young people at the meeting talking about online businesses

Nowadays, business success isn’t as easily achievable as business owners may think. Simply providing your customers with exceptional products or services is no longer enough to retain them. The key actually lies in ensuring customer loyalty. However, that too can be quite challenging. 

The main reason is that the online market is oversaturated and highly-competitive. In other words, modern consumers have various online businesses and offers to choose from nowadays. 

That’s why if you want customers to choose your business over others, you’ll have to make an extra effort. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how online businesses can increase customer loyalty.

Market Research

The key to being able to retain customers and ensure their loyalty lies in understanding them well. You need to know everything there is to know about your customers. That includes understanding their needs, preferences, demands and expectations. 

You can use that information to better serve your customers. Meeting their expectations will boost the chances of them becoming more engaged and loyal. The best way to find as much as you can about your customers is through market research. 

Market research allows you to explore customer behavior, their purchasing decoctions and the trends they’re following. Furthermore, it also allows you to keep an eye on your competitors. A competitive analysis is vital if you want to serve your customers better than other companies can. 

Provide exceptional customer service and support

As mentioned, offering good products and services to your customers is no longer enough to retain them and ensure their loyalty. However, top-quality products and services, as well as taking care of your customers the right way, can boost sales. 

But to truly ensure customer satisfaction, you’ll have to provide exceptional customer service and support. These are highly important to consumers when dealing with online businesses. If there’s something they dislike in your offer, they’ll simply move on to the next business. That said, here are a few things you can do to improve customer service and support.

1 – Provide service and support across various channels, such as social media, email, phone etc.

2 – Implement a live chat feature on your website.

3 – Include self-service options, such as a knowledge base or an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your website. 

4 – Be available to your customers 24/7.

5 – Frequently ask for feedback.

6 – React well to negative feedback and make improvements.

Leverage online reviews and recommendations

Your business reputation is another factor that will add to customer engagement and loyalty. Consumers like to do some research before they decide to do business with an online company. This is where online reviews can play a major role. For example, online casino enthusiasts will thoroughly read through casino reviews before they decide where to place their bets online.

What some consumers think of your business can have a great influence on other consumers. Therefore, the more positive reviews your business has the more engaged potential customers will be. Moreover, your current customers are more likely to become loyal if they’re satisfied with how you treat your other customers.

Aside from that, customer satisfaction will also bring more exposure to your business. In fact, loyal and satisfied customers will provide referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations to their friends and family. This will encourage new customers to eventually become loyal as well. 

Implement a loyalty program

There are a lot of things you can do to improve your business and ensure customer loyalty. However, it can’t hurt to go that extra mile and further encourage loyalty in your customers. That’s why you should consider creating a loyalty program. 

Simply put, you should reward your customers for their loyalty. This will make them even more engaged and willing to become loyal. Actually, 83% of consumers will return for repeat business if they are a part of a loyalty program. But you’ll need to have a well-designed loyalty program that fits the nature of your business. Here are a few examples of loyalty programs you can explore.

Tier-based loyalty program

As the name suggests, customers can advance in tiers based on their loyalty. Each tier has unique rewards, discounts and benefits. This program is commonly used in travel agencies, flight services, etc.

Point-based loyalty program

Customers earn rewards for every purchase. They can later exchange points for rewards, discounts or free items. This program works well in retail and e-commerce businesses.

Partnership-based loyalty programs 

You can partner up with another business to share customer loyalty and retention through a loyalty program. For example, once they purchase your product, your customers will get a discount on your partner’s product and vice versa. 

Customer loyalty is vital for business success today. That said, by increasing customer retention by only 5%, online businesses can improve their profitability by up to 95%. That’s why taking care of customers and fostering their loyalty is essential. All that you need is a solid strategy and a good understanding of your customers to ensure their loyalty.

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Marco Lopo is a Sydney-based business consultant and a marketing analyst. He writes about business and lifestyle. He thinks that's the perfect opportunity to present himself to a wider audience and receive recognition. In his free time, Marco enjoys music, travelling and also is a big reading enthusiast.

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