How to Turn First-Time Customers Into Return CustomersKaren Axelton
Attracting a customer to buy from you for the first time takes a lot of time and effort. So when you actually get a customer to make the first purchase from your e-commerce site, don’t waste the opportunity to turn them into a repeat customer. It’s easy to do if you know the right way to approach it.
- Start to build a relationship. If a customer registered with your website before or as part of making the purchase, be sure to send them a welcome email explaining what they can expect from your business as a result — whether that’s an email marketing newsletter or regular offers. Also explain how to manage their account, such as how to update payment methods or adjust email subscription preferences.
- Shower them with service. If you want a customer to come back to your business again and again, you’d better get that first purchase experience right. Provide detailed information easing any worries about the purchase, such as a confirmation email after the order is placed, an email telling them when the product has shipped, and a way to track the progress of the package. And, of course, make sure the product and packaging exceed expectations.
- Upsell or cross-sell. Based on the first purchase, you can send additional emails suggesting complementary or related purchases. Be sure that you are gathering data about the customer’s purchasing habits that you can use to target them with relevant emails later on.
- Reward them. Once the first order is placed or fulfilled, you can send a special offer, such as a dollar or percentage off code good for a limited time. This can be in the form of an email, a coupon included with the shipment, or both. Offers will help draw the customer back to your website again — provided their first experience is a positive one. You can also encourage customers to join your loyalty rewards program, if you have one. (Bonus: In addition to motivating customers to shop with you more, loyalty programs also help you collect valuable data about them.)
- Stay in touch. Even if a customer buys from you once and then becomes dormant, well-timed reminder emails can trigger them to visit your ecommerce site again. For example, a customer who buys children’s school uniforms in August of one year could receive a reminder email with a special offer in July of the next year. You can also send emails with special offers on other anniversaries, such as a customer’s birthday (if you have that information on file) or a relevant holiday (such as Mother’s Day, if someone bought flowers from your website around that time last year).
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.