Beyond the Cart: How to Build Lasting Customer Relationships in E-commerce

by Shaun Whynacht  - August 27, 2023

The e-commerce market has been steadily growing over the past few years. This growth has even spiked due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where nearly all businesses resorted to moving online. 

Any business, no matter the size or industry, can benefit from having an e-commerce presence. However, it’s not just enough to start one. Building a great relationship with your customers is important if you want your business to thrive.

But how exactly do you build and maintain lasting relationships with your customers, especially if you can only interact with them online? In this article, we’ll walk you through how. Let’s dive in! 

 

Tips For Building Lasting Customer Relationships in E-commerce

Ever heard of “Customer is King?” It’s the age-old mantra that highlights the importance of customers for any business. This is because your customers, and your relationship with them, can greatly impact the success of your business. 

Here are some examples of how to build great customer relationships for your e-commerce business:

  1. Provide excellent customer service

The importance of providing excellent customer service cannot be overstated. 

81% of consumers say that a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making another purchase. Meanwhile, 61% say that they would switch to a competitor after just one poor support experience. You read that right, just one. Customers are unforgiving. After all, they have multiple brands to choose from. This is why great customer service is important, as it will give you an edge over your competitors. 

So how do you improve your customer service? The first is to ensure that you address their questions and issues in a timely manner. Providing 24/7 support is not optional now. If you don’t have a huge team to provide around-the-clock support, use automated chatbots that can assist your customers while you’re offline.

Time is of the essence for your customers. 33% say that good service means that their issues are solved within one interaction. While it’s understandable that some issues might take longer to solve than others, don’t make your customers wait too much. Don’t make them follow up or submit multiple requests. 

The second is to provide a strong knowledge base. You can do this by creating detailed and well-written FAQ pages or tutorial videos. This way, your customers have the ability to solve their issues on their own.

The third is prioritizing support. Practice active listening, show empathy, use positive language, and treat your customers with kindness.  Make sure to follow up with your customers to see if all their concerns were solved and if you need to help them with anything else. 

  1. Personalize their experience

With the advancement of technology and an abundance of data, consumers now expect personalized experiences, especially in e-commerce.

How do you provide a personalized e-commerce experience?  One example is by providing tailored product recommendations. Remember those “You may also like” “Frequently bought together” or “Complete the look” sections that you see on websites? Based on your browser history and behavior, brands use it to provide you with recommendations. 

Also, ever notice that when you search for a particular product, you start to see more of that product type while scrolling through the site? That’s also the power of personalization. 

And this is not limited to your e-commerce website either. Email marketing can be used to send tailored product suggestions or personalized newsletters to your customers. You can also use email to send “abandoned cart messages”, where you remind your customers about the items left in their cart and subtly nudge them to make a purchase by showing them products that they might prefer instead. 

According to studies, 80% of people are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences. This is because customers feel understood and special when they see personalized content. They feel like the brand is specifically tailored to meet their needs. Also, it saves them tons of time as they don’t have to scour through the whole website just to find what they need. 

All of these result in building loyalty and connections with your customers.

  1. Have solid branding

Branding is often an underrated part of an e-commerce strategy. This is due to business owners and marketers not fully understanding what branding can impact. 

Branding is not just limited to your advertising campaigns. It’s all about creating a brand identity — a personality or image that your customers can associate you with. Over time, this builds recognition and trust with your customers. 

Think of all the household name brands in the world, such as Apple, Coca-Cola, or Nike. Most people would purchase from these brands because they are recognizable and familiar, and because they built an image of being high quality. Therefore, people would prefer them over their competitors. All of that is due to their branding. 

How will you apply this to your e-commerce business? The answer is to maintain a consistent brand identity across all your touchpoints, such as your website or emails. Use your color scheme and custom typography, and always include your logo. If you don’t have a logo design yet, head on to logo maker tools online to get started. Prioritize your logo as it’s going to be your main branding asset. 

Branding doesn’t end with just visuals either. Think about your brand’s unique selling point (USP) as well. What sets you apart from other businesses? It’s important to find your USP to stand out in a saturated e-commerce market. Do you want to be seen as a brand that offers the most affordable price? How about a brand that focuses on its environmental impact? Or perhaps one that is inclusive to all? 

Your USP should be visible throughout your whole business. Your message should be seen on your website, social media posts, product quality, customer service, down to how you package your products. 

  1. Your packaging matters

Another important factor to consider is your product packaging. This is even more important for e-commerce businesses, as your packages will go through a heavier ordeal compared to when buying from a brick-and-mortar shop.

Your main priority should be protection and safety. During an order fulfillment process, your package will go through multiple hands. Make sure your product packaging is sturdy, well-padded, and secure to ensure that the product will arrive in pristine condition to your customer. 

However, don’t neglect your aesthetics! According to surveys, 52% of customers would be more likely to purchase from the same company again if the packaging exceeds their expectations. While 1 in 10 people considers packaging as important as the brand itself.

A beautiful and well-thought-out packaging increases loyalty and interest in your customers. They prefer attractive packaging that feels like a gift instead of generic cardboard boxes. 

For example, look at how BirchBox packages its products. Each of their boxes is covered in beautiful patterns that fit their theme of the month. What’s more, every box is unique to your order. You won’t find another person that has the exact same box pattern as you. It makes you feel special, right?

According to a study conducted by Bain & Company, 60 to 80% of people won’t come back to a brand with poor packaging, even if they were satisfied with the product itself. Product packaging is crucial if you want to build lasting relationships with your customers.

  1. Go the extra mile

Last but not least, go the extra mile for your customers. This advice can be applied to nearly every aspect of your e-commerce business. 

Have a customer that experienced issues? Give them discount codes or vouchers as a way of saying sorry. Have loyalty programs that reward repeat shopping from your store. Write them handwritten thank you notes. Surprise them with gifts or giveaways during important store milestones. Continuously engage and communicate with them on your social media platforms.

Customers feel more valued when they see you making an effort for them. In turn, this makes them more likely to go back to your brand. 

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Wrapping Up

As you can see, a strong customer relationship will boost your sales, build loyalty, as well as build a strong reputation.

Remember, fostering lasting customer relationships takes lots of time and effort. Consistently delivering high-quality products, being attentive to customer needs, and going the extra mile can help your e-commerce business create a loyal and dedicated customer base.

Author’s Bio

Janella Malapad is an outreach specialist at DesignCrowd. She spends her free time playing volleyball on the court, carrying enthusiasm, and embracing the love of the sport when she's not lost in the captivating landscapes of poetry. You can reach her through Linkedin or her email janella.malapad@designcrowd.com 

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