Creating online brand loyalty needs more work

Work harder and smarter to create an online brand

To retain online customers you need to work harder and smarter than an offline business.

Think about it – when you need that new gadget, new website design, or lipstick, do you automatically go back to the site where you purchased the last time or do you go straight to Google and search for the site that can give you the best price/service/delivery/support? If you opted for the second answer you’re not alone:

♦  66% of online shoppers buy because it’s cheaper,
♦  75% because of special offers and
♦  80% for the wider choice

Big business and retailers knew this and when the only option was to walk past their office or shop they needed to stand out – outside they had big metal corporate business signs or retail posters and sandwich boards. Inside it’s the environment – music, heating – or for business, that busy office combined with that friendly customer service, special offers and after sales service.

And it worked – as buyers we remembered that friendly sales person who explained the plethora of choices, the new special offer sign in the window or the ‘thank you for selecting our services’ letter with a promotional offer.

The essence of any shopping experience is front of mind and it’s still visual memory that drives buyers. Online you need to work so much harder to create and retain that image – but you have so many more tools. We all know that SEO is crucial to ensure people find your site and click to visit, adwords can entice buyers and online adverts provide endorsement and awareness. Getting people to purchase is your next challenge when they visit – clear information, interactive sites, lots of interesting activity (but not too much!) – guiding them through to what they need and that final buying decision.

But after they have made that first purchase the greatest challenge is to get them coming back – repeat purchases are the most profitable, you’ve already convinced them you are good to do business with, you just need to convince them to come back for more – again, and again, and…..:

  • Be intelligent – categorise your buyers, then communicate regularly with offers that influence them – if they are part of the 80% looking for a broader choice then don’t keep telling them that you are cheaper.
  • Keep reminding them a) that you are here and b) about what’s new
  • Use different marketing channels to excite them – keep sending them text messages every hour and they’ll soon forget you
  • When you send out links, make sure they go through to a new/special page – when your customer has made that clickthru decision if they see the same (tired) old page it’s a massive turn off
  • Entice them with offers when they buy and when they don’t – if they look at your site and don’t follow thru, chase them! Something got them there so find out what stopped them and turn it to your advantage with a tailored offer – but be quick about it, they’re in buying mode now! You can use Google remarketing to help automate this.
  • Let people contact you how they want – offer all options, just because you don’t like twitter doesn’t mean that they don’t – 47% said their customer experience was better when their supplier used social media

Most importantly you need to give your buyers a mental ‘shopping picture’ of your business – the massive office/store front with bright lights/impressive business signage, the warm memory of a great buying experience and the long term value from taking your advice, your offers and your after care service.

Buying has changed dramatically for both business and consumers. The online web tools are here to make you a smarter supplier. Next time they buy make sure your customers have an image of your website at the front of their mind.

Online brand loyalty – Where to get help

If you would like to find out how we can help you generate brand loyalty amongst your prospects and clients, please get in touch.

 

* Shopping trends from Lab24: “How People Shop Online”

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