Customer loyalty programs are becoming more important than ever for ecommerce retailers to compete and scale in a highly competitive industry. In this article, we outline our recommended top 3 customer loyalty tactics to grow your D2C ecommerce brand.
Moving into a post-pandemic world, customers are looking for reliability, trust and personalisation to win their loyalty. In return, obtaining brand loyalty can work to strengthen a business’s ecommerce channels, customer retention and increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
With 84% of shoppers who increased their online shopping habits during COVID maintaining their new purchasing behaviour, customers are spending more time than ever researching brands online and comparing options.
So, how can D2C ecommerce retailers compete against brands for customer loyalty in this market? In this article, we will outline the biggest market trends and the top ecommerce marketing tactics for brand loyalty in 2022.
Ecommerce Customer Value & Loyalty Trends in 2022
Retailers are shifting focus to customer value over volume
Costs of customer acquisition are on the rise – the focus for ecommerce retailers should be on customer value, not quantity. With the death of the cookie, retailers might not have the ability to reach the same volume of customers as before. As a result, 82% of companies say that retention is cheaper than new customer acquisition. By shifting ecommerce marketing tactics towards value, retailers can reap the rewards of long-term, dedicated lifetime customers.
Customer loyalty is driven by rewards and personalisation
With more competition in ecommerce D2C retailing than ever before, consumers are looking for brands that deliver personalisation and rewards in return for their shopping. When considering the role of loyalty programs, 75% of consumers favour companies that offer rewards and 86% of consumers find that personalisation impacts their purchase decisions.
What does this mean for D2C retailers? To tap into a higher CLV and see results through value, not volume, it’s time to invest in customer loyalty programs and tactics.
Benefits of a Loyal Customer Base
A customer loyalty program is essentially a customer retention tactic to build brand engagement and incentivise return purchases. The benefits to your ecommerce business can be:
- Building a connection with your customers beyond the transactional process
- Collect zero and first-party data such as preferences, interests and demographics
- Harness zero and first-party data for enhanced segmentation and campaign targeting
- Grow your customer lifetime value and increase the profitability of customer acquisition
3 Customer Loyalty Tactics for D2C Brands
Tactic 1 – Serve Personalised Content that Incentivises Engagement
Build emotional loyalty with your most profitable customers by serving valuable, personalised and engaging content. Discounts aren’t enough to develop brand loyalty and foster repeat purchases – investing in high-quality content is how D2C retailers can build strong connections that drive results.
Jade Horrobin, Content Marketing Lead, says that “After a first-time purchase the relationship between your brand and the buyers is fresh, so there’s ample opportunity to strengthen the relationship and build that loyalty. The key is to reach your new customers with helpful and informative content, personalised to the products or services they’ve purchased — teach them how to use specific features and address common questions proactively. Delivering this content directly to them via email and social ads is key to staying front of mind”.
Best Types of Content to Foster Loyalty
While the type of content you produce and distribute will depend on your product and customer base, it must always be high-quality. Jade Horrobin suggests that “Consistency, breadth of information, and an engaging blog” is key here. A specialist ecommerce agency can work closely with you to produce this content, or can provide support to your internal resources. Content formats you can test are:
- Interactive quizzes, product way-finders and calculators
- Video guides, product demonstrations and animations
- Visually engaging eBooks and landing pages
- Thought leadership blogs across high-value content buckets
- Social media contests and personalised ads
- Distributing user-generated content on web and socials
Tactic 2 – Implement Email Automations for High-Value Customers
One of the most important ecommerce marketing tips for customer loyalty is utilising email automation for retention. Jess McMahon, Email Marketing Lead, says that “When it comes to customer lifecycle marketing, email nurtures the customer journey right from the new customer acquisition period right through to winning back lapsed customers”.
When considering building customer loyalty specifically, Jess McMahon proposes that “it’s the middle section on this curve where we can focus on retaining customers and increasing customer lifetime value”. Taking the VIP nurture flow for example; this flow triggers when a subscriber meets the criteria of a ‘high-value customer’. If your objective is to build a community of brand advocates, give them access to exclusive benefits and encourage repeat purchases.
Tip: Segment customers by recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) value to help identify customers who are high value. Use these cohorts to determine what actions you’d like them to take and what email content will best retain and nurture them.
Tactic 3 – Harness Zero and First-Party Data to Personalise Performance Marketing
Alex McCann, Performance Marketing Lead, suggests that “In this privacy-first world, retailers’ ability to gather, utilise and leverage shared data has never been more important for your performance marketing strategy”.
By gathering the data that your customers have intentionally shared with you, you can feed this back into your paid advertising strategy. Alex McCann recommends directly integrating your loyalty programs with ad platforms to gather and analyse this first and zero-party data. By doing so, the ad platform will be better able to understand who your loyal customers are, which can inform your ad creation, messaging and variations to be built around retention for this segment. You can also use shared data to serve your high-value customers with personalised paid ads to foster loyalty and repeat purchases.
Tip: If you’re a business that encourages repeat purchases, build remarketing campaigns that are based on the customer database according to when they have purchased. You can sync this up to ad platforms to serve replenishment ads as the customer is about to run out of their product.
D2C ecommerce Brands Who Do Loyalty Programs Well
The Go-To Gang is an email marketing loyalty program that provides birthday gifts, free treats, first access to products and exclusive promotions. The Beauty Chef’s Inner Beauty Circle allows customers to earn points towards a shop and save program, rewarding customers for their purchases.
If you’re looking to build a D2C customer loyalty program or strategy that stands out, partnering with an ecommerce agency can set your business up for success.
Build Brand Loyalty and Foster Customer Retention with Reload Media
Partnering with a top ecommerce marketing agency can help your brand to build a loyal customer base and grow profits. Get in touch to find out how our ecommerce marketing experts can develop a tailored strategy to drive results for your business.