As the holiday season ends, how many of the stores that you purchased from are you already a repeat customer? As I shopped, it was at many of my favorite stores such as Amazon, Target and Best Buy, where I have been a repeat customer for years. Most likely you have your favorite stores where you are a repeat loyal customer as well.
Loyal customers convert easily, cost less to service, spend more and help spread the word about a great shopping experience. According to the 2012 Adobe Digital Index, just 8% of all online store visitors account for 41% of all store sales. Additionally, Marketing Metrics and eConsultancy said that loyal customers also demonstrate conversion rates five to nine times greater than first-time buyers.
Here are a few tips to help you create more repeat customers for your business:
1. Show that You Care about Your Customers. Be very attentive to your customers’ needs. Actually, be interested in what they are saying and find solutions to their dilemmas. Demonstrate how the product you have can help them. Do not act like you are bored or want to be somewhere else. Always be respectful and never lose your cool, so to speak.
2. Build Relationships. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal and get to know your customers. Send them a hand-written card or let them know when a special product or deal is available. If customers feel like they know you, they will be more likely to trust you and become repeat customers.
3. Offer Quality Products/Solutions. Have confidence in what you are selling by doing your research on the product you are offering. Do your due diligence with suppliers and vet samples and monitor return rates. Intuitively, sellers know that you will not get a second or third chance with a customer.
4. Keep in Contact. Periodically, you will want to contact your customers to see how they are doing and if they need anything from you. Send your customers greeting cards or a quick message to let them know they are not forgotten. These little things will make a big impact on repeat business.
5. Be Consistent and Reliable. If you say you are going to do something, then always get it done. If you promise a monthly newsletter, then be sure to get one out every month. If you promise a special product, come through on that product. Show your customers you can be trusted and they can rely on you to come through.
6. Be Competitive. Keep an eye on competitors and make sure you offer the best services and best products at the best prices.
7. Appreciate and Value Your Customers. So many people forget that if it was not for your customers, you would not be in business. Always make sure that your customers know that you appreciate them and value their patronage. Have a “Customer Appreciation Day.” Give them a nice little personalized gift. Appreciated customers are repeat customers!
8. The Extra Mile. Do little extras for your customers anytime you get the chance. Remember the golden rule or the ethic of reciprocity as a maxim and treat your customers as you would like to be treated. Your customers will appreciate it and become regulars!
For business owners, creating a repeat customer can be a very rewarding and essential experience. Remember, connecting on a personal level is one of the best competitive advantages you have in addition to the service or product you have to offer. As customers get to know you, their loyalty will grow. Always push for the next sale and you’re increasingly likely to create a long-time fan.