If your eCommerce store has any hope of surviving long-term then you need to ensure your customers are coming back to you time and time again. While new customers are always great for business, loyal and regular customers will be the ones who will have the biggest effect on your profits. Their loyalty is essential for your future success, and will also save you extra money on marketing costs. You won’t need to market yourself quite so often if you’re not as desperate for a constant stream of new buyers. How you can build this steady customer base will vary slightly depending on the industry you’re in. However, the ultimate aim is to simply have a product and service that draws people back for more. Let’s look in more depth at the ways you can make sure your customers are always coming back to you.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
One of the biggest bones of contention for a lot of online shoppers is the shipping times. In a world where people are becoming more and more accustomed to having everything as fast as possible, few people now have the patience to wait for more than a day or two for shipping. However, if a customer is wanting what you sell, then they will wait. As long as they know they have to wait. Telling customers that they will receive their order in a day or two because that’s what they want to hear will only cause you a massive headache when days go by and their order still hasn’t arrived. Being honest and realistic about your shipping times will cause you less stress and fewer complaints. Even if your shipping is a week or two, if someone wants your product badly enough, they’ll wait.
2. Add a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs work so there is no reason why you shouldn’t be getting in on the action yourself. Just think about how many companies offer free products such as free coffee or free shipping if you make x number of purchases. If two companies are selling the same products at the same prices, people are always going to choose the one with the loyalty program. People will love working their way through your program and will always come to you first so they can add another stamp to their theoretical card.
3. Put Effort into Social Media
Having active and aesthetically pleasing social media pages helps keep you relevant and noticed. With so many eCommerce stores to choose from, it’s easy for yours to get lost in the crowd. However, if you can build a following online and consistently show the world what you sell then you won’t be forgotten about so easily. Even if you don’t have time to do the work or the skill set, you should consider hiring someone to do the work for you. Keeping up to date with social media will help draw a loyal crowd.
4. Interact Online
While you must be putting a lot of work into your communications with new and existing customers via email/support, you always need to interact with users online. On your social media pages, you will receive questions, comments, and suggestions on your posts. Replying to these is a great opportunity to show your previous customers that you care outside of the store. Even a quick thanks or emoji as an acknowledgment of their comment will make your customers feel more valued.
5. Make Improvements
If one person out of a thousand has a complaint, then the problem is not serious. However, if dozens of people are complaining about the same things, then there is a serious issue. Customers are loyal if they feel happy with the service and products, and if there is a common complaint then each one of these customers will not be coming back. And if you don’t rectify the problem, then future customers won’t return either. Take on board what people are saying and make improvements to your service/products so you can prevent future complaints.
6. Get Involved in Community Work
Does a company being involved in community work give them more repeat customers? Well, yes. Companies that actively care about current issues such as climate change, recycling, getting rid of single-use plastic, cleaning the oceans, helping animals, cleaning up communities, delivering food to food banks, and so on, end up with a far bigger list of loyal customers than those who don’t. People love to support businesses that are part of a bigger cause, it helps them feel like they are also a part of that cause and increase the amount of respect they have for you. Actively getting involved in these types of issues, especially those in your local area will help ensure customers keep coming back to you.
7. Be Honest
Be honest in every part of your company. This includes shipping times, quality of products, sizes, and styles of products, expectations, and more. If people feel like you’re honest they will always choose you over another. People don’t like being lied to or deceived by a company just so the company can make another sale. Being honest about every part of your company will make customers feel like they are shopping with someone they can trust.
In case you still don’t believe us when we tell you that loyal customers are going to have the biggest impact on you financially – a study carried out by Harvard showed that having a 5% retention rate of your customers will increase your annual profits by between 25-95%. Even if you only hit the 25%, you’ll still be making thousands of dollars more each year.
Repeat custom is your pathway to long-term success so it’s not something you should discard for another day. Follow our steps above and you should be well on your way to getting those all-important numbers up.