By Jared Atchison, co-founder of WPForms

For any business, catering to customers and keeping them happy is essential to expedite its growth. Without your customer base, there’s nothing to keep your brand afloat and generate sales. 

For e-commerce businesses especially, it’s crucial to cater to consumers so they feel seen, heard and cared about. Because there’s a lack of face-to-face interaction, it’s even more important to cater to customers and prove that their loyalty to your brand is worth it.

Since it’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones, creating a strategy for customer retention is a must. Building loyalty is a process, and if you don’t have a plan in place, it’ll take longer to reach your goals.

Let’s dive into a few ways your e-commerce store can build a loyal customer base so your business succeeds.

Create a loyalty program.

If a customer bought from you previously, they’re likely to do it again if they had a positive experience doing so. Use this to your advantage by creating incentives that encourage customers to do business with you again.

Create a loyalty program that rewards customers for their repeat business and incentivizes their return. In a 2013 Nielsen study, 84 percent of consumers said they were more likely to choose a retailer that offered a loyalty program. Not only does it give customers a reason to keep coming back, but it also generates more sales and builds brand awareness. 

There are endless ways to set up your rewards program. For example, Sephora uses a points system so that members who rack up points can receive items for free. Its loyalty program also gives members access to a community that shares the same interests and purchase behaviors. 

Build trust with social proof.

Imagine visiting an online store for the first time, ready to browse their products. You like what you see; however, there are few to no signs on their website that signal a trustworthy business. Without these examples of social proof, it’s difficult for customers to make a buying decision they’re comfortable with.

Social proof is a phenomenon that occurs when people see others enjoying an experience that they want to have. When we see friends, family or influencers raving about a product, it encourages us to check it out because we want to enjoy it too. 

Some examples of social proof include:

  • Reviews.
  • Testimonials.
  • Word of mouth.
  • Real-time activity.
  • Influencer or celebrity endorsements.
  • Brand logos.

By displaying these elements on your website, you’re showing new visitors that customers already enjoy your products and services. It signals that your brand is trustworthy and worth the investment. 

Offer stellar support.

There’s nothing worse than encountering an issue with a brand and receiving little to no assistance. It’s a surefire way to upset visitors, reduce customer retention and lose sales. People want to know that the businesses they invest in are worth the money, so it’s crucial to be there for your customers at every stage of the sales funnel.

Use live chat as part of your customer service strategy. It uses live agents to respond to customer inquiries on your site in real time. You can hire agents to service your customers 24/7 or only within a specific time frame. If you don’t have the budget to hire round-the-clock agents, consider outsourcing your customer service instead.

Customers discuss their buying experiences on social media all the time, and your customers do as well. Use the platforms they’re active on to answer questions, assist with issues and provide solutions. Social media offers instant support and efficiency so customers get what they need. 

When you go the extra mile to assist your audience, it shows you care and encourages them to continue investing in your brand. It’s worth the extra effort to provide omnichannel support that reaches every corner of your customer base.

Over to you.

If you have yet to create a strategy that builds customer loyalty for your brand, it’s time to get started. Customer loyalty is essential for customer retention, which brings in extra sales and spreads awareness for your brand. Catering to your audience will help drive conversions and cultivate a customer base that keeps coming back for more.

How will you build customer loyalty for your e-commerce store?

Jared Atchison is the co-founder of WPForms, a drag & drop form builder for WordPress that's being used on over 400,000 websites.