You’ve done the bulk of the work – your product is good, people are buying it, and maybe they even rate it well on your store. How do you keep them coming back for more? There are two key things you need to tap into, that relate to the customer’s perception of you as a vendor.
Make Them Feel Special
Whether you are selling bare necessities or luxury services, your customer retention benefits greatly from the customers feeling special. This means giving them the impression that you have easy-to-access, quick, and effective customer support, as well as the implication that they are getting better value for their money just by being YOUR customer as opposed to anyone else’s. Some ways to do this include:
Case candy is one of the most effective and simple ways to make your customers feel like they are getting more from you than they would from a competitor. Including themed trinkets or a small sample of an accessory that one might buy in addition to your product can give the impression that your customer is worth just that little bit more to you than they would be to someone else. Some examples of good case candy include branded stickers, keychains, pins, or an accessory like a coaster if you are selling kitchenware, or an alternative bow for your stuffed animal.
Discount and Referral Codes
Another fantastic couple of ways to keep customers coming back are discount and referral codes. These work by tapping into word-of–mouth marketing, which can be extremely effective for a relatively small investment. By including a small discount code in your packaging or in a follow-up email after the sale, you greatly increase the chances that your customer returns for another purchase. Another variation of this is including a code for first-time customers that bounces back in the form of store credit to the initial customer – so every person they refer to your store gets a small discount, and they get credit towards their next purchase. This can greatly increase your volume of sales, and is best used when initially growing a base of loyal customers.
These days, a competitive warranty doesn’t just mean extending it for an absurd period of time; it also means offering your customers peace of mind that the right action can be taken if something is wrong with your product. With just a little research on the market for your product, you can ascertain the standard warranty offered by your competition, and one-up them. Areas to focus on are not just the length of the warranty but the types of protection allowed, and loosening the conditions for a replacement. Maybe you are selling something fragile, and don’t want to offer a warranty for years, but can offer total replacement for something broken in shipping or within a short period of time after the sale. This makes customers feel more secure in buying online from your store when they could just as easily go to a brick and mortar store or just resort to a big online marketplace instead of your store.
Make Them Feel Like You Are Special
The other major aspect of customer retention is to not only make them feel like they are getting special treatment but that they are purchasing from a special place in the first place. Some ways to do this can include making it seem like your customers are part of an exclusive club. This is something that can be done no matter the perceived “luxury” of your product, with small touches like including a limited run number on your product packaging (e.g. #297 of 500), a “Welcome to the Family” type follow-up email post-sale thanking the customer with extra information on how to find their next perfect purchase from your store, and enticing them with special offers (like discounts on shipping) for becoming a member of your site.
Site membership can be beneficial for larger stores, and can create a sense of community among your customers that helps retention because with community comes pride. A customer that is proud to own something or be a client of a service from you is more likely to make additional purchases or recommend your store to others. One of the best examples of this is in the review section of fashion online storefronts – the best stores are filled with customers proudly posting photos of themselves wearing the products in the review section, and even commenting on each others’ photos. This of course requires more investment into your site itself, and makes more sense for larger stores, but smaller versions of this and even simple member offers go a long way.
Social Media Presence
A social media presence, no matter how small, also gives customers the impression that you are easy to access for support and questions, and regular social media updates about new products that are launching or coming soon can generate excitement around your brand itself. The comment sections of such posts are great places to also foster a community around your brand, which further drives home the impression that your company and products themselves are special, because of the bonding that strangers can do over them on social media.
With these slick tactics, you can grow your store from someone’s odd one-time visit for something special into a favourite place for them to get their fix of your product. You can create a welcoming vibe with your packaging and communication that makes customers excited to talk about you to other people, and keep them coming back for more.