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Q&A: How to develop longterm customer loyalty

Amit Sharma, CEO at Narvar, explains how retailers can maximise customer retention through post-purchase behaviour.

How important is it that traditional retailers evolve their communication strategy?

For​ ​decades, the majority​ ​of​ ​brands​ ​have​ ​been​ single-mindedly​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​customer​ ​acquisition​ ​and​ ​optimising​ ​for conversion, ​i.e.​ ​getting​ ​people​ ​to​ ​press, ​click,​ ​or​ ​tap​ ​the​ ​buy​ ​button.​ ​But​ ​frequently,​ ​that​ ​attention disappears​ ​after​ ​the​ ​purchase,​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​customer​ ​experience​ ​gap. But actually, it’s between 5-20 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. In an environment where retailers’ margins are more under pressure than ever, it is essential to evolve communication strategies to ensure that experiences ‘beyond the ‘buy button’ are not being neglected. This will have a significant impact on customer loyalty.

What advice would you give brands that are trying to do this?

One of the ways they can improve communication is by investing time in building their post-purchase presence. Ensure you’re following up with customers after a purchase and keep them abreast of their order status. Use beautifully designed branded interfaces for these to communicate the brand authentically in the channel of their choice. Make personalised recommendations, facilitate feedback, or even just give a simple ‘thank you’. A well thought out post-purchase experience can go that extra mile in helping retailers win their customers’ loyalty.

Amit Sharma, Narvar CEO

How can brands maximise customer retention through post-purchase behaviour?

Post-purchase​ ​experience​ ​is​ ​​key​​ ​for​ ​long-term​ ​customer​ ​engagement​ ​loyalty. From​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​shoppers​ ​click​ ​‘buy’,​ ​retailers​ ​have​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​experience​ ​an extension​ ​of​ ​the​ ​brand​.​ ​When​ ​this​ ​happens; deliveries​ ​turn​ ​into​ ​up-sells,​ customers come back even after returns​, ​call​ ​centre​ ​costs​ ​go​ ​down and shoppers​ ​become​ ​lifelong​ ​advocates.

How can retailers build lifelong relationships beyond the ‘buy’ button?

The ‘personal touch’ has always been important in retail, but this can be difficult to replicate online. When a customer makes a purchase online, there’s often an ‘experience gap’ from the time the customer checks out to when the product arrives. This is the new moment of truth for online shoppers. Providing a positive experience at this time of anticipation is a tremendous opportunity for retailers to deepen their relationships with customers and build loyalty for their brands. So go above and beyond. A well thought out experience can help retailers win their customers’ loyalty for life.

What are the biggest mistakes retailers make post-purchase?

The biggest mistake retailers make post-purchase is going dark, or ‘ghosting’ their customers. Customers want useful and relevant info on their orders! They appreciate visibility into the status of their order, the ability to easily share feedback, consider personalised recommendations, or being thanked for their business.

Which brands do you think are doing a good job with their post-purchase communication and why?

Brands like Sephora and prettylittlething.com have done a great job streamlining their post-purchase communication. They follow up with customers with authentic branded communications, incorporating delivery information, personalised recommendations and more. As a result, they’ve both experienced an eCommerce sales uptick!

Narvar helps retail brands deliver premium post-purchase experiences beyond the buy button.

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