Most of the eCommerce businesses out there get so much into acquiring new leads and sales. Admittedly, it’s very important! Every business needs new customers. And, digital marketing is important to let people know that your business exists. But, like the valuable new customers, an existing customer is equally important for you. A report revealed that 40% of eCommerce revenue came from repeat business that demonstrated only 8% of the website’s visitors.
But answer this question honestly – How much effort do we invest in your customer retention strategies? How much do you think about getting the same customers make a second, third or fourth purchase? If you feel uncomfortable answering this question, you must think seriously.
No matter what, the fact is customer retention or repeat business is essential to the long-term success of your online store. Combining a healthy flow of new customers with a solid retention strategy is the best thing you can do to increase revenue and profitability.
Related Article: 6 Simple Customer Retention Tactics to Improve Sales Funnel
Best Strategies for Ecommerce Repeat Business
Check out the following great strategies from the industry experts that help you drive more repeat business to your ecommerce store.
1. Provide Stellar Customer Service
Nearly 51% of online shoppers with negative customer experience never purchase from the store again. Around 77% of shoppers share their positive customer experience and recommend the business to their friends. Top of that, acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than retaining your existing customers.
These stats clearly suggest the importance of delivering exceptional and satisfactory customer services for repeat business. You want every customer to come to your ecommerce store again for purchasing. And, delivering positive customer services is one of the major contributors to ecommerce repeat business.
How to achieve this? Follow these steps
Step1: Be Honest
Don’t oversell in your product descriptions. Tell what the product actually does. If it fails to do what your product description said, they will be disappointed. Prioritize transparency and clarity in your product descriptions.
Step 2: Ease returns and cancellations
The process of returning or cancelling an order should not require customers to jump through many hoops. Customers often remember that hassle more than the good value you deliver to them.
Step 3: Respond quickly on every platform
Respond to any complaints, inquiries or suggestions quickly on all platforms you are available on. Stay polite, friendly and professional in responding to your customers. Moreover, make it easy for customers to reach you by phone, live chat, email, social media, online forms, and more.
2. Gamify Your Business
Competition and rewards are powerful drivers of customer engagement and retention. For your ecommerce business, you can leverage the same using gamification. Gamification offers a fun way to interact with your, leading to repeat business.
Before we talk about various methods to gamify your ecommerce business, let’s look at some inspiring examples:
Promote New Products with A Fun Game
Nike’s Winter’s Angry Campaign benefited a lot from ecommerce gamification to promote their new winter sportswear.
In 2011, Nike created an online game to promote its winter sportswear. Players had to assist athletes to stay warm while getting training outside in the winter cold.
The game featured three outstanding athletes – Alex Morgan, Alyson Felix and Greg Jennings. Players could control their athlete avatar from a user interface. They could test their reflex speed and win prizes for accomplishing challenges.
With this game, Nike offered fun and allowed users to purchase its all-new Nike winter clothing worn by athletes. The Winter’s Angry Campaign is a perfect example of gamification for a new product line.
Reward customers with points for more purchases on your store. Offer big-ticket items for once shoppers hit a milestone. It will encourage customers to shop from you every time they consider online shopping for the products you’re offering.
Keep the games simple. Your customers should feel a good chance of winning the game.
3. Personalized Onsite Marketing
Put a message on the screen for your returning customers to let them feel special and valuable to you. It may be something like
“Welcome Back, Marc”
“Welcome Back, Marc. Receive a Thanksgiving discount for being a loyal customer.”
Look at the following example from Vasque with a powerful, personalized onsite message. When a customer named Jack returns to the store, he immediately sees a personalized message that says “Jack, were these the boots you wanted? They’re 30% off today.”
How impactful does it sound! The site uses the customer’s name and offers a discount Jack might be seeing previously. Such kind of message will increase the chances of Jack ending up buying the boots.
4. Develop Loyalty Programs
In simpler words, the whole idea behind this strategy is rewarding your customers for more purchases. You might have heard of and benefited from “Buy 3 and Get 1 FREE.” It’s the same.
Loyalty points are the most common form of loyalty program available. These programs are easy to implement and highly effective. A loyalty points program attracts repeat business. Undoubtedly, customers will not throw their wallet at you. But by combining competitive products with stellar customer services definitely boost sales and improve customer retention.
Reward your customers with anything they can use towards a purchase. Free shipping, Buy X Get Y and store credits are two excellent examples as they encourage customers to get back to your store for future purchases.
Check out the following creative ideas to set up loyalty programs
Welcome and Wow
New customers don’t fall into the loyalty category. But, if you offer some surprise loyalty points on the first purchase, it can be a great strategy. It will introduce new shoppers to your loyalty program.
Secondly, offering points that can be used towards a purchase, you’ll enjoy the extra benefit of reminding new customers that they’ve XX points from their first purchase.
Double the Value
If you offer redeemable store credit, send a promotion to your shippers with additional points. It should double the regular value of any points deemed in the next 48 hours.
Consider, for example, “Buy before 10 days, and double the value of your reward points used toward your purchase.”
Points as a Bonus
The loyalty points program lets you use the points as bonuses alongside other offers. For instance, if you offer a 20%off on a product, offering double the points when they redeem the offer seems attractive.
5. Add a Wish List Feature
Let’s say a girl visits your site to buy a clutch, but can’t purchase it right now. She’s probably waiting for her next paycheck or looking to buy it on a special day. How would you deal with the girl?
Offer her a ‘Wish List’ feature on your website so that she could add the product to list and buy it later.
It’s like bookmarking the product. It will make your customers come back and buy the product later when they can buy it. Customers also receive notification, such as discounts and rewards on the items added to their wish list.
When using the Wish List feature on your website, this creatively. Offer free delivery if the shopper buys multiple items from a wish list on a single order. Allow them to email their wish list o their family and friends. It certainly will improve the repeat business on your ecommerce store.
6. Separate Business Customers and Repeat Customers
Business customers and repeat customers are different. Business customers usually buy products in high volume. Identify them and establish a personal business relationship with them.
Next, find out the true fans of your business. These people don’t necessarily shop a large volume, but they shop on a consistent basis. Identify them and run specially targeted promotions, emails and ads for them to encourage them to buy more. Remember that repeat purchasers bring you an amazing ROI.
7. Target Remarketing with Abandoned Cart Emails
Retarget your customers by sending abandoned cart emails. You can also target them via paid social media, search or display to show them items they left without buying in their carts. You can also show the related items several times in their buying cycle.
For instance, “You purchased a study table last month. Do you want to buy a study lamp now?”
Such kind of marketing is highly effective in repeat business.
Consider the case study from SmileyCookie.com. The study found email remarketing to be effective in recovering 29% of abandoned carts.
Compex is known for its smart remarketing strategy. The following example shows that the message it very clear to customers. It reminds them about the item they considered purchasing in the past.
8. Offer “Exclusive” Discounts To Loyal Customers
People like receiving offers and feeling special to someone. At your ecommerce store, you can make your customers feel special by offering a special access to products. Capture their interest by offering an exclusive access to discounts and sales before availing the same to the general public.
Give your repeat and loyal customers at least 1 to 2 days of early access to offers on your ecommerce store. In this way, your repeat customers will feel special to you and love to receive this meaningful advantage.
A survey conducted by hotels.com revealed that exclusive promotions make great perks for customers. You should definitely offer it to your own most loyal customers.
Take an example of the online clothing retailer The RealReal. In the example below, the store offers its existing customers with a 20% discount on selected purchases using a special promo code available for a limited period of time.
9. Follow Subscription-Based Business Models
If your customers buy the same products on a regular basis, you can save them time and money by facilitating subscription to regular deliveries. Try this, and you’ll surely get the huge benefit of repeat business. Combine it with excellent customer services to guarantee a boost in your customer retention rate.
Subscription-based business models are ideal for most consumable or disposable items. But if you sell a product with a low repeat purchase rate, identify the complementary product you can offer that fits best to a subscription model.
For example, if you sell an automated washing machine, why not offer the best laundry detergent as a subscription? Utilizing subscription models let you stay in your customers’ minds and hands long after their first purchase. Keep your existing customers happy, and you’ll surely get the sale when it comes to buying a new washing machine.
10. Encourage New Customers to Register
Allowing people to shop with guest logging certainly is a great strategy to ease the checkout process and avoid losing a potential customer.
However, if it’s possible for you to persuade customers to register with your website, you can encourage your repeat business.
Convince your customers to register by offering some perks like an improved and faster checkout experience, regular email updates, exclusive members-only discounts, and personalized recommendations. You can also offer them to checkout without re-entering their details all over again.
11. Send a Birthday Gift
Don’t forget to take your customers’ date of birth at the time when they sign up to your website for an account. It not only helps with segmentation marketing, but also allows you to send them a special email on their birthday.
What’s the use of it? Well, firstly, you can offer discount codes or some loyalty points as a gift, which leads to a new, repetitive purchase. Secondly, your customers will feel special, and it will improve your relationship with them.
12. Enclose Free Samples with Purchases
Are you selling food or beauty products? Then, this strategy will highly improve your repeat business. Enclose a sample or two in the order of each customer.
This strategy will help encourage more sales if the recipient likes the product. Moreover, it also improves overall customer satisfaction as everyone likes free things.
13. Don’t Invest in Paid Ads Too Early
Once you start receiving a steady stream of traffic to your ecommerce store, start focusing on improving your customer experience and conversion rate. You can also focus on capturing emails to create and nurture an email list.
Many times, online business owners instantly start with paid advertising. The digital marketing experts don’t recommend the paid advertising when your business is in its infancy stage. However, you can start with search engine paid traffic because it goes further down the purchase intent funnel and yields better results for online shopping stores.
14. Promote Your Product on Packaging
People may see the product packaging at many different places, such as
- Sitting on a lawn chair, office desk or a coffee table in a cafe.
- Sitting on the rooftop of their building, dorm room, at someone’s home.
- Picture of your pet or kid playing with the box for social media
- At an UPS store while waiting to be picked up or shipped out.
At these places, packaging of your products serves as an indirect and free marketing tool. Put your business’s brand and the product highlights clearly on the packaging. Who knows, someone finds the right product in the hands of your customers.
15. Create Urgency and Scarcity
Using emails to create scarcity and urgency is an effective method to drive e-commerce sales. Rather than sending emails with a sale coupon or shop now button, send out emails with a discount offer for a limited period of time.
Keep the promotion specific and very personal. Segment it by people’s demographics who have either purchased this item in the past or who signed up for your store but didn’t purchase.
16. Offer Targeted Upsells and Promotions
When past customers write reviews, they think about the positive experience they had with you. So, it’s a great moment to offer them another great experience.
But, just offering the upsell is not enough. You have to think smarter! Analyze their past purchases and shopping behavior. Collect all other data that will help you determine the type of products they’re most likely to purchase on your store.
You will achieve a few very important things following this way. First, customers will more like writing reviews on your products. You will get huge publicity when they share it with other people around them. And, they quickly convert into your repeat customers when they come back to your ecommerce store to use the coupon.
That’s up to you!
We hope this article has explained the importance of customer retention and repeat business to you. At best, we hope that now you have enough inspiration and ideas to implement these repeat business strategies for your online business right now.
If you already have a repeat business strategy, incorporate some of the above to kick it up a notch. And, if you want your new customers to stick around you, try and shuffle these strategies until you find the ones that work best for your ecommerce business.