When you’re running an online business, the goal is to not only bring customers to your site but also to have them return and do business with you on a regular basis, just as you would hope to be the case in an offline brick and mortar shop. Unfortunately, the competition is usually a lot tougher online, as anyone can simply go to another site at any given time. So, how do you get online customers to come back just as reliably as offline customers? The answer lies primarily in your presentation and product, but there are many ways you can drive forward progress in those areas. Here are four to consider.
1. Rewards Programs and Discounts
People like to save money, even when they’re in the process of spending lots of it, so having lower prices than the competition always helps to build a loyal fanbase. According to marketing research published in InternationalBrief.com, offering sales and discounts to customers during holidays and other creative promotional events is the most reliable way to incentivize existing customers to return to your site. Likewise, one way to take this concept a step further is to introduce exclusive loyalty programs that reward return customers with points towards future transactions.
2. Email Newsletters and Social Networking
The power of email advertising is often overlooked, but it remains one of the best ways to stay in touch with your existing customer base. Similarly, keeping your social network posted about developments and upcoming sales will ensure that everyone has enough time to digest the hype before the actual promotional event begins. In fact, email marketing and social networking are crucial for building up a substantial amount of pre-launch momentum.
3. Referral Schemes
You may be wondering how a referral can increase the chances of a customer returning. Organic referrals happen when someone genuinely wants to share a brand with one of their friends and family members because they really like it. Paid or incentivized referrals happen when someone wants to be an affiliate of a brand for monetary benefits. However, both kinds of referrals bring in new business, and most affiliates also shop with the brands that they promote because they know better than anyone how to take advantage of company rewards programs.
4. Add Value
Believe it or not, there’s a formula for customer retention, but the primary factor to consider is value. If people feel they’re receiving a huge amount of value for the time and money they’re spending on your site, they’ll be much more likely to think of your brand in the future when comparing providers in your niche. Improving quality or giving customers more for their buck are two examples of ways you can add value on your end to create more memorable online shopping experiences.
Following up Appropriately
In closing, it’s important to have a coherent and comprehensive strategy for following up with existing customers to make sure they’re ready to take advantage of sales in the future. As mentioned, email marketing and social networking are two ways to start off a good follow-up campaign but be sure to consider all possible follow up methods and be creative within those disciplines.