Repeat customers are the key to a thriving e-commerce business. An Adobe study on e-commerce revealed that repeat customers spend up to 397 percent more than newer customers. They also promote your brand to their friends, family and colleagues.
Attracting new customers can be up to 10 times more expensive than relying on repeat purchases from existing customers. So, repeat buyers not only cost less over time, but you can also build relationships with these customers and learn how to better serve, delight them and turn that data into more sales for you.
Here's how to gain repeat business in your e-commerce store:
A loyalty program is a great way to build lasting relationships with your customers. Aimed at keeping existing customers coming back and encouraging them to spend more, rewarding repeat business with discounts or freebies is a proven marketing technique. It can also work to attract new buyers. Many businesses offer a discount for first-time buyers who opt into the loyalty program right away.
Use Email Marketing
If you're not using email marketing to nudge existing customers to repeat a purchase, you're missing out on a huge opportunity! By using personalized messages, you can use remarketing to reach people who have abandoned their cart or who have purchased refillable items.
Previous customers have already shown some interest in your brand's products, so there's a good chance they can be encouraged to purchase again. Regular emails are also a great way to keep your brand at the top of customers' minds, showcase new products, promote sales and offer exclusive discounts – all of which can help to drive sales.
Great Customer Experience
We all know the warm fuzzy feeling of a great customer experience – but how do you provide that? First and foremost is to offer great service. Fast fulfillment, free shipping and returns, and detailed product descriptions are essential parts of a great e-commerce experience.
Use related product suggestions to help your customer find products they may love and remarket to customers based on what they previously bought. Finally, go the extra mile and you'll win brand fans for life. People already love mail – why not make your brand stand out a little more by including a small free sample, stickers, a postcard or a thank-you note?
Build Trust With User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is the new word of mouth. Numerous studies have indicated that a large majority of shoppers look to their friends and family when it comes to purchasing decisions. Since people are more likely to believe their friends and family than a brand, UGC serves to strengthen customer relationships and build authenticity. It also acts as a genuine customer service tool by answering questions and showcasing reactions from customers.
UGC such as product reviews and testimonials are engaging because they offer proof, show the product in action and provide honest feedback. Be sure to ask your customers for feedback that you can display on your website. You can also show star ratings right on your product page to give an idea of the product's popularity.
The average American now spends more than half of their online time on a mobile device. Thus, the most important thing you can do to drive repeat sales is to streamline the shopping experience. Your website's shop must be fast, clear and easy to use on both desktop and mobile devices.
Make sure the click-through experience from your email campaigns is as frictionless as possible, so your customers can shop and checkout on your website straight from the email. If your site looks funny or is hard to use on a mobile, you risk losing that sale.
Answer Customer Questions Quickly
Answering questions throughout the buyer journey increases consumer confidence and lowers returns. Offer customer service through social media, email, chat and even phone in order to be available to more people. These days, people expect immediate satisfaction and will abandon the shopping process quickly, but you can help them stay engaged by being available. The faster their questions are answered, the more likely you are to make the sale.
Learn From Feedback
Listen to your customers to learn about your business. Give them a chance, and they'll be brutally honest, telling you exactly what they love and what they don't. Make it easy to give reviews on multiple channels.
Gather reviews on social media, and ask for a review of every purchase via email. You can send a short thank-you note and include a short survey or one-click star ranking system. You can then use the data collected to send personalized offers – remember, return customers spend more and they trust your brand.
Think of the conversion rates on your coupons as feedback too – you can see which promotions are working best and adjust accordingly.
There are plenty of ways to use incentives to drive repeat sales. Sending out a special discount code or voucher with your customer's first order can be very persuasive in getting them to place a second order. Bonus points if you make it time-sensitive or exclusive. Sending exclusive discount codes to your email subscriber list is another effective way to drive repeat sales.
Other ideas include sending a free birthday gift and rewarding referrals by sending out a personalized discount code that a user can share with their friends and family.
From UGC to a great customer experience, there are many ways to keep your e-commerce customers coming back for more. Start by examining what's been most effective so far, and start building lasting customer relationships from there.