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When it comes to moving ahead of competitors in a fully virtual space, entrepreneurs will pull out all the stops to build a quality platform—but a solid plan and key insight aren’t always enough. Take the gaming market, for example, an industry worth over $198 billion back in 2021, according to Statista. With different companies offering promos year-round, each brand must find a way to stand out.

But, attracting a new user is just the first step toward a solid foundation, as any quality entrepreneur knows that retention is how long-term success is built. For those competing in markets just as expansive and competitive as online gaming, figuring out which experiences customers enjoy most can be challenging—and, once again, delivering on those features can take years.

Retaining users in a highly competitive sector comes down to three important elements: personalization features, social features, and innovation at the deepest level. These will come after other necessary aspects, such as building an irresistible product or service, creating an intriguing story and brand, and figuring out how to create a killer promo.

Think your business has all three elements of customer retention down? Keep reading for deeper insights into how to build out an unforgettable virtual platform.

Personalization

Personalization puts the customer’s experience and expectations first. In some cases, personalization might be as simple as choosing an avatar. In keeping with the online casino example above, some companies let their users play table and card games with a customizable avatar that other players will see, adding a little something extra to their gaming platform.

In other realms, such as eCommerce and social sites, personalization might be geared more toward user behavior. This means a site or app will create specific opportunities for a customer based on their history, whether informed by an algorithm or a savvy employee.

Regardless, personalization should be used to tailor the entire platform for the customer’s overall satisfaction—no matter how minimal it seems.

Social Features

Just about every app now has a social element to it. Even apps like Instagram are geared for eCommerce, with ‘buy’ buttons, multiple tagging capabilities, and calls-to-action for users to use a specific hashtag, for example. This demonstrates how salient social features are—they can be adapted for any type of virtual platform.

Leveraging social features is once again about ‘getting inside the head’ of the customer. For businesses that focus on a service rather than a product, how can social features be used to create a unique experience?

Once again, online casinos provide handy insight. Group chats are a popular feature for certain online casinos, in which players can talk live with other participants. Some sites even include live games which let a gamer interact with a real-life dealer, transforming what was once a virtual game into a social experience.

Innovation

Emphasizing innovation in business settings can often become redundant—after all, isn’t every single product or service designed to innovate the specific industry it was created for? However, when it comes to customer retention in fully virtual businesses, innovation becomes even more important.

There’s no easy shortcut here—in fact, some companies shell out thousands to pay marketing groups to figure out what they could improve in terms of customer satisfaction, specifically in order to improve retention. But many brands have found success by investigating their platform from start to finish as first-time users.

This is one great way to uncover any serious flaws, as well as brainstorm areas for improvements. It also helps developers get inside the mind of their users from a technical standpoint—but they’ll also want to pay attention to market trends.

Innovation stems from bridging the obvious with the unexpected. Users want customization and social features for most platforms, but a business has to spearhead how that happens. For many, this comes down to following market trend publications in their industry, or even marketing trends in general.