Maintaining Customer Loyalty during COVID19
- Customer Experience, eCommerce, Fulfillment

Maintaining Customer Loyalty during COVID19

Top 5 eCommerce Hacks for Maintaining Customer Loyalty during COVID19

Contrary to popular belief, e-commerce revenue has increased during the ongoing pandemic. While the naysayers are skeptical about the positive growth, industry experts see a massive paradigm shift happening.

Customers started hoarding essentials and entertainment commodities at the beginning of the Corona pandemic, translating into large purchases related to home improvement. Various banks worldwide have reported a rise in consumer loan disbursal for commodities like TVs, ACs, and Couch. Remote working is adding to revenue growth for e-commerce players.

E-commerce players are faced with the great challenge of meeting customer demands with limited supply or almost no supply. Factories, assembly centers, and manufacturing units are closed due to governments’ economic lockdown, but the customer requirements are continually increasing.

Challenges e-commerce players can face due to increased demand and less supply:

  • Prolonged lockdown will lead to inflation, and the customer’s spending capability will decrease. E-commerce players will be coaxed into selling products at a price that brings in less or almost no profit.
  • Catering to all customers is going to be a big challenge. Since marketplaces have their fulfillment centers spread sporadically throughout the country, they will meet some customers’ requirements, but not all. Someone’s loss here is going to be someone’s gain. Other marketplaces will try to make a profit from your churned customers.
  • The increasing cost of logistics will be another headache for e-commerce players. The growing inflation will impact the driver’s cost, fuel cost, and handling charges. At the same time, customers will continue to expect a quality experience irrespective of whether we are in mid of a pandemic.

Hacks for Maintaining Customer Loyalty during COVID-19

Double Down on Your Loyalty Points

Accenture’s study suggests that 77% of online shoppers are a part of at least one loyalty program. The study also reveals that 43% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from stores that make loyalty programs attractive.

If you have a loyalty program in place, it is about time to double down on it. Since these loyalty programs have established terms and conditions with a stipulated period, it will help e-commerce players profit first and reward later.

If your site has a popular choice among the customers, a pandemic is undoubtedly the right time to start with loyalty programs. Home-centric purchases are increasing. People are spending a great deal of money on games, gardening tools, home improvement items, and décor products. A loyalty program will help them gain additional discounts and benefits in the long run, which is a good enough option to sign up for it.

Keep the Communication Channels Open

For e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart, which have their dedicated logistic, it is easier to deliver products even in the containment zones, but e-commerce stores operating with the support of third-party logistics have failed to keep their customers informed.

Customers are willing to co-operate with online stores, but they want to be updated about their products almost daily. By letting customers know about the whereabouts of their orders, e-commerce products can gain heavily. Some of the additional benefits include:

  • Customers are willing to pick up their order if it reaches a delivery hub near them.
  • Customers are also adopting contactless delivery, which ensures safety for all.
  • Customers are happy to pay the extra delivery fee for a timely delivery.
  • Round the clock, delivery is also working efficiently because customers are at home.

 Engage Customers By offering Additional Benefits

Amazon is perhaps the perfect example of engaging customers with entertainment offerings. By clubbing Prime Music and Prime Video with Amazon Prime subscription, it has increased customer retention by almost 11%.

Walmart owned Flipkart, an Indian unicorn has also expanded to the entertainment sector and is now hosting entertaining chat shows on its shopping platform.

Here’s another example of how to engage customers by offering additional benefits. Flipkart recently launched an Instagram-like feed on their shopping app. The program is an invite-only program, where the platform invites popular content creators and social media influencers to create content related to products available on their platform.

Fashion influencers are showcasing shoes, belts, and dresses on Flipkart and leave a link in the description. Earlier, influencers used to place links on YouTube and Instagram. Still, by creating a dedicated section on the shopping app itself, Flipkart has reduced the gap between customers and product discovery. It is likely to help Flipkart increase its market share by an impressive percentage.

One such program elevates the customer experience by multiple folds because customers are now not required to look for new products or style ideas on Google or Instagram. They can find products, gain insight, develop an understanding, and order products, all on one mobile application.

Leverage Social Media Channels for Customer Support

Using social media channels for customer service is no more an option but a necessity. Due to the corona pandemic and the imposed lockdown, many orders are delayed, and some are even lost in transit. Customers are going to come behind your customer support team for resolution.

The same lockdown renders your customer support team inefficient because a considerable percentage of them are working from home and have less or slow access to the data repository.

Relying on social media for offering quality support can go a long way, which includes benefits like:

  • Free marketing because friends of your customers get to see everything they do. By offering quality support, you can win new customers.
  • Your customer support agents can positively cater to multiple customers within a stipulated period, impacting your resolution percentage.
  • Social media is useful because, be it millennials or baby boomers, all of them are spending a significant percentage on the web in this lockdown.
  • Customers love social media support because it allows them to get resolution while doing other things.

 Improve Your Catalog Management and On-site Search

Customers are willing to co-operate with online stores because they understand the impact of a pandemic. Customers are suffering from the pandemic’s effects; hence it is easier for them to comprehend what is happening behind all these e-commerce stores.

Customers are ready to wait for a little, let go of a few errors during this pandemic, which provides e-commerce players with an extraordinary opportunity to upscale. Outsourcing catalog management and on-site search improvement to industry leaders can help marketplaces gain momentum.

Customers want to find relevant products faster and buy them even quicker. By investing in catalog management and search quality analysis, e-commerce players can offer customers with:

  • Instant product discovery, which will impact the downline positively.
  • Get rid of all fake and imitated products and control the increasing return rates.
  • Create theme-based bucketing to simplify the shopping experience
  • Leverage product recommendation as a tool to increase exposure and earnings

 Final Thoughts

This is perhaps the first time in the e-commerce industry’s history when customers are willing to co-operate and let go of mistakes. Otherwise, 65% of customers agree to never shop from a store after just one bad experience.

E-commerce players can use the provided window to experiment, up-scale, improve, and add new features and win customers’ lifelong loyalty globally. Keeping the communication channel open, improving the catalog in the background, and leveraging social media as a customer service tool will set winners apart from the crowd of heavily funded e-commerce startups.

Maintaining Customer Loyalty during COVID19

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