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The Net Breeds Promiscuity; Hang On To Your Customers

[Forbes, December 1st, 2011]

Keith Smith, co-founder and CEO of Big Door, in a recent Forbes article outlined in what ways a company can keep its customers faithful in the increasingly promiscuous Internet. Due to extremely low or even in existent switching costs, the Internet has killed brand loyalty, or as Smith summarizes it: “online customers are just as happy to get in bed with you as they are with another brand or website.”

To quantitatively solidify this concept, Smith conducted research on the top 15,000 US visited websites and found the following:

• Users visit these sites less than 2 times each month
• Users spend less than 8 minutes viewing only 7 pages per site
• These sites receive a median Loyalty Score (% of daily active users ÷ monthly active users) of less than 6% (Industry leaders: Facebook (72%), Google (68%)).

In order to reverse the trend and start retaining more of those viewers, Smith goes on to say that five components to your website are critical:

1. Publish valuable content
2. Improve your site’s usability
3. Provide excellent customer service
4. Foster online communities
5. Add gamification to your site

Why is this newsworthy?

For years marketers have focused on acquiring new customers. They saw the low switching barriers as an opportunity to always attract new individuals to their website. A shift is occurring though; marketers now have to think more about how they are going to keep the customers they have. The five listed components will be key in any efforts to do so.