Return Customers: 11 Tips For eCommerce Business

Return Customers: 11 Tips For eCommerce Business

eCommerce 8 min read

Acquiring a new customer is more expensive than getting an existing one to buy again. To get someone to buy from your online store for the first time, you invest in pay-per-click ads (PPC) or SEO activities to strengthen their position in Google. Also, you can work on getting more referrals from existing clients and a couple of other ways to drive more new sales.

Getting a first-time eCommerce customer to visit your store and buy often means a lot of work and money. Does it take the same effort to convert a first-time buyer into a repeat customer who orders many times in the future? It definitely shouldn’t! 

We don’t claim you should stop getting more first-time customers. Continue with that one! However, we want to show you another way to increase your repeat sales and reduce expenses by increasing the number of return customers. Here are some strategies to get you started.

How To Attract Return Customers

Improve Customer Service

By offering impeccable support at every stage of your customer journey, you increase the chances for return purchases and can grow a loyal customer base. Most eCommerce businesses would find this matter quite trivial. 

However, when it comes to practical steps of improving customer service, many of them fail at responding fast, solving difficult issues, and keeping customers satisfied with a company response. Easier said than done!

Tickets pile up every day, customers don’t get their problems solved, and start to complain about it on social media. It happens to both small and big brands. The secret to success with effective customer support is in tracking key metrics such as response time and establishing a set of processes to make support more effective. 

To get customers to buy again, you also have to keep your support agents available through various channels – phone, online chat, email, and even a Facebook fan page. 

Train your customer support agents to provide comprehensive answers and work out a good strategy to deal with product returns and exchanges. If you can’t deal with it all on your own, consider outsourcing support or finding a reliable partner for this business area. This way, you won’t end up biting off more than you can chew!

Send Triggered Emails

Everyone knows about the power of email in eCommerce, but does everyone use it correctly? Just think of your mailbox – how many emails do normally end up in spam or promotions folders? Sending some regular emails about promotions, newcomers, and updates is a typical eCommerce strategy to stay top of mind with customers and inspire them to buy again. However, they all follow the same pattern and they are rarely relevant for a customer. 

Instead of sending another boring email to your entire database, here is what you can do to increase your click-through rate and sales.

  • Segment your email base into a smaller list of customers based on their previous purchases
  • Use smart campaign management tools that help you send targeted emails 
  • Include the information that relates to your customers’ previous purchases (an item they put on their wishlist or the one they simply viewed before)

For example, this brand is personalizing emails for return customers based on the previously viewed items that a customer hasn’t purchased yet. By showing that the item’s price has been reduced, they create a good incentive for a user to buy again.

Send Triggered Emails

Introduce Smarter Segmentation

You can segment your customer list in many different ways – some of them are basic, while others are more advanced. Don’t overcomplicate your segmentation logic. More doesn’t mean better in this case. Focus on what matters for your business first and prioritize better while using customer data. 

Here are some ways for client base segmentation.

  1. traffic source;
  2. referrer;
  3. visitor type;
  4. customer information;
  5. viewed products;
  6. time spent on the website;
  7. events; 
  8. location;
  9. average order value.

When choosing segmentation criteria, check your technical capabilities first. Most email marketing software offers a wide variety of segmentation criteria. 

Retarget With Facebook And Google Ads

Email marketing is only one of the channels you can use to reach your current customers. Instead of focussing only on email – often a dominant channel for eCommerce businesses to nurture return customers – consider exploring other channels as well. 

You can use Facebook and Google ads to retarget customers on social media or when they search for something online. For remarketing ads, consider creating personalized ad copy, so you can refer to your customers’ previous purchases.

Don’t use the same ads for both return and first-time buyers. Consider adding high-quality photos to show your products in a more appealing way. Remarketing ads for return customers work best when tailored specifically for this user segment.

For example, the Madewell online store displays its products referring to customers’ previous purchase history. 

Retarget With Facebook And Google Ads

By adjusting your product suggestions in remarketing ads based on previous search history, you can resonate with customers’ tastes and preferences better. As a result, you will drive more recurring sales.

Launch A Customer Loyalty Program

A customer loyalty program software is a powerful tool to increase customer lifetime value. These programs introduce gamification and some incentives for customers to buy again. They also make your online store their top shopping choice.

While there are various program types, a tiered loyalty program is one of the most popular ones. According to its logic, the more customers buy from you, the more benefits they get. It’s like getting Bronze, Golden, and Platinum cards – you move up the loyalty ladder if you collect more points.

E.l.f. is using this type of loyalty program to give their customers more reasons to shop with them on a regular basis. For getting 401+ points, you can use a 25% discount on products.

Launch A Customer Loyalty Program

Offer Discounts For The Next Purchase

Often customers need just a little nudge to buy again. In this case, give them a small discount for their next purchase. Once your customers order at least two times, you get higher chances they will stick around for a longer time. 

Here is an example of a message about a discount for the next purchase. You can send such discounts in emails, show in remarketing ads, and even display them on your website.

Offer Discounts For The Next Purchase

Offer Free Shipping

Shipping fees create a lot of friction preventing customers from buying on a regular basis. However, it makes no business sense to offer free shipping to a customer purchasing a $5 product. Before you consider making shipping free of charge, calculate shipping costs and compare them to different purchase order values. Come up with the definition for the minimum order value that is required to use free shipping.

Invest In Content Showcasing Products

Use your blog as a tool to inspire both new and returning customers to purchase again. Describe new trends that appear, cover popular challenges customers face, and show how your products can meet them. Take advantage of top content management tools to make this happen.

Dedicate some budget to professional photo sessions and post high-quality photos to show your products how they are in real life. 

For example, this brand covers stories about healthier lifestyles at the beginning of the year – the weight-loss trend that appears after a holiday season. Every blog post includes a high-quality photo with their juice products.

Invest In Content Showcasing Products

Collect And Analyze Feedback

Collect customer feedback from buyers who have ordered from your online store for the first time. You can send online surveys and questionnaires sometime after customers receive their first order and have already tested out the ordered products.

Spend some time every month to analyze your customers’ concerns and find ways and tools to address them. Also, make sure you collect feedback on a continuous basis, so you can track your customer satisfaction over time. 

Make It Easy To Order From Any Device

If your customer has ordered using a web browser before, they shouldn’t necessarily buy again this way. Next time, your return customers may want to purchase on a mobile device during a long evening commute back home. If it turns out that your mobile experience is much worse than the web one, you can end up losing a customer.

Check for usability issues on all devices and their possible versions. Work on eliminating usability issues, so your customers can buy again no matter what device they use.

Keep Your Website Speed High

If your website is slow or has long outage periods for both web and mobile versions, losing customers becomes inevitable. Keeping your page speed high is critical to retain stable sales value and grow it over time. Before customers come back to your website, they should have read your email or seen some online ad. It means you have invested some time and money to bring them back. All this effort is futile with a bad-performing website. 

To check your website speed, head over to PageSpeed Insights. Once you know what technical issues need to be fixed, you can work on eliminating them. As a result, you will improve your page speed and conversion rate.

The Google speed test tool breaks down page performance into various aspects that make it easier to understand technical problems blocking page speed.

Keep Your Website Speed High

Promote Your Customers’ Social Media Posts

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool to make your brand look authentic and build trust with new and returning customers. USG content is the one your customers create and share across social media channels. It comes in the form of text, images, video, or blogs. 

You can use UGC content together with your brand content. By adding UGC content to your social media calendar, you can save time on creating your own content and show some appreciation to customers for sharing the information about your products. This way, you can engage your existing customers by recognizing their contributions and inspiring first-time customers to order again. Remember to use these marketing plan templates to facilitate the planning of publications.

Wrap up

It’s always cheaper to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one. However, eCommerce brands tend to overlook the importance of nurturing customer loyalty focusing more on the customer acquisition side of their business. 

If you want to build a healthy eCommerce business, remember to dedicate sufficient time and effort to developing and implementing strategies for better customer retention rates. Customer acquisition and retention work the best together.

Need a dedicated customer experience team ready to support your brand?

Book a consultation with us and we’ll get you set up.

Freelance Growth Marketing Strategist. She creates content that converts website visitors into paying customers for SaaS companies by building sales funnels. You can read her article on Margoleads.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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