So much time, effort, and money goes into directing new traffic to your store. And while new customers are desirable, they aren’t the only thing that will boost your revenue.
In fact, investing in the customers you already have may be more effective!
Attracting new customers means high ad spends – which may not necessary convert into sales.
Returning customers are familiar with your brand and more likely than new customers to make a purchase.
Besides offering a quality product, there are lots of things you can do to retain your customers and grow your bottom line. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Offer a Loyalty Program
Any time you can give customers a reason to return to your store, you should. A loyalty program is a great way to do exactly that.
A loyalty program means that the more customers buy from you, the more they stand to gain. So, not only are you likely to create repeat business, a loyalty program can also help you increase your store’s average purchase amount.
Some of the ways you can reward your loyal customers is with cash back, a discount, or a small gift once they have reached a certain number of points.
You can also offer those signed up for the program a sneak peek at deals or soon-to-be-released products. The more important and privileged your customer feels, the more likely they are to buy from you again.
(NOTE: We have made our own loyalty program for small businesses too! Try CandyBar free for 30 days here.)
2. Offer Discounts on Future Purchases
When you ship an item, include a coupon for a discount or a free shipping code. This will be a pleasant surprise for your buyer and will make them feel that you appreciate their business.
When you offer a discount, it keeps you top-of-mind so that when they are looking to purchase an item that you carry, they are more likely to buy from you over a competitor.
When packing the product for shipping, include small items for the customer. You can also consider throwing in some samples for another product and/or some stickers or cards with your brand’s logo on it.
In the mind of the customer, these add-ins increase the value of their purchase and make them feel favorable towards you. People always love to get more. This favorability makes them more like to buy from you in the future.
If you are including product samples and the customer really enjoys it, they will come to you to buy it. Including branded items like stickers, imprints your brand in the customer’s mind.
Adding these things will not cost you much but that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to repeat business.
4. Go Above and Beyond in Customer Service
It is essential that you and your customer service team reply to questions and concerns from customers in a timely fashion. If you take too long, your customer will not feel valued. No one wants to feel like just another buyer, they want to know they matter.
Keep the tone of your responses in mind. Never make the customer feel foolish or like they are irritating you by reaching out.
They reached out because they wanted information on your product. Value the time they spend sending you the question by taking time to send a well thought out response.
And sometimes, even if you have done nothing wrong, a customer will be unhappy. Reach out to these customers and ask what it is that turned them off your brand. You may not be able to do anything to win this customer back but at least you are making an effort.
At the very least, you might gain insight into something that is impacting customer satisfaction and give yourself the opportunity to fix it before you lose anyone else.
A great way to elevate your customer service levels and show the customer you care, is to include a handwritten “Thank You” note in your shipment. A handwritten note feels more personal than a printed form letter and will be a welcome surprise for your customer.
Remember, good customer service translates into good word of mouth advertising.
5. Offer Free Returns
Free returns take the risk out of a purchase. Customers do not want to pay to return an item, no matter the reason for the return. This is especially true with new customers or people unfamiliar with your brand.
Free returns mean they can purchase whatever they want and not have to worry. Once they receive your product and are happy with it, they’ll buy from you again. And knowing they can return any future purchases, if need be, puts you ahead of all the other stores offering similar products.
Free returns are a particularly good idea if you sell clothing items. Fit can be a tricky thing for online buyers so if you remove that concern, they are more likely to purchase.
6. Start a “Refer a Friend” Program
When a customer makes a purchase, give them a referral code to share with friends. When these friends make a purchase, the customer who referred them gets rewarded. The reward can be cash, credit, a future discount, or a free product.
People trust their friends to recommend items of value. This means a referral program can create new customers while helping you retain your current ones.
(NOTE: Want to set up a referral program of your own? Try ReferralCandy free for 30 days here!)
7. Create Customer Accounts
Giving customers the opportunity to create a customer account where they can save their shipping address, payment preferences, and establish a “wish list” makes shopping much easier. A customer account improves the checkout experience.
When a customer knows that all they have to do is head to the checkout in your store versus entering all this information again in another store, they are more likely to save themselves the time and use your store.
Don’t make signing up for an account mandatory for your customers but do make sure that they are aware of the benefits of having an account with you. For example, if you have set up a loyalty program, this would be a good time to mention it.
8. Make Customer Account Accessible
If you want customers to create accounts, you need to make them easy to access. Design your site to give the products the attention they deserve but in a way that removes barriers to purchase.
Don’t make it difficult to find the login button, and don’t add unnecessary steps to the checkout process.
And remember, customers aren’t likely to login on a frequent basis so they might forget their password. Make the recovery process simple. If it takes too long to reset a password, the customer will abandon the site.
These 8 tips are suggestions based on consumer research but they are far from being the only options available for retaining customers.
Do not be afraid to let your personality show and step outside the box. Be creative in how you implement these suggestions or come up with one of your own.
The more memorable you are in your attempts to please your customers, the more effective you will be.