Keeping your online customers coming back
7 points to encourage repeat business

In any business whether online or through a shop front repeat business is essential. Not only for direct profits derived from purchases but repeat customers are usually happy customers that can aid your business through word of mouth marketing.

Quality vs. Quantity

An important fundamental of any business is an establishment as to what category your product or services reside. Quality or Quantity? What is meant by this is as follows:

  • Does your business rely on having a high end or niche market product or service, with high profit margins to remain afloat?
  • Does your business rely on high turnover to keep afloat?

If you are unsure of what category your business falls into, I would recommend giving this some thought prior to embarking on an online project

It is important to establish part of your branding based around this concept and emphasise this where appropriate. For example: If you feel your business focuses on quality, it could be advised to have a strong focus on high detail product images throughout your site to convey this message.

Value for Money

When selling online, it is always good to ask yourself what your customers are getting for their money. How do your prices compare to your competition? Basic value adding strategies can make a large increase in the sales of your online business and can be quite easy to deploy. So what are some basic ways of doing this that could be incorporated in your marketing strategies?

  • Free freight for large orders
  • Promotional discount coupons
  • Monthly specials
  • Free mini products with large products
  • Extended information for the use or setup of the product, for example; training dvds.

All of these methods will assist in your customers feeling like they are getting value for money.

Easy navigation

When clients are exploring products on your website an imperative fundamental is that your products are easy to find. Clean contemporary sites with easy page navigation and clear category listings will always add up to a better user experience. When looking at navigation with your online store, we strongly recommend you have your colleagues test your site prior to going live and get feedback on how their user experience was while navigating through your site.  Make sure you also have good search and filtering functionality built into your site, for example; search by brand, price, style, category etc.

Promotions

Running promotions on your online store that coincide with your marketing campaigns is an important part of a successful online business. Your promotions could be as simple as issuing coupons to claim an online discount, to emailing out monthly specials to your clientele base. When looking at an online store provider always ask the questions to make sure their product can support this functionality and is scalable to support future promotional endeavors.

Keeping in touch

A big mistake a lot of businesses make when trading online is not utilising your clientele information. Keeping your customers information on record means that you can keep in touch with them and prompt them for repeat purchasing. Newsletters are a great way of doing this, recommending other products based off their sales history or letting them know of specials on purchased items prompts the customer to come back to your store. In a lot of industries, your customers like to know news about your company and the products they buy so getting the word out will always help your business grow

Feedback

In a lot of industries it is highly appropriate to obtain feedback on how your customers are going with their purchased products or how their user experience was. This works in two ways.

  1. You receive feedback about your business or products that could aid you in providing a better user experience
  2. Your customers feel cared for because you took the time to find out how they are feeling after dealing with your business

Over 70% of customers that discontinue doing business with you will do so because they feel like they are not important to your business or because of a misunderstanding on their end. Three important facts to remember when dealing with customers

  1. It takes seven bad encounters between a customer and your business to make them forget about that first good encounter they had while dealing with you. This however also works the other way. It will take seven good impressions to erase the memory of an initial bad encounter. Bottom line make, your impressions count!
  2. The customer is always right! Listen to what they say and act accordingly.
  3. Word of mouth is by far the most powerful form of marketing. Make sure your customers are saying good things about you!

 The industry expert

Customers like to feel like they can seek advice if needed about your products. Having news articles and descriptive documentation on your online store about the products you sell will help the customer to feel this. When a customer comes to you online, you should be able to provide them with “the full user experience” meaning they will not have to go elsewhere to seek information about your products. Become the industry expert in what you do and convey this online. This philosophy will also aid your search engine optimisation as Google tracks what your customers look at when on your site and whether they need to go elsewhere to obtain information

Repeat business in turn is much easier to elevate than new customers, particularly if you have provided a good user experience the first time around. Returning customers already know when they come to you that they will enjoy dealing with you, which is half the battle.

With these basic tools, your customers will enjoy returning to your site and will give you the highest chances of repeat business.