Repeat business is the name of the game. But while it’s 70% cheaper to hold onto existing customers than acquire new ones, that doesn’t mean you need to implement any fewer marketing strategies.
In fact, customer retention requires a broad strategy that’s cohesive, well-planned out and well organized.
In this article, we simplify the process for you, showing you the things you can do to encourage repeat business.
Use Customer Accounts
Customer accounts are a bit of a balancing act. While they have an obvious benefit – they make life so much easier for the customer – they also tap into a major psychological nuance of any customer:
Namely, their fear of commitment.
This is problematic. If a first-time customer has this fear of commitment, they might even abandon their cart if there is no option to checkout as a guest. Not only do you fail to encourage repeat business, you also lose a sale.
The best way to use customer accounts is to offer the option after a customer has placed their first order. You could either display this option in the checkout, or you could send it via email afterwards.
Send Discounts to First Time Buyers
Like customer accounts, discounts can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can definitely encourage repeat business. On the other hand, they can condition your customers to always expect them.
When it comes to encouraging first-time buyers to come back, discounts are always worth a shot. They spread goodwill and make the customer feel good about doing business with you.
Most companies go with a 10% discount. However, there are certainly instances when brands have gone with 20% discounts in the past. A 20% discount sounds like a lot to any business, but if 20% works better for you, you may as well run with it. You might lose a bit of cash in the short term, but you always need to think of the long term investment.
Conversely, you could try going with credits instead. For example, you might want to offer first-time customers $10 off their next purchase.
Segment Your Customer Base
Segmentation works because you’re addressing a specific customer and their needs, as opposed to sending out the same content and product recommendations to everyone. Segmentation shows that you care, and that you’ve taken the time to understand the individual.
Use your analytics and metrics to segment your customer base. Pay attention to metrics like click-through rates, return visits to your store and ad engagement.
Real Time Personalization
If you’ve got thousands of customers entering your store, you’ll know that it’s impossible to manually provide a real time personalized experience.
Instead, it’s much more advantageous to harness Artificial Intelligence.
In 2019 and beyond, your customers want teal time personalization. They want you to understand them fully, and this includes their utmost needs and wants. They also want you to know when to approach them.
Not just this, but customers now want you to know who they are when they contact customer service, anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.
This is where AI comes in. AI-based solutions can deliver predictive product recommendations to your customers in real time, optimise pricing in real time, and even engage your customers in personal 1:1 conversations.
This is all win-win for you and the customer. AI ensures your customers feel wanted and understood. This, it ensures they stick around, not just for the duration of a quick chat, but for the long-term.
Provide Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Experiences
41% of consumers are interested in experiencing virtual reality. Augmented reality, meanwhile, is similarly immersive, and both technologies provide the kind of interactive experience that engages your consumers, and promotes a long term relationship.
IKEA are just one brand that is already harnessing the power of VR to allow their customers the chance to explore new home layouts. In this way, they are able to ‘try before they buy’ without even having to leave their own home!
And in case you were worried about the need for VR headsets and devices – don’t be. Apple have released a new software that enables your customers to experience VR without devices and headsets. Again, it’s yet another win-win scenario.
The best way to leverage both AR and VR is on your product pages. These technologies create a more in-depth look of your product, allowing your customers to see much more of it than an image ever could provide.
Consider adding a 360 degree video option, too, as this gives your customers the chance to see how your product would look in their homes.
You may also want to use the two technologies as learning tools. For example, you could use them to offer interactive educational experiences that help to build trust while removing any objections they have of your brand and your products.
Utilize Self-Service Technology
Why would customers want to talk with you on the phone then they could utilize self-service technology? Indeed, 72% of millennials say that getting on a call doesn’t really solve their issue.
Things are changing, and if you can add voice-enabled tech, virtual shopping assistants and chatbots to your website, you should see an increase in repeat business.
Why? Because all of these technologies are backed by AI. As a result, they’re able to resolve a customers query quicker than you ever could manually. Self-service is convenient, fast, and it has the answers the customer needs.
The more user friendly your tech is, the more you will win in the long-term.
At the same time, you don’t want to go overboard. While customers appreciate self-service technology, the human touch can’t be dismissed. If a particular customer is clearly irate, consider sending them a personalized video message.
Diversify Your Payment Options
Research has shown that customers will abandon their carts if they can’t see their preferred payment option. Customers have grown accustomed to specific payment options, and it’s important that you do your research to find out what these are. Then, make them available to your customers on your website.
You should also diversify your payment options to incorporate a POS card reader. This gives your customers the chance to pay online or offline, and it also lets you collect their data that you can then use later to offer them an even more personalized experience. Just the fact that it bridges the gap between the online and offline world could be enough to encourage repeat custom.
Build Relationships Via Email
Email marketing should be a very powerful weapon in your customer retention strategy. It lets you build a strong and lasting relationship via emails that educate, engage and even entertain your customers.
A strategic email marketing campaign also ensures you don’t lose touch with your customers, and it makes it easier to send out discounts, raise awareness of promotions and build a buzz around an impending product launch.
The key is to not go for the sale all the time. Instead, mix things up with follow-up thank you emails, emails that educate your customers about your products, personalized video email messages and product recommendations.
These are 8 sure-fire ways to encourage repeat business. Use the tips in this article to save you from the hassle that comes with finding new customers all the time. Build relationships, give your customers more of what they want, and stay on top of trends like augmented and virtual reality.