Who would you guess is your most valuable customer? The big spender? The word-of-mouth spreader? Research shows it’s the return customer. Check out these numbers:
- Repeat shoppers account for about 40% of all online sales
- Online businesses with 40% repeat customers generate 50% more revenue than similar sellers with a 10 % repeat customer base.
- The conversion rates of loyal customers are 5 – 9 times greater than first-time buyers
- Businesses that boost customer retention by 5% saw an increase of profits between 5 and 95%
The reasons behind these trends vary, but it often comes down to trust. As a recent Forbes article points out, “When you’ve already sold something to someone, you’ve built trust. They gave you money, and you gave them a solution to their problem. Your product, payment system, customer service, packaging, and shipping have all lived up to the hype (hopefully!) and you have a track record of delivering on your promises.”
While you might spend a lot of your energy finding and attracting new customers, don’t forget about the importance of keeping them once they buy. Here are four ways you can increase online sales through capturing repeat customers:
1. It’s All About the Second Sale!
Customers making their second online purchase could spend 3 times as much as first time shoppers. If you can encourage the second sale, you’re much more likely to create a loyal and repeat customer. Your efforts should start the minute a first sales order is placed. Start with a sincere thank you for business, let your customers know they are meaningful and valuable. If it’s allowed on the marketplace where you sell, offer a first-time buyer a discount if they return.
Chances are whatever you are selling, someone else is selling it too. While you might beat a competitor on price, a bad customer service experience is something buyers don’t forget. According to one survey, 72% of shoppers say customer service is what made them loyal to a brand or business. Superior customer service consistently includes: availability, responsiveness, flexibility and timeliness.
3. Get Delivery Right
You may sell a great product and provide excellent customer service but if you don’t nail it when it comes to shipping and delivery, chances are you won’t be seeing repeat customers. Most online sellers rely on third parties for delivery so make sure the partner you choose is reliable. Make sure to offer shipping options. Some buyers would rather save money than get it fast while others have a need for expedited shipping and will shop elsewhere if they can’t get it fast from you.
Given the value of repeat buyers, it’s worth spending some time identifying your frequent customers and coming up with ways to reward their loyalty. Think about offering a deal that is exclusive to loyal customers. You can also send a targeted email campaign to current customers based on their buying habits including a coupon for future purchases.
Many ecommerce sellers are small to medium sized businesses without a huge budget or staff. So make the little things count in order to build a loyal following. You’ll find it’s much easier than the time and energy it takes to find new customers.