Let’s Stay Together: Retaining Customers in a Post-Pandemic E-Commerce World

Most e-commerce experiences currently center on one-time purchase transactions. What’s more, the pandemic ushered in a new level of brand switching and loyalty disruption. Brands can’t afford to lose their customers to competitors, but customers’ tolerance for subpar experiences is even lower than before. The increased demand for convenience, control, and personal buying experiences has led brands to reevaluate their retention strategies. 

Now, as brands prepare for a post-pandemic e-commerce world, the convergence of these pain points and new demands provides an opportunity to model businesses in a way that supports ongoing relationships instead of optimizing one-time purchases. Brands can maximize customer retention through integrated subscription experiences, exclusive content, and technology that prioritizes customer behavior.

Establish integrated subscription experiences

Subscriptions are one of the most valuable ways to create a loyal customer, as they offer a convenient, cost-saving means to regularly receive products. Brands also benefit from the recurring revenue stream as they no longer have to spend time and resources to target return shoppers at each stage of the sales funnel, anticipating when they might make another purchase. 

By incorporating subscriptions along with other retention strategies, brands can ensure a consistent, uniform experience for customers every time they interact. One way to do this is by pairing subscription experiences with loyalty programs to ensure subscribers receive the best deals and perks after committing to a brand. 

Brands can also remind customers of the ongoing benefits they receive from subscriptions across mobile, email, and the website. For example, each time a subscriber receives an order confirmation, remind them of their discount and free shipping perks. Even further, provide a year-to-date summary of their cost savings. A subscription experience that works in conjunction with other e-commerce offerings can boost customer loyalty and retention.

Create exclusive content

Content can create strong personal connections and a sense of community. When made exclusive, it builds even more loyalty by creating value beyond just the benefits of a product. Exclusive content – often offered to subscribers or members – can be presented in a variety of ways. 

For example, influencers or brand advocates can share blog posts and how-to videos. It’s common for beauty brands to have an influencer share a makeup tutorial, highlighting specific products they use to get a certain look. 

Another instance may be coffee brands launching special, limited availability runs of a certain flavor. With exclusive content, brands can get creative and reach their key customer segments in the way that is most appealing to them.

Predict customer behavior with artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence technology can uncover data insights to improve the overall customer experience. Specifically, AI can analyze consumer behavior patterns and predict their future actions. For example, a customer that subscribes to a monthly protein powder might find they don’t need it for one month. 

Instead of letting the customer be at risk of canceling, a brand can proactively reach out and remind them they have the option to skip their order. The customer not only feels in control of their order but also sees personalized outreach from a brand. This proactive communication builds a positive relationship that lasts beyond a one-time purchase.

Build an e-commerce offering that is flexible to meet customer needs

As we enter a post-pandemic world, it’s more important than ever to ensure effective retention strategies are in place. Loyal customers provide a critical amount of value to brands. And it’s key for brands to provide similar value. 

By focusing on integrated subscription experiences, exclusive content, and consumer-based data technology, brands can better meet their needs for an exceptional experience. This ensures that brands and their customers will stay together long term.

Casey Burt is Director of Client Services at Ordergroove.

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