How Leveraging Social Impact Can Drive Customer Loyalty for eCommerce Brands
The competition among ecommerce and direct-to-consumer brands is heating up. As more options enter the marketplace, it can be difficult for enterprise brands to differentiate themselves and solidify customer loyalty. Not only are consumers being flooded with a variety of options, but the modern, socially conscious “NOW Customer” is often making purchase decisions based on shared values and brand trust.
Paired with value-alignment, smaller brands are better able to leverage customer experience (CX) to drive customer loyalty. NOW Customers want rapid responses as well as empathy in the interactions they have with a brand. Larger companies are not always able to deliver the personalized, empathic experiences that consumers are demanding.
How Brands Can Win the Loyalty of Millennial and Gen Z Customers
Instead of making purchase decisions based solely on price or product, Millennials and Gen Z customers take the time to get to know a brand and its values. They’re also known to switch from brands to those that support their own values, despite previous brand loyalty. In fact, 76% of young consumers have purchased or would consider purchasing a brand/product to show support for the issues a brand supported.
One of the most frustrating things about ecommerce and retail is customer service, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
- Customer service chatbots are a great way to offer rapid responses to customer inquiries at any time of day. However, in order to create exceptional and meaningful interactions with your customers, you should consider how you can best use chatbots by giving customers the opportunity to escalate more complicated inquiries to a human agent.
- 80% of chatbot-using consumers said that having the option to escalate to a human agent is one of the most important things companies can get right when using chatbots. A human touch, when possible, is the best way to build trust and loyalty with your customers. That’s exactly how Simplr’s Human Cloud Network works.
So what does this mean for ecommerce and direct-to-consumer brands? Consumers are looking for more meaningful relationships with the brands that they choose to support, and this can be more difficult for larger brands to achieve.
Smaller brands are at an advantage when it comes to connecting with consumers in a more authentic way, but creating value-alignment with these socially conscious consumers through social impact can help even larger brands stand out against the competition in the race for customer loyalty.
Consumer Perception and Brand Trust
Customer loyalty boils down to brand trust. One-third of consumers will stop buying their preferred products if they lose trust in a brand, and one-third of consumers have already stopped purchasing their longtime, favorite brands since 2019. The way that consumers perceive a brand directly impacts customer loyalty and as consumers become more wary of a brand’s impact on society, larger retail brands need a way to connect more authentically with these consumers. That’s where social impact and exceptional CX come in.
The best way to be authentic in your social impact efforts is by looking at your brand values and identifying what matters most to your company. By aligning your brand with a cause, you can show your customers that you’re in business to do more than turn a profit. In supporting the global community, your brand can create more engaging connections with consumers by supporting the causes that they support, leading to increases in brand trust and customer loyalty.
By combining CX and social impact, your brand can create more empathetic and meaningful experiences for your customers that builds trust and loyalty. Afterall, it’s more costly to attract new customers than it is to retain current ones.
Leverage Social Impact Throughout the Customer Journey
In today’s climate it’s not enough to make vague statements about societal issues because consumers want to see actions, not words.
- Brands can use social media to announce their giving initiatives and share stories of the impact that they’re creating. Pairing paid social advertising with organic social posts is a great way to keep existing customers engaged with your brand while reaching a new audience of socially conscious consumers who may share similar values.
- To capture the attention of online visitors as soon as they arrive at your website, you can implement impact-focused messaging throughout the on-site purchase journey to share information about your giving initiatives. Whether it’s through an eyebrow or hero banner on the homepage or a dedicated impact page, this is a great way for your brand to keep your website visitors engaged and increase the likelihood they’ll make a purchase if they know that by supporting your brand, they’re helping to make a positive impact.
- Email marketing is another great opportunity to share your giving initiatives with your customers, whether they’re new to your brand or have been loyal supporters. You can announce new giving initiatives in a newsletter, send a dedicated email, or even include an evergreen message in your email footer to serve as a constant reminder to the customers of your brand’s impact efforts.
Consumers are more likely to trust brands who are clear in their messaging, and by including impact-focused marketing throughout the customer journey, you can create a story that your customers will remember every time they interact with your brand, leading to increased brand trust and customer loyalty.
Brands Who Are Taking Social Impact and CX to the Next Level to Build Customer Loyalty
Natori integrates social impact throughout their customer journey to create more engaging experiences for their customers. Throughout the years, Natori has supported a variety of nonprofit organizations through purchases made on their eCommerce site like Women for Women International, VOW for Girls, The Equal Justice Initiative, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Feeding America, and many more.
By integrating social impact throughout their marketing efforts, Natori is able to keep their customers updated on what giving initiatives they’re pursuing and to raise awareness for causes as they arise throughout the year. They even tested how impact-focused messaging would perform in paid advertising and saw that their impact-focused ads outperformed their traditional ads and resulted in a 109% increase in conversion rate and a 136% increase in ROAS.
Coach cares about the impact they have on people, communities, and the planet. From this, they created the Coach Foundation to support global philanthropic initiatives focused on the community to help create a better future for all.
Since its founding, The Coach Foundation has given more than $60 million to nonprofit partners all over the world. Through The Coach Foundation, Coach created Dream It Real— a program aimed at driving social equity through educational opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds and low-income communities. Through this program, Coach supports nonprofit organizations like The Opportunity Network, Bottom Line, Year Up, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Through their eCommerce website, Coach empowers their Coach Insider customers to create donations on their purchases to support Dream It Real and work towards Coach’s goal of providing 5,000 scholarships by 2025 by partnering with nonprofits around the world that are working to address inequities in higher education that are faced by under-represented students.
Steve Madden believes in leveraging the power of fashion to be a global force for good, and they focus their impact efforts around four core pillars— planet, people, community, and customers. In their sustainability efforts, Steve Madden has committed to incorporating better materials into their products and packaging, reducing and offsetting carbon emissions across their supply chain, and reclaiming used products once they’ve served their purpose.
Steve Madden recently launched a Black History Month campaign to support the Black History in the Making cause portfolio. This portfolio supports the Pinky Cole Foundation, Howard University, the Fearless Fund, and Harlem Park to Park. Through this campaign, Steve Madden enabled their customers to make a donation at checkout and Steve Madden committed to matching all donations made.
As a global brand, Princess Polly has an overload of customer service inquiries. Despite an abundance of support tickets, they have drilled down on creating a high-performing CX team. Princess Polly’s 24/7 live chat performs at a best-in-class level with 90% of response times being under 30 seconds. By offering their 24/7 chat, Princess Polly has seen that their repeat purchase rate on customers who engage with the chat is 42% higher than those who do not engage.
In enabling a more robust chat experience for their customers, Princess Polly was also able to reduce their phone volume, which can be a costly channel for customer service. Princess Polly is able to create more engaging and impactful interactions with their customers, leading to increases in brand trust and customer loyalty— all from leveraging powerful CX tools to elevate their customer service.
Paula’s Choice is a legacy brand, serving 25 years as a global beauty powerhouse. When purchasing skincare products, most consumers are looking for personalized products that are going to be best for their skin type. By pairing unique products with great customer service, Paula’s Choice has been able to increase customer loyalty and keep their customers coming back again and again.
Focused on educating their customers on their products and what makes them different, Paula’s Choice was able to integrate educational messaging into their customer service to provide their customers with a level of care and attention that other beauty brands don’t. This differentiation in their CX helps Paula’s Choice increase repeat purchases and achieve an average CSAT score of 4.7/5.
There’s No Better Time to Build Customer Loyalty Through Social Impact Than Now
People want to buy from brands that stand for something that align with their values and will continue to do so in the coming years. For larger eCommerce brands to build authentic customer relationships, social impact paired with exceptional customer service can be a powerful tool to create more personal and meaningful connections. To discover deeper insights on how social impact can help drive customer loyalty, you can read the CSR Playbook: Power Strategies for Social Impact Success playbook.
Samantha De Hoyos is a Digital Marketing Specialist at ShoppingGives, a Certified B Corporation and an award-winning technology startup that is focused on creating a positive impact through everyday transactions. In her role, Samantha builds brand awareness for ShoppingGives through marketing channels, community, and channel partnerships.