5 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies to Retain Your Customers Post-pandemic
If you think back to 2020, it probably started something like this: There was a countdown, a ball drop, and champagne; there was excitement. You had New Year’s resolutions; you were really ready to take on the year and had ambitious plans.
But, as we all remember, it quickly turned into a scenario like this: Lockdowns and quarantines instantly altered the way we operate as businesses and individuals.
People started working from home and stopped seeing others outside their households. Stores shuttered, making it difficult to find necessities, like toilet paper and cleaning products, as well as new essentials, like workout gear and office supplies.
In response, businesses had to pivot and offer their products online. Meanwhile, they also had to battle unanticipated supply chain and logistics nightmares.
Difficulties aside, one thing is true: The world saw the single greatest shift towards ecommerce in 2020.
Research shows that 90 percent of consumers are now shopping online, which is up from 70 percent at the start of the pandemic. Additionally, 46 percent of consumers are shopping with new brands.
But now that society has adjusted to this new normal, how will you maintain and grow the relationships you formed with customers online last year? Will they leave your online store once they can shop in-person again? Will they go back to the large retail brands and big box stores?
Not if you can help it. After last year, you’re well-equipped to work through anything. It just requires some strategic planning.
Continue reading to discover five ecommerce marketing strategies you can use to build stronger relationships and retain your customers.
5 ecommerce marketing strategies for customer retention
What strategies are ecommerce brands are using to continue 2020’s supergrowth trajectory? How are you thinking about navigating this new world and evolving your business with fresh challenges ahead?
Here are five marketing strategies to consider as you navigate the rest of the year.
1 | Build your brand and include it in your messaging
Is building your brand constantly top of mind? You’ve likely spent a lot of time considering how to build your brand, how to stand out, and how to communicate your values with your growing audience.
And your customers care about what you stand for as a brand, too. Often, it’s a huge reason they shopped with you instead of another business in the first place.
Going back to the basics and finding different opportunities to tell your new customers about what it means to shop with your brand is essential to continuing those relationships.
What are the messages you stand by? What’s specific value do you offer? What’s your ethos? What’s your brand’s founder story?
These questions may seem simplistic to you, but they can hold a lot of weight with your customers. Go back to your messaging, think about what makes you stand out, and consistently communicate that to your customers and show them they made the right choice by shopping with you.
This email from Farmacy Beauty is a great example of what it means to talk about your brand in a meaningful way that resonates with your audience.
It conveys Farmacy’s core values and mission, plus how their ingredients are farm-grown, their belief in sustainability, how they use 20,000 bees to make their honey-based products, and how they partner with small farms.
With ecommerce, it’s easy to fall into the trap where you default to focusing on selling your products all the time. But not every email you send or piece of copy you write needs to be product-centric.
Balance your communicating your brand with communicating the value of your product.
2 | Communicate your value proposition and what sets your brand apart from the rest
What makes your product different than the rest of the products like it on the market? What’s your value proposition?
Besides telling customers about your brand, it’s also important to let your audience know what benefits they’ll gain by purchasing your products so you can both educate them and encourage repeat purchases.
Why would someone choose to shop with you versus another brand? What about the quality or craftsmanship of your product makes it special? What goes into your product or how is it made, and how does that make it superior to competitors or similar products?
The answers to these questions are unique to your business and the products you sell, but they can be huge differentiators with your customers.
For example, OUI the People always does a phenomenal job of relaying their product value in their messaging. In a few short sentences, this email expertly tackles differentiation (“non-greasy”), while communicating the benefits of the product, how it feels, how it works, and even how to use it.
Again, it’s a back to basics strategy, but ultimately it’s about educating your customers and informing them of the qualities that make your business so special.
3 | Bridge the gap between online and offline
As coronavirus restrictions continue to loosen up, people will regularly shop in-person again. This means that if you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, you’ll be thinking about how you’re going to bridge the gap between offline and online.
Take this example from Lakrids by Bülow. They put a QR code in each of their shops so, when a customer comes in and scans it, it triggers an email opt-in process and, a few hours later, they receive the first in a series of communications.
The first email is a simple thank you that asks their customers to take a survey on their experience in the store. This strategy allows you to build your email list and create customer profiles so you can continue communicating with shoppers after they visit your brick-and-mortar store in-person.
Once you bridge that gap, use email to keep building and nurturing relationships with those customers who shopped in your store. Maybe you have a sale coming up, or maybe there’s a different set of hours as a result of your local restrictions easing. Or maybe your store hours or aspects of your in-store experience might be changing. If so, consider communicating any upcoming changes for your brick-and-mortar store.
There are a lot of opportunities to use digital channels to communicate with your in-store customers, but first and foremost, it’s about getting the customer to engage with your brand offline. Once you get shoppers to opt-in to your marketing communications, you can continue to build those relationships online.
4 | Inspire loyalty and word-of-mouth advocacy
Creating moments of joy to surprise and delight your customers is one of the best things you can do to engage your customers. In other words, think of ways to inspire brand affinity and, consequently, word-of-mouth.
Most marketers and business owners want people to share their brand with others—who doesn’t want their customers telling their friends and family to shop at their store? You can achieve this by creating experiences that build loyalty and drive advocacy.
This doesn’t have to be a huge effort—it can be as small as capturing someone’s birthday and sharing a discount or a birthday message, like Norman Love Confections does.
Just how Norman Love Confections does with this email, show your customers that you know who they are by creating a bond with them. This shows them that you’re not just another brand in your inbox, but you know who they are and value them as a customer.
When you ask your customers to share details like their birthday or their preferences, they’re typically very willing to give them, especially if they believe that there might be an incentive coming their way.
If you already have a birthday automation, one of my other favorite messages is a first purchase anniversary email. It’s a great way to say, “Thank you for your first purchase. How has your experience shopping with us been over the last year?”
These small details may seem insignificant, but they can make all the difference when it comes to earning your customers’ trust and loyalty.
5 | Launch and update marketing automations
Many marketers changed their email automations during the pandemic because their product offerings had to change or they were dealing with severe shipping issues so they wanted to be transparent with their customers.
But as the world continues to change, your automations should, too. Ensure the copy in your messages matches what’s currently happening with your business and in your customers’ local areas, and take out any references to COVID that are no longer needed or applicable to your customers.
For example, maybe now you want to focus on the fact that your brick-and-mortar store is open again or that your products are back in stock after months of supply chain problems, similar to how Golde did in the example below. Alternatively, perhaps you have upcoming sales or seasonal holidays you want to focus your messaging around.
Additionally, you can continue building relationships with your customers by considering which automations you want to put in place that you haven’t already.
Birthday automations, abandoned carts, browse abandonments, welcome series—these are just a few options, but there are many creative and innovative ways to use marketing automation to scale your business and your revenue stream so you can focus on other priorities that are fighting for your time.
The future is yours
The future of your ecommerce business is what you make of it today. There will be endless ways to grow your brand, create meaningful experiences for your customers, and entice shoppers to keep coming back for more if you do some strategic planning.
These opportunities don’t come without challenges, but by tackling 2021 with a plan, and by following the top ecommerce trends and strategies other brands are employing, you’ll be in a great position to succeed.
Looking for more customer retention strategies? Check out the winback email campaigns shoppers won’t be able to resist.
Ready to take your customer retention strategy to the next level with email marketing?