Customer Retention and the Fickle Consumer

With superfluous income a scarce commodity in today’s stretched consumer budget, shoppers have become highly skilled at undertaking comparison shopping. With easy access to comparing apples with apples on the internet, no longer is the slog of traipsing from store to store for comparative shopping necessary.

Between Smartphones and the internet, consumers have access to this information in their pocket. Shoppers can typically find the best price or sale available at the mere click of a button — and boy, are those fingers clicking! This means that customer retention is becoming increasingly difficult and nurturing loyalty is a real test for retailers.

According to www.comarch.com: “If products are unavailable, 41% of consumers said they would turn to less familiar brands as options.”

So where do retailers begin to increase customer retention when the market is so fickle?

Oh behave!

An online presence is vital as it’s an accessible format that has behind-the-scenes machinations that run analytics and more, feeding you valuable data to use to fine-tune your marketing.

If your website offers features like 360-degree product views (awesome for close-up viewing of textures, finish etc) and product comparison tools that offer the ability to compare products that meet similar criteria, these really help shoppers make informed assessments on the fly — while keeping them engaged. They also offer insight into your customers’ behaviour patterns: Did they see that button, why didn’t they click the CTA, why did they abandon the page?

Retaining customers is about much more than transactions — it’s about building relationships.

Also, opinions and customer reviews give the online shopper information from unbiased sources and bolster confidence that they’re making the right product choice.

Testing the appeal of all the site’s elements, including something as simple as the colour of a button, to multiple linking elements in the browsing and checkout phases will reveal the user’s concealed preferences, wants and behaviours.

Key for retailers is making sure that these tools are easy to use and linked to their checkout. Additionally, bear in mind that any amendments to a website such as changing, adding or removing any of these features must be tested before the site goes live, else you could have a malfunction that costs you.

Retain your customers through engagement and offer a host of easy-to-use tools to facilitate this.

Through testing and analytics, you can also delve into more detailed data about your customers such as whether they are a unique versus a returning visitor, their traffic sources, what they searched for in their keywords, where they are geographically, have they bought before, have they (horrors!) abandoned continuing on your website — and much more. This info will assist you in customising and tailoring your offerings to better engage each visitor, because customer engagement equals customer retention, no contest!

Ultimately, do your homework, find out why that customer is fickle, use available technologies and customise your offerings and processes thus. Give shoppers what they want, when they want it and how they want it, and customer retention will follow naturally.

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