Successful e-commerce is not only about conversions – it’s about getting those clients to make a repeat purchase. This guide will show you how to do just that.
As on online merchant, you know that the battle to win conversions is exhausting. And that’s the case whether you’ve been selling your product or service online for 8 months or 8 years.
But then getting those conversions to make a repeat purchase is another part of the online merchant game. And it’s a big part of the game.
With cart abandonment rates hovering around 68%, you need to do whatever you can to both acquire new customers and then keep them coming back. And sometimes that means investing in e-commerce software and using platforms like Shopify.
Boosting the repeat purchase is one of the best ways to increase revenue. Yeah, you want those conversions. But getting the repeat purchase should be your main focus.
These are the steps between the first conversion and the moment that you gain a loyal customer:
1. The Browsing Customer
This is the person who has not yet made a purchase but has visited your site and browsed your goods or services.
Likelihood of a purchase: Your store’s conversion rate.
2. The Actual Customer
This person has made a single purchase from you at some point in the past – whether yesterday or last year.
Likelihood of a purchase: Slightly better than your regular conversion rate.
3. The Return Customer
This is where it starts getting promising, as this customer has returned to make a second purchase from your store.
Likelihood of a purchase: Around 27% higher than a 1st time customer.
4. The Repeat Customer
This is where it starts getting really promising. This person has returned to make a third purchase from your store.
Likelihood of a purchase: Around 45% higher than a 1st time customer.
5. The Loyal Customer
This is the holy grail. Your bread and butter. This is the customer who purchases from you regularly and is likely to promote you to others.
Likelihood of a purchase: Around 54% higher than a 1st time customer.
Converting the browsing customer into a loyal customer who makes repeat purchases is not as hard as it may seem.
These are some of our favorite ways to go about doing it:
1. Send a discount code.
One of the most effective ways to boost repeat purchases is to include a discount code within the order.
According to a university study, customers favor shipping discounts over those that are specific to products.
Plus, customers could potentially pass on their discount code to friends who go on to make their own purchases with you. This creates buzz around your business.
2. Make it a happy birthday.
Birthdays are a time when people are getting attention for all of the right reasons. With their friends and family making a fuss over them, giving them gifts and taking them out for meals, they’re feeling pretty special.
So step in and do the same.
Contact them on their birthday and offer them a discount as a gift from you to them. They’ll feel more obliged than ever to make a repeat purchase right there and then.
3. Infuse value in all that you do.
As Tommy Walker from Shopify says:
“Today’s customers are smart and know when you’re trying to squeeze more out of their wallet. What it all comes down to is value.
Helping your customer to get exactly what they want without compromise & feel good about it not only makes you more money, it makes them happier in the long run. That means offering personalized experiences, relevant recommendations, and products that truly are worth spending a little extra on.”
4. Use email to send personalized offers and suggest products.
Emailing customers offers based on their previous buying history is one of the most powerful ways to win a repeat purchase.
While you’re at it, remind them of ancillary items that they may need with the item(s) they purchased.
“You recently bought a set of color pencils, did you need a pencil sharpener?”
A Campaign Monitor survey listing email practices and stats from many sources included an Aberdeen report that shows “personalized emails improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and improve conversion rates by an average of 10%.”
5. Don’t forget about direct mail.
Yeah, it’s old school.
But using direct mail is a great way to cut through the email that floods consumers on a daily basis. It’s easy to skip or ignore and email, but it’s much harder to ignore an offer sent via direct mail.
Surprisingly, according to a study by Epsilon, 73% of U.S. consumers said they prefer direct mail for brand communications. Just remember to get a good designer though because direct mail needs to be eye-catching and visually appealing to draw in the customer.
6. Show gratitude towards your customer.
Telling a repeat customer ‘thank you’ is basically free. But it has a huge impact.
This might seem simple, but it really works. Especially for smaller retailers.
Kissmetrics, the analytics firm, reported that as many as 3 out of 4 customers say they have stayed with a company because of a history of positive experiences.
Make it a habit to send a hand-signed thank you card to any shopper who makes more than two purchases.
The note itself doesn’t need to be handwritten. But if you put in a personalized thank you note along with the shipment and you will see results.
7. Create “exclusive” discounts for loyal customers.
Everyone likes getting special treatment and feeling like a V.I.P.
So give your customers special access to things. Offer them exclusive access to sales and discounts before they are available to the general public.
Giving your repeat customers at least 1 to 2 days of early access to these specials makes them feel like they are getting a real advantage.
8. Offer convenient customer financing.
Many customers are looking for quick financing options to help ensure that a repeat purchase will fit into their monthly budget.
To win over these customers again, you’ll want to offer alternate financing options like monthly installment plans which provide budget flexibility and real-time credit decisions.
9. Use abandoned cart emails or promotions for repeat purchase.
Retarget customers by using abandoned cart emails, display, paid social media, and even search. You can use these to show them items they left in their carts or items related to what they already purchased.
Also, you can use retargeting to get in front of customers at optimal times in their buying cycle.
“You bought a bottle of 30-count vitamin C a month ago. Do you need to buy another bottle now?”
10. Ask for feedback.
We’re not talking a full-on survey. Those can be irritating.
But there are people that will take the time to give quick feedback. These are usually the people from two opposite camps – those who are really happy and those who are really unhappy.
Take advantage of the unhappy camp to address their problems. And do so in a patient and understanding way that shows you care.
The bottom line to gaining loyal customers is to set the intention of creating a long term relationship with them, where both sides give and receive from each other over time.
Put yourself in the shoes of your prospective loyal customer, and cater to their desires to feel valued and get what they want and need from a business.
Of course there are also other ways to encourage repeat purchase customers, other than what has been mentioned here. If you have any to share, we’d love to hear about them.