Some claim that customer loyalty is overrated, if not dead. We’re not overly fond of pronouncing that a practice or method is “dead.” Read our Direct Mail Isn’t Dead blog for proof. But there is something behind why customer loyalty programs don’t appear to pay off in terms of lifetime value like they once did. Many businesses are trying to solve this loyalty challenge by creating new and exciting branding or products to create a competitive advantage.
A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, in their article for Harvard Business Review, go so far as to suggest that perhaps customer loyalty was always overrated. Maybe what made a customer loyal was how easy it was to buy and use a product. They write, “holding on to customers is not a matter of continually adapting to changing needs in order to remain the rational or emotional best fit. It’s about helping customers avoid having to make yet another choice. To do that, you have to create what we call cumulative advantage.”
Becoming overly granular and over-analyzing customer loyalty in an effort to re-engage what appears to be a disinterested audience is all too tempting when you’re presented with lots of data from various departments across your E-commerce business, and when you take a look at what your competitors are doing. Re-engaging your audience starts with answering this question – what will make their life easier and more convenient? The more we are able to remove friction from the purchase process, the more successful we will be. Amazon is successful for many reasons, but One-Click buying and Amazon Prime removed a lot of friction from the shopping process for their customers.
Once you answer that question, you can build strong retargeting campaigns that will build that cumulative advantage for your E-commerce site. Here are 6 smart retargeting tactics you can employ to turn former customers into repeat shoppers.
1. Winback Sales
There’s a reason companies are quick to issue “We miss you!” emails and postcards to consumers who haven’t made a purchase in a while – they work. A study conducted by Marketing Land shows that the read rate on winback emails is 12 percent. Although this might not sound like an extremely high number, the study goes on to state that three-quarters of that group read further emails from the company over the next 90 days. This proves that you can entice people to become active customers once again with nothing more than an email address. The key to keeping them is to continually look for ways to make their life easier, whether it’s by implementing a subscribe and save option for ordering or sending them notifications when a favorite product goes on sale.
One of the more interesting points to come out of the Marketing Land study is that there’s no statistical difference between an emotional subject line and a neutral subject line. What people care about is how they’ll benefit from re-engaging — how this offer or sale made their life better or easier. It should come as no surprise that a discount is the most logical method for encouraging former customers to consider coming back.
A contest might not be the first thing you think of when you consider retargeting tactics, but it’s a good tactic to get people to come back to your brand. All you have to do is select an item you already sell — and that you know will be of interest to that individual consumer — and promote a contest regarding that item.
Since you’re trying to get people to come back, you can frame the contest around getting people to update their contact information or encouraging your audience to leave product reviews or try a new easy buy option. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and come up with something that will resonate with a large general audience, but is tailored to the individual shopper as well.
3. Limited Time Offers
From direct mail to infomercials, the idea of the limited time offer has been a staple of marketing for as long as anyone can remember. But this concept can be effective in the realm of retargeting as well. One of the main issues with conventional retargeting is that consumers see banner ads for products they looked at all over the web, and those ads never seem to go away. As a result, it’s easy for them to simply make a mental note to go back to that item later. But if they feel as though they can’t wait, they’ll be more inclined to check out your site right now.
This concept doesn’t just apply to inventory levels. The very idea of flash sales uses this notion of scarcity to drive consumer interest. And it can do the same for you as you retarget former customers. These limited time offers have to be convenient and easy for the customer to participate in. If your customer typically makes purchases during the hours of 6 pm and 11 pm (after work hours) on Thursdays - Saturdays, make the Limited Time Offer valid during their preferred shopping times.
4. Ask Customers to Update Their Information
We touched on this idea when we talked about a potential contest for your email list, but there’s always a good reason to ask the individuals on your email list to update their contact information. For one thing, it’s a relevant way for you to reach out to your audience and get people thinking about your business again. More importantly, it will help you keep your email list up to date so people can receive your most important messages in their preferred manner. Make updating information as easy and painless as possible. If it’s been a long-time since they’ve last logged in, a helpful How-to email to reset passwords would be nice (especially for those of us who can’t remember passwords for our everyday email let alone a website we haven’t visited in over 6 months.).
A survey is a great way to generate the kind of feedback you need to better speak directly to your disengaged customers. When you know where you’re falling short, it’s much easier to rectify those things and present a more appealing package to those lapsed consumers. Surveys can be combined with contests and giveaways, or they can be stand-alone initiatives to improve your relevance to your customer base. The best part is that you don’t have to stick to basic multiple-choice questions. For example, you can directly ask why people stopped shopping at your site or reading your emails, and find out what it is they’re looking for in an e-commerce shopping experience that you are failing to deliver.
6. Start a New Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs often sound good on paper, but they’re frequently too complicated or annoying to be useful for consumers. So, while your idea to launch a new customer loyalty program might sound great internally, your average lapsed customer might not exactly be jumping for joy at the prospect of coming back to another confusing rewards system. A loyalty program must be a genuine benefit for the consumer, as well as the business.
But with retargeting, you have an advantage already. You can appeal to former customers by retroactively including their purchase history, giving them a head start towards earning rewards. They will see they are valued and it incentivizes them to reach the point where they’re rewarded.
Smart Retargeting Goes Online and Offline
The tactics above have generally been approached as an online, digital tactic, but Larry and I discussed in our last podcast Retargeting 2.0: It’s Not Just Digital how retargeting is moving beyond its digital confines. All the tactics above can be used in email, direct mail, digital display, social media, and TV retargeting efforts. Retargeting must help to make the consumer’s life easier and more convenient in some way, and engaging with them in their preferred channel helps.
If you have a retargeting or marketing question, in general, hop on over to our 2 Guys and Some Data resource page. Send us your questions and we may answer them on the show!