The better way to sell online

Convert one-time customers into regulars

Find out how to make your customers come back for more.
It’s not uncommon to place focus on only new customers. But repeat customers can be even more valuable. Not only do they give you a more stable income stream, they’re cheaper to sell to. That is because when someone has bought from you once, they’ll need less convincing to come again.

Repeat customers also tell others about your business, resulting in word-of-mouth advertising. They even spend more money! Studies show that the more customers build up trust with you, the bigger their transactions are.

So if you’d like to convert one time customers into repeat customers, read on.

Make sure you stand out

For a customer to come back to your store, they must remember you in a good light. Maybe you offered great customer service, or you have products they can not get elsewhere.

Creating a website to sell your products just isn’t enough. You must make sure that customers can see what’s special about you. If they only see you as a one time solution, they’ll only buy from you once.

Make yourself memorable, and the next time they need something they will think of you.

One way to do this is to infuse as much personality into your website as possible. Explain who you are, and why you’re selling your products. It could even be worthwhile to add anecdotes into product descriptions.

A fun test is to show your website to a friend. If they can’t tell that it’s yours, you might want to change it. Of course, you need to still keep it relevant.

Provide customers and visitors with extra value

Think up ways to add value to your customers' experience.

If you ship items, you could add letters to them. For example, If you sold someone kitchen utensils you could include a recipe. Try to add meaningful touches and get creative. That is what will separate you from the competition.

You can also create incentives for customers to return. ShopFactory has an inbuilt reward system. That means you can send vouchers to existing customers, so that they’ll get a discount on their next purchase, which will help lure them back.

Respond to emails quickly, always pick up the phone, and try to add incentives for customers to return. Make sure you’re memorable for all the right reasons.

Make sure you’re selling to the right people

Customers only buy what they need or want. If you want customers to buy multiple times, make sure you are marketing to the right ones.

Imagine selling large art supply boxes. Chances are each customer would only buy one. You can’t trick them into buying more, and they have no use for extra. So what can you do?

The solution is to pick a new audience. If you’re selling to individuals, you’ll only sell one. But what places need constant new art supplies? Already I can think of primary schools and art classes.

By changing who you target you can make more sales. Find a customer base which needs your product again and again and again.

And start thinking about adding complementary products to your store, which would be of interest to the same audience. After all, the second sale to them will be easier than the first one.

Keep up standards during sales

Often sales result in a large influx of customers. They arrive, buy what’s cheap, and leave. It’s difficult to get them to come back once the prices are back to normal.

The problem is that many customers will shop around from one business that’s on sale to the next. They’re the kind of customers that are difficult to lock down. But there are a few things you can try when it comes to turning them into regulars.

Firstly, offer them discount codes like the one I mentioned above.

Secondly, ensure customer experience at sales time is at its peak. People love feeling important and valued, so make them. Don’t use ‘it’s busy now’ as an excuse and don’t let anyone slip through the cracks.

Thirdly, stay in contact! Try to gather as many email addresses as you can, so that you can reach out to customers whenever you have a new product. Keep them informed and interested, and they might decide to buy more from you. You should aim to email your customers on a regular basis; leave it for long stretches and they might forget you.

Your goal is to be so nice and professional that they feel bad going anywhere else.

Make sure that your customer experience around sales time is at its absolute peak. People love feeling important and valued, so make them. Don’t let anyone slip through the cracks.

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Make sure everything is running smoothly

I mentioned above what kind of things you ought to be doing for customers. If you read them and thought, ‘no way’, it could be that you’re struggling to get repeat buyers because of poor customer service. In such a competitive environment just sending out a good product isn’t enough anymore.

Or, it could be that your customer service is great but that your products are lacking. Have a sit down and a think: what isn’t running smoothly? What can you improve? Things that turn off customers could include:

  • Unanswered emails
  • Long shipping times
  • Damaged packages or products
  • Misleading product descriptions
  • Rude or unhelpful staff

If you can identify any obvious missteps, correct them as quickly as you can. If you’re struggling to figure out what the problem is, ask for feedback.

And, if you make mistakes, admit them. It’s not uncommon that customers just want you to acknowledge a mistake and provide a way to fix it.

- Lena Klein

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