• Swanky

Mollie at LoyaltyLion Talks Customer Communities in Ecommerce

In our latest blog post, Mollie Woolnough-Rai, Senior Content Marketing Executive at customer engagement and loyalty platform LoyaltyLion, lifts the lid on why brand communities are so important for your ecommerce metrics, and how you can start building yours today.

Ready? Let's hand over to Mollie ...

In ecommerce, vibrant communities prosper. At the beginning of the pandemic, High Logic reported that 81% of their clients saw an uptick in online community engagement. Reaching shoppers at their points of passion is what sparks deeper connections and long-term relationships. This drives brand loyalty and increases customer lifetime value.

Retailers that build brand communities see a greater return from their marketing investment too. This is because community members – when they feel connected – carry out high-value actions that help you attract, retain and nurture new and existing customers. In fact, one report noted that brands with communities see a +1,352% return on their investment after just two years.

But why?

Well, over half (54%) of insider community members post about brands on social media. One in four (43%) leave reviews. This user-generated content and social proof attracts new customers and will convert them quicker.

On top of that, 76% of insider community members say they join communities to talk to others with similar interests. And 82% participate to access sales or new products before other customers. Communities are a space to connect existing customers around common interests and serve them exclusive experiences they can’t get enough of. In the end, you’ll retain them for longer and they’ll spend more with your brand.

The rise in online customer communities is an opportunity for brands to strengthen loyalty and use their connected customer base to power their other marketing efforts. But setting one up doesn’t have to be a full time job. With a loyalty program, you can give your unengaged customer base experiences that turn them into loyal community members.

Some quick wins to set up a loyalty program that does this are:

1. Use points and rewards to encourage customers to join and engage in your community

Rewarding customers with points through your loyalty program for taking community-based actions could be the incentive they need. Members will be able to use the points in exchange for valuable rewards. With this added benefit, customers will be itching to sign up to your community, connect with you on social media and opt into your email marketing.

Clothing brand Never Fully Dressed displays a notification that tells browsers they’ll get £10 off any order when they sign up for their loyalty program. And the underwear brand LIVELY uses its Instagram Stories to tell unengaged customers when they have double point events running.

Showcasing your community perks will encourage passive customers to sign up for your program to access the benefits. Once there, you can re-engage them time and time again with exclusive community experiences.

2. Reward your most loyal customers with VIP experiences

Loyalty program tiers make your most loyal customers feel extra special. This is because the more they engage and spend, the more exclusive perks they unlock. Your existing customers love to feel special. In fact, 71% of brand insiders say they engage in communities because it gives them VIP status.

Set up these perks to give off a celebrity-status vibe. You could give top-tier members discounted or free shipping. Or, even, early access to your sales so they can grab the best deals before you sell out.

To bring their social status up further, give top-tier members access to a private Facebook group where customers chat about common interests (you could even push out VIP-only perks here too). Lash brand Glamnetic runs makeup competitions on their “Glam Fam” Facebook page and asks their most dedicated customers for product feedback.

Connecting customers with each other and your brand this way makes them more emotionally invested. This means they’ll be more likely to shop with you over the competition and they’ll want to recommend you to others. Bingo: you’ve acquired more customers by taking care of your existing ones.

There are plenty more ways to use your loyalty program to build your community and generate a positive ROI with every new member.

Want to know more? Book your spot on LoyaltyLion’s masterclass!

Sign up for LoyaltyLion’s Ecommerce Unlocked Masterclass where we’ll be sharing more insights and tactics on how to start building a customer community that drives sustainable growth.

Using new research in the area, we'll explore the different personas that exist within a customer community, including how to identify the status of your own. You’ll leave knowing whether you’re nurturing a thriving customer community of highly valuable customers or investing time and effort in a customer base that’s not delivering much in return.

About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion helps fast-growth ecommerce merchants turn unengaged customer bases into active communities that power longer-lasting relationships and sustainable growth. Use loyalty insights and activities to connect your acquisition and retention efforts and drive one meaningful, ROI-driven outcome - a community of highly engaged, highly valuable customers.

LoyaltyLion is excited to be supporting Ecommerce Unlocked, the largest ecommerce conference in the South West!