The success of any online shop depends on many factors. One of the most important factors deciding about being or not being in a competitive market is the customer himself. In order to build lasting and effective sales relations with a customer, it is necessary to fine-tune the so-called customer’s life cycle. What is it? How to plan effective communication with customers in accordance with its principles?
The basic assumption of life cycle marketing is the changeability of customer needs and values at different stages of the sales process. Therefore, it is necessary to adjust all communication, i.e. the content sent, to the individual situation of the recipient. It is crucial to distinguish between potential, new, returning, and equally important, inactive customers. Representatives of each of these groups require a different approach to communication, taking into account their individual behaviours. It is worth remembering this when planning communication scenarios within marketing automation. Adjusting the sales campaign taking into account the individual behaviour of consumers gives mutual benefits. Thanks to this, online shops do not waste time on less effective, targeted at all activities, and customers receive valuable messages responding to their current and real needs.
Let’s start with the potential customers, i.e. the customers who constitute a certain value for each online shop. This is a group in which communication should be focused primarily on presenting the company, getting acquainted with its offer, and finally – encouraging the first purchase. It is very possible that this will be the first contact between customers and our e-shop. If only for that reason, it is worth taking care of a particularly valuable, tailor-made message that will reach the recipient at the right time. To this purpose, we can emphasize the most important elements of our offer, focus on the mission of the business or emphasize the unique approach to each customer. Various welcome messages with a promotional coupon for the first purchase will also work well here.
Getting the attention of a potential customer is half of the success. If you don’t want his or her first shopping to be his or her last, you need to plan your next steps. This is important, because many customers have a so-called shopping discord after their first purchases. These are doubts – the ones that will not be resolved may make them use the offer of the competition for the next purchases.
In order to win a group of loyal customers, it is important to keep the customer confident about the price competitiveness of the shop, professional service they can count on or the benefits they can achieve. At this stage of the purchase process, especially the messages with thanks for the transaction or satisfaction surveys are effective. The former will be an expression of concern for the customer’s shopping experience, while the latter will engage the customer in a specific action. Cross- and up-selling campaigns will also be a great idea.
Returning customers are a group that deserves our special attention. Their trust is a sign that the offer of the online shop is attractive to them and our sales activities are tailored to the individual needs of our customers. This, however, is not enough to enjoy a group of loyal customers.
In order to earn them, it is worth to focus on planning communication aimed at maintaining trust in our company. How? For example, sending messages emphasizing our gratitude for the trust they have shown us or sending birthday wishes will be welcome. Returning customers will also appreciate the additional benefits in the form of discount coupons for subsequent purchases or invitations to a loyalty programme. Personalized product recommendations may also be a great idea, as they are an expression of our knowledge of individual customer needs.
In order to build a long-term relationship with a customer, it is worth asking the customer for an opinion about our shop – about what could be improved or changed. Customers like to have a sense of noticing their needs.
Approximately 60-80% of online shopping baskets are abandoned before the transaction is completed. This is a problem with e-shops from many industries – potential customers show initial interest in the shop, browse through the products available in the shop and finally add them to the basket. However, for some reason they do not decide to finalize the order. This does not mean, however, that this is a group of consumers that we should write off. On the contrary, it is worth making another attempt, or even attempts, to establish relations. However, time is of the key importance in conducting so-called advertising campaigns. The first e-mail reminder should be sent to the customer within 24 hours of abandoning the shopping basket. The second one, preferably with a photo of the product or products he did not buy within 48 hours. The third one, with a time-limited discount offer, within 72 hours.