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Four Key Strategies for Effective Customer Accounts

Customer accounts are an incredibly valuable store feature for eCommerce retail sites. From data acquisition and personalization, to customer service and rewards, here are a few strategies for getting the greatest benefit out of the customer account features on your online store.
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Four Key Strategies for Effective Customer Accounts

Returning customers are the lifeblood of any business, and for eCommerce retailers, building that loyal customer base is even more essential. The checkout process is one of the most critical elements of an eCommerce platform because it is the final step of your customer’s journey.  For retailers, the checkout process also provides an opportunity to understand customers further and nurture the relationship on an ongoing basis with customer accounts.

Intelligent customer accounts gather in-depth information about customers, including products viewed, engagement and activity with webpages, product preferences, and buying behavior. Brands can also integrate innovative and creative solutions to reward customers who willingly give information about their buying habits and preferences, creating a gold mine of data for future marketing campaigns and even product development.

As many retailers continue toward a cookie-less web experience, brands that already have the framework in place to collect and personalize the customer experience with their existing data tools and customer accounts will have a leg up on the competition. Here are a few key components to customer accounts and why they are essential to an eCommerce business.

1. Order History and Re-Ordering Capabilities

Simplifying the re-ordering process makes it easy for customers to find something they loved and purchase it again. Hal Williams, Controller at Scalefast, explains, “When we talk about the account section, it is crucial the think about developing features that will improve our customers’ user experiences. Tools that are complete and simple allow customers to access and manage information without reaching out to customer support.” 

At the same time, a customer account should simplify the road to conversion because of the capability to save information. This record allows customers to pull up old orders, reprint invoices, and even initiate returns without contacting customer service. It is also helpful on the backend if a customer needs to contact customer service. Agents can see what customers ordered previously and assist them with their orders more efficiently.

2. Wish Lists

Window shopping is not just for brick-and-mortar locations. Wish lists let a customer browse and save the items that catch their eye. When they are ready to make a purchase, the items they want most are ready and waiting. Customers can also share their wish lists with friends and family, making gift-giving a snap.

Wish lists provide retailers with data on saved items. Brands can then use this information to understand which items are most popular. In a piece for Entrepreneur Magazine, Syed Balkhi explains the value for brands, “Wish lists give your business a peek at the hopes and dreams of your customers. Since you can see all of the items on their wish list, you know what they are most interested in. Your business can use this data to create personalized marketing messages that resonate with them year-round. The benefits of wish lists are never-ending.”

For example, Amazon utilizes wish lists beyond just simple sharing capabilities. Their curated lists show customers which items are most wished for, providing social proof and value for potential buyers.

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3. Loyalty and Reward Program Access

Customer loyalty and rewards programs are an excellent way to recognize and appreciate your customers and build lifetime value. A great rewards program shows customers that they are valued and gives them a reason to return frequently. Customer accounts should allow customers to view their rewards program progress and collect or spend their points.

Nintendo customers who have a free My Nintendo account can earn points by purchasing games, using apps, and signing into Nintendo services. Customers can redeem their rewards for discounts in the Nintendo eShop, in-app items or other exclusive perks.

For retailers, identifying the most loyal customers provides an opportunity to personalize and target marketing campaigns. Troy Ireland, CEO of the SEO agency Digital Current says, “Understanding the purchasing behavior of a specific demographic is one of the most important sets of research data available to marketers. To develop a strategic plan to present your products in a way that produces the most optimal buying behavior, one needs to understand what the target audience avoids as much as what triggers them to spend their money.” Building your rewards program into customer accounts becomes a self-sustaining system and encourages customers to continue to earn and spend over time.

4. Guest Checkout Options

Customer accounts are not always the best option for potential buyers. Whether they are in a hurry to order or just burned out by creating new accounts, some customers would rather not create an account at checkout. Implementing guest checkout allows customers to complete the checkout process without an account and saves the sale and optimizing this checkout experience is crucial to pushing conversions. For example, Sephora’s checkout experience is minimal and efficient and even integrates innovative omnichannel options like in-store pickup. This experience, along with their exceptional loyalty program, drives customers to spend more and purchase frequently.

Customer accounts are a critical component of any successful eCommerce store. Well-designed customer accounts drive conversions, foster brand loyalty, provide ease of access to their information and keep the brand top of mind for consumers.  Leveraging every aspect of your customer account functionalities a strategic and efficient way to gather data, resolve customer care issues, and encourage repeat purchases. 

Photos by Surface on Unsplash

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