To grow your business, it is critical to market, convince, and acquire more new customers. However, putting 100% of your effort and resources on lead generation and new customer acquisition is not wise.
To guarantee sustainable growth, strengthening the relationships with current customers returning should be equally or even more essential.
- It costs approximately five times more to convert a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- A 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25% to 95% increase in overall profits.
The customers who keep coming back to purchase more are the most profitable and valuable ones.
In this highly competitive market, shoppers have plenty of choices. They can come and leave and never come back. To keep your customers around, you have to provide them with proper reasons. Here are nine proven tips that help you obtain repeat business.
Table of contents
1. Follow up after purchase
In the eCommerce space, where it lacks physical interactions, consumers may forget the brand more easily. Fortunately, eCommerce also provides you with multiple methods to strengthen the connection with your customers. Sending follow up emails from the initial purchase is one of the most practical ways.
An efficient follow-up email system that sends numerous messages based on customers’ order statuses, activities, and data can effectively build long-term relationships.
A series of post-purchase emails can be carried out as below.
- Sending a thank-you note to express your appreciation right after a successful checkout
- Providing product manuals when the order is delivered
- Asking for feedback to acknowledge if the buyer is satisfied or need further support a few days later
- Recommending products or services based on previously bought items after a few weeks
Besides, regular communication like newsletters or a surprise email on customer birthdays also increases repeated purchases.
Various kinds of delivered content make your clients remember you. However, to avoid becoming a nuisance, make sure your communication is meaningful and supportive.
2. Deliver excellent customer service
A quick, efficient, and consistently excellent customer service is critical for retaining customers. Instead of price or product-related problems, consumers have a four times higher tendency to switch to another brand if they encounter a service-related issue.
Customer support that exceeds customer expectations can create a positive experience and a long-lasting impression. Being well treated per visit, your shoppers become delighted, satisfied, and loyal customers. They not only return but also recommend your business to others.
To effectively assist your customers, you have to establish clear and multiple channels for customers to reach out the most conveniently. Suggested communication channels are live chat, help desk system, email, social media, etc.
At least during business hours, an immediate response can make a big difference to your customers as it shows them how prior they are. A quick answer to customer questions can lead to a sale. A promptly resolved complaint can turn an unhappy customer into a repeat one.
The following are some proven checklists that help to enhance your business customer service.
- Outline specific customer service principles
- Dedicate to customer satisfaction by every employee
- Establish an internal support system to empower frontline staff
- Measure the effectiveness of customer service strategies
- Motivate excellent employees with real rewards
- Encourage customers to leave reviews and feedback
3. Create personalized shopping experiences
Personalization is a useful strategy to make your shoppers enjoy their shopping journey more and bring them back. 49% of consumers are likely to make impulse purchases after receiving a personal and tailored offering. According to a Harvard Business Review study, a simplified and customized buying process is the savviest way to obtain repeat business.
Personalization can be delivered at different levels, from products, marketing communications to customer service.
A Bain & Co. survey reported that around 30% of buyers would like to customize their purchases. People want products and services that are original and directly relevant to their needs and preferences. Famous footwear brands like Nike and Converse support their customers to design their own shoes.
Personalized marketing communications is also a given. 72% of consumers only engage with customized marketing messages. Gathering customer personal information, tracking customer behaviors, and utilizing these insights whenever reaching out can significantly increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The level of tailored customer service also matters. Some businesses commit to replying to every customer message individually. A brief, personalized response can indicate how much you care about your clients.
4. Give out coupons for the next purchase
Offering future-use coupons seems ordinary, but it is still an effective way to keep customers returning. Many business experts agreed that the most practical way to bring people back to your store is to incentivize them on each visit.
In this fast-paced life, a lot of shoppers come to an online store looking for an item. After purchasing their desired product, they often leave without much intention to return. However, you can motivate them to come back by letting them know their next purchases are beneficial.
Many merchants offer a 10% discount as a standard. You can even make your offer more appealing by giving out 20% off. Once customers come back for a second purchase, they have a 54% chance of returning for more. 20% off sounds a reasonable investment to boost customer retention rates.
To not sacrifice profits when enticing customers, you should be creative with your discount programs. Issuing coupon code based on the current order value or applying discounts on specific products can be great ideas.
5. Leverage a reward points system
These days, an advanced reward points system is a must-have feature for any eCommerce site. An automated program that allows shoppers to earn and spend points can effectively obtain their engagement and commitment to your online store. According to Criteo’s recent report, 65% of consumers enjoy loyalty programs, and 52% consider loyalty programs critical when choosing specific brands.
A comprehensive reward program that grants points on every purchase with flexible earning and spending rates can benefit both customers and your organization. Your shoppers get more value each time they visit. You gain their loyalty and repeat purchases without massive investment.
You should also reward customers on multiple behaviors like signing up, reviewing, interacting on social media, etc. This helps create a fascinating shopping journey. Besides your product or service, customers get more from experience. They are more excited to come back because they find it easy to earn rewards.
Your reward points system must be transparent. Participants must be aware of the program’s terms and conditions. They should be able to manage their balances and track transactions conveniently from their accounts. If there is an expiration date, inform your customers, and be proactive in reminding them to redeem points.
6. Group your customers
Most consumers love being treated differently. When customers are classified into different customer groups with exclusive benefits, they are encouraged to be more loyal. As the group segmentation is based on customer order history, they are motivated to purchase more frequently to obtain a higher level.
Your loyalty program will be even more effective when you make it specific to individuals. Here are some suggestions for you:
- Offer free shipping for the next five orders for buyers who have spent more than $500 in the last 30 days
- Give out buy two get one free opportunities to customers who have purchased at least four times per month
- Grant a $50 coupon code for the next purchase for those who have bought ten times, and more than $100 per order
- Classify customers who have spent over $2000 per year as VVIPs, and those who have contributed from $1000 to $2000 are VIPs. Grant a fixed 20% discount for VVIPs customers and a fixed 10% discount for VIP customers
The more creative you design your program, the better result you can get. Customers feel valued when receiving the royal treatment. Therefore, they are committed to your online store.
7. Empower customers to refer
- 68% of US shoppers have referred a brand to others after receiving a pleasant experience
- 59% of those have shared with someone about a negative shopping experience
- 92% of worldwide consumers trust suggestions from their family and friends
- 88% of people believe in online testimonials from other buyers
These impressive statistics have proven the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. Wisely implemented, a referral program can acquire more new customers and keep the current ones coming back for more.
A satisfied customer, who already has an intention to share their positive experience, will be even more enticed to do so if being asked and offered with some incentives. You may pay a commission, add points as an in-store currency into the customer account, or give out coupon code each time the customer refers a friend.
The referral program can be upgraded to a higher level when being integrated with social media platforms. Your loyal customers become your online advocates, who are willing to talk about you and share your products or services on their social accounts. Nothing can be better than this!
8. Be active on social media
These days, people get used to being more active on social media platforms. Consumers also prefer engaging with brands via social channels to emails. Businesses should realize this opportunity to connect with current customers and build their loyalty.
You should have official accounts on popular social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. As some people love Facebook, others prefer Instagram, and so on, being visible on multiple channels, you are able to interact with all of your beloved customers.
Your online presence seems to be useless if your customers do not recognize and remember you. To attract followers and keep them around, you have to invest time and effort in building and your personality.
Interacting with your customers frequently is critical to strengthen the relationships. Follow this checklist to optimize your retention strategy via social media.
- Publish posts regularly
- Share useful and relevant information
- Respond to every review, comment, message
- Ask for feedback
- Give out exclusive coupons in direct messages
- Hold events, contests, giveaways
- Incentivize social actions
9. Build an engaged community
To obtain customer loyalty, you have to do more than deliver products or services. Finding better ways to foster customer commitment is essential.
You have probably heard that instead of connecting directly to a brand, consumers connect with other people connected to that brand. And most consumers love to be a part of a bigger group. Creating a customer community is a great way to nurture brand love and keep customers.
A customer community is where like-minded people, including shoppers, experts, brand partners, discuss everything related to the brand. An online customer community can be in the form of a forum, a private social group, a website dashboard, etc. Based on your specific purposes, you can design it as a private or public community.
An active community empowers users to find and share solutions easily. When they can handle their problems and assist others, they are more happy and satisfied.
The customer community is also a great source of feedback and ideas for improving products and services. When you listen to your customers and fulfill their needs, they even love and trust your business more.
You must moderate threads carefully to avoid irrelevant discussions, respond to all negative feedback, and proactively identify and address problems.
The importance of returning customers in a business’s success cannot be underestimated. These days, customers become even more aware of their value. They can switch brands easily and are also empowered to influence business with a single complaint.
Therefore, you have to be proactive in implementing proper retention strategies. I hope that this post has provided you with some fresh insights to start.