It’s no secret that eCommerce merchants spend a lot of time (and money) on generating new leads and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey. Of course, that’s important—after all, those new leads fuel business—but getting and converting new leads is only part of the battle. It’s also imperative that merchants effectively market to existing customers because as studies have pointed out, that’s where the real revenue comes from. Consider these metrics from Business Insider:
- In 2015, returning eCommerce customers made up half of all sessions, but they spent almost twice as much as new customers (about $2.7 billion)
- Returning customers are about twice as likely to add items to their cart (14.8% and 7.6%, respectively)
- The bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who leave a site after viewing just 1 page) is substantially higher for new customers, almost 35% vs. less than 25%)
- Returning customers also have higher conversion rates on average: 4.5% vs. 2.4% for new customers
Returning Customers Are Special—Treat Them That Way
If someone does you a favor, it’s always a good idea to thank them—after all, you might want their help again in the future. When someone makes a purchase on an eCommerce site, they’re doing that merchant a favor in a way (by adding to their bottom line). So, did they receive a thank you?
There are many ways to show existing customers gratitude for their patronage. Of course, every business is different, and it’s important for each merchant to research what their customers value most. That being said, the following are 6 of the best ways to show returning customers they are valued—and to generate repeat purchases:
Offer Discounts on Subsequent Purchases
Every time a customer purchases something from Schwan’s (an online grocer), they get a certain number of points which they can redeem in savings off their next purchase. Schwan’s will also send occasional emails to remind every customer how much those points are worth— and urge them to return to their site to take advantage of the savings. In addition to loyalty points, discounts are a great way to thank repeat customers. Offering a percentage off the next purchase or other amenities like free or reduced charges for shipping are discounts customers will appreciate.
Send Targeted Emails Suggesting Appropriate Products
Contrary to popular belief, consumers like promotional emails—especially when they come from companies they trust and whom they’ve given permission to email them. In fact, email marketing is a great way to boost revenue. When customers receive a promotional email suggesting products they need, they feel like the company remembers them. It’s as simple as reminding a customer they are due to reorder a certain item or suggesting products related to the one they just bought (for example, people who buy a battery-powered device might need batteries).
Leverage Offline Strategies (Like Direct Mail)
As powerful as email marketing is, some consumers prefer to get information from companies in other ways. For example, a recent study by Epsilon found that almost 75% of consumers like getting direct mail more than any other communications channel. Be sure to follow best practices for direct mail design (like keeping text to a minimum and restricting a communication to a single message).
Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”
This one is a no-brainer. People like it when their favorite companies tell them, directly and plainly, that they’re grateful for the purchases they’ve made. Emails or personally-signed cards are both great options. Either way, repeat customers will appreciate that a company took the time to say “thanks.”
Ask Customers for Feedback
Even if an eCommerce site is well-designed, there are bound to be occasional mistakes. Don’t wait until repeat customers register a complaint—send them an email which links to a page where they can state what they thought of their shopping experience. That way, customers can voice their opinion while also ensuring the continual improvement of an eCommerce site and its customer service.
Focus on Abandoned Shopping Carts
According to Baymard, almost 70% of all shopping carts are abandoned before a purchase is made—that’s a lot of lost revenue for businesses. There are many reasons for cart abandonment, from unexpected costs (usually those for taxes and shipping) to lack of trust. A smart tactic for turning abandoned carts into sales is to send emails reminding customers they didn’t complete their purchase and offer special discounts (like free shipping) for extra motivation.
Communication is Key
You can’t expect eCommerce customers to keep coming back solely because of good products and good prices. Those things help of course, but it’s still necessary to communicate with repeat customers and make it clear that you value them and will do what it takes to make sure they are satisfied.
Fortunately, there are companies that have the expertise to effectively target existing customers. To learn more about the ways our email and social media marketing services can help you drive sales and grow your eCommerce business, contact us today.