When you’re running a POD store, you’re probably thinking of your sales as the most important key performance indicator of your business’ success.
The term may sound too overwhelming, especially for new entrepreneurs who are still in the process of building their online presence.
As a result, fewer people talk about building customer loyalty as a priority effort for their e-commerce business.
In reality, building customer loyalty is more than just a “marketing strategy” for your POD store.
In fact, statistics about customer loyalty show that increasing customer retention (the efforts to gain customer loyalty) by 5% can inevitably increase your average profit per customer by about 25%-100%.
Another study shows that 60% of loyal customers will purchase more frequently from the company of their preference.
Beyond just a strategy, customer loyalty can be a good qualifying measure for the success of your online business.
In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of customer loyalty and how you can build a loyal fanbase for your POD store.
What is Customer Loyalty?
Customer loyalty is your client’s willingness to patronize your brand and do repeat business with you.
Your loyal customers are your repeat buyers who choose your brand over competitors who offer similar benefits.
Having loyal customers for your POD means that your customers have had consistent satisfactory experiences in their transactions with you.
Your customers wouldn’t want to waste their time and money experimenting on other brands that offer similar products, which may probably give them negative outputs.
Why is Customer Loyalty Important?
In the online world, it’s not uncommon to encounter sellers from time to time that do not meet your expectations.
This is why customer loyalty is beneficial not only for you as a business owner, but also for buyers who would want to get the most satisfactory experience out of their resources.
Here are some of the reasons customer loyalty can be a good contribution to your business’ success:
It’s Cost efficient
Building Customer Loyalty saves a lot of cost that you have to spend for your marketing and PR efforts to gain new customers.
Studies show that acquiring new customers is about five times more expensive than keeping your loyal customers.
Attracting new customers requires a lot of research and mechanisms to connect with them.
On the other hand, keeping your existing customers assures you of their repeat business, while allowing them to help expand your business.
Your loyal customers can give positive reviews and recommendations about your products online or through word of mouth which can potentially turn leads into customers.
Especially for your POD store, new customers are keen about looking through brand reviews before choosing to buy from a product.
It Builds Competitive Advantage
There’s probably a ton of other stores out there who are selling similar, if not almost exactly the same designs that you have.
If you’re selling in highly saturated niches, the chances of you standing out are relatively slim if you do not have a good customer loyalty base to back you up.
Even if at some point, and they will, your competitors can bring new attractive offers, your loyal customers will not be easily swayed into choosing other brands especially when they want only tested and proven products and services for your brand.
Setting up a good customer loyalty program also incentivizes your loyal customers to keep on patronizing your brand over others because of the benefits that they reap.
Your loyal customers can keep your profits high
Keeping your loyal clients satisfied is key to sustain the long-term success of your business.
Even if your loyal customers do not purchase in bulk or spend so much money in one transaction, the revenue that you get from them over time will most likely exceed that of one-time big-time buyers.
How to build Customer Loyalty for your POD Store
Customer Loyalty undeniably brings numerous benefits to you, your brand, and your customers.
However, for many building customer loyalty may be an intimidating feat.
In the business parlance, there’s no easy way to ensure good and lasting results.
Customer loyalty is a product of multiple, consistent steps that you invest in.
Here’s how you can build a good customer loyalty base for your business:
1. Build Customer Trust
Customer loyalty stems from trust. In essence, they are your customer’s emotional attachment to your brand as a result of gaining positive experiences from your products and services.
One way of doing this is to deliver product quality as expected.
You’ve probably seen “expectation vs. reality” posts and memes circulating in social media pages to make humor out of the negative experiences that people get from purchasing products online.
You wouldn’t to waste all your efforts only to end up as a laughingstock meme.
Although it should go without saying, ensuring product quality is the most important step to ensure that your customer come back to repurchase other products from you.
Make sure that you observe the following measures to meet your customer’s expectations:
- product images, sizes, specifications, descriptions, and all relevant information should be as close to reality and should not differ from the actual product that you deliver
- Disclose all relevant information that your customers need to know regarding their specific needs and expectations
- Rewrite ready-made descriptions to make them as understandable and detailed as possible
- Order the product yourself for you to ensure your product’s quality
- Specify store policies such as Return Policy and Shipping information to assure a sense of security for your buyers.
- Be realistic and don’t over-promise what you can’t deliver
2. Have a Good Customer Service Strategy
Businesses deal with both good and bad experiences from time to time.
Numerous customers have to go through a lot of product inquiries before deciding to or not to purchase a product.
Mistakes are inevitable and customer complaints do not always mean your products aren’t worth purchasing.
The key to turning first time buyers into loyal customers is to ensure a good customer service experience.
A great customer support system makes your customers feel valued as customers and not only for the value that they give to your business.
Here are some ways to ensure you provide a good customer service support:
3. Respond Promptly to Customer Concerns
Bear in mind that your customer’s time is valuable.
More often than not, they probably want you to address their concerns, be it inquiries or complaints- pronto.
If you’re having hard time responding to loads of inquiries, it’s a good idea to set up a team of assistants to help you deal with the concerns quickly.
Start by assessing the concern and giving a response right away.
Disclose to the customer if you need more time to address their concerns. Living them on read or missing a follow-up communication with them when necessary is the last thing you want to do.
When you respond right away, your customer can be more patient in waiting for the problem to be fixed.
4. Acknowledge Mistakes
When you’ve made a mistake on your part- whether that be a wrong size delivery or a delayed shipment, it’s important to acknowledge that you didn’t deliver the best experience that your customers were expecting.
In the end, they decide whether they are satisfied or not.
When you read bad product reviews or receive complaints, it’s best to acknowledge mistakes and learn to apologize.
If you can go the extra mile of providing a compensation for your mistake, the better.
Always be polite
We get it- there are a lot of obnoxious customers out there that are too difficult to deal with. Regardless, they are still your customers.
Even though they may not be reasonable all the time- remember not to take it personally.
The best approach is to always be polite and calm in dealing with their concerns.
5. Invest on a Loyalty Program
It makes a lot of sense- If you incentivize your customers and give them more reasons to choose, aside from having good quality products and services, then you can make them stay longer!
A loyalty program provides incentives to your loyal customers by providing them added benefits such as discounts, coupons, birthday freebies, early sneak peeks, or weekly newsletters.
By giving these customer perks, you can motivate them to look forward to their next purchase with you.
Invest in a loyalty program that makes you stand out more among the competition. For instance, conducting a social media contest can increase your brand visibility.
A good loyalty program doesn’t have a complicated registration process.
Most importantly, always remember to assess the feasibility of your loyalty program.
Remember to keep in touch with your customers to send them reminders and updates whenever you have new offers for loyalty program activities.
6. Make your customers feel special
Adding a little bit of oomph to your products and services wouldn’t hurt- and would most probably earn you more positive reviews.
Whether it be a Thank you card with a personalized letter, or a surprise gift/ freebie to pair up with the product ordered, it can add up tremendously to the overall experience that the customer gets from you.
They are already expecting the exact product that they ordered.
When you overdeliver and give them something more than what they’re expecting- it can add instant value to your products.
The surprise doesn’t have to be expensive, it’s the thought that counts!
7. Build a Good Online Presence
Having a good online presence in different social media platforms has benefits that exceed that of mere brand awareness and visibility.
When you setup your brand on social media, you personalize your brand.
You can also choose the personality that you want to convey to your customers.
You can be friendly, humorous, or serious- it depends on your brand!
Therefore, you can engage with your followers/ customers on a regular basis.
This can be a good platform to build a good relationship with your loyal customers.
They can stay up-to-date when you promote your products and update new offers.
A constant online engagement can build your presence and develop leads for your brand.
Loyal customers leaving positive reviews and tagging you on their posts can increase your visibility and develop trust both for your existing and new customers.
Make sure you are always responsive to notifications and messages in social media.
If you find it difficult to manage your social media page, you can build a team of assistants to help your accounts active and responsive.
8. Encourage customer feedback
On the buyers’ end- customer feedbacks are good indicators of whether a brand delivers its promises or not.
On your end, customer feedbacks are important so you know what you did right and what you did wrong.
You can incentivize your customers to give feedback by giving them extra points or discounts.
Always remember to engage with every feedback- whether that be positive or negative.
If you have negative feedback, make sure to be proactive with a good customer service system to back you up.
Customer feedback allows you to improve your products and services- the most important measure of your customer’s preference.
As you improve them, you will inevitably gain more positive reviews, and more loyal clients.
The importance of having good customer loyalty efforts exceeds that of having a mere business “strategy” to skyrocket your sales for your POD business.
Customer loyalty is essential if you want to keep your brand relevant and alive.
After all, the point of having a business is to deliver satisfactory products and services to your clients. Your loyal customers are proof of that.
If you’re still starting on your POD business and struggling to build a handful of loyal believers, you’re probably overwhelmed by the thought of earning customer loyalty.
In reality, everyone starts somewhere. It takes a combination of sufficient knowledge and the right action about customer loyalty that can lead you further.