From Retail to E-commerce: Focus on Customer Loyalty

With so much information out there about Internet marketing and how to improve a company’s online brand exposure, there seems to have been a gradual removal of “customer loyalty” from that discussion.  One of the most important aspects to improving conversions for an e-commerce platform (or any website for that matter) is through enhanced customer experiences and loyalty focused programs.  The happier your curstomers are, the more they will buy from you (or refer people to you).  The goal here is to increase the percent of your overall sales in the “repeat customer” category.  It is much easier to grow revenue from current customers that to spend more time and money attracting new ones (although this is very important as well).

Let’s back up for a minute and consider the dramatic shifts we are seeing in retail VS. online.  The current economic conditions have placed strains on traditional retailers and caused substantial increases in online spending.  The online consumer is now becoming more savvy and expects a lot from the service/product provider.  As more and more traditional retailers either move their business online or at least create an online store to sell their products, the focus needs to not only shift to Internet marketing strategies but also customer loyalty strategies.  So much emphasis has been on how to drive traffic to e-commerce sites that we have seen visits go up, but not  conversions. 

Conversion optimization involves getting the right kind of traffic as well as ensuring that a large portion of that traffic leads to a sale.  Some online companies out there are doing this quite well but not simply becauase their Internet marketing strategies are so good…it is because their database of happy customers keeps growing.  Let’s look for example at www.freshdirect.com.  This company has been providing online grocery shopping to the New York City area for over five years.  One of the main reasons their numbers keep growing is not because they are spending so much time and money driving traffic to their website.  It is beacuse each day, senior management meets to review analytics and customer transactions to see where things are working and where things need improvement…and then of course to discuss what is being done to improve the areas where they fall short.  They also conduct about 150 customer surveys each year.  This might seems excessive or even scary to some companies but over time it makes for happy customers.  Your critics can be your best source of constructive feedback!

More about conversion optimization:

The best way to ensure that your traffic is going to convert into business involves several key factors:

  • Understanding your customer base in great detail
  • Ensuring your traffic is targeted and you methods for driving traffic support that goal
  • Continually analyze your online platform through focus groups, A/B split testing, etc.
  • Konw where your conversions points occur and where people leave your site and why – then work to improve these areas
  • Always be improving your sales cycle and customer experience
  • Ask for feedback and make improvements based on realistic suggestions
  • If you are asking for feedback, get involved in these conversations with your customers
  • Test, Improve, then test again – use your analytics…the numbers won’t lie.


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