Get this: It costs between five and 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.
And that’s not all: Existing customers spend 67% more than new ones.
But what happens when your beloved customers suddenly fall off the face of earth? What can you do to bring back those lost customers and get them to start buying from you again?
Well, I’ve got a few ideas for you. But first…
Segment Your Customers
What’s effective or appropriate for one customer might not work or be the best tactic for another. So in order to re-engage your customers, you’ve got to come up with a personalized and targeted strategy that takes into account different factors like their buying frequency, average order value, browsing behavior, and email behavior.
Once you’ve segmented your ecommerce lists, you can determine the appropriate tactics to try and bring them back. We’ve outlined a few below.
Offer a Discount
This is probably one of the most tried and true methods out there of getting customers to buy again. And with good reason…I mean, who doesn’t like discounts?
While it does often work, you should be careful taking this route; for example, you might only want to offer discounts to your high-paying and frequent customers, rather than the ones who have only purchased one inexpensive item from you.
Encourage Them to Sign Up for a Rewards Program
Sephora is one of my favorite stores. One of the reasons that I continue to shop there is because of their awesome rewards program.
After I accumulate a certain number of points, I can take home a free gift. And not just any free gift…Rather, I get to choose from an ever-changing selection of high-end, sampler beauty products. Or if I prefer, I can keep saving my points until I’m eligible for an even better (or bigger) product. And then during my birthday month, I also get a free gift!
Likewise, one of my best friends always flies Southwest. Why? Because (you guessed it) they have a killer rewards program. So killer that once she has accumulated enough mileage for a free flight, she’s allowed to bring a friend with her on that flight…for free!
Now tell me…How can you not want to get on board (no pun intended) with a rewards program like that?
My point? A loyalty program is a fantastic way to bring back old customers and reel in new ones. They are especially effective for ecommerce companies with higher priced products or multiple competitors.
If you don’t have one already, consider starting a rewards program. Offer your customers something that they can’t say no to.
Like Sephora does, you could spoil them and offer your customers a free product once they have accrued a certain number of points. Or you could provide them exclusive access to something that non-members don’t have access to, like unreleased products.
Ask for Feedback
Knowing why your customers stopped buying from you can help you improve your marketing efforts and your products. But unless you ask, you’ll never really know why your customers disappeared. Maybe they just don’t need your product. Or perhaps they preferred what your competitor had to offer. Or maybe there’s an entirely different reason that you never would have suspected.
In order to find out the answer, you could send your customers an email with a short survey asking for their feedback. Then, you could offer them an incentive to fill out the survey, like a discount on their next purchase or a small monetary reward.
Remind Them What They’re Missing Out On
Nobody likes to feel like they’re missing out on something great. Your customers included.
Did you just release a new product that everyone’s raging about? Why not brag a little and tell your customers about it! Include a few testimonials while you’re at it and maybe even a video of the product in action or user-generated photos that show other customers using the product.
Or do you offer something really cool that your competitors don’t, such as free express delivery or a super flexible return policy? Remind your customers of that!
If you remind your customers of all the wonderful things that they’re missing out on by not buying your product, it just might be enough to inspire them to take action.
Tell Them You Miss Them
Another way of going about it is to just tell your customers that you miss them and want them back. Maybe even make them laugh (if it fits with your brand).
The great thing about this tactic is that it feels genuine, personal, and unassuming. It will probably work best if you have more of an established relationship with your customer, like if they have purchased from you many times in the past or engaged with a lot of your content.
First, examine your own brand’s behavior. Has anything changed that might have caused your customers to stop buying from you? Did you increase the price of your products or make your checkout process way more complicated than it needs to be?
Or maybe it has to do with your customer interactions. Did you stop calling your customers by their first name or start sending more generic emails to them?
If you’ve ruled out everything you can think of from your end, then it’s time to segment your customers. Once you do that, you can work with a highly qualified ecommerce marketing agency and send targeted emails to your customers, trying different techniques based on their behavior.
Granted, some of your customers may be lost and gone forever. But in all likelihood, most of them just need a little nudge. If you remind your dormant customers of all that they’re missing out on by not being your customer, many of them are likely to return.
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About the Author: Mary Blackiston is the Content Marketing Specialist for eScale, a full-service digital agency devoted exclusively to building and growing ecommerce stores.