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Winning Customer Loyalty

Lessons from eCommerce Start-Ups on Winning Customer Loyalty

  • Kamran Iqbal

From digitally native start-ups to one-person bands selling online, the personalized experience and ‘human touch’ start-ups prioritize are key components to their success online in recent years, especially when it comes to winning customer loyalty online.

The introduction of varying marketplaces has removed the pain and price tag from building a digital sales platform, providing start-ups with a platform to challenge the bigger players. Due to their small and nimble nature, these agile brands and the people behind them are now offering an as good, if not better service and experience from the very first click to aftercare.

With disposable incomes squeezed, competition between brands is at an all-time high as consumers become increasingly choosy about where they spend their hard-earned cash. To succeed, larger brands and retailers should learn from the agility and mindset of smaller businesses to elevate their overall experience.

Here are three tips enterprise brands and retailers should take from the eCommerce start-up playbook in order to ensure they are winning customer loyalty in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace:

1. Create ‘Instagram-able’ packaging

Over the past few years, we have seen a growing trend on social media of people sharing unboxing videos. Businesses have spotted this and are now utilizing the hype as a powerful marketing tool. This unboxing trend makes a strong case for the need to create a heightened experience that social media influencers want to share, as well as recreate the dopamine rush you get from buying a product in-store when opening a package at home.

A positive customer unboxing experience can help your brand tell its story – the inclusion of inserts, a QR code and free samples are just a few ways brands can accomplish this. Balancing enough incentivization without giving the whole story away and encouraging customers to want to discover more is the ideal ratio, with driving customers back to your main website being the primary goal. A plain box with bubble wrap will no longer cut it for customers seeking a personalized experience.

2. Personalize customer service

When dealing with a start-up’s customer service, you are often communicating with someone who is invested in the development of the business. They are personally motivated to give great customer service and, because of the size of their operation, they will likely have all the answers and information at their fingertips to deal with any questions.

The larger the business, unfortunately, the less this is the case. Due to the size, customer service agents are naturally going to have less visibility of prior steps in the delivery and production chain. Customers have received a more personalized approach with start-ups, and now expect only the very best no matter where they shop.

To overcome this, larger retailers and brands should put in place an effective customer service team, look to adopt the latest time-saving technologies, and make use of automated processes to provide more efficient and personalized care.

Social media can also be used to create a brand connection with customers. Unhappy customers will often go straight to a brand’s social media platforms to make a complaint, expecting to get a faster response there than via the website or email. To ensure damage is limited, brands should be tracking mentions across platforms and be responsive regardless of the nature of the interaction.

3. Keep a close eye on the details

Personalization and customization are key investment areas. Thanks to the agile nature of start-ups, they are typically capable of personalizing products and brand experiences for the customer and their desires. From engraving, embroidery, and monogramming, consumers are increasingly looking for these value-added services.

Luckily the ability to outsource these services rather than having to invest in the required equipment and setup, means retailers of all sizes can compete on this scale. Having the ability to add these small touches through attention to detail ultimately brings the customer closer to a brand.

Winning customer loyalty

In an era where authenticity is increasingly valued, prioritizing ‘human touch’ at the heart of the eCommerce experience will go a long way, especially as each dollar a consumer spends becomes more considered. With a range of outsourcing solutions available to retailers, the capability is within reach. By taking these learnings on board with the help of a BPO, larger brands can remain agile in this new era of retail, keeping pace with the latest trends set by start-ups so they can continue winning the loyalty of customers.


Kamran Iqbal

Kamran is an expert in all things commerce, pre and post click. As Commerce Strategist at PFS, he shares his extensive industry knowledge with brands and retailers to help drive Digital Transformation and Omnichannel Excellence. Kamran has spent over 15 years as an end-to-end eCommerce Solutions expert, working closely with brands across verticals to execute and grow their DTC and B2B eCommerce channels.

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