There’s one truth in sales that’s universal and still stands true for eCommerce in Trinidad and throughout the Caribbean. Holding on to the customers you have is always easier and more profitable than attracting new ones.
That’s not to say that your business shouldn’t try to attract new customers — sustained growth requires increasing your customer base. However, it’s easier to boost sales by appealing to your existing patrons.
The reason is simple. Your customers have already demonstrated an interest in purchasing your products. It’s considerably less challenging to persuade them to buy again and buy in greater quantities than to sell to people who may or may not be interested. It’s the difference between a warm market and a cold market.
Because of this, strategies designed to retain and upsell your existing customers will do more for your eCommerce sales, per dollar invested, than cold marketing tactics. Below we’ve outlined six such strategies for you to try in your eCommerce store to watch your sales soar!
Deliver Stellar Customer Service
This might seems obvious, but it’s a lesson that many businesses miss. Customers want to feel that you’re there for them, and if they feel slighted or ignored, even a bit, they may jump ship for the competition.
That means being eminently responsive. When customers reach out, you should endeavor to get back to them as quickly as possible. If they’re looking for an answer, they want it now. If they have a concern, they won’t be happy until you address it. And the longer it takes for you to help them, the more upset they’ll get.
When possible, you should offer options for instant answers. A chatbot on your eCommerce store allows for quick access to common questions but offering a live chat option is even better. Then your customers can solve their issues immediately, with a real person. Helpful convenience is what customers are looking for.
And, within reason, try to accommodate every request, if you are available. Put the customer first, they’ll come back again and again.
Stay in Contact With Them
Just because a person has purchased from you before doesn’t mean they’ll remember you the next time they need your product or service. In order to ensure they return, you need to stay fresh in their mind.
One painless way to do this is to maintain an email list and send out periodic messages. You can also reach out on social media channels. Send them a discount on their birthday.
Just check-in to see how they’re doing. This isn’t a sales call. It’s relationship building. You want the customer to associate you with whatever it is you sell so that you’re the first name that springs to mind when they’re in the market.
Create a Loyalty Program
Sometimes all it takes to create lifelong customers is to offer them small incentives to keep doing business with you.
There is a certain amount of inertia customers must overcome when deciding to take their business elsewhere. They know you. They know what to expect. And they’re taking a risk, leaping into the unknown when they choose to go elsewhere.
A loyalty program rewards continued business and can be just enough of a carrot to allow your customers’ inertia to keep them firmly anchored to you.
You might translate dollars spent to points and allow those points to be traded in for rewards or discounts on future purchases. You can also reward customers when they boost your brand on social media. There are dozens of ways to implement a loyalty program. The essential element is that your customers feel they get additional value by merely continuing with business as usual.
Suggest Common Product Pairings at the Time of Purchase
Amazon is a master of this tactic and we’ve implemented this feature for many of our eCommerce customers. Are you selling vacuum cleaners? We’ll ensure you suggest filters and attachments that commonly go with that purchase. How about televisions? On checkout, your customers should see options for a soundbar and maybe a media player that pairs well with it.
This upselling/cross-selling strategy makes it convenient for your customers to purchase additional, related products without seeking them. As an example, your customers might not think to buy the matching center rug with their new living room set. Not only will they appreciate the suggestion, but there’s also a good chance they’ll add it to their cart. That means additional sales from existing (and new) customers with no extra sales effort.
Ask For Their Opinion, and Listen
Customers want to know that you value their input. Many will offer you suggestions unbidden, but others won’t. However, most will tell you what they think if asked, and they’ll appreciate the opportunity.
Customer surveys are a great way to show you care about their thoughts. These can be sent via email or prompted after a purchase. A simple, “tell us how we did” message demonstrates your interest in your customer’s experience.
Asking for online reviews accomplishes the same thing, with the added benefit of pumping up your site’s SEO and winning new customers through positive references. Of course, some reviews may be negative, but these can be useful as well.
Take the notes and learn from them. Respond to negative reviews quickly and demonstrate that you’re doing everything you can to fix the situation, and you can turn negative reviews into a favorable situation.
Show Your Customers You Appreciate Them
Often all it takes is a simple but heartfelt “thank you” to create an emotional bond between your customers and your business. It’s important that you recognize that they could take their business elsewhere but choose to give it to you.
Sending an effusive thank you email after a purchase, paired with a small discount on their next purchase, shows you care and gives them an incentive to shop with you again. Let the customer know that you don’t take them for granted and they’ll reward you with future business.
Always Remember That The Customer Has the Power
All of these strategies boil down to one straightforward insight. While it’s true that both you and your customer get something out of your transactions — they get a product and you get money — the relationship isn’t even. The power of choice is in their hands, not yours.
You don’t get to choose to make them a customer, and they can decide to stop being yours at any moment. So be sure to treat them as the precious resource that they are. Do that, and you’ll enjoy healthy sales now and in the future.