Not all sales avenues are created equal. The average person doesn’t do the bulk of their grocery shopping at a gas station or mini-mart for example, and there’s a reason for that. Convenience stores are great if you need a single item in an emergency. There’s no ongoing value though. Successful brands, on the other hand, aren’t in it for the short-term sale; they know how to develop long-term relationships that keep repeat customers coming back time and again. They develop a brand community.
What does this have to do with the voice commerce channel though? A lot, as it turns out.
E-commerce, and by extension voice shopping, is easy and convenient. It’s become the norm for many forward-thinking consumers. With a virtual universe of online shopping options, the last thing that you want for your brand is shoppers to view it as a “one-and-done” service. The goal is to build a community around your e-commerce storefront that generates high consumer lifetime value (LTV).
LTV is a marketing term used to denote the total value of a customer’s account over the long term. It is the total dollar amount you can expect to get from a customer throughout your professional relationship. The concept of lifetime value relies on deep relationship building with your clients, and it implies a level of brand loyalty. High customer LTV has a profound impact on your company’s bottom line. After all, the cost of signing a new customer is much higher than maintaining —and building upon— your existing relationships. Some professionals put new ads at 5x the cost of repeat business, but in reality, the cost is greater and far more complex.
Calculating a customer’s lifetime value is fairly straightforward. Start by finding the customer’s average purchase amount. Multiply that by the number of orders that they place per year. Finally, multiply the result by the number of years you project that you will do business with that particular customer.
(Average purchase amount x orders/ year) x length of relationship=LTV
The resulting amounts grow your business revenue exponentially.
How do you go about creating a storefront that encourages long-term customer relationships? By building a community.
The idea of e-commerce and community runs counter to our convenience store analogy. With a convenience store, there’s no long-term relationship and little brand loyalty. Customers are purely purpose-driven. That kind of business model fulfills a niche need. With a community, however, there is long-term give and take between customers and e-commerce merchants. But to build a sense of community with your clients you have to be willing to invest in their lives.
For a community to form around your brand, customers have to see you as more than just another retail entity. They have to see you as an expert and a resource. Demonstrating expertise is easier than it sounds. It’s about reaching the customer where they are in their buying journey using a multi-channel marketing approach. Through social media and other digital avenues, you can show your customers your unique brand voice and company values.
Additionally, community is about giving customers multiple points of access to you and your content. When a brand fosters a successful sense of community it eliminates dependence on traditional customer service. Customers have an open channel to the vendor. They are free to engage in communication that resembles open dialogue rather than a service call. It’s about making yourself an available digital citizen, something that voice commerce is perfectly situated to do.
The Rep platform is already designed to simplify your customers’ lives while building a sense of community and brand loyalty amongst e-commerce shoppers. Rep allows consumers to shop their favorite e-commerce brands 100% hands-free. The platform pulls both shipping and billing information directly from the customer’s Amazon account giving them an easy and seamless way to purchase all their necessities without taking attention off things that matter most like work and family. That is the essence of a brand-based community.
The Rep platform effectively uses Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, via a custom Alexa skill, to enable the power of voice commerce. Given Amazon’s current market dominance over the e-commerce space, new tech, skills, and integrations are always coming to market. Some of Alexa’s innovations include flash briefings, which are small pieces of curated content delivered through voice speakers. Rep’s stories are an evolution of flash briefings, which feature scheduled content feeds that are longer and richer in duration.
With Rep’s story feature, e-commerce merchants can set up specific content such as news related to their products or industry, interviews with industry professionals, weekly recipes, or tips and tricks to help customers get the most out of their product. Rep turns e-commerce vendors into content creators. The sky’s the limit in terms of deliverables.
Once the content is established, business owners schedule weekly content delivery. Once your customers are subscribed, they receive those updates directly through voice with the same convenience that your voice commerce channel offers. Offering regular, relevant content that is high in quality is a great way to boost customer engagement with your brand, fostering a sense of community that will net you a higher LTV from each customer interaction.
The average customer is subject to a barrage of digital marketing every time they go online. It’s easy for your brand’s marketing efforts to get lost in the shuffle. With methods like email campaigns, or even chatbots through social, much of that material is considered spam by the customer. The marketing never hits, and there certainly isn’t a sense of community approaching customers this way.
The power of voice stories, filled with quality curated content, helps to cut through the white noise of ineffective marketing methods. Rep can help you launch your voice commerce channel, complete with community-building content delivered via Alexa skill. With an ever-evolving stable of technologies and integrations such as Yotpo, Shopify, and ReCharge, the Rep platform can help you reach customers like never before. For more information or to request a demo, please contact us today.