Plenty profitable and ripe for the taking; repeat customers are the low-hanging fruit of the business world and learning how to court them is crucial.
Research suggesting that a 5% increase in customer retention can see profitability surge by a whopping 75%. That’s impressive!
Additional stats help hammer the point home:
- The top 10% of loyal customers outspend the lower 90% three times over.
- The top 1% of loyal customers spend 30x more than the average consumer.
- Customers who have purchased from you twice before are 9x more likely to convert than a first-time shopper.
- An estimated 80% of your future revenue will stream in from 20% of your existing customers
With all this juicy fruit so abundant and lucrative, why are we letting them rot away on the vine, and instead straining for the tougher targets beyond?
Is Acquisition Over Retention Just Simply Wrong?
Ecommerce businesses are focusing ever more narrowly upon acquisition over retention, though it routinely costs 7x more to do so. One survey saw 34% of respondents increasing investment in acquisition, while only 18% set their sights on retention. Another found acquisition cited as the central goal of B2C marketing by 71% of respondents, with retention coming in at 65%.
Something is clearly amiss.
The Ecommerce Divide
The answer might lie in the finding that marketers perceive web traffic as the most important metric for success, with ‘Increased Customer Loyalty’ trailing far behind.
Is this a case of traffic vanity over customer sanity?
In the age of ecommerce, digital footfall has become the go-to measure of success in the absence of face-to-face custom.
The problem? Instead of optimising the online shopping experience around repeat customers, businesses have allowed the gulf between customer and online business to become an empty vacuum.
Maximise profitability by enhancing the ecommerce experience that you offer and delight customers instead of settling for merely satisfying them.
The Tips You Need to Reengage
So, how can you deliver this vaunted level of delight and keep your hungriest customers coming back for more? Here are nine tips to get you on your way.
Get Your House in Order
Let’s start with the nuts and bolts of your site:
- Ecommerce sites have forfeited an estimated $44 billion thanks to shopping cart mishaps, broken links, and other transactional slipups.
- For each second your page takes to load, customer satisfaction experiences a 7% drop.
- Over 50% of web use comes from a mobile device; failing to optimize for mobile drives those users away.
- 67% of consumers report photograph quality as ‘Very Important’ during selection and purchasing. Photographic quality was rated more important than descriptions, reviews, or product-specific information.
Your site should already be optimised for mobile, running at an acceptable speed, free of broken links, and showcase first-class (honest) photos of all products.
If these areas aren’t sorted, rectify immediately. Find and fixed broken things!
Customer registration can be tricky if you don’t offer a reason for people to make the effort.
Make sure you incentivise registering by offering free delivery tracking, special offers, and one-click payments in the future.
Once registered, you will be able to keep tabs on spending habits and reach out to encourage repeat business. It makes personalisation that bit easier too!
Deliver in Style
Delivery might not be in your hands, but you can use a reliable courier and keep your customers informed during the delivery process.
You should also consider picking out packaging that offers a little in the way of ‘wow factor’. Unique packaging has been shown to prompt the same excitement customers felt when they first hit ‘Buy’; inciting such emotion at the point of delivery helps forge the kind of strong emotional connection between business and customer often lacking when it comes to online transactions.
Commit to Segmentation
Aggregate data provides broad strokes without really letting you know about the choices of individual buyers.
Segmenting your traffic shows which repeat visitors are seeking out which products. You might find that 40% are visiting your online shoe store for trainers, 30% for high heels, and 30% for hiking boots. Instead of adopting the shotgun approach, develop personalised marketing emails for each of those segments.
Segmentation will highlight what your customers’ want, not merely what you want to sell.
Keep Your Voice Consistent
The importance of personable content has escaped few businesses, but rarely is the friendly voice of the home page kept consistent across all channels.
If your customer receives an email telling them that ‘ORDER #24601’ has shipped, the spell is broken and your connection loses clarity.
A simple ‘Great, your order is now on its way’ is far more effective – especially when it comes from a real email address that you know, people can actually reply to!
Send Personalised Messages
Personalized emailing means more than using the customer’s first name.
Make sure you adapt each message around individual needs and wants by offering products that are similar to or complement previous purchases.
Tailored offers, post-purchase check-ups, and birthday messages are fantastic ways to keep connections alive and encourage future business.
Remember that 1% of loyal customers who outspend the rest 30x over?
Reward them. These are your VIPs; offering preferential delivery times, loyalty points, a first choice of new or limited products, or a free gift will help nurture such lucrative relationships.
You could even consider a purchased membership program, much like Amazon’s “Prime”.
Convenience is important, your top group of loyal customers are likely willing to pay for it.
Develop an App
Mobile users spend only around 20% of their online hours using a browser; the remaining 80% is spent through apps.
Landing an app on customer’s smartphone is like having a miniature billboard in their pocket all day long. They’ll be reminded of you at every swipe, and the 97% read-rate of PUSH notifications makes for an unrivalled marketing platform.
Users can even integrate upcoming deals and product launches with their virtual calendars.
Improve Customer Service
44% of consumers cite email as the preferred customer service channel, yet companies often fail to reply in good time, or at all. When you add social media stats, the lack of reply is even worse.
It should go without saying – all queries should be handled quickly – an automated confirmation email should be sent to let people know you’ve received their enquiry and will be getting back to them shortly.
Social media service should also be on your radar; if someone requests information or leaves a review, respond to their comment in a personable fashion.
Research indicates that 18% of customers who received a response to even a negative review became loyal to the business in question. Even better, a healthy 33% posted a positive response.
Track, Analyse, and Act
To keep pace with the behaviour of repeat customers and continue refining their ecommerce experience, you’ll need to be able to track:
- The last date an order was placed.
- The number of orders placed within a given period.
- The overall amount of money spent.
- The average amount spent on each purchase.
Collecting this data will allow you to optimise your efforts around certain audience niches and better understand what brings certain customers back through your digital doors in the first place.
Customers who spent grandly and frequently for Christmas gifts in the first week of December can now be contacted with tailored information during the final week of November.
Former diehards who haven’t ordered in six months can be emailed personalised offers or complimentary vouchers to try and reignite interest.
Make the Most of What You’ve Already Won
Retaining and nurturing what we already have might not seem as vital as pursuing what has escaped us, but encouraging repeat custom has been proven time and again to yield extraordinary results.
And, hey, it’s a lot easier to grab that low-hanging fruit.
You won’t receive an untapped audience, but you’ll benefit from the untapped potential of consumers you’ve already struck up a relation with, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Ed Leake is the Managing Director of Midas Media. His experience is cemented in rapid growth, enabling his client’s to achieve big returns on their marketing investments. Ed – a fan of doughnuts – is active daily on Twitter and Facebook.