How to Build Loyal Customers during Economic Slowdowns

2023 E-Commerce Guide: How to Build Loyal Customers During Economic Slowdowns

Despite a strong holiday shopping season in 2022, the combination of inflation and the current economic climate are impacting American consumer’s shopping habits, with 47% of consumers saying they’re planning to spend less in the next three months.

When consumer shopping slows, how can brands set themselves apart—and create loyal customers that will stick with you through economic peaks and slowdowns alike? That’s what this guide is all about.

At ROI CX Solutions, we’ve been dialing into customer demand for decades, and we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for E-Commerce & Retail Customer Experience. Use this guide to explore 2023 retail trends and eight tips for maintaining brand loyalty now and into the future.

Shopping Trends for Retail in 2023

With rich data from the 2021 and 2022 retail holiday season, we already see trends shaping the year ahead. Some of what we saw in previous years will be even stronger this year, while a return to in-store shopping will drive changes for e-commerce and retail in 2023.

To gather the trends for this year, we’ve pulled from our own experience across the e-commerce CX industry and explored studies by Deloitte, Google, and more. Here are the top five trends retail and e-commerce brands can expect.

1. Social platforms & e-commerce will drive shopping…

Digital dominance is a familiar tune for the retail industry! And 2023 is expected to continue the social and online trends that the pandemic pushed into hyperdrive. Let’s look at a few recent stats:

According to Think with Google’s Consumer Insights,


Only 4% of U.S. holiday shoppers say they didn’t use any digital channels for their holiday shopping.


48% of consumers worldwide say they get shopping inspiration online.


Influencers also play a crucial role: 89% of shoppers worldwide say YouTube creators give them the best product information.

2. …But in-store experiences are coming back

According to Deloitte’s 2021 holiday season recap, shoppers had already started to return to in-person shopping. And they also increased shopping for in-person events like parties, excursions, travel, dining, and more.

Google reports that searches for “open now near me” have grown worldwide by over 400% yearly.

In short, shoppers expect a frictionless experience from Instagram to brand websites, in-store shopping, and customer support.

3. Shopping will start early for peak seasons

According to Google’s Consumer Insights report, 40% of U.S. shoppers said they planned to start holiday shopping earlier in 2022. Some shoppers even said they started holiday shopping during the summer.

What does this mean for e-commerce? It means the holiday shopping season is getting longer – and bigger. Scaling your CX staffing up and down according to customer demand just got more complicated. And the competition is fiercer than ever.

4. Customer loyalty programs will drive growth

Loyalty programs have become a leading source of new customer acquisition and long-term customer loyalty. With inflation and supply chain concerns, consumers seem more willing than ever to sign up for memberships if they ensure access to discounts and scarce products.

According to Deloitte, during the 2021 holiday retail season:



shopped with specific brands because they were members.



joined a loyalty program during the holidays to receive a discount.



said they would join a loyalty program to access scarce products.

5. Customer experience will differentiate the best companies

According to the UK’s National Retail Federation,

will abandon a purchase if they experience inconvenience.

say that convenience is more important than it was a few years ago.

Today’s consumers expect responsiveness, ease, and an intuitive user experience. The companies that do the best business will be the ones that solve best for a seamless, delightful customer experience.

Ready to take the next step?

8 Ways to Build Brand Loyalty for Retail and E-Commerce

With all this in mind, it’s clear that a robust customer service strategy is key to building a loyal customer base in retail and e-commerce. But building amazing customer experiences is easier said than done.

Fortunately, amazing customer experiences are our wheelhouse here at ROI CX Solutions. So we’ve developed a guide to the top eight strategies we use to build brand loyalty for the long run.

1. Prioritize customer service

Customer service is so essential to e-commerce success that it almost goes without saying. But we’ll say it – over and over again!

The UK’s Institute of Customer Service found that customers can spend up to  $65 more per transaction. Companies must ensure a seamless customer experience workflow and top-notch training and support for customer service representatives.

Whether customers are speaking to a representative in-store, contacting you via phone, or interacting with a chatbot on your website, customer service should be accessible, accurate, fast, and friendly. Prioritizing excellent customer service through the right tools and the right team can help your brand build loyalty through every interaction.

2. Meet your customers where they are

According to Google’s consumer reports, 49% of customers globally say they have done more shopping online in the past year.

Shopping is online, on social media, and in-store. Customers shop from their couch, bed, office, and commute. And with each shopping experience, customers expect to pick up where they left off and have ease built into every part of the journey. They expect it all to feel like one continuous conversation.

In other words, a “frictionless” shopping experience isn’t a luxury anymore; it’s an expectation. For e-commerce brands, it’s a strategy. You know it as “omnichannel.” Customers know it as “convenient.”

By integrating live voice, chat, and email response services, brands can deliver just-in-time, personalized, interactive assistance that increases online sales, improve CSAT, and serve customers more efficiently.

3. Put customers in the driver’s seat

Excellent customer experience is all about understanding what your customer wants. Are they seeking a high-touch, VIP shopping encounter? Or do they prefer the “Amazon” experience of low-touch, fast, convenient service?

Nuance Enterprise surveyed global consumers and found that



preferred self-service over speaking to a representative.



said they would use an online knowledge base or FAQ.

Put your customer in the driver’s seat by developing a rich knowledge base and FAQ that enables customers to resolve issues themselves. User-friendly interfaces and omnichannel solutions can reduce call volume and free up your team while driving customer satisfaction at the same time.

4. Automate, automate, automate

While automation can seem cold or inhuman, it can increase the level of connection that customers feel to your brand. After all, chat automation can address far more customer needs than one person, and customers leave feeling heard and having solutions.

Automation helps brands connect with customers at scale and build an impression that lasts.
Here are a few key areas we recommend automating:

  • Order tracking and updates
  • Product recommendations
  • Sizing or style questions
  • Inventory updates
  • Product recommendations
  • Upselling and cross-selling opportunities
  • Website support

5. Be ready to scale up!

Every leader in e-commerce knows: the holidays are the time to scale up! But scaling your team can be a nightmare of temporary contracts, unskilled workers, and customer satisfaction slumps. And with peak holiday seasons starting sooner and lasting longer, scaling can be a mammoth undertaking.

One of the best solutions to the problem of scale is to outsource your customer experience to an expert. Outsourcing your contact center costs less than hiring in-house and provides highly skilled customer service representatives who can ramp up or down quickly.

At ROI CX Solutions, we have decades of experience consulting with retail and e-commerce brands to help them scale for peak seasons, no matter when you need help.

With one of our clients, we helped them expand their CX for greater stability through the year and provide the ability to scale from 60 full-time agents up to 250 agents within a month, as needed.

6. Invest in loyalty strategies

Remember these stats from Deloitte? During the 2021 holidays,



shopped with specific brands because they were members.



joined a loyalty program during the holidays to receive a discount.



said they would join a loyalty program to access scarce products.

Loyalty programs work – and customers who join loyalty programs do shop and purchase more, which is all the more reason to strengthen your loyalty program ahead of economic downturns.

But loyalty programs often become too complex for customers, or companies don’t track the correct data to make the program valuable. The key to a loyalty program that drives results is in-depth data, streamlined customer experience, and personalized customer support.

Here’s a simple example of a loyalty strategy. We implemented a loyalty treatment to an interactive voice response software with one of our retail partners. When the system recognizes customers as loyalty members, they automatically skip the IVR menu and become a priority in the queue.

With simple strategies to recognize loyal customers, we helped our partner lower attrition rates across the board in just one quarter.

7. Personalize everything!

In the words of Jeff Bezos,

If we want to have 20 million customers, then we want to have 20 million ‘stores.’ …Our mission is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company.

Personalization is applying data to each touchpoint of your customer’s journey to feel they have a relationship with your brand. You can personalize everything from email headings to cross-selling recommendations to Instagram ads.

Peak shopping seasons are critical to collect rich data on your new and returning customers. Use that data to inform your strategy and boost performance. You can then use those insights to make every customer touchpoint feel unique to each customer.

Google says that companies who use first-party data for their marketing strategy have achieved up to nearly 3X more revenue and a 1.5X increase in cost savings.

8. Leverage data insights for marketing strategy

Speaking of data, the information you collect during the year should drive your future strategies. You can use the information on what customers bought, who they are, etc., to continue to build momentum during and after peak seasons.

One of the best ways to leverage this data is through a personalized, data-driven email campaign. Email has an average ROI of 122%, which is significantly higher than other marketing channels. If you’ve tracked customer behavior, you can tailor the email campaign and other communications to their interests, needs, and habits.

Translating that personalized data into your 2023 marketing strategy can ensure that you keep new customers as they find your brand.


According to Sanat Rao, the Chief Business Officer and Global Head of Finacle:

A survey of almost 2,000 business professionals found that by 2020, customer experience would overtake product and price as the key brand differentiator.

That reality is here, and the customer experience will drive results for your brand, especially during economic downturns.

While customer shopping trends may change, brands focused on the customer will always be one step ahead of their competition.

To learn more about the leading CX solutions for retail and e-commerce, follow our blog or contact us today.

About ROI CX Solutions

ROI CX Solutions drives customer satisfaction and business success through outsourced customer service and global sourcing management. With decades of experience across our expert team, ROI CX Solutions has innovated results-driven performance and improved customer experiences for brands across a variety of industries. With flexible, customizable solutions, state-of-the-art technology, and world-class customer service representatives, we deliver results for your business—and your customers.

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