“Statistically speaking, the cost of acquiring a new customer costs five to ten time more than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but repeat customers spends, on average, 67% more.”
As the above statistics mentioned in this report implies, repeat customers play a crucial role in helping your online store succeed – both in saving on expenses and increasing your profits. It feels good when one online shopper buys your product, but it feels even better to see that same customer come back and make another purchase from you… again… and again… and again.
Not only does this show that you have a great product, but also that you provide great customer service and have one rockin’ online store.
So how do you make those first online sales into repeat business and make them fall in love with your brand aside from having a great product?
Create a Good First Impression
First impressions last, they say, and in the world of ecommerce, nothing is farther from the truth. The simple fact is that when an online shopper does not enjoy shopping and doing business with you and your online store, you won’t see them after the first sale – if they do stick around for that.
For an online store, there are several things that create a good and lasting impression on first time buyers. A creative and appealing online store design for instance, helps to catch the online shopper’s attention, while a “user-friendly” interface that provides for easy navigation and fast loading time will surely make their browsing and buying experience much more enjoyable.
Encourage (and Reward) First-time Buyers
Many online store owners often focus on providing incentives for loyal customers, but there is no rule stating that you can’t do the same for your first-time buyers. In fact, some of the biggest online stores and ecommerce businesses offer incentives for customers who haven’t bought anything yet:
Of course, this may not sound appropriate for those who are just starting with their online stores and are on a limited budget, but it does come with huge benefits in the end.
If you are not keen on offering promos and discounts, then there are other ways of encouraging first-time buyers to come back and buy more. You can send a short thank you card along with their shipment, or send them and extra gift with it (e.g. those selling laptops usually include unexpected gifts like USB, mouse pad, etc.). You can also mention them in your social media post, or write about them in your online store blog (e.g. ask them for their feedback and turn it into a blog post by writing about how your product helped them with their needs.)
These little and simple incentives can go a long way in establishing a good and fruitful relationship between you and the customer.
Black Box offers a discount to first-time buyers, and another discount when the customer receives their order. Now who wouldn’t be interested in that?
Create an Active Community
People like being with other people, whether offline or online. By creating an online community for your buyers and managing it well, you can give your online shoppers a sense of belongingness which can improve their perception of your online store. When they feel good about your business, they are more likely to do repeat business with it.
You can create an online community by making a forum in your online store website, or by creating Facebook pages or Google Plus Community pages dedicated to your website. You can use whatever platform you think is best. The most important thing to remember is that the community is a place where online shoppers can interact and engage with your and other online shoppers. Don’t bombard it with product promotions and sales pitches.
When a first time-buyer makes a purchase, send them an email asking if they’d like to join and the link to your online community, add it as a part of your purchase confirmation email. You can also use your online community as a form of after sales service by answering the questions posted there by online shoppers.
Do a Follow-up
Sending them a follow-up email or message reminds your customers that you are there to help if they have any questions about your product or service. This shows that you do care, and that you are intent in making sure that they are happy and satisfied. You can start by thanking them for their purchase and then asking what they think about the product they received. Also, a little link about your latest offer at the end of the email wouldn’t hurt.
Time to Take Action
Repeat business all boils down to properly taking care of your first-time buyers. You need to show them that you and your business are devoted to helping them – after all, that’s what products and services are for: to solve a need or satisfy a want. Remember, if you go the extra mile in helping your customers, they will help you succeed in return by patronising your business. Give them value, a good price and even better buying and customer service experience – that is how you stay under their radar and increase the chances of future sales.