With online sales skyrocketing, you may be seeing an influx of new customers. And we know it is hard enough right now keeping up with inbound order. But take some time to focus on turning those first time customers into lifelong fans! It costs 6 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one and existing customers spend an average of 31% more than new customers. In fact, increasing your retention rate by just 5% can boost your profits anywhere between 25-95%.
What do you do?
While there are a number of “strategies” focused on customer retention, ultimately it all boils down to something pretty simple - deliver a great experience, add value and treat your customer with respect and appreciation.
Here are TEN tips to help you turn this into a reality for your business.
Exceed their expectations on their first order: If you sell products you are proud of, you’re most of the way there already! Then, get the order out within your stated lead time, package it up beautifully, and do what you can to ensure it arrives undamaged.
Consider this unique time for gift givers and recipients: Now, more than ever, your customers are likely ordering for loved ones they won’t see for the holidays (and perhaps have not seen for awhile). By offering special services like handwritten cards, unique gift wrapping, and little trinkets like stickers to the packaging, you can help gift givers and recipients feel connected despite the distance. These are not the types of services Amazon or Target can offer, and by doing so - you can remind folks why independent brands like yours are the ones to support.
Highlight the impact of their purchase: If you are an eco-friendly brand, chances are your products and processes are more sustainable than other alternatives. Include a note or send a follow up email showcasing the positive impact of the purchase, such as “This purchase planted 10 trees” or “This purchase saved 100 gallons of water” or “This purchase helped fund a school.”
Provide responsive, human-centric customer service: Even after working hard to deliver the best possible product, things will go wrong. Shipments will get damaged or be late. The size will be wrong. The color will be wrong. Make it incredibly easy for customers to contact you, and when they do, make their problems your own problems to solve. Reship packages that are lost. Ship out product exchanges even before receiving the returns item. Follow up to make sure the customer’s issues were in fact resolved.
Make returns and exchanges insanely easy: Unwanted gifts often sit on a shelf forever (a waste of all of the resources that went into it). What a miss! By giving recipients easy instructions for how to return or exchange their gifts, you are encouraging them to visit your site, learn more about your products, and engage with your brand. The unwanted item can go back into your inventory and you have the opportunity to send the recipient something they will truly love and appreciate.
Sincere thank you notes: Shopping at a big box retailer or with Amazon is so easy. Show your appreciation for those customers that take the time to find and buy from independent retailers. Let them know how much the purchase means to you, reminding them that how they spend helps influence change just as much as how they vote or donate.
Customer loyalty programs: Loyalty programs go a long way in helping customers feel appreciated and part of your brand and community. They can range from offering free products after a certain amount of purchases, giving first looks at coveted new releases, or offering free shipping once certain order volume thresholds are met. Look for services like smile.io to help you add loyalty offerings to your site.
Encourage them to be part of your community: Incentivize gift givers and recipient to follow you, be part of your online communities and/or join any email newsletters you send out. Give discounts if they post your product with hashtags and once they do, thank them for their participation.
Follow up emails and remarketing: This can include thank you emails, win back emails, recommended additional product emails, or special offers on other products.
Ask for feedback: Send out surveys in January asking gift givers and recipients (if you have their information) for feedback on their product and the purchasing experience. Then, review this feedback and respond with sincerity and appreciation. Take the critical feedback to heart and make positive changes for your business.