It is often assumed that eCommerce businesses need to spend the majority of their marketing budget on finding new customers. Of course, a steady stream of first-time purchasers is vital if you want to have long-term success as a business. But, finding these customers should not come at the expense of keeping any existing ones.
It is actually far more expensive to find new business and identify prospective clients than it is to get repeat business, so increasing your spend on customer retention can be an extremely valuable use of your budget. Getting repeat business can lift profits significantly, especially as loyal customers are likely to come back again and again, thereby increasing customer lifetime value.
Here, we take a look at some of the best strategies for driving repeat business across all your eCommerce sites and social media channels.
Image source: deposit photos
Win the repeat business
Statistics consistently show that while a first business success is fantastic news from the perspective of attaining a new customer – it is the second (repeated) purchase that is more valuable to any business. All too often an interested buyer might engage on a social media channel, be teased by a winning advert and make their first online purchase and follow your brand and business offering. However, after their first purchase, just over a quarter of customers are likely to return for a second purchase if they liked the first one, so it is crucial to know how to win those repeat sales via your social channels and sites.
But after a second purchase, 60%-70% of customers are more likely to return for further business. This shows just how valuable it is to make customers opt for that second purchase for your store – as it naturally builds a likelihood of buying again. You might think that it’s first-time customers who need to be incentivized to buy – but you could have greater success by investing more into second-time customers.
Options such as discounts, promos and coupons can be really effective here. They show the customer that you value them by giving them money off their next purchase.
Offer incentives and sharpen your returns policy
It might seem obvious, but too many businesses fail to understand the value of incentives. If you can offer a customer a reason to buy again, that might tip them over on their decision to come back.
Some extremely valuable incentives for repeat business include:
- Free shipping – 87% of customers say they are more likely to spend money with a site if that site offers free shipping.
- Free returns – offering free return shipping to all customers might be unsustainable, but most customers expect it. With an estimated 20%-30% of all US online goods then being returned to customers, a solid returns policy is essential for business success. So, shouting about your excellent terms for returns on social media is another good way to encourage repeat business and incentivize loyal customers.
- Free gifts and rewards – providing top customers with free gifts can be a hugely effective way to build brand loyalty.
Invest in high-quality packaging and bespoke branding
First-rate packaging coupled with a unique unwrapping experience is an extremely powerful tool in terms of building brand loyalty. Good quality packaging not only keeps a product safe and at its best – it also catches the eye of the customer and gives them a good feeling when the product arrives, especially through mediums such as printed labels and containers. Sharing your unwrapping videos on social media and encouraging positive customer feedback can work wonders to seal your reputation for having an excellent packaging philosophy.
Investing in customized packaging is usually the best strategy here, as it is an opportunity to differentiate yourself against other similar products and help you stand out. Customers like to receive a package that fills them with excitement, indeed, the “luxury finish of the packaged gift builds anticipation and creates [an] element of theater and excitement”.
Driving repeat business means utilizing the kind of packaging that customers will remember. Making use of your own stickers and labels is a great way to do this for growing eCommerce sites that don’t have the tooling for their own in-house packaging development. Products can be manufactured with generic packaging and then finished with printed labels to instantly turn a plain box, tub or bottle into a richly branded marketing item.
And even in the case of pre-printed packaging, it’s possible to use stickers as overlays to more closely tailor each item to its packaging in a cost-efficient way.
“The right stickers and labels are ideal for merging high-quality packaging with customized company branding.” says packaging experts at Discount Sticker Printing. Businesses can include promotional text, logos, graphics, contact details and any other information to create branded stickers which advertise your product or brand.
Image source: deposit photos
Remember that loyalty schemes do work
Some eCommerce businesses worry about the effectiveness of loyalty schemes. It can sometimes be assumed that they are simply offering discounts for customers who are likely to buy anyway. But, this is the wrong way to look at something that can actually be a very valuable way to build repeat business and brand recognition.
Loyalty schemes are hugely effective in encouraging repeat business. So much so that one study revealed that loyalty schemes can generate as much as 20% of a company’s overall profit.
Remember that whole discounts can be a part of your loyalty scheme, there are plenty of other incentives that don’t have to be directly financial. For example, getting early or exclusive aspects to specific products can help customers feel valued and develop a personal connection with your brand.
Constant communication is multifaceted
Once again, this is an area where some eCommerce businesses have misconceptions. Many companies believe that too much communication with customers is a way to simply annoy them and put them off engaging. While there can be some truth to this if communication is overdone, it is vital to get a good balance – as communication is key to establishing repeat business.
Firstly, it is important to follow up with customers after purchase. While a thank you email after a purchase is standard, so too should shipment tracking be. Engage continuously with your online followers in chat boxes or being responsive on social media channels. This will not only help customers to feel more relaxed about their purchase, it also manages their expectations and builds recognition with the brand itself. Failure to engage on your online channels can be damaging to both your reputation, your customer relations, and to your business as a whole.
There are plenty of other relevant opportunities for communications too – celebrating special occasions and sending abandoned cart reminders can be an effective way to increase sales. There are some incredibly creative examples of ways to ‘remind’ customers about potential sales they left behind.
Some examples of times it’s really worth communicating with your customers, include:
- A ‘welcome’ email when they register with your site
- A popular products email to draw attention to best-sellers
- Review requests
- Birthday messages
- A ‘welcome back’ email when a customer re-engages.
Ask customers how you can improve
It can also be a very good idea to check with your current customers about what they like and don’t like about your business. Getting feedback is not only a valuable way to improve the company, but it can also help customers feel more invested in you. Reviews are important, but even better is detailed feedback.
Creating a survey that asks customers about the specifics of improving products and services is an important part of this process. You can then incentivise customers to fill this out and give you the feedback you need.
Building customer loyalty and making your brand more recognisable are important ways to increase repeat business. Customers who return are more likely to spend more with each purchase, so this can be hugely profitable for any social media platform or eCommerce website.