Following my previous blog post where I discussed the factors that influence the e-commerce sales funnel process, I wanted to write a follow-up post discussing how to convert your new customers into loyal, repeat purchasers.
Before starting any kind of activity, it’s important to get a good understanding of your customers and how they interact with your products. For example, if you sell shoes, how long will they last and when will your customers be ready for a new pair? Also, if a customer has previously purchased a movie from you by a specific director, when their latest film hits the shelves, you need to make your customers aware of it before your competitors do.
So it’s important to build up a good database that contains as much information as possible about your customers and their buying history. The segmentation and management of this data will affect how successful your activity is.
One of the oldest internet marketing techniques but still going strong, email marketing is an essential tool for creating repeat purchasers online. If you use your customer data wisely, it can be an effective tool in prompting customers to return to your site. Describing good email marketing techniques would merit its own blog post so in summery, ensure that content is tailored and relevant to the customer, don’t email them too often and make sure you only email customers that have opted in to receive further information from you.
Offers and rewards
Customers love a good deal and the best way to get them back to your site is to provide them with an offer to encourage them to return. The best time to do this is on the order confirmation email sent once customers have completed their purchase. These emails have a high open rate as customers like to check their order is correct and will be delivered on the time specified. A percentage / fixed discount or BOGOF offer will certainly help entice your visitors to return to your site.
In general, the same principles apply online as they would on the high street. Customers appreciate good customer service. If they want to return their product, provide them with clear instructions on how to do so and be up front if any costs may be incurred. Also, respond quickly to any questions or comments received after the purchase has been made. Questions and comments are now frequently posted on public social media sites, so make sure that you respond quickly and appropriately. You will be judged by others on how you handle any criticism directed your way.
Social media is better suited as an engagement tool post-purchase rather than a sales tool. Your customers are more likely to interact with your brand via social media after they’ve sampled your product or service and taken the effort to like or follow you. Don’t pepper your social media presence with promotional items. Unless they’re amazing deals, doing this will turn your customers away. Instead, use social media to show that you’re passionate about the products and services you offer, and that you care about your customers.
Website content strategy
Whilst you’re actively engaging with your customers on social media, don’t neglect your own site. Most social media activity works best when it also utilises your website. You have more control over the type and amount of content that can be posted on your own site so this should act as a destination for any links posted on social media. A good online retailer should do more than just sell to its customers; it should be a resource of regularly updated, informative content. This approach reflects well on your brand and also gives visitors an incentive to return to your site on top of just buying another product.
Before implementing any of these techniques, it’s essential that you set up e-commerce tracking on your site and establish a statistical benchmark. This will allow you to understand whether these techniques have a positive or negative impact. Ensure that you set targets and adjust your campaign accordingly until you find a winning combination.