The lead up to the holidays is no longer the star sales day of the year thanks to Amazon’s Prime Day. The company’s annual “Christmas in July” sale was its biggest ever, lasting a full 48-hours, and exceeding sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. This massive eCommerce sale initiative seems like it would be the perfect opportunity for vendors and brands to show millions of devoted Prime shoppers the best deals. But this year we saw major brands like Target and Walmart hop on the Prime Day bandwagon, and with competing retailers providing competitive deals, and short-term price drops for everyone it begs the question—is Prime Day really providing the long-term customer loyalty vendors and brands are looking for?
Although major sales on platforms like Amazon are enticing to customers during the actual sale period, they often result only in one-time purchases or interactions rather than in long-term customer engagement and loyalty. To compete in the overcrowded eCommerce space, brands and vendors must do more to stand out beyond slashing their prices.
Let’s dive into the top tactics brands need to implement to create long-term customer loyalty, even after the summer sale season has come and gone.
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Provide 24/7 Customer Service
In 2018, Amazon crashed due to heavy traffic almost as soon as Prime Day began, upping the ante for customer experience this year. When customers have an issue with a product—be it the fault of the vendor or not—they expect a practically instantaneous service to respond to their questions or complaints. If that internal service does not exist, vendors risk customers complaining outwardly about social media, put their brand perception in jeopardy and creating a potential PR crisis. However, for vendors selling on sites like Amazon, is not just Amazon’s customer experience to be wary of—it’s their own.
There are easy ways that vendors can create better customer service outside of their Amazon platform that can keep the outward social media complaints at bay. Instead of waiting to react to consumer questions and complaints that come in via email or through social media, vendors and brands can use messaging apps, social media chat functions or chatbots to proactively provide consumers with the answers or services they need. Social media apps and chatbots are most effective for simple customer support while messaging apps allow customer support agents to directly connect with a customer to personalize service and solve more complex issues. Messaging apps also create more insightful engagement between the customer and the brand as they provide a more detailed experience.
Use One-to-One Contact to your Advantage
Vendors and Brands should constantly be looking for new ways to connect and engage with their customers. Understanding where their targets are spending their time online is key to creating an engagement strategy that turns one time shoppers into loyal customers and brings them along from one platform to another with a brand.
For customer service issues and beyond, brands should take advantage of any opportunities for one-to-one contact with their customers or potential shoppers. Investing in channels such as messaging apps, that allow this direct conversation to handle any customer service problems and gain feedback from customers creates better relationships and can provide critical to brand success in the crowded e-commerce market. Shoppers notice when brands make themselves fully available to the customer in a more personal manner—whether through the phone, instant email responses, a chatbot on a website, or a messaging app—and it can go a long way to keep them coming back in the future.
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Personally Reward Customer Loyalty
While Prime Day deals may be a good first touchpoint with customers, for many brands it’s important to remember that it’s not enough to create long-term loyalty. Brands and vendors must make a continued effort to personally keep up with their customers outside of their Amazon purchases. Making an outside connection through social media, messaging apps or personalized communications based on previous interactions and transactions with the brand allow vendors to customize their promotions and interactions to instill a sense of care and loyalty with their customers. For messaging apps specifically, brands can also take engagement further when consumers ‘opt-in’ to communicate with the brand by choosing to interact one-on-one, allowing brands to further personalize promotions or service.
While Prime Day shoppers may benefit from finding great deals with new brands, the brands themselves must still create their own strategies for building customer loyalty after the sales are over. Through providing 24/7 customer service, engaging in one-to-one contact with customers and personalizing promotion strategies, brands can win over customers and create the return shoppers they need to compete in the marketplace.
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