Between November 1 and December 31, 2016, shoppers spent 91.7 billion online, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
During the holiday shopping season, merchants can see an increase in website traffic from new visitors and first-time buyers. This is a huge opportunity for businesses to maximize revenue and take the steps needed to increase reach in the months leading up to the holiday shopping season.
However, it can cost a business 5 times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep existing ones. Instead, businesses should focus on existing customers as they are 50 percent more likely to try new products and spend 31 percent more, when compared to new customers (Invespcro).
So, how do you turn the holiday surge into year-long revenue? Our team has put together eight strategies that help convert first-time buyers into repeat customers.
Implement Stellar Web Design
It’s no secret that first impressions are important. This is especially true in ecommerce. Businesses can have a difficult time convincing shoppers to complete purchases when their ecommerce website appears to be outdated or loads slow.
Today, shoppers expect websites to be fast, responsive, and easy to navigate. Consumers look for high-quality imagery, a quick and painless checkout process, and trust builders, like product reviews and fully secure pages. Providing this kind of positive user experience can make the difference in securing first, second, and third purchases.
Offer Account Perks
Make it easy and worthwhile for shoppers to create an account by providing a minimal registration process with obvious benefits. Stored payment information, subscriptions, wishlist functionality, and personalized recommendations encourage visitors to create an account with your store. These incentives also can increase the likelihood of them returning to your online store to make repeat purchases.
Double Down on Email Marketing
Take advantage of available account information by marketing to first-time buyers in a meaningful way. It’s important to capitalize on the momentum you’ve created after a new customer has completed their first sale. Email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing you can utilize.
According to BtoB Magazine, 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue (McKenzie Gregory). Likewise, A 2016 survey of 254 retail professionals shows 80% of them believe email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention (E Marketer).
Implement an automated post-purchase email campaign with personalized recommendations like related items or upcoming promotions. These follow up emails will help keep customers engaged and your business top of mind. Great email marketing combined with social media and retargeting ads can give your business strong brand recognition and relevance within your industry.
Make Time for Social Media
Connect with shoppers through sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to frequently engage customers with helpful, unique, and relevant content. According to Ambassador, shoppers that receive good customer service via social media are likely to spend 21% more, while 71% of customers who have a positive social media experience are likely to recommend your company to others.
Let shoppers know about your social media presence and make it easy to connect by displaying active social media account logos and links throughout your online store and other marketing materials. Social media outlets provide a strong link to your shoppers and their circle of influence. This level of exposure can create a healthy sales channel for you to capitalize on, that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Create Coupons, Special Pricing, and Rewards Programs
74% of consumers choose a store based on strong loyalty or discount programs (IRi Worldwide).
Incentives encourage repeat business and can influence shoppers to return to your store to shop regularly. A simple “X% Off Your Next Purchase” coupon gets your foot in the door for a second visit from a customer, while a well-executed volume pricing or rewards program will keep shoppers coming back for additional savings.
Provide Fast and Free Shipping Options
Shipping has been shown to be one of the strongest deciding factors when it comes to shoppers making a purchase. According to the Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study, 9 out of 10 survey participants said free shipping was the No. 1 incentive for them to shop online more (Marketing Land). In some circumstances, fast and free shipping has even been shown to be more important than the actual price of products. Offer free shipping thresholds for shoppers to encourage repeat purchases and increase average order value.
Accommodate Easy, Hassle-Free Returns
Offer fast and free shipping options and convenient return policies. When consumers know they can buy without the worry and headache of a traditional return process, the chances of repeat purchases rise to 92% (B2C Community). Eliminate the customer’s risk involved with making a purchase to significantly increase the likelihood of a sale. Optimize your Shipping and Returns page and clearly state your hassle-free policies at each important touchpoint like product and checkout pages to help increase conversions.
Utilize Memorable and Unique Packaging
Packaging is a key part of the ecommerce process that is often overlooked. A study by Dotcom Distribution shows 40% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that offers premium packaging (Dotcom Distribution). This strategy can help secure repeat customers in several ways. First, packaging impacts brand perception, so it’s a great way to let your customers know what your business stands for. Second, packaging has a direct connection to value, reinforcing that your product was worth the cost. Third, packaging can increase excitement levels when customers receive and open the package, which can create a positive association with your business.
Is your packaging eco-friendly, uniquely shaped or ultra-sophisticated? However you design your packaging, be sure that it stands out from the crowd.
Each of these strategies have merit, but when executed in unison, the potential to increase and secure life-long customers can skyrocket. If you’re not sure how to go about implementing any of these tactics, reach out to Miva’s Professional Services team to speak with a consultant. Our team of in-house ecommerce professionals is here to help.
About the Author | Jacob Carpinelli
Jacob Carpinelli began his eCommerce career in 2007. Since joining Miva in early 2013, he has been the main point of contact for hundreds of entrepreneurs looking to market and grow their online businesses. In Jacob’s current role as Miva’s Enterprise Account Executive, he fuels client growth by providing enterprise level consulting based on best practices, industry trends and strategic analysis.