Value Of Customer LoyaltyeCommerce should never just be about the quick sale. Your products and customer service should be geared towards providing customers with a positive experience that encourages them to return again and again. Your customers want to be able to buy the perfect product (that satisfies their needs) and you want to obtain customers that keep providing your business with revenue.

You should be looking at the customer lifetime value and considering how you can encourage them to buy and buy again (and how you get them to recommend you to their friends!). The trick is providing an outstanding experience, an experience that encourages customers to be loyal.

Perfect product recommendations ensure that customers can buy what they came for. Without some solid product knowledge, the customer may choose the wrong product (negative experience!)…the wrong product will return, but the customer won’t.

Building a strong, personal relationship with customers is also an important step to making them regulars.

A loyalty reward scheme may also help to solidify this lasting relationship. According to this infographic from Selfstartr, 83% of customers say that loyalty programs make them more likely to buy again.

Loyalty programs that are focused on money don’t perform well however. 77% of transaction-based programs fail in the first two years. That’s not a reason to return that will instill customer loyalty for a lifetime.

Great experiences and loyalty rewards (that reward the relationship, not more transactions) can increase customer retention rates – and there are certainly a few good reasons for increasing retention rate. For starters, it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep one. And increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits up to 95%.

Whichever methods you choose for increasing customer retention and customer loyalty, remember that it has to be more than just a gimmick or a reward for spending more money. You want to show that you really appreciate the custom of your loyal shoppers. You want to provide great experiences for customers, whether old or new.

Increasing customer retention and creating customer loyalty needs to be about more than a new piece of tech or a fancy transaction-based loyalty scheme. You need to invest in customer experience and customer retention with a long term view. Choose options that will produce the best ROI and that will deliver positive experiences and loyalty for more than just a fleeting moment.

This blog post originally appeared on The Chat Shop blog.