If you experience a high volume of repeat customer business as a result of your exceptional customer service or cool products, whether you’re a wholesale distributor or a lifestyle eCommerce brand, you’ve conquered an important battle as an online brand.
Why are return customers so highly valued? Typically, repeat customers spend more on a return visit. According to a study by Mattermark and RJ Metrics, “top ecommerce companies generate 20% of their revenue from return customers. And by the close of year three, they’ve experienced periods when they generate nearly 60% of their revenue from return customers.”
Conversion rates (meaning a new website visitor or prospect visits your site and makes a purchase) vary widely by industry, with the average hovering anywhere from one to three percent, according to Smile.io. When Adobe conducted a similar survey, “they found that a customer who has purchased with your store two times before is nine times more likely to convert than a first-time shopper.”
As the adage goes, it’s easier and less costly to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. As a result, it’s important to do everything in your power to keep them happy.
Your customer return rate is an important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for long-term success whether you’re a B2B wholesaler or a direct-to-consumer brand. So, here are a few ways to ensure your customers come back again and again.
1. Fulfill Every Customer Order Flawlessly
While this sounds simple, this requires tracking and automating every step of the order management process, so that your customer can do the same from their desktop or smartphone.
Amazon, of course, sets the bar here. You need the right technology to automate and track the order within your own management system so that it updates the customer in real time. Here’s an order update from the multi-channel retail giant, Walmart:
What you don’t want to happen is for your customer to order a product that you typically drop ship and have it be out of stock. Your customer isn’t going to care that your vendor is out of stock. They’re going to be upset you allowed the order to go through. To avoid this scenario, get technology that provides you and your customer with real-time inventory availability.
If you do run into trouble with an order gone wrong, apologize and offer a make good, like a discount or refund on the item ordered or free shipping on their next order. You might ask the customer which they prefer and allow them to choose.
2. Use Personalization and Emails to Entice Customers to Return
Now that you have your customer’s email and an idea of what kind of products they are looking for, alert them when there is a sale on related items by sending them a personalized email. Or, you might email them with a few items they had in their cart on a prior visit and alert them that a sale item in that cart won’t last long due to low inventory.
Although the email below isn’t personalized by name, it was sent to me because the company knew I had items in my cart that I abandoned. Cue their related messaging seen below:
You’ll need an ESP (Email Service Provider) like MailChimp that allows you to segment and send special offers. Email marketing is business critical to acquiring and maintaining customers, so don’t forget to add this one to your marketing mix.
Psst - did you know that Systum has a MailChimp integration?
3. Implement a Referral Program that Makes It Easy for Your Customers to Earn
We all know that word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing, so why not give your customers the technology to make it easy and a thank you when they help you acquire a new customer?
Uber and Lyft , the ride sharing companies dominating the space, excel at this by providing customers with a link they can email or tweet out that gives both of you a discount.
A referral program not only rewards your loyal customers for advocating on your behalf, but brings in new customers with minimal effort on your part. Referred customers bring higher profit margins and are less likely to leave.
If you don’t have a referral program app like ReferralCandy or Smile.io, you can do it manually instead. After every order, you can send a thank-you email to your customers with a referral link or discount code that they can use to share with friends and family.
4. Send Your Customers Useful Content, Not Brochures
In his book Youtility, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert made a case for a marketing approach that’s about providing helpful content, instead of product brochures.
Take Casper, a brand offering mattresses, pillows, bed frames and everything related to a good night’s sleep. On their blog and in the marketing emails, Casper shares relevant content about sleep, like:
- The 10 Biggest Sleep Myths Keeping You Awake At Night, including common misconceptions like ‘catching up on sleep’ and yawning
- 10 Tips for Sleeping in Airports: Because it’s inevitable sometimes
Woolly’s, also run by Casper, covers wellness & topics relating to sleep
On the B2B front, Hubspot adopts a similar approach with an ‘email nurturing strategy’. Their approach focuses on providing content that helps leads solve their marketing problems - allowing them to build trust and eventually convert.
Some of Hubspot’s own rules on lead nurturing.
The next time the customer thinks about a new pillow or replacing bedsheets, you can be sure Casper will be top-of-mind for them.
“If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life.”
5. Gamify Their Next Purchase (To Make It Easy)
Huge brands like Amazon, Starbucks and most airlines make use of customer loyalty programs because they work. But there’s no need to devote resources to building a custom app and complicated loyalty program; all you need to do is make their next purchase a game.
Frank Body is an Australian skincare brand who gained popularity for their coffee scrubs and cute marketing copy. To encourage customer re-purchases, they gamified the shopping experience with Hotel Pink: offering points for purchases, reviews and customer referrals.
VIP customers get early samples, flash sales and more
With each purchase, customers get to go up a level in Hotel Pink, eventually reaching the ‘Penthouse’, with access to exclusive flash sales, samples of upcoming products and the highest levels of discounts. With all these perks on offer, customers will be inclined to make a second purchase.
Conclusion: Improve your Customer Repurchase Rates with These Five Ideas
While these are just a few of the many tactics you can implement to encourage repeat business, we hope you find these tips and resources helpful to get you started.
Categories: B2B eCommerce