Earning loyalty in the digital age

Ecommerce sites and social networks present businesses with a great opportunity to generate revenue and increase brand awareness

Ecommerce sites and social networks present businesses with a great opportunity to generate revenue and increase brand awareness. However, digital and social channels can be a much more significant tool when it comes to earning customer satisfaction and loyalty.

When the internet and digital technologies emerged, companies decided to use these tools to offer customers an experience that could be replicated at multiple locations, thus giving birth to the big box store, reports Ad Age. In these stores, customers could expect the same competitive pricing, similar layouts and checkout experiences, which was the primary driver of loyalty. However, this business model led companies to forego the traditional retail strategy for loyalty – getting to know customers and building lasting relationships with them so they would become lifelong patrons.

Loyalty built on relationships required store employees to understand shoppers’ needs, be familiar with their likes and dislikes, explained the ad and marketing news site. In addition, they would need to know about products each customer might be interested in. The development of social media was a game changer for this business model as it reintroduced the values of social and local service strategies.

Customers no longer want a shopping experience that feels mass-produced, the source explains. They are looking for a shopping and service experience that actually engages them.

To help businesses restructure systems in a way that will provide customers with the type of meaningful interactions that engage and attract new consumers, search engine optimization and marketing company SEOmoz developed a code called TAGFEE. It stands for transparency and authenticity, generous, fun, empathetic and exceptional.

These are the qualities that are now helping businesses build communities that are not just loyal, but actually drive brand evangelism, explained Gillian Muessig, the company’s founding president in an interview with The Huffington Post. Muessig explained that brands built from the bottom up on those tenants will yield customers who continually want to do business with a company because of a shared belief in the products and a desire to be a part of that brand's community.