Ecommerce isn’t just about attracting new customers, profitability often starts with the customers you already have. It is actually cheaper to get customers to purchase again than it is to find new business. And, with acquisition costs at an all-time high, driving repeat purchases has never been more important.
New customers are more expensive than ever
With online competition, especially with eCommerce websites being at record highs, repeat purchases are even more critical. The cost of advertising is higher, which means the cost of customer acquisition is also growing.
According to Shopify, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the move away from TV advertising and towards digital platforms such as Facebook and Google. International retailers with large budgets are driving up ad costs as they prioritize ecommerce growth.
Customercustomer acquisition costs spiked following the pandemic, with costs now higher than pre-pandemic levels. Combine that with unpredictable consumer spending, and ecommerce retailers are feeling the pressure to do more with less.
Thankfully, much can be done to grow revenue without investing in customer acquisition. Repeat purchases are low-hanging fruit.
10 Proven strategies that drive repeat purchases
1. Start a customer loyalty program
One of the best ways to drive repeat purchases is to reward recurring engagement. With a customer loyalty program, the more a customer engages with a brand, the more points or rewards they get in return.
These days, customers actually seek out brands with good reward systems. In fact, 75% of customers will switch brands for a better loyalty program.
Some specific loyalty program ideas include:
- Welcome points for new customers
- Special points for referrals
- Prize draws for loyalty program members
- Birthday and anniversary perks
Customer loyalty goes hand-in-hand with repeat purchases. The more loyal your customers are, the more likely they are to return to your shop to buy again.
2. Collect customer subscriber opt-ins (and make it fun)
Most of the tactics on this list start with getting prospects to opt-in to receive communications from your brand. This helps you identify returning customers and engage with them on your terms – not just when they shop with you.
Getting people to give you their contact information can be tricky, but there are plenty of ways to make it work. For example, many ecommerce retailers will offer a discount on the subscriber’s first order to incentivise the opt-in.
The benefits of first-time customer discounts even help drive the initial purchase.
3. Drive repeat purchases with future-use coupons
Future-use coupons are one great strategy to entice customers to make that next purchase. For example, for every $50 purchase in your store, you could offer a coupon for 10% off that can be applied to a future purchase.
Not only does this give an incentive for your customers to spend $50 now, but it also gives customers a reason to return to your store later.
4. Recommend relevant products
If you want your customers to purchase from your site again, product suggestions help make it happen. Personalized recommendations use your shoppers’ order history to suggest the products that they are likely to buy.
- Recommend complementary products
- Notify customers about new arrivals
- Showcase your best-sellers
5. Remind customers when it’s time to restock
Replenishment reminders encourage repeat purchases for ecommerce brands with predictable sales cycles. They work products that customers purchase repeatedly within a certain timeframe, like pet food or skincare products.
For example, a few weeks after a customer buys a pet food, you can send them an email reminding them that it’s likely time to buy again. These campaigns build recurring revenue by targeting customers who are most likely to make repeat purchases.
6. Offer Subscribe and Save options
Going one step further than the point above, you can also add a ‘subscribe and save’ function to your eCommerce shop – giving the customer the option to automatically purchase a certain product after a set time period has elapsed. Offering a discount for subscribing to this is essential. So for example, the customer that wants to re-order pet food every 4 weeks, will be incentivised to subscribe knowing they save 10% off the normal price for doing this. It also makes it easy for them as they don’t have to keep going to your site to repurchase, it’s all done automatically.
If you do offer any type of subscription, make sure it’s easy for the customer to cancel if they wish. Nothing puts consumers off more than feeling like they may get ‘trapped’, into a payment scheme.
7. Thank customers for their purchases
Thank-you emails provide customers with a feeling of reassurance from the time they have clicked the order button until they receive your product. Personalised “thank you” messages are an excellent way to start building a relationship with your customers.
You can include offers and discounts in your “thank you” emails that encourage customers to come back to your site at a later date.
8. Follow up with customers who haven’t engaged with you
A win-back campaign re-engages customers that show signs that they aren’t interested in your brand anymore. Win-back campaigns turn one-purchases into repeat purchases and help you find the low-hanging fruit.
The timing of your win-back messaging will vary based on how long your buying cycle is. For example, if your customers haven’t made a purchase in 3 months, they can automatically be added to your win-back list.
Customer win-back campaigns put your re-engagement strategy on autopilot, so you can drive repeat purchases in your sleep.
9. Deliver first-class customer support
Finally, the last key to driving repeat purchases is customer satisfaction. Dissatisfied customers won’t do business with you again, regardless of how great your marketing tactics are.
Below are a few customer support tips that help drive repeat purchases:
- Be transparent about refund and return policies
- Show shipping and handling terms upfront
- Maintain a quick response rate
- Add FAQ pages where appropriate
- Ask for feedback
10. Be social with your customers
Make sure your marketing and customers are visible across all channels. Social media is vitally important these days for any business. Consumers will almost certainly check out your social media pages for further info about your company and products.
Use creative and fun ways to engage your customers and followers and let them know about your incentives and new products. That’s just another way to drive more sales to you website.
Existing eCommerce customers should be a top priority for any business
In summary, driving revenue through existing customers is a top priority for marketers now and in the future. It’s easier and more profitable than investing in customer acquisition.
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