Building Lasting Relationships for the Online Retailer

As a consumer, I want to be treated with respect from retailers I regularly purchase from. I also want to feel as if I matter to them, and I am not just one more registered customer or identified by an order number making purchases. As a business owner, it is important to recognize that customers today have a positive and meaningful relationship with their brands of choice, shop frequently, and they use this sense of comfort to make recommendations to their friends and family.

Sadly, the clear majority of retailers today are far behind when it comes to recognizing that building these relationships is paramount to online business success. Never underestimate the power of people. As business owners, especially eCommerce retailers, we need to work on building intimate relationships with our customers. Purchasing from an online retailer has the downside of no human interaction, and while some are okay with the impersonal relations of today’s cyber world, many others want to feel special. How can we override this? How can we cybernetically replace the smiling face of a cashier or a sales person? How do we reward our customers for being faithful to our brand? Simple: pamper your customers.

Buying from your online store should make customers feel special, should leave them with an overall sense of “I love this place,” and a deep desire to come back to support your brand and continue shopping because they liked what they saw, what they bought, and how smooth the process was. To build a solid relationship, retailers must treat it no different that developing relationship with your friends and family: is there passion, commitment, and intimacy.

When looking at passion, retailers should see it in terms of enthusiasm for your brand, your values as a company, and your products. Commitment to a retailer is based on the loyalty that customers have for your brand and the prospect of their returning to make more purchases. When looking at intimacy, retailers must measure the disposition of their customers to share information and how interested they are in learning more information about your brand. When looking to create solid, deeply devoted relationships with customers, retailers must look at all three. Why? Because devoted shoppers will support their favorite brands by recommending them to family and friends, which fosters intimacy, passion, and commitment.

The question is how do we, as retailers, encourage growth and intimacy with our customers. Well, first you must figure out why you are not progressing towards those devoted relationships. Are you rewarding your customers? How about a surprise? Customers love surprises and it helps build intimacy. Are you properly communicating with your customers? Are your marketing and promotional materials conveying your message accurately? Are you treating your customers with respect? Do they trust you? All these matter.

Anyone who has had a meaningful lasting relationship in their lives knows that passion, commitment, and intimacy are paramount to achieve long-term relations. It works the same way with online retailer/customer relationships. Trust and respect are essential components to build a solid clientele, and crucial for success. Use your tangible life emotional knowledge to help create real brand supporters who are deeply devoted to you because you reward them in return. If you adhere to these practices, you will have happy customers who are eager to advocate for your brand because they feel as if they are part of your family.