In order to support a successful and sustainable business, you will need to find a meaningful way to keep customers coming back. Not only are repeat customers likely to spend more than a first-timer, it takes far less convincing to get them to convert once again. According to Invespcro’s study, it costs an average of five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a previous one.
In order to keep customers loyal to your brand, your online ‘post-sales’ strategy will need to be highly engaging. Of course, many e-commerce brands go about this all wrong. After all, how many times have you bought from an online company only to be inundated with sales emails day after day until you finally move them to the spam folder?
The key here (and I’m sure you’ve heard this before) is quality content over quantity. Barraging your past buyers with aggressive sales messages is not the best approach if you want to establish a successful customer retention strategy. Instead, try some of these more engaging and effective approaches.
Create a Lasting Final Impression
The customer clicking the final checkout button should not be the last interaction that they have with your business. In fact, it should act as an invitation to start reaching out to them with more meaningful content. This person is already engaged, and obviously, they are interested in your products. Therefore, the time after the first purchase is critical for converting them into repeat buyers.
Sending out an email shortly after a purchase to thank the customer for their business and to ask about their experience is an awesome way to re-engage with the shopper while also collecting helpful feedback. Now, these follow-up emails do not necessarily have to be sales-forward. Instead, this is the chance for you to build a relationship that leads to long-term loyalty.
Be sure to add little personalized touches to these follow-up emails if you want to increase the number of openings and clicks. Simply including the customer’s first name or asking questions that are specific to their purchase shows that you truly care about your customers’ experience. Ask for suggestions, comments, and genuine feedback on certain areas to give customers the opportunity to offer some meaningful advice from the other side.
According to BrightLocal’s research, 71% of customers are more likely to leave a review for a business if they are asked to. E-commerce business owners know that UGC feedback is essential to attracting new customers. Reviews also send out signals to Google for a strong SEO marketing strategy, so gathering this kind of feedback is quite beneficial.
Build It into Your POS
Another way to integrate an effective after sales strategy is by building it directly into your POS process. The key here is understanding your customers’ motivations, which in most B2C cases, is going to be closely related to getting the best deal.
Asking a customer to create an account during the checkout process as an invitation to a loyalty program is a great first step. This incentivizes them to buy more to receive perks. Simply offering a loyalty program on your website can be a motivating sales factor for first-time buyers – as nearly 70% of shoppers say they are more willing to purchase from a company that offers a rewards program.
According to a study from Nielsen, the top features that consumers like to see from a loyalty program are flexibility, personalization, rewards, and technology integration. Be sure that your loyalty perks keep these factors in mind and offers the most valuable benefits to your customers.
Depending on which e-commerce web host service you use, integrating a loyalty program is typically an easy task. There are all kinds of apps and extensions available through most platforms for these types of services that will automatically track each customer’s purchases and send out customized codes.
If your loyalty program is going to boost the number of repeat sales, it will need to be enticing enough to push them to make frequent purchases. Offering a low discount after high volumes of purchases (such as 10% for every $5,000 spent) is probably not going to work. Make sure that the requirements are attainable.
Use Sales Data for Personalized Offers
Personalized experiences are a top priority for most businesses that want to get their customers engaged. Yet, most marketers are intimidated by the process of gathering, analyzing, and applying such large sums of consumer data into practical actions.
A personalized customer experience (CX) doesn’t need to be entirely tailored to each individual shopper who arrives on your website. Instead, focus on the details that directly impact conversion rates. In terms of personalization, the things that customers want to see the most are relevant promotions, recognition of past purchases and information, and personalized product recommendations.
As you could imagine, the best way to source the necessary information for these customized experiences is with internal sales data. Before you even start tracking consumer behavior for specific shoppers, take a look at the patterns that most of your customers follow.
- What items are frequently bought together?
- How often do customers come back to buy the same product?
- What percent discount is typically enough to boost sales?
The answers to these questions can be a good starting point to sending out relevant promotions to new customers, especially if you are in the beginning stages of gathering more datasets for better personalization. You can use this information to send out timely reminder emails for products that a customer might buy frequently.
For example, let’s say you are selling water filters. As most filters need to be replaced every two to three months, you can set up timed product recommendation emails following the initial purchase.
Of course, it is incredibly important that e-commerce brands approach personalization with the customer in mind. Many consumers have justified concerns about the safety of sharing their private data with businesses, so be sure that you maintain customer trust by being transparent about your tactics and alerting customers when their data is being tracked.
Host a Giveaway
Social media is an obvious channel that online brands use for engagement and to get customers more involved with their content. However, many e-commerce brands only view social media as an avenue to attract new sales. They are so focused on getting more followers, likes, and shares that they fail to use it as a post-sales strategy.
One of the current trends that many businesses are using to boost engagement is hosting a social media contest or giveaway sweepstakes to attract attention and gain some new followers. This can also be a great way to re-engage current customers.
The online brand Floafers recently launched an online sweepstakes contest to increase their revenue in order to fund some new products. In a case study report, Floafrer’s marketing team found that requiring consumers to follow a link to a signup page was more effective for their strategy than a simple “like, comment, or share to enter” approach. As a result, they generated over $8,000 in revenue during the campaign and their email conversion rate went up to 22%!
Now, your prize doesn’t need to be as impressive as a paid vacation getaway; just giving away a new product or a gift card is certainly motivating enough for customers to share some of their valuable data with you. Plus, offering special perks like additional entries if people share brand-related content can also motivate past customers to essentially become brand advocates.
Successful brands understand the importance of creating loyal customers. While fantastic products, good customer service, and a positive shopping experience may be enough to get some to return, you need a defined post-sale strategy. Use this time after a sale as an opportunity to cultivate a meaningful relationship between your brand and its customers.