satisfied.

Provide great customer service

A bit of an obvious one but something that a lot of retailers are currently overlooking, and should be one of the most important customer retention strategies you use. With the growing use of the social media spotlight for brands and customers to interact, it’s so important to get this right first time. 

Great service starts as soon as someone lands on your website or enters your store. Make sure that every interaction a customer has with your brand is a good one. Don’t neglect your website’s user experience and make sure you’re getting feedback from shoppers on a regular basis. 

When the customer is on your website, make sure you’re providing contact telephone numbers on key decision pages and offer the use of a chatbot to help customers find what they’re looking for.

Customers’ delivery expectations are far higher than ever before. Customers expect delivery to be fast, precise, and most of the time, free. With retailers like ASOS and Boohoo offering 1-hour delivery windows and lots of retailers offering next day delivery when you order before 10 pm, the competition is high. Depending on the volumes you are shipping, these offerings may not be realistic for many small independent retailers. 

One thing smaller retailers can do is to constantly review their delivery offering and make sure that it is the best they can possibly provide. Couriers are continuously bringing out new services and solutions that may not have been available when you first integrated with them. You can also speak to your eCommerce provider about implementing a hybrid shipping solution that will work out the best service and price for both you and your customer on an order by order basis.

It’s the bane of every retailer’s business but a percentage of returns will always be inevitable – especially when trading online. For those customers who do want to return an item, make it as easy and convenient as possible. If they have a nightmare trying to get their order back to you it’s unlikely they’re going to order from you again. 

 

If you want to have a push on increasing your retention rates this year, speak to us about how our Venditan Commerce platform can help you to track customer behaviour and implement some of the techniques mentioned above.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Stephanie Fenton

5th September 2019

16 Ways To Increase Your Average Order Value Effectively

16 Ways To Increase Your Average Order Value Effectively

8 MIN READ

No matter what you’re selling, you want your customers to be buying more of it. Increasing your average order value is a fantastic way to boost your sales, but it’s often overlooked. This guide is for you if you’re looking for how to increase your average order value effectively. 

Many retailers often focus on ramping up marketing campaigns and customer conversion efforts to bring in higher sales, but often, this revenue is misplaced. Instead, encouraging customers to buy more while on site is a smarter way to do things and should be a priority goal for any eCommerce site. 

Firstly, do you know the average value of orders placed on your site? Knowing how much your customers are spending per order can give you invaluable insights that you can use to boost sales by increasing your AOV.  If you’ve no idea what your AOV is – don’t panic! Use this straightforward formula to figure it out. 

 

Total Revenue ÷ Number of orders = Average Order Value 

 

You’ll also want to get this set up in Google Analytics by enabling eCommerce tracking and make good use of the features on offer there. 

Here are some of our fool-proof ways to boost your average order value and raise your sales in a smart, cost-effective way.

1. Optimise your delivery options to increase average order value 

A really effective, yet incredibly simple starting point to increase your average order value is to offer free delivery on higher spends. For example, “free delivery on orders over £30”. You may want to consider including click and collect in this offer too, which will appeal to more customers and drive spending further. 

Extra tip: Place low cost or low consideration items by the click and collect cash desk so shoppers pick them up while waiting in line.

2. Discounts on minimum spend thresholds 

Reward your customers for buying more with money off at different spend thresholds like the below from ASOS. We’ve ALL succumbed to this one, right? It’s hard to resist offers like “10% off all orders £50 and over.” Everyone likes to get more for their money. However, you’ll need to keep in mind overall costs so this doesn’t end up being a counterintuitive exercise – you want to offer a discount that will still result in profits.

3. Limited time offers to increase average order value 

Time-sensitive offers are a brilliant way to increase average order value, and conversions in general, during slower trading periods throughout the year. By putting a time limit on your sale, you’re leveraging the customer’s FOMO. We simply hate missing out, whether that’s a trending topic on Twitter, the latest viral cat video, or a simply unmissable sale.

4. Price anchoring 

This psychological marketing approach is a good way to use pricing to draw comparisons between products and influence the buyer’s decisions. For example, showing the discounted item next to similar items of full price will emphasize just how good of a deal the buyer is getting and increase likelihood to purchase. 

With this, you can also display the cost savings of buying the discounted items – this places a visual amount of money in front of the buyer which they will then be more likely to consider making further purchases.

5. Offering gift cards for spend thresholds  

Gift cards are a great way of rewarding customers for their order, whilst boosting the likelihood of them returning to buy again in the future. Make sure that the gift card amount won’t end up in a profit loss. Be transparent about how they can spend it (ie. limitations to spend when using other offers or free delivery, etc.)  Argos run this promotion quite frequently throughout the year, like the below.

6. Make sure your returns policy is flexible 

Buyers like the security of a good returns policy and having one in place is a great way to boost sales – even if the customer (hopefully) doesn’t actually need to use it! Customers are likely to order more when safe in the knowledge that they can return their items if they don’t want them. 

7. Cross-selling and upselling will increase your AOV

Cross-selling and upselling are absolutely key to increase your average order value, and you’re likely to see this technique deployed on most retailer’s websites.

Cross-selling is recommending products that go with the one the customer is looking at buying. Such as a perfect top for the pair of jeans being bought. You can support this further with seasonal edits, look-books, and buying guides.

Upselling involves strategic positioning of items that are similar to the one the customer is looking to buy but that are of higher value, larger quantities, or newer versions and models. A good way to upsell is to convey the improved features and benefits of going for the higher cost choice.

 

8. Target customers based on their browsing history

By keeping the products in a customer’s mind you can leverage increasing the chances of them buying it.

This is a really good technique to employ around the seasonal period when people are looking for the perfect gift, and browsing a higher volume of items. People will also be looking to buy more items this time of year, so it’s naturally a great time to increase your average order value. Make sure that they can hide their browsing history or clear items out of it – you don’t want to ruin someone’s Christmas surprise if they use shared accounts or devices!

9. Use mix and match offers 

A stand out example of a leading mix and match offer is Boots seasonal 3 for 2 on all gifts across brands. I defy anyone to say they’ve never bought or received a 3 for 2 Boots’ smelly set at Christmas! It’s such a big part of the holiday season that drives their sales each year by upping their average spend. 

You don’t just have to use this seasonally, many retailers apply mix and match throughout the year to items like underwear or makeup. Get creative with this, your customers are bound to love this kind of offer!

10. Low-cost add-ons 

 

You’re in a big queue in your local supermarket; you only popped in for a loaf of bread but 4 bars of chocolate, some batteries, chewing gum, and a Graze box have somehow worked their way into your basket. 

Supermarkets leverage low-cost items at their checkouts knowing that people waiting will see the low ticket price and most likely, impulse buy the tempting treats. You can replicate this online – Amazon does this really well  – with add-on items that can be added to your basket for a discounted price when your order reaches a certain value.

 

11. Loyalty and membership options 

By having a membership or loyalty program, you’ll increase your average order value and increase number of returning customers in one fell swoop. I have to admit, ever since ASOS initiated their Premier membership, offering free unlimited next day delivery, I usually shop with them.  It’s totally worth the one-off payment of £9.95 (although recently increased to £14.99). 

H&M also gets a fair chunk of my hard-earned cash since they’ve introduced membership that offers point building that translates into money off, free next day delivery for members (over a certain amount), and exclusive sale offers. 

By introducing loyalty points or strategic membership options, you’ll boost your sales revenue and see higher spends.

12. Exclusive discounts for new customers 

Most retail websites you go on will have a banner or pop up alerting new customers that by signing up they’ll receive 10% off their first order, like the below from Monki. This is a great way of driving conversion and order value simultaneously as they’ll be more likely to spend more to receive a higher discount. Plus, once signed up, they’re now in your funnel and you can begin to market regularly to them to drive repeat purchases.

13. Payment plans and finance options 

Consider offering payment plans and finance options for larger, more expensive items and orders of much higher value. A lot of people can’t generally afford to drop a load of cash on a high-cost item – things like technology, furniture, and some designer garments and shoes may fall within this remit. 

By offering the customer the ability to pay in installments, you can boost your average order value while securing the purchase with you – limiting the chances of them going elsewhere for the item (or similar, cheaper items.)

14. Bundle offers to drive up your average order value 

What is an eye shadow palette without brushes and mascara? A luxury face wash without cleanser and toner? Nail polish without a base coat and top coat?

Pair up products that will increase spending while offering a slight discount. Starter packs are a great way to do this to entice new customers. Think of what items you sell that work well together and offer a discount based on buying them at the same time.

 

15. Use chatbots to support the buying journey

Using chatbots to support the customer throughout the purchase process is a good way to drive conversion and boost sales. With automated messaging, bots are able to answer product questions that may halt the buying process. They can be used to upsell and cross-sell to increase your average order value, while giving an element of trust in you that there is an immediate form of contact on the page.

16. Split Testing 

Always AB test your campaigns – this will give you greater insights into what is working and what isn’t, test out different pages or elements or even entire websites to see what users respond best to and ultimately how they convert off the back of this.

 

Getting the most out of your AOV data 

 

Once you have the data together on your average order value, keep track and record fluctuations so you can gain insight into any potential issues with your website that might be affecting it. Benchmark against yourself and any available market data, or industry benchmarks you can find. This will give you an idea of what you should be aiming for.

With the above tips, you should be able to improve your AOV in no time!

 

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
5th September 2019

Reduce Checkout Abandonment With These 7 Easy Tips

Reduce Checkout Abandonment With These 7 Easy Tips

5 MIN READ

We don’t have to tell you how disheartening it is when you see customers making it all the way through the buying stages to drop at the final hurdle and abandon their cart. They’ve found your website, chosen their products, but something has gone awry at the very last stage. But there are ways to get around this and reduce your checkout abandonment rate. 

According to Baymard, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 69.5% – that’s a massive amount of potential sales to miss out on. 

Don’t worry, if you’ve got a high abandonment rate, we’ve got you covered. You don’t have to be investing in huge changes to your site to see your results improve. Here are some tips you can put into place today to lower your checkout abandonment rate and boost sales… and who wouldn’t want more sales?

Be Clear On Delivery 

 

Your customer has chosen their product, they’re super excited to place their order, but they get to the checkout and find delivery costs are more than they expected. Their £30 bargain order is now going to be £35.95 with shipping costs. An added 20% of their spend has appeared – to them – out of nowhere. Naturally, they will leave your site and check out competitors to see if they can get lower cost, or free, shipping on the same item. 

In fact, the number one reason for cart abandonment is unexpected delivery costs, with 55% of shoppers abandoning their purchase due to unexpected shipping fees according to Optinmonster

You can reduce your checkout abandonment rate by being upfront about delivery fees, taxes, or other costs they may incur throughout their shopping experience. This hands over power to the customer, as they can make a more informed decision on their purchase. The way you display information can also make a big difference in the shopping experience. Include it next to the item’s price, in banners on the top of the page, or run special ads on pages so that customers have the information in front of them from the offset.

Offer Guest Checkouts

 It’s totally understandable that you want to capture the data from new sign-ups to your site at the point of purchase, but it could also be hindering your sales. People want shopping online to be seamless, convenient and quick – guest checkouts are the way to do that. 

Optinmonster found that 34% of people will abandon their carts after being prompted to register or sign up before checking out. Make customers happy, and in turn more sales, but offering to checkout as a guest – or by logging in with PayPal and social media accounts. Eliminating this barrier you could also see an increase in repeat business from these users as they know the buying process with you is efficient and frictionless. 

Still wanting sign ups? It’s great to capture this information to personalise customers online experiences for future purchases, and of course, marketing purposes. You can still do this by offering the chance to sign up with you after they’ve made their first purchase. At this point, they’re much more likely to then spend time registering an account as they’ve had a more positive buying experience. A fool-proof way of getting the sales, data and keeping your checkout abandonment rate down. 

More Ways To Pay

 A study by comScore shows that 56% of shoppers would like to see a variety of payment options when checking out online. Today, there are more ways for customers to pay for items than ever before. 

Offering a variety of methods is undoubtedly going to increase your sales by catering to individual preferences. It also boosts your brand positioning, showing that you’re up to date and moving with the times – especially by catering to predominantly younger audiences who prefer to pay using Apple Pay, Google Wallets and P2P methods. 

Naturally, you need to take into consideration increased merchant service fees, but with more options, you’re appealing to a wider audience, eliminating reasons to abandon cart and in turn, increasing the likelihood of transactions. 

If you sell internationally, keep in mind local payment methods and providers to cater to this segment of your audience.

Increase trust

 Building trust is critical in any business, and especially important when you want website visitors to turn into active buyers. To do this, you need to show that you’re a trustworthy site, especially at the checkout when people will be entering sensitive information.

Baymard cites that 17% of people will exit the buying process due to a lack of trust in the site with their card details. 

A way to show customers you’re a seller to be trusted is through displaying security logos and badges in a noticeable place on transaction forms. There’s plenty out there to choose from, however, with consumers being more clued up on data security, choosing the right one is key. 

Interestingly, research conducted by Baymard has shown that users are less concerned with the actual security of the page (due to lack of technical knowledge) and will opt for ‘perceived security’, or in other words, the most recognisable trust seal displayed. 

By using logos that customers recognise, you’ll show that you’re a seller customers can put their trust in which will help reduce your checkout abandonment rate instantly. You’ll also eliminate last-minute safety concerns that may result in abandoned checkouts, increasing your conversion rates and sales.

 Progress Bars  

There’s nothing worse than a lengthy checkout process. 

Imagine being in a store, trying to make your purchase and being asked for your email, date of birth, a series of preference questions, if you have a membership card, where you live, what you do and if you can recite the entire works of Shakespeare on the spot. 

It wouldn’t be the best experience for the customer who just wants to buy their items.  In order to get online shoppers to convert, you need to eliminate all the data capturing questions and extra bits to fill out, making it as seamless as possible. 

By displaying a progress bar at the top of the checkout pages, you can alleviate the concerns of how long the purchase will take. Display the steps in simple chunks, like the below. 

Call To Actions

 

Just because your customer has added an item to their basket, doesn’t mean that sale is necessarily in-the-bag (excuse the pun). 

Implementing strong Calls To Action is key in driving that all-important sale. You can use cleverly worded CTA’s paired with the progress bar idea above for more consistency to the customer’s journey. If you’re wanting to create a sense of urgency in the final stages, make sure that the tone remains the same as your brand guidelines and it’s not too jolting or out of place for the customer to be put off. 

Placing larger, more colourful, and prominent action buttons on the page can also help guide the customers through the checkout process, cutting through any other distractions that may be on-page. 

Is your website performing the best it can be for driving sales?

Do you want to reduce your checkout abandonment rate and see more conversions from your active visitors? 

Get in touch for some simple advice on how Venditan Commerce could be the right solution for you.

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
5th September 2019

Our Killer Guide To Writing Product Descriptions That Sell

Our Killer Guide To Writing Product Descriptions That Sell

5 MIN READ

Could your product descriptions do with a freshen up? Are they sounding a bit dull and lacklustre? Not helping convert visits to sales? Or, worse still, maybe you don’t have any at all? Not to worry, this guide is for you. We’re going to show you how to write product descriptions that sell. 

Banish boring product descriptions forever! Our guide will help to transform your lifeless copy into wondrous wordplay that will help convert and boost your sales. There are plenty of ways to optimise your product pages, and writing amazing product descriptions that actually sell are a great way to do this. 

Product descriptions are a small chunk of content (usually just a couple of sentences) that will have a big impact on your website, and your sales when done right.

Before committing to an online purchase, customers want as much relevant information as possible when making their decision. This small but mighty bit of text next to the product image is your chance to shine!

It’s a common mistake to use the product details AS the description. You might think there’s not much of a difference but there is a huge difference between the two. Your product details are the nitty-gritty, practical bits like dimensions, weight, composition, fabrics, safety guidance or aftercare. Your product description is the part where you can craft a compelling story of the product, illustrating how this product will benefit the customer’s lives in one way or another.

You don’t have to be a super talented wordsmith to write amazing product descriptions. Having great product knowledge helps massively, and who knows your product better than you? With that and our following guidelines, you’ll be set to write engaging copy that converts visitors to customers.

First things first…

Who are you writing for?

 

Before you start writing, you need to define and establish your buyer personas so that, when you do begin to write up your amazing product descriptions, they’ll be targeted and on-brand. You might already have these to hand as a part of your marketing strategy, but don’t fret if not, there are tonnes of guides out there that’ll help you put this information together.

Appeal to the buyer’s emotions

 

Emotions drive the customer’s decision making. If you can elicit emotion in your product description, you’re halfway there in writing absorbing copy that influences buying behaviours.

For example, if you’re writing a description for an item of clothing, you might want to consider a technique of complimenting the reader via the product. For example “This figure-hugging dress will show off your beautiful curves, perfect for knocking them dead on the dancefloor!” This also works well for shoes, beauty products, and fragrances.

When it comes to writing for household goods, use the copy to literally place it in their home for them. Such as, “This long-burning candle will light up your home with a warm and comforting glow, perfect for those cosy winter nights on your sofa.”

You may also want to consider what problem the product solves for them, or how it can make their lives easier.

Convey the features and benefits together  

 

Focussing on the benefits of buying your product is, of course, key in selling it – but there’s a great way you can include this in your copy without it being pushy. People don’t like it when they’re aware of being sold to, so you need to do this in a subtle way.

Let’s take a pair of running shoes for example.

Features:

  • Cushioned ankle
  • Foam sole
  • Grip
  • Breathable material

That’s super boring though, isn’t it?

Loads of trainers have those features. But when you put the features together and align with impactful benefits, you get something much more appealing.

Let’s consider using the above example, “With a cushioned ankle and foam sole, these super comfy running shoes will help you reach your goals with ease. The grip lets you scale a variety of terrain and the breathable material helps you go longer for a truly uplifting workout.

Keep things concise

 

On the whole, people don’t typically read the content they look at online word-for-word, and the same goes for product pages. According to Nielsen, a whopping 79% of users scanned the pages. So, you have to write copy that caters to this demographic in order to make an impact. Nielsen further suggests employing ‘scannable text’.

Things like: highlighting keywords,

using subheadings,

  • and bullet points.

Employ SEO basics 

 

Did you know that Google has a share of 90% of the search engine market worldwide? That’s a lot of users and a lot of searches. Knowing the basics of how you can write product descriptions for SEO will help you drive more traffic to your site.

You’ll need to invest in some initial time to do the keyword research, find out what your target audience is searching for to reach your site, and what you can include out of this in your product description so that when Google crawls your site, you’ll stand out for the things you want and make it easier to be found by relevant customers.

A great way to boost your SEO strategy for products is to allow customers to leave reviews. It not only provides regular new content for Google bots but enhances trust for potential buyers.

We could spend an age going through all the ways you can use SEO to boost your ranking for certain products, but for now, here’s a simple do’s and don’ts to get you started!

Do
Target keywords
Use image alt tags
Include keywords in headers
Use long-tail keywords
Include model numbers or brand names in headings
Include keywords in your URL

Don’t
Duplicate content – write different copy for each item
Use the supplier or manufacturers descriptions
Keyword stuff the page
Use overcomplicated language

Brilliant images are just as important

 

“A picture is worth a thousand words”, or so the old adage goes (although, as a writer, I’m naturally at odds here.) Regardless, when it comes to your product description, pairing it with high-quality images that give a full scope of the product is absolutely essential. This will give the customer a full view of all the key features – use multiple images to show different angles or even consider incorporating rotating 360-views where you can.

A note on quality here – pixelation, burring, poor sizing, bad lighting and so on- is unforgivable, and ultimately, will put people off buying your product! Always take high-quality images. The customer will link the quality of image to the quality of the product.

The image can also be used as an extension of your writing. Remember that candle example above, where it is described as illuminating your home with a soft glow, on a winter night? Take an image of just that – a cosy scene, with the candle centre stage – it’ll create a truly irresistible scene that the customer will find hard to resist buying.

Checklist

We’ve covered a lot of ground – so here’s a handy checklist you can refer back to for creating your own template and making sure your product descriptions are hitting the mark. There’s no one size fits all, it all depends on the customer, product you’re selling, your industry, brand and branding. We’ve covered a lot of ground – so here’s a handy checklist you can refer back to for creating your own template and making sure your product descriptions are hitting the mark. There’s no one size fits all, it all depends on the customer, product you’re selling, your industry, brand and branding.

 

Sign Up To Our Monthly Newsletter

Have our latest blog posts, company and industry news delivered direct to your inbox.

Charlotte McKee
5th September 2019