It’s pretty much a given in the ecommerce world that selling more to current customers offers a better return-on-investment than cultivating new ones by doing so you are keeping ecommerce retention alive. You’ve likely heard that time and time again. But when was the last time that you made an effort to connect with past customers in an attempt to sell them more products?
If your answer to that is that it’s been a while, or that you haven’t ever, then you need to read on for seven easy ways to market your business to the customers you already have. But first, let’s take a look at why targeting existing customers is so important.
Benefits of Selling More to Existing Customers
The superior return-on-investment you’ll get when marketing to your existing customers is a huge plus of ecommerce retention marketing, but it’s not the only reason you should be doing it. There are other great benefits as well.
When you retain a customer, that customer’s profitability rate tends to increase over time. In other words, the actual economic value that they represent to your business goes up the longer they remain a customer. Additionally, according the book Leading on the Edge of Chaos by Emmett C Murphy and Mark Murphy, an increase of just two percent in customer retention has nearly the same effect on profitability as cutting expenses by ten percent. That’s a huge incentive to retain customers.
Another benefit is that every time a customer buys from you, it strengthens your relationship with them. When you nurture and build relationships with customers, they become an advocate and cheerleader for your business. You may never know how many new customers buy from you because a satisfied, loyal customer recommended your product or service. It’s marketing that you don’t ever receive a bill for.
Increasing Retention with Current Customers
Now that you know why it’s important to spend time and energy on current customers, let’s look at some easy ways to do it.
#1 Offer Customers a Discount or Deal for Additional Purchases
While you don’t want to give out discounts willy-nilly and cut too far into your profits, a discount or deal can go a long way to bring back customers who haven’t made a purchase for a while. You can choose to offer a percent off or a specific dollar amount off. There’s no right or wrong way to offer a discount or a deal. Many different discount strategies exist to keep ecommerce retention strong. See which one works better for your store.
#2 Use Timely Emails
If you have a product that is consumable, perishable, needs to be renewed or replaced after a certain amount of time, sending timely emails when your products lifespan is up is a great way to bring back customers. For example, some cosmetics companies do this. When they know that it’s nearly time for you to replenish your supply of moisturizer, they send an email to remind you.
#3 Utilize Social Media to Connect
The whole purpose of social media is to connect with people. When you use it to build relationships with your customers it makes your faceless company come off as more human. Customers feel as if they are buying from a person rather than a business. . The people who have chosen to like or follow you, do so for a reason.They like your business and your products. Be sure to post about new products, specials, and sales that you have going on. Connect regularly with your loyal customers by posting often.
#4 Make the Most of Customer Accounts
If you ask for customers to set up accounts when they make a purchase from your store, use that information to provide your customers with access to their previous orders and additional product recommendations. If you don’t have your customers set up an account, consider doing so, but be sure to make it optional. Some customers abandon shopping carts if creating an account is mandatory.
#5 Send Recurring Newsletter Emails
Your list of customers is an essential tool for nurturing customer relationships. Email has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for conversion for online businesses. Simply sending newsletter-type emails to your customers letting them know about upcoming news regarding your store, specials, or new products gives them a good reminder that they love your products.
#6 Surprise and Delight Customers
Save this one for your very best customers. Sending a small gift to your most loyal buyers is a wonderful way to jog their memory about your store, while surprising and delighting them at the same time. You can send a digital gift certificate, or something more personal like a handwritten note along with a discount code for their next purchase. Customers are likely to respond to you reaching out positively with positive reactions of their own – a purchase from your store.
#7 Keep Fulfillment Fast and Error-Free
Let’s say you run an Etsy store where you sell handmade kitchenware. You could be the absolute best wooden salad bowl maker in the world, but if your fulfillment process leaves customers frustrated, you won’t be able to bring them back. Items should arrive on time, on damaged, and correctly packaged. It’s often what’s going on under the hood that makes a business truly successful. In this example, your Etsy inventory management and sales order management systems need to be in tip top shape.
A Little Bit of Recognition Goes a Long Way
Your customers, like all of us, like to be recognized as loyal individuals, which is why ecommerce retention is so important. That fact, paired with the reality that they are quite likely the best asset to your business, gives you every reason to spend the time and resources to get them to purchase more. Paying attention to customer ecommerce retention is a great way to increase profits and strengthen your business, especially as the holidays approach.