For many business to business (B2B) companies, the drive to win new customers has a very high profile. However, retaining customers with a customer loyalty program is a very effective way to provide a reliable revenue stream for years.
Most people know the saying that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain and existing one. There’s no doubt that a customer’s lifetime value (CLV) makes your existing customers an important asset for your business.
Customer loyalty tactics
A customer loyalty program can work just as well in a B2B environment as it does in a retail setting. Recognizing that you have different types of customers with different buying patterns is an important step. You can then create campaigns and realistic goals based on customer behavior.
Your options can range from simple discounts when purchases reach a certain level to setting milestones that will encourage customers to change their purchasing habits. The more rewards your customers receive the less likely they will be to move to a competitor. You can encourage your customers to stay with you by basing some parts of your loyalty program on the length of time they have been buying from you.
Customer loyalty ideas for B2B ecommerce companies
As a B2B organization the value of each contract will be significantly higher than the average retail purchase, so retaining your business customers is even more important. There isn’t a single simple loyalty scheme to suit all types of business but whichever approach you choose it will be important to make sure every department can support your customers’ experiences.
There are a number of options that you might want to consider:
✓ TIERS BASED ON PRICE BREAKS –B2B pricing is often tailored to the purchasing patterns of your buyers. You might have fixed break points where prices are reduced based on volume. You can use these to introduce other benefits that can form the basis of your customer loyalty program. You can let your buyers know how much they need to spend to reach the next tier where they might also receive enhanced order processing and faster deliveries, for example.
✓ ENHANCED ACCESS FOR YOUR TOP CUSTOMERS – as well as price, your customers might also be interested in other benefits. Improved access to information can have a high perceived value. This could include early notifications when items are back in stock or when you’re launching a new product, sale or special promotion. You could also include invitations to events and early access to technical and research information, education or training to build trust and a sense of community.
✓ REFERRAL PROGRAMS – your established customers can be encouraged to recommend you to others with the right incentive. Many referral programs also offer an incentive for the new customer to give them a sense of importance and to encourage them to make their first purchase with you. You can significantly reduce your cost of acquisition and these new customers are more likely to stay with you because you were recommended by someone they trust.
✓ PERSONALIZATION – one of the big advantages of B2B ecommerce is that it allows you to offer personalized buying journeys including a customized catalog, buyer-specific pricing, and specific billing and shipping options that can increase customer loyalty. Be transparent about how you use customer data and make your buyers aware that it will help you to provide information and offers that are relevant to them.
✓ SELF-SERVICE – providing a round-the-clock self-service option will suit many buyers who prefer to complete much of their research and purchasing online, with the option to speak with your sales and customer services teams if they need to. You can make life easier for your registered customers by providing plenty of useful technical information, helpful videos and self-help advice.
✓ REORDERING INCENTIVES – you can also monitor your customers’ order cycles with analytics tools. If you notice a downturn in their order volume or value you can respond quickly with an email or phone call to remind them that they need to reorder and to encourage them with a special offer.
✓ ADDED BENEFITS – effective loyalty programs can also be based on emotional rewards. You can build your brand based on quality and ethical behavior and underline your commitment by making donations linked to specific purchase volumes to a related charity or cause.
✓ REWARDING LONG-TERM CUSTOMERS – while customer loyalty programs are typically designed to encourage customers to remain loyal to your business, you can also reward your customers with more flexible credit terms, reduced shipping costs or enhanced volume discounts for example.
✓ CHANGING BEHAVIOR – you might decide there is something about your customers’ behavior you would like to change. You might like them to make more frequent lower volume purchases to improve your cashflow or sign up for a subscription service to help you coordinate demand and supply. You could design a loyalty scheme that specifically rewards these changes with time-based benefits and special offers.
✓ CREATE A COMMUNITY – people like to feel that they are part of something important. You can set up a user community that receives added value information and which has free access to technical advice. Creating a customer forum is an ideal way for you to pick up information about current customer needs and trends.
✓ PROVIDE A CUSTOMER APP – as millennials play an increasingly important role in the B2B buying process mobile devices are becoming more important for work-related purchases. Make it easy and convenient for them to participate in your loyalty program by offering a mobile app so they will always receive their rewards and benefits. Promote your mobile app to your loyalty program members and encourage use by offering extra loyalty points when they download the app.
Integrate your customer loyalty program
You can segment your buyers on the basis of points, purchases or referrals and build trust, offer coupons, discounts and other incentives and manage multi-tier programs.
Discover new ways to build customer loyalty in your B2B shopping experience. Schedule your complimentary Cloudfy demonstration today.