The importance of customer relationships
Relationships can be tough to navigate, but we need them. The most successful people are those who form genuine, positive bonds with other. They can give and take, and they can leverage their relationships to make themselves more successful in life.
That doesn't change just because the relationship is one of buyer and seller.
Having an online store as the midpoint for a relationship doesn't mean it isn't important and genuine. It just means that we have to work harder to be personal and kind because communication on the internet can be surprisingly hard.
Think of anything you buy where the brand actually matters to you. It could be your jeans, your car, a lunchbox, a kayak, sports gear, farm equipment, whatever.
When you think of the category, you think of the brand with it. That brand is your first choice, and just being that brand gives them an edge when you are looking to buy.
Why do relationships matter to a Shopify store?
This doesn't apply just to huge international brands. We don't have to be talking about Ford versus Chevy for this to happen.
Gymshark is a fitness apparel company run on Shopify, founded by a teenager in 2012. They now have over 2 million Instagram followers, a large product line, and are extremely profitable. They don't just have customers, they have fans. There are people who will buy everything Gymshark makes, because they have a relationship with the brand.
You will make the most money from the people who buy from you over and over again. It's a simple fact that repeating customers are more profitable than one-timers.
- Higher customer lifetime value is built over multiple orders
- Pays back cost of acquisition
- Order size is typically higher
- More likely to leave positive reviews
- More likely to tell others about you
- You can learn from them and focus your marketing and conversion strategies to attract similar customers more often
These are the people who give meaning to your brand. They consider you and your product to be a fixture in their lives. To them, you are not just another website, you make their lives better.
In exchange, these people will help grow your tribe and spread your message. They will share your content and social media messages. They will tell their friends about you, vouch for you on Reddit, and bring new customers to your store.
How can you build good customer relationships?
Know who your target audience is
The first key is to make a connection by being relevant, and understanding who your best customers are. Who are the people that turn into your best customers?
Do surveys, connect on social media, read buyer reviews, even get on the phone with your customers and ask them. Find out why people buy from you, what they love about you, and what you can do to make them even happier about buying from you.
First, make sure that what you sell is a great product. It doesn't have to be the end-all be-all of your market, but it should be more than worth the price someone pays for it. Customers should always feel like they got at least as much as they paid for.
Second, give something away for free. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your site with content that informs and entertains. If you can become a trusted resource that people come back to again and again, you can charge more than your competitors. When you differentiate yourself from others, you give customers a reason to seek a relationship with you.
Show off your personality
Nobody likes bland personality. If someone does, they are probably bland, too, and will never be a repeat buying fanatic. You can still sell to those people too, but you should not make them the main focus of your efforts.
Create a real, genuine personality for your brand, and make sure people see it in everything you do.
Give the best service in the world
Great customer service will make someone a fan for life. If you mess up, admit it and fix the problem. If a customer screws up, take the hit and fix that problem, too. Be kind and helpful to the people who give you money.
If you make sure that someone has a great experience even when something goes wrong, you have cemented their love for you. Especially with social media, people talk about their online shopping experiences, good and bad. Top-notch support can turn a hater into a brand advocate in a second.
Touch base frequently
You should keep in touch with your customers, and not fall too far out of mind. This is another great use for content marketing. People don't want to be sold to all of the time, but if you send email marketing that is full of helpful or entertaining stuff, they will keep giving you space in their inbox.
Behaviorally triggered email is another way to make this happen. You can land in someone's inbox at just the right time when they have been browsing, added something to their cart, or when they haven't purchased in a while.
Build better relationships
Think about how you interact with your target audience and your customers.
Do you encourage them to come around even when they don't explicitly have a purchase to make?
Do you offer them anything, or just ask them to buy your stuff?
The more reasons your customers have to love you, the more they will love you. It's up to you to create those reasons.
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Ben Froedge Wrote This
I'm Ben, and for the last 3 years, I've helped people build strong, sustainably profitable online stores that thrive and grow. I want to see the people who create awesome products get paid more, so they can keep on making the world a better place.