How to Build Customer Relationships — and Why You Should

Having a loyal customer base is a key component of a successful and long-lasting brand. Customer acquisition is only a small piece of the puzzle. There are plenty of ways to build customer relationships and there is no single right path. Instead, brands should meet customers where they are in terms of wants and needs and deliver exceptional experiences to keep them engaged with the brand. In our 2020 Consumer Report, “Who Wins Where? Lessons for Digital Brands and Traditional Retailers,” survey respondents said the traditional retailers had more effective loyalty programs than their digitally native competitors by a factor of 1.6x. Loyalty programs are one area of customer satisfaction where traditional retailers win over digitally native brands, but it’s more complex than having a loyalty program. Customer retention efforts succeed when customers can seamlessly move from start to finish along the customer journey, keeping them happy and building a positive perspective of the company. It’s what makes customers want to come back. While traditional retailers lag behind digitally native brands in the aspects of shopping that consumers value most, they’ve cornered the market on the smaller details that digital brands may have overlooked or don’t have the resources to build up. This includes helpful customer service, in-store perks like complimentary hemming, or comfortable in-store seating. While those areas are good for business too, they pale in comparison to the major drivers customers look for. These companies can and should be investing more strategically in their eCommerce capabilities for better outcomes. Digitally native brands have prioritized the convenience of online shopping. Traditional retailers should take note to understand how they can improve their own customer experiences online. With so many shoppers ordering online during COVID-19, driving future in-store traffic starts with building positive experiences online. Seventy-one percent of consumers said a memorable online experience encouraged them to shop at the brand’s brick-and-mortar location. Digitally native brands actually win on in-store experiences: seventy-five percent of survey respondents prefer the in-store shopping experience of digitally native brands compared to traditional retailers. The lesson here is digitally native brands can build brand loyalty by using the tools they already have and then expanding into other areas they aren’t familiar with. An area of shopping that both business models can grow into is delivering sophisticated personalized customer experiences. In 2019, customers’ preferred form of personalization was receiving tailored discounts. This year, customers expect a custom lineup of product offerings that suit their shopping style. Simple methods of personalization are no longer a luxury, they’re standard. Companies can show customers they care about them and pay attention to their needs by catering their shopping feed for them to take the hassle out of purchasing. You can see the full 2020 Consumer Report here. Looking to evaluate your brand strategy during COVID-19? Our work with retailers across experience management, marketing, and eCommerce drives measurable results. 

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