HOW TO GET REPEAT CUSTOMERS AND BUILD LOYALTY
Keep shoppers coming back and increase your customers’ lifetime value
Customers don’t only buy from a company because they like the products or services. They buy and become repeat customers because they feel a positive connection with the business. And once you have a customer, it makes dollars and sense to invest in making them repeat customers.
Creating repeat customers is easier than attracting new customers. It’s also much more cost-efficient to build customer loyalty with someone who’s already bought from you than to attract brand-new customers. Consider these powerful metrics about repeat customers:
- Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than creating a repeat customer.
- Bolstering customer retention by a mere 5% can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%.
- The success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 20%.
The Pareto principle famously states that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers.
“While it’s important to attract new buyers, it’s also good for your bottom line to be selling again and again to existing customers,” says Deana Thornton, Director of Product Marketing at Shopify. “Having strategies to drive repeat purchases will make your business sustainable and give you longevity.”
Creating a relationship with your audience will keep them engaged and coming back for more. Use these tips to inspire more repeat customers and build more profitable relationships with loyal customers.
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UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMERS
When you purchase a gift for a friend or loved one, you know it’s the thought that truly counts.
In other words, the gifts that matter the most and make the most impact are those with thoughtful consideration behind them. Your audience is no different. The marketing campaigns and initiatives that have the most impact are thoughtfully designed and tailored to your audience.
But to do so, you must understand your audience, which means you must identify key attributes of your target audience.
Identify your target audience to improve customer retention
While no target audience is a monolith, they most likely share idiosyncrasies you can tap into to make a lasting connection.
When identifying your target audience, consider:
- Demographics such as age, gender, education level, and income.
- Beliefs, values, and lifestyle.
- Pain points or what keeps them up at night.
- Motivations, goals, desires, and aspirations.
- Communication preferences such as phone, email, or social media.
- Social media channels they use to best teach them.
- Once you identify these attributes, you can create a target customer persona (or buyer persona) that will be a fictional representation of your ideal customer.
This detailed profile describes the characteristics, behaviors, preferences, motivations, and pain points of the individual you want to be a repeat customer.
Your buyer profile can be instrumental in creating more personalized and effective marketing campaigns that resonate with your ideal customers.
Analyze customer behavior and preferences
Your buyer profile should constantly evolve — just like the interests and preferences of a repeat customer. Make sure to fine-tune the profile based on changing behaviors and preferences of your target.
Make the customer experience easy
Your customers work hard to earn money: you can’t expect them to work hard to spend it. Customers are much more likely to purchase and become repeat customers if they enjoy an easy, frictionless, and unencumbered experience.
“To encourage people to come back to your website, you need to have a streamlined path to purchase,” says Deana.“ When they land on your website, they need to be able to find what they’re looking for quickly.”
To design a website that customers will want to return to again and again, remember these basics:
Make important information easy to find. Details about pricing, customer accounts, order status, and other basics should be easy to locate. If you’re running a promotion, make sure the call to action (CTA) is prominent on your home page and all your landing pages.
Make sure your site is easily searchable. Consider the taxonomy— the organization and labeling of your site —and use the same language your repeat customers use to describe what you sell. Good website taxonomy makes it easy for people to find what they want to purchase.
Showcase your products. Imagery that highlights the best features of your products or services can help encourage customers to buy. “Choose images that accurately represent your products and brand,” says Sonaly Patel, Senior Commerce Marketing Manager at Mailchimp. “This could be 360 views that show items from every angle or close-ups that highlight important details or design features.”
Encourage purchases with reviews. Three-quarters of shoppers use reviews to help them evaluate products. You can send an automated email to repeat customers or people who made a recent purchase and ask them to share a review of the product or their experience.
Be mobile responsive. More shoppers are making purchases via mobile devices. Make any adjustments necessary for a smooth mobile transaction process. “Don’t overlook your mobile experience. Make sure
everything displays properly,” says Deana. “It should be as easy to navigate and shop on your mobile site or app as it is on desktop.”
Make it easy to get answers. Visitors to your site may have questions about your products or services, so make sure they can get answers. Every page should have links to connect with customer service by email or phone or consider a live chat function to get answers to simple questions quickly.
The more— ways to pay — the merrier. Ensure your payment gateway is diverse and includes a plethora of payment methods. Consider adding Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) methods, such as Klarna, AfterPay, Affirm, Paypal, etc, as well as other convenient alternatives.
Repeat customers spend 67% more than new ones. 82% of companies find retaining customers more cost-effective. 65-75% of revenue comes from existing customers.
Invest in customer retention for long-term payoff.
Build your brand with social media
Seven in 10 Americans regularly use social media, which makes platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter great places to interact with repeat customers, build brand loyalty, and stay relevant with your audience.
“Social media should be an extension of your brand and your website,” says Deana. “It can help you build authentic relationships with your business.”
It’s easy to create and schedule social posts. There are many ways you can use social media to build a deeper connection with your audience, show them how you contribute to the community, and encourage repeat business.
Share news. Keep your followers up-to-date about new products and special promotions on your website. It’s also a great way to give people a heads-up when popular items that sell out quickly will be back in stock.
Showcase your people. Use social media to introduce the people on your team to your customers. Putting a human face on your brand helps establish an emotional connection, which will help create loyalty and a sense of advocacy.
Highlight good deeds. Social media can help you share your company’s values with your audience. If you work with community or nonprofit organizations, social media can publicize that connection—and give those organizations you support a signal boost in the process.
Engage your audience. Start conversations on your social channels with polls and contests. You can tie them to holidays, special events, or other dates your audience cares about.
Encourage user-generated content. Resharing photos, videos, and other content your fans post about your products is a great way to expand your reach. Encourage your followers to use and follow a signature hashtag to keep posts organized and easy to find.
Try retargeting. Retargeting ads can bring back more repeat customers who looked at items on your website but didn’t follow through and complete their purchase. When combined with email, retargeting ads on websites like Facebook and Instagram can drive more website traffic.
Keep your focus on your customers
Enhance product offerings to create repeat customers
The only constant in the world of e-commerce is change. And if you’re offering the same products you offered several years ago, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
Instead, your product offerings must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of your repeat customers.
Whether it’s offering multiple variants of a particular product with different price ranges or introducing entirely new products, enhancing your product offerings can keep your brand fresh to capture repeat customers and increase customer retention. It can also help you capture fresh dollars from fresh customers: it’s a win-win!
Keeping up with market trends can help attract loyal customers
One way to enhance your product is by monitoring market and industry trends. This involves tracking current trends and identifying when your products can be improved and enhanced to meet the evolving needs of your customers. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
Conduct market research. Whether you use surveys, focus groups, industry reports, or other methods to gather feedback from your target audience, the data can be invaluable in evolving your product.
Identify new customer needs. You can use your own internal customer data or external customer data as a guidepost for your product development and evolution.
Check out your competitor’s offerings. Analyzing your competition’s product offerings while identifying gaps in the market can help you devise new product strategies.
Monitor and evaluate product performance. After products are live, monitor their performance, gather feedback, and evaluate their success. Use this information to make further improvements or to develop new products.
Offering a variety of products
Similar to your customers, it’s important for your brand to grow and evolve with the times. One way to do that is to expand your lineup by offering a variety of products. Doing so can achieve two key goals:
Improve customer retention by deepening the relationship with existing customers, and
Help attract new loyal customers.
And offering product variations can be a lot easier than you think. Consider diversifying your product lineup by these parameters:
- And more
Create a loyalty program to motivate your repeat customers
Loyalty programs help drive repeat customers and increase engagement. Offering discounts, free gifts, and exclusive or early access to merchandise will make your fans feel valued and connected to your brand. You can also create membership tiers, offering higher-level perks to your very best repeat customers, based on spending levels or length of time in the program.
To have a successful loyalty program:
- Make it feel exclusive, like a VIP club.
- Encourage participation with a simple and easy-to-understand program.
- Keep rewards attainable to avoid frustration.
The type of program you create will depend on your business model and niche. “Tailor it to your customers and make sure the incentives add value for them,” says Sonaly. “Some groups might like perks such as free 2-day shipping, while others may crave early access to seasonal products.”
Communicate frequently to bolster customer satisfaction
To stay top of mind and be there when people are ready to buy again, you need to stay in touch with personalized communications. Email messages that show your customers you understand what they care about and need is one of the most effective ways to foster this engagement.
Marketing automation can help you create and send email messages that are triggered based on customer habits and behaviors. Use automation to ensure your website is the destination on your customer’s journey to purchase.
Promote popular products. Draw attention to your bestsellers and new arrivals with emails highlighting products customers might enjoy.
Welcome new customers. A welcome email series can help connect your followers to your business and direct them back to your website to read more.
Always thank new and repeat customers. Follow-up emails after purchases show people that you appreciate their business. They’re also an easy way to request reviews or recommend other products.
Send reminders. Abandoned cart emails can help you nudge customers to complete their purchases.
Celebrate special occasions. Birthday or anniversary messages—possibly including a discount or offer—can make people feel special and encourage them to shop again.
Motivate your repeat customers. Re-engagement emails can bring back customers who haven’t shopped recently. Include new products or a welcome-back offer or discount.
Offer incentives to drive repeat customers
Encourage repeat purchases with special offers or promotions. These could be based on spending level or type of product previously purchased. “Consider what will make your audience more inclined to buy again,” says Sonaly.
Many types of incentives can prompt your customers to purchase.
Promotions. Buy one, get one (BOGO) offers or percentage-off discounts can be very effective in encouraging people to purchase again. Test different offers to see what your audience responds to.
Free shipping. The National Retail Federation reports that 65% of consumers look up a business’s free shipping threshold before adding items to their carts, making it a powerful way to get people to shop on your website.
Free returns. Not being able to see or touch an item before purchasing is a deterrent for some shoppers; “In a study of 2,000 UK consumers, 78% said they’re likely to buy more from an online retailer if returns are free.
Surprise and delight. Everyone (well, almost everyone) loves surprises. Rewarding your top customers with a surprise-and-delight gift will make your brand memorable and strengthen their loyalty.
Items offered as incentives don’t have to break the bank. “It could be an appealing low-to-mid-priced item that you have a surplus of in your inventory,” says Deana. “And you can encourage customers to share their surprise with a special hashtag, boosting your social presence as well as your sales.”
Ask for customer feedback from loyal customers
Customers are more inclined to buy from you again and remain loyal if they feel you understand their needs and value their business. While you can always use your own internal customer data from repeat customers, another way is to ask for their opinion.
Surveys can engage customers with your brand and help you find out what they like about your products or services, what they think about your competition, and where they think you can do better.
Creating a survey is easy, and the data you get back can help you shape future marketing campaigns.
Ask what people want. Customers might share ideas for new products or services they’d like to see you offer.
Get to know your customers. Use your own repeat customer data as well as details they share about themselves to define new audience segments.
Gain competitive insight. You can learn which competitors they also shop from and why you’re not getting that business.
“Surveys help you take a pulse on what is and isn’t working—this is important because unless your product is unique, you have competition,” says Deana. “A survey can help you find out what makes you stand out and how you can keep your best customers loyal to your brand, which will encourage repeat sales.”
Finally – Engage and Support
Obtaining repeat customer feedback and implementing changes
While you may think a product is amazing, your opinion doesn’t always align with your target audience. You can either assume or simply ask for feedback. Here are a few core questions you can ask to garner your customer’s honest feedback about your product or service:
- What was your overall experience with the product?
- What did you like most about the product?
- What did you dislike about the product?
- Was the product easy to use?
- Was the product effective in solving your problem or meeting your needs?
- Was the product priced fairly?
- How would you rate the quality of the product?
- Did you have any issues or problems with the product?
- What features would you like to see added to the product?
- How likely are you to recommend the product to others?
- How does the product compare to other similar products you have used?
- How can we improve the product or experience?
- What was the most significant benefit you received from using the product?
- Was the product delivered on time and in good condition?
- How was your experience with the customer service and support related to the product?
Use social media for engagement
Many business owners assume social media is just for customer acquisition. Although social media can be an extremely powerful tool for engaging and winning new or repeat business, it’s an equally powerful way to engage existing customers.
When it’s done properly, you can use social media to turn repeat customers into an amplifier for your brand that is irresistible to new customers. Here are a few ways to leverage social media to improve customer lifetime value and create more loyal, repeat customers.
Creating an online community can improve customer retention
Leveraging your social media channels to engage your existing customers can be a dynamic way to create raving fans.
To get started, encourage all buyers and customers to like or follow you on social media by offering a discount or incentive.
Once you’ve created a community, find creative ways to engage your audience to engage by creating polls, hosting contests, requesting feedback, and asking questions. Make sure to always respond to their comments, questions, or messages in a respectful and timely manner.
Posting engaging content to drive repeat customers
No matter the social media platform, content is king. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, articles, infographics, or other mediums, share content that is relevant. The content should answer their questions, solve their problems, or provide useful information.
One dynamic but underutilized is social media live streaming. You can use social media live streaming to connect to your audience in real-time to provide product demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and more. Doing so can help let your loyal customers know you are tuned into their needs. Everyone appreciates being seen and understood.
Providing customer support to improve customer retention
No matter the industry or segment, you can use social media channels to improve customer retention and drive repeat customers. Here are a few tips to use social media channels to improve customer retention and drive repeat customers:
Monitor your social media channels for inquiries, feedback, or complaints. You can even use social media listening tools to track brand mentions or relevant keywords.
Respond quickly to inquiries or requests. Because social media channels are real-time communications, make sure you always respond to complaints and inquiries as quickly as possible to prevent a small tiff from becoming a major storm. It can help improve customer retention and possibly transform an upset customer into a repeat customer.
Use a friendly and amiable tone to help make the experience pleasurable and create repeat customers.
Resolve issues publicly —when you can— to demonstrate your commitment to customer retention and show potential customers how you solve problems and resolve complaints.
Be ready to take conversations offline if it’s a sensitive or complex issue.
Mastering customer service online can transform a problem into a repeat customer and even turn potential clients into loyal customers — when done properly.
Build relationships to develop loyal customers
Developing relationships with customers on social media is all about having a brand voice that is likable, relatable, and fun — based on your repeat customer persona. It’s important your brand voice is consistent across all social channels.
Then, you can leverage social media groups in your niche or industry to demonstrate your expertise, answer questions, and provide helpful information.
Don’t settle for customers create raving fans
While it does take some work to encourage repeat sales and build customer loyalty, the benefits you reap in the long run will be worth it.
“When you encourage repeat business, you increase the lifetime value someone adds to your business,” says Deana. And Mailchimp offers an array of cutting-edge, easy-to-use tools to help you convert loyal customers into raving fans.
Ready to launch your online business? You can sell your products or book appointments directly from your own site with Mailchimp’s e-commerce offerings. Our built-in marketing features give you full control over the success of your business.
This article initially appeared on Mailchimp – (https://mailchimp.com/resources/how-to-get-repeat-e-commerce-sales/)