The food and beverages industry accounts for ~3 percent of India’s GDP and is the single largest employer in the country, with more than 7.3 million workforces. The nationwide lockdown set this industry on a downward spiral with some predictions suggesting that nearly a quarter of all restaurants may shut down by the end of 2020.
To offset these challenges and regain profitability, the industry has been adapting and innovating since the lockdown was lifted. New service offerings and COVID hygiene protocols are emerging in the sector to gain customer confidence and lift revenues.
However, direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in the health food space have managed to raise just about $100 million, despite most companies claiming that the sub-segments will grow significantly in the post-pandemic period.
For D2C brands, onboarding new customers through aggressive marketing is the easy part, but the factor that enables D2C brands to survive in the long term is whether they can retain their customers.
Customer experience is fast becoming a top priority for businesses, and rightfully so, statistics prove that 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. According to a Gartner study, in 2022, 81 percent of companies will be competing mostly or completely on customer experience.
Focusing on customer satisfaction and customer retention is the way to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Here are a few effective ways how this can be achieved and maintained.
Offer a Referral Program - Referral programs are a great way to increase customer lifetime value. Referred customers have 16 percent higher lifetime value and 18 percent less churn. Furthermore, 81 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, and 55 percent of people share their new purchases on social networks.
Put Them First – Hear Your Customers - Whether the majority of your customers are happy or not, you’ll notice your business performance. But to measure their satisfaction more accurately, always collect the necessary data.
Optimize Your Customer Service - Better customer service leads to a better customer experience which, as a result, increases customer retention and improves customer lifetime value. Make sure your business is active on multiple social media channels, as 66 percent of customers use at least 3 different communication channels to contact support. Clients usually expect a fast response to their questions, requests, and complaints, so ideally, you should provide 24/7 live chat support.
Create Content to Keep Customers Engaged - Content marketing is here to stay, and it definitely helps your customers feel closer and more engaged with your brand – especially if you do it right. When customers develop a relationship with your brand they will not only be loyal to you for longer but also help promote your brand through their social media platforms or word-of-mouth.
Leveraging Tech To Improve Customer Experience
Technology continues to provide new possibilities for how businesses can communicate and engage with their customers. Here are a few ways how retailers can leverage tech to improve and pre and post-purchase experience of consumers:-
Digital Payments - With the availability of multi-dimensional features on smartphones, enabling users to make payments through mobile phones has become critical. As zero-touch retail and contactless shopping become important to the consumer experience in light of COVID-19, retailers will accelerate the rollout of digital payments. Checkout queues will be shortened at the advent of the 'scan and go' options.
Customer Delivery Experience - It’s clear that a great delivery experience has multiple factors in play: being on time, keeping packages safe, and having friendly drivers are just some that may immediately spring to mind.
- Delivering on time, every time.
- Delivering the right packages to the right place.
- Getting customer communication right.
- Be careful with packages.
- Looking after your team of drivers.
Create an Online Community for your Customers – Here are a few benefits of creating communities for brands :
- Reduced customer support costs – 49 percent of businesses with online communities report cost savings of 10 percent to 25 percent annually.
- Boosted brand exposure and credibility, making it easier to sell without selling.
- 67 percent of businesses use their communities for insights on new products or services and features.
- Heightened engagement and better customer retention.
- A channel through which to present products and services before the official launch.
Omnichannel Customer Support - Omnichannel focuses on delivering a consistent, personalized experience for shoppers across all channels and devices. This is to say that all of your channels work in parallel around the customer, to create a completely seamless customer experience. This approach accounts for each platform and device a customer will use to interact with the company.
With the low ticket price, the F&B brands can keep up with the ever-increasing cost of customer acquisition. Here are a few ways:-
A/B Test Your Campaigns: Looking at the CAC formula, gaining more conversions can decrease customer acquisition spending. There’s no better way to improve your online marketing efforts than the simple A/B test.
You can test landing pages, web copy, Google Ads, and just about anything your team can come up with. Change things like headlines, color schemes, calls to action (CTAs), and more to see what works best and optimize your marketing efforts. Make sure you’re using Google Analytics or a similar tool to help you.
Retarget Website Visitors: Many customers will browse a website and then abandon it before making a purchase. Retarget these site lurkers with ad platforms like Google and Facebook. It’s quite simple: with retargeted marketing, these lukewarm customers will encounter your ads while visiting other websites. To get the best results, you can segment potential customers based on what pages or products they visited on your website.
Encourage Customer Reviews: Your online business is likely already using AI and analytics tools to better understand its target audience. But, while technology has brought us a long way, who better to ask for feedback than your existing customers? They know, better than anyone, why they chose your product or service.
You should use welcome emails, website surveys, post-purchase communications, and so on to glean as much insight into customer behavior as possible. This way, you’ll be able to see which parts of your customer acquisition strategy are working and which of them aren’t.