Online shopping has made it convenient for consumers to purchase what the need (or want) with the click of a mouse. Every year e-retail continues to only trend upward. According to InternetRetailer.com Americans will spend $327 billion in 2016.
No doubt there is a lot of competition between businesses to attract and maintain customers. This is a great thing for consumers because it means we have plenty of choices when we decide where to spend our hard-earned cash. Luckily some companies have are going above and beyond to make sure we are not only their customers but happy customers who’d likely share a good experience with our other money spending friends. This is a short list of what I think should be priorities for any online businesses if they want to keep me around. After all according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs it costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.
- Customer Service: There are companies that are known for their fantastic customer service including Southwest Airlines, Zappos.com and Nordstrom. They actually wrote the book on it. Whether on the phone, via email or through social media their commitment to make sure customers’ issues are resolved in a timely manner is what sets them apart. According to Defaqto Research 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience.
- Free Shipping: It’s two magic words that will never be ignored. I understand this may not be cost-efficient for some smaller businesses but if you are dealing with a big e-retailer free shipping should be a must. Imagine all the money you can save during the holiday season if you are an online gift shopper? I’m certainly not alone on free shipping being extremely important. A study by the e-tailing group says free shipping is critical for 73% of consumers.
- Rewards: If I keep coming back to a business, I’d like them to acknowledge it. Rewards are a great way to strategically keep buyers coming back. Whether it’s a point system or some sort of coupon or promotion we all like perks. That same e-tailing group research shows 56% of consumers say coupons of rebates are critical in their decision to buy.
- Abandoned Cart Notices: It happens. The item is in the cart, we are ready to buy that product online but we get distracted and don’t end up buying it. Some businesses use this to send us a reminder that “Oops! We forgot about that purchase we were going to make”. Some abandoned cart reminder emails even include a discount code to help us make up our minds about buying a product. I would say 9 times out 10 this is how they get me to come back and finish my purchase.
- Competitive Pricing: If I see the same exact item being sold for a lot less somewhere else I’m probably going to make the purchase where my dollars can go further. It used to be that only retail stores would match a competitor price but now more advanced computer software used by some companies does that work for you. If not, usually a call to a company with a great customer service will take care of the price adjustment. See? It is why customer service should always be numero uno!
What keeps you coming back to a specific retailer? Let us know in the comments below.