Unpacking I-Commerce: The Importance of Brand Loyalty in Ecommerce (Part 1)

I have a list of go-to brands I just plain trust. Nordstrom is one. American Express has an efficient solution path for any credit card issue I’ve ever called about. And when I fly, if at all possible, I fly Delta. I have many stories of situations where Delta’s seamless, friendly, excellent, customer service resulted in me making a meeting that was in jeopardy, or getting me home for a holiday celebration.

Brand loyalty is more complex online

Brand loyalty is an incredible asset for any company. In fact, 37 percent of loyal shoppers are willing to spend more on a product even when there are cheaper options elsewhere. But there’s no doubt that as more companies transition to online selling, building brand loyalty becomes more complex. You don’t have that great Nordy salesperson who remembers selling you new boots and asks how they’re breaking in. You don’t have that determined Delta Gate agent who runs your ticket to the front of the line himself to make sure you get on the flight.

And yet if you don’t build and keep customer trust, you’re vulnerable to poaching: According to a McKinsey survey, 46% of US consumers switched brands in 2020.

Ecommerce adoption has nearly doubled over the past year. And your competition isn’t a 20-minute walk across the mall—they’re just a 5-second search away.

To capture online sales and retain customers, some ecommerce stores engage in cutthroat price wars in a race to the bottom, leaving margins paper-thin. That’s not sustainable.

Get to know your customer

So how do you build loyalty online? Think of it as building a personal relationship. You have to know the other person to forge both a practical and emotional connection.

In business, you have to understand your customer to build loyalty. What are their needs? What do they value? What drives their purchase decisions with you? And what might drive them into the arms of your competition instead?

Once you have this information, you can start to pull the ecommerce loyalty levers, which include personalization, seamless shopping experiences, and engagement. I’ll delve into each of these in more detail in parts two and three of this series on building loyalty online.

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