Transforming One-Time Customers Into Returning Buyers

 In Marketing Strategy

A major revenue source that many businesses miss out on is getting single-purchase customers to return for more orders. It’s much cheaper to retain a customer than it is to get a new one, yet many e-commerce businesses don’t tap into this.

Converting a current customer into one that returns time and time again requires a different approach. They know your company, and they went through all of the marketing you’ve already done, so they get the picture. In order to re-attract them and convince them to spend more money, you will need to create a whole strategy that targets them. Here are some best practices to help bring customers back to your company time and time again:

Staying in Touch

If you want people to stick around, you need to stay in touch with them. This advice applies with friends and customers. If people don’t hear from you on a regular basis, they will forget about your business and move on. Then, when they do need a new product or service you provide, instead of leaping right to you, they’ll begin the buying process anew and potentially end up at a competitor.

A major step to getting returning customers is finding a way to stay connected with them after a purchase without annoying them. This decisions weighs heavily with the communication preferences of your target market. If they spend a lot of time on social media and prefer to get news from companies through Facebook or Twitter, sending them emails would just frustrate them. On the other hand, they might prefer getting something personal in their inbox rather than a blanket statement on Facebook.

Just do whatever you can to make sure you can contact your customers. That might mean giving an incentive to follow you on Facebook or to sign up for regular email updates. Encourage them to surrender their email address so you can continue to market to them.

Curating Products for Them

Have you ever purchased a vacuum with an online retail store, and then for the next month, when the site recommends products to you, nearly all of them are vacuums? You don’t need another vacuum — you just bought one!

Good curation can be a helpful tool to keep customers coming back time and time again. If you have a wide variety of products to sell, sending customers suggestions of what they should buy next can do a lot to raise awareness. This can be especially helpful if you sell products all within a specific area or industry.

For example, going back to buying vacuums, if somebody purchases a vacuum from your business, either they are replacing their cleaning tools or are just buying their first ones. So, instead of suggesting they buy other vacuums, you can send them curated suggestions like additional attachments, bags, filters, other cleaning tools like mops and brooms, or disposable items like paper towels. Don’t just curate different iterations of the same product; suggest choices that revolve around why they bought the initial product. Upsell them, both at the time of purchase, and later down the road when they discover they need extra products.  

Subscription Services for Disposable Products

If you sell a product that will last your customer a lifetime, it becomes very hard to get them to buy more of the same. But, if you sell disposable products, than getting customers to keep coming back on a regular basis becomes very easy.

Offering a subscription for disposable products can help lock customers into staying in business with you for an extended period. That way, as a product nears the end of its expected lifecycle, a new one arrives, so a consumer doesn’t have to go shopping for a replacement. It’s why companies like Dollar Shave Club can flourish: by getting their product into their consumer’s hands right as their previous one wears out.  

One way to get customers to sign up for a subscription is to offer discounts on longer agreements. That way, consumers see an immediate benefit to buying from your company for a long period of time. It will also attract bargain hunters who are willing to enter into a long-term subscription in order to save money over time.

Offering Benefits to Long-Term Customers

Once you start getting customers coming back time and time again, offer them exclusive benefits that show you value their continued support. Often, companies will provide sales, deals or coupons that can only be used by new customers. This leaves current and returning customers out to dry and feel like the business doesn’t notice them. If you want to build and keep customer loyalty, you need to throw them something.

Not only will giving a long-term customer a deal or something special keep them around, it will encourage other customers to stick around too. Especially if you do something special, your customers will share what you did for them, leading to great word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Keep Them Coming Back

If you create a strategy around keeping people coming back to your business, not only can you improve your revenue, you’ll create life long customers and fans. That, in turn, will lead to more word-of-mouth marketing, higher reviews, and more active social media communities.

In order to pull this off, find ways to incorporate long-term retention in your business and marketing strategies. Create a subscription service for your disposable products. Create an automated process that sends emails with curated products based on what they have bought in the past. Get creative and focus on not just potential customers, but your current ones too, to get more sales.

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