The return of the highstreet has changed the environment for consumers once more. Throughout lockdown there was widespread reliance on online shopping, but now the options are returning as brick and mortar stores have reopened with Covid-19 guidelines in place. 

Whilst some shoppers are returning to test the water of the highstreet, studies suggest that online’s popularity is far from falling away. According to a study by Scurri, the eCommerce boom looks set to maintain its course with as many as a third of the UK population (33%) saying they are shopping more online now than they did during lockdown, while 38% are shopping online as much as they did during lockdown. These figures were highest in Wales where 39% are shopping more than during lockdown, compared to 27% in Northern Ireland, 32% in England and 36% in Scotland. 

It is for this reason that now has been identified as an opportune time to capitalise on the popularity with long-standing and new consumers and build customer loyalty. In an interview on CNBC, Etsy CEO Josh Silverman identified this saying: 

“This is a moment when we have a chance to win the loyalty of millions of people and we’re working so hard to do that.”

Underlining the importance of customer retention and loyalty is the fact that research has found that it can cost up to five times as much to acquire a new customer, as it does to retain an already existing customer. This 5% increase in customer retention can increase your profits by as much as 25% to 95%. Couple this with the fact that they will hopefully return after liking your product or service and it all points towards success. So just how do you maintain customer loyalty against the current backdrop: 

1. Build a brand that resonates with customers 

There are reasons some brands manage to cultivate seasoned customer loyalty that endures over the release of new products and ensures they continue to sell to the same people. You needn’t think too hard when the likes of Apple and GoPro are about. 

What these brands have in common is that they ensure that their brand identity is conveyed across all platforms with consistency, that any communications that are sent to customers are done so with the brand in mind, and that the products ultimately relate back to these ideals. GoPro’s ‘Be a Hero’ spans all forms of content they design and even sees them upload tips and tricks to social media for usage. 

This sort of thing is important because 86% of consumers feel brand “authenticity” is an important element in deciding which brands to support, according to data from Social Media Today, and this means getting an image that resonates with customers. If you can do this in the world of online you’ll sate customer desires to have that met by brick and mortar experiences. 

2. Provide a consistent quality service

Put simply, customers are going to demand a quality service throughout the customer journey regardless of where they are shopping. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen eCommerce accelerate 4 to 6 years and alter customer demands to the point where they can expect more from their online experience. 

This means that your entire customer journey from beginning to end must be optimised to best ensure that the customer can purchase as smoothly as possible. Where there are questions or hiccups, have a first-rate customer service ready to address. Ryan Smith, co founder and CEO of Modern Tie, said

“You can never assume that customers will be able to get through the buying process without having any questions or problems. Online businesses should also have an easily accessible phone number your customers can use—sometimes, there are issues that can only be solved by talking to a real person.”

3. Easy sign up for discounts or newsletters 

Ease of sign up for discounts and newsletters can be the difference between optimising your customer journey or having a drop off. At key areas during the purchase funnel, customers may need a nudge to get them over the line and this simple engagement can be the key. 

Using incentivising discounts has been shown to scientifically improve happiness amongst consumers, a factor which is likely to massively contribute to their overall impression of your business and stimulate their desire to return. A study led by Dr. Paul J. Zak, Professor of Neuroeconomics at Claremont Graduate University,found that coupon recipients who got a $10 voucher experienced a 38% rise in oxytocin levels and were 11% happier than those who didn’t receive a coupon. 

Secondly, those who can easily gain access to newsletter sign ups are likely to feel they have access to a community of resources that will help them make purchasing decisions in the future. Tying this into your customer journey can help optimise long term decision making. 

Cloud.IQ’s personalised overlays can leverage both newsletter sign ups and incentivising discounts to optimise key touch points in the customer journey and prevent drop offs throughout. To learn more about how you could build a loyal customer base that returns again and again, click here for a free trial of the Cloud.IQ platform. 

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