Across all industries, the growing role of technology is inevitable. More than ever, going digital to reach your consumers is key, particularly when it comes to today’s climate. In the middle of today’s pandemic, most people are stuck at home and forced to buy their needs online — meaning that it has never been more exciting to compete in the world of eCommerce.
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How To Win Customers?
With so many products available online today, many consumers do not feel the need to preserve loyalties anymore, thanks to the seemingly endless options available online. Of course, this is tough for eCommerce entrepreneurs, especially the new ones who have yet to establish a reputation for their brand. Determining your unique selling point has become even more difficult, as the chances of getting noticed become smaller while the competition gets bigger.
Nevertheless, this should still serve as an opportunity to gain experience and, eventually, an edge over future competitors. It is a good risk and a much more fulfilling endeavor to take on, which should be enough to serve as motivation. And even as the competition gets harder and harder each day, you can still take certain measures to win customers and ensure success.
The Role Of Gift Cards
Gift cards play a significant role when it comes to promoting customer loyalty. Firstly, they are intuitive to use and are understood by pretty much every generation, converted directly from cash.
They have physical and digital versions, so you can cover all your bases, especially if your brand exists both online and offline. If sales are slow, you can offer certain promotions near holidays to ramp up sales. This includes giving discounts for brand-specific gift cards so that the consumer already commits their money to you.
During times of economic difficulty, smaller businesses are often the hardest hit. Selling gift cards during this time can make up some of that lost income through online orders.
For instance, SaveOurFaves is a directory filled with Bay Area restaurants that makes it easier for individuals to lend a hand to local businesses. Building a version for your own community and contacting other local businesses to take part is a great way to keep sales afloat during this period.
E-gift cards can also give convenience to last-minute gift shoppers for different holidays and better satisfaction to receivers, who are given the option to choose specific items they actually want from your eCommerce store.
A recent survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed that gift cards were the second most popular gifting category, with an average of three to four gift cards per customer in 2020.
The NRF also expects gift card sales this season to reach $27.5 billion. This is why it is important to take advantage of special occasions and make e-gift cards available for all major and even special location-specific holidays that exist on the calendar.
The Role Of Loyalty Programs
When it comes to loyalty programs, it can be more complicated for customers to redeem their points and keep track of all the redemption mechanisms. This is especially true today, at a time when almost every brand has a loyalty program.
According to a report released by Forrester Research on loyalty programs, 72% of adults online belong to at least one loyalty program, and those enrolled in loyalty programs belong to nine, on average.
To differentiate your brand from the pack, it pays to have a clear social purpose. You can take your cue from some successful brands that found their niche and took advantage of it. Awake Organics launched a free beauty refill service to promote zero-waste consumption. Customers send back empty packaging to earn reward points.
Even some credit card companies are taking new approaches to reward their customers. Petal Card’s rewards program shows how credit card companies can reward users with cashback when they make payments on time. Instead of urging them to overspend to qualify for points or rewards, this enables them to build better credit histories and spend within their means.
By valuing the role of social responsibility, companies who choose to promote noteworthy causes are more likely to hit the mark and gain customer loyalty.
The Role Of Mobile
The growing use of mobile phones makes mobile apps a key aspect of promoting brand loyalty. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence to cater to a consumer’s needs makes fine-tuning promotions much easier.
The New York Times reports how over 60 percent of participants in a recent survey valued exclusive sales, limited edition products, and loyalty points or perks from in-app purchases. To reach a wide user base, you should make sure that your brand’s app is easy to navigate and gives people a reason to keep using it.
A great example of AR use is the IKEA Place App, through which you can fully visualize what items in their catalog will look like in your living room. It solves a problem that most furniture shoppers have, and all you need is a camera. By catering to your consumers’ unmet needs, you will be able to make your products and services more accessible and memorable in their minds.
Another way to maximize the mobile platform is by eventually having a mobile wallet named after your brand, patterning it to the big players in mobile payments today — Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, and ChasePay.
Today’s mobile wallet technology highlights its new-age security in storing credit card numbers and device validation of payment with a PIN or fingerprint confirmation. It is also easy and convenient to use, with much faster purchase transactions and handy storage of loyalty or rewards card details.
The Role Of Social Currency
Even before it became necessary during the pandemic, the primary end-users of eCommerce are the younger consumers of Gen Y (ages 24 to 39 years old) and Gen Z (ages 8 to 23 years old), since they have no problem adopting new technology as it evolves.
Social currency, especially among these demographic groups, may be the hardest thing for most brands to acquire today. It is not just about coming up with new products that are young; it has to be about the entire brand being seen as consistently hot to thrive.
In eCommerce, social currency plays its role in the shareability of an online shopping brand to social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For your brand to thrive in eCommerce, you have to make it as viral on social media as possible.
Reformation is a good example of an eCommerce-based fashion brand with good social currency. Business Insider reports how Reformation maintains a “cool girl” brand with an edge over competing trendy brands like Forever 21 and H&M, using sustainability as its core principle.
In 2019, they launched their “Carbon Is Canceled” campaign with a program rewarding shoppers with gift cards and discounts in exchange for proof of reducing their carbon footprint.
They also added a section on their website where shoppers can purchase “climate credits,” or carbon assets, which fund NativeEnergy’s projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions. Making fans out of big celebrities like Rihanna and Taylor Swift is just one proof of how this eCommerce brand was able to make use of its social currency effectively.
The Role Of Email
Email marketing may be old school, but it is still an effective way even for eCommerce brands to retain existing customers and gain new ones. There can be incentives for new signups, while rewards and exclusive promos can be offered to what may be considered as loyal customers who decide to remain on the mailing list.
You may also opt for automated email marketing for sending essential messages. Every eCommerce brand should consider sending, for example, a welcome message for the new signups.
Abandoned cart messages are also crucial in reducing shopping cart abandonment and for your re-marketing efforts, to make sure a customer changes their mind in your favor, which can result in a completed sales transaction.
Cross-sell messages can also be automated for sending offers of additional purchases that complement the customers’ previous ones. If using WooCommerce, you can even utilize WooCommerce frequently bought together plugin.
Anniversary or birthday messages are also good for making customers feel valuable to you and deepening your brand’s relationship with them. Lastly, re-engagement messages are for customers who do not open your emails. You need to try to re-engage them by sending relevant emails more often or just give them the opportunity to opt-out of your e-mails.
Adding professional email signatures to your marketing emails is another good way to establish brand recall. They serve as your digital business card in your emails, other than the contact page on your website, to which you can even add your business logo. You can create an email signature using free signature generator sites like WiseStamp, HubSpot email signature generator, or MySignature.
Ultimately, good branding boils down to offering authenticity, ease of use, and making customers feel valued. If you keep these priorities in mind, you will be able to retain your existing customers and venture into new markets as well.
Vanessa Anne Reiff is a London-based marketing manager. When she’s not working, Vanessa enjoys rock climbing and trying out exotic teas.
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