Are You Buying Customer Loyalty—or Earning it?

Establishing an emotional connection with your online customers almost guarantees their loyalty, and increases how much money they spend on your site.
Contributing Writer, SmallBizTrends.com
March 13, 2013

When you think of customer loyalty programs, you probably think about rewards in the form of discounts, money-back offers or coupons. But instead of buying your customers’ loyalty with rewards (which only buys their loyalty until someone offers them better rewards), why not earn their loyalty? Their emotional loyalty, that is.

A recent study of online retailers reveals that although return customers only make up 8 percent of the sites’ visitors, they account for 41 percent of the sales. In fact, customers who feel emotional loyalty to a site are more likely to spread positive word-of-mouth, place larger orders and shop more often. And they don’t even bother considering shopping on competitors’ sites.

How can you earn that kind of emotional loyalty? Start by understanding the things customers care about at all stages of the sale, including online research, shopping and purchasing, and post-sale followup. Listening to customers on social media, mining your own customer data and analytics to observe customer actions, and providing great customer service to minimize pain points during all stages of the transaction are key.

[eMarketer]

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