It’s not breaking news that acquisition costs are rising.
With fewer barriers to entry, it makes it easier for competitors to enter the market space. Businesses are continuing to follow consumer demand online, flocking to e-commerce. This means that there are more brands competing for customers’ attention. As a result, digital advertising is more costly and less lucrative than ever before.
Competition is the biggest obstacle to achieving e-commerce growth in 2022. With more privacy laws and the iOS 14 update from Apple limiting marketers’ ability to target ads, it’s becoming harder to get a decent return on ad spend. Between Q2 and Q3 in 2021, the CPC for paid search increased by 15-20% and is expected to continue to rise as the year goes on, while impressions decreased because of new privacy laws and Apple’s policies. Some brands are seeing ad costs go five times higher than before to drive the same amount of website traffic.
So how do you combat this?
You could invest more into your paid advertising and organic search or use hypersegmentation to make your investment more effective by targeting consumers who are ready to make a purchase.
But there are problems with this approach. Audience segmentation is not as reliable as we think. As we covered in our blog “consumers want personalisation on e-commerce sites” third party cookies are dead and customers are more privacy aware. Users’ data is not as accurate as it once was as a result, making it more difficult to segment audiences.
Advertising platforms are more competitive. Brands that haven’t developed familiarity and built trust with consumers are becoming more entrenched in a direct marketing battle to offer customers the lowest price. While high upfront ad costs and granular targeting create short-term wins, they are not long-term profit drivers. Creating a sustainable customer base will build brand awareness and confidence with consumers who aren’t ready to buy yet. Brands that rely on short-term performance marketing will struggle in a saturated e-commerce space.
How do you get ahead of the competition?
Get ahead of the competition by investing in your brand. We as marketers want immediate and measurable results. We tend to undervalue brand, which is a long-term investment. Conversion rates are important, however, most consumers already have a brand in mind by the time they’re ready to buy. Google reports that more than 80% of consumers conduct their research online before making a purchase. Your business needs a strong brand to earn its place in the minds of consumers. A strong brand not only makes performance marketing more effective in the short term, but it’s also the foundation of sustainable growth. Strong brands draw more organic traffic, retain more customers and have the ability to raise their prices. As competition increases in the e-commerce space, building long-term relationships will only become more crucial.
How to build long-term relationships with customers
Having a good rapport with customers can contribute to the long-term success of your business. Customers today are constantly evaluating the relationships they have established with brands. Any misstep could see them dumping your brand. There are 3 primary benefits of building customer relationships: reduced customer churn, increased customer lifetime value (CLV) and develop brand advocates. The key to building long-term customer relationships is to engage your customers.
Email still remains one of the best ways to reach customers online. Each email sent out is an opportunity to build a connection with a potential customer. It should provide value and be personalised to the preferences of the person on the other end as well as where they are in their customer journey.
Don’t only reach out to customers when you have something to sell. Keep customers up to date with the latest industry trends, and special offers around the products they’re most interested in and educate them by being a source of valuable information. When they’re ready to buy, they’ll know where to find you.
To foster a good relationship with customers, you need to understand them and tap into their emotions. What does this mean? It means that you look past the simple demographic statistics to the motivations of your customers – why do they need you? Create detailed customer personas that examine the intangible factors driving your customers’ purchase decisions. Having insights into what your customers expect, it makes it easier to communicate with them and deliver on your promise.
You should view your sales funnel as more of an hourglass shape. Paid ads play a role in nurturing the lower part of the funnel. Focus on turning your converted customers into returning customers and using remarketing ads to develop a personal relationship with your customers and your brand. This can be carried out through the use of performance-focused and branding-focused ads. We’ve covered this in more detail in our blog “How to use social ads to retain e-commerce customers”
Excellent Customer Service
How many times have you been on to customer service about a problem you’re having only to end up even more frustrated than you were before the interaction? Poor customer service leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth leading to weak relationships with your customers. Your business can build long-term relationships with customers by pouring its heart into every customer interaction. Customers value quick and open communication along with a frictionless sales and returns process. Your team should engage in active listening, use positive language and display empathy in all of their customer interactions. By developing policies to do all of this and more, you can then commit to raising the bar at every opportunity.
Feedback is critical to your success because you get to hear directly from your customers about what is working well and what’s not working so well. They want to see that their recommendations and solutions to their problems are being implemented. Get ahead of your customers by asking them for feedback. Show that you value their opinions and care about what they have to say. Encouraging open feedback on your website via email or social media is the first step. Next, organise meetings with employees to find out how you can improve. Teams that openly discuss ways to improve products or service delivery will prevent future issues by implementing recommended solutions.
We as customers value consistency and do not tolerate rudeness, neglect or failure to deliver on promises. Engaging and connecting with customers regularly ensures that you are not just contacting them when you have something to sell. Develop a policy that outlines how and how often you’ll reply to clients. Have you ever had a call with a customer service operative and could hear how fed up with repeating the same script from the tone of their voice. Don’t use scripts and keep your interactions organic. Be sure to take notes of the interaction and keep them in a place that is accessible to all staff, enabling them to maintain the relationship.
Reward loyal customers to show them that they are top of mind. Create a loyalty programme for customers that offers them free gifts, reward points, free samples or exclusive access to new releases. Once outsiders hear about these offers, they’ll also want to get in on the action. It’s important to think of these incentives as an investment in retaining customers.
Like Rome, long-term relationships aren’t built in a day so it’s essential to cultivate and nurture them at every touchpoint. If you are successful in doing so, it can lead to increased loyalty, decreased CPA and drive more sales. Part of this requires a change in mentality to make your business more receptive, open and friendly. Creativity, active listening and appreciation are key to building long-term customer relationships. Now that you have a better understanding of how to retain customers and further develop relationships, you can begin applying it to grow your business.
Looking to reduce your cost of acquisition? Why not reach out to a member of our team and see how we can help