“Make new customers, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”
Yes, we took some liberties from the old Girl Scout anthem, but our new version is much more accurate. After all, repeat purchasers represent only 8% of all eCommerce site visitors but account for 40% of eCommerce revenue. And it costs 5-25% more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Make sure you keep your old customers because they are, quite literally, gold.
With every other eCommerce store trying to attract new customers, however, you need a solid strategy for convincing your customers to remain loyal to you.
Here are five powerful ways to keep your customers coming back time and again to your Shopify store.
1.Give better customers (much) better rewards
If you have a rewards program (and you should definitely have a rewards program!) you do want to make it easy to earn rewards at the outset. The top reason U.S. consumers abandon rewards programs, cited by 57%, was that it took too long to earn points or miles for rewards. If the barrier to receiving a reward is too high, people will lose interest and drop off.
After they have achieved the pleasure of earning their first rewards, you may want to make it harder to earn each successive level of reward. But be careful. While you don’t want to give away the farm all at once, you also want to give your customers a strong, tangible incentive to buy more, and more, and more.
Your store can achieve both goals by making rewards at higher spend levels worth exponentially more than rewards at lower spend levels. For example: spend $10, get a $2 reward. Spend $100, get a $25 reward. Spend $1000, get a $300 reward.
Create clear expectations of what the customer can earn, and when, and how. Even if it takes a little while to get to those higher spend levels, when the customer sees how much she’ll receive, she’ll have the patience and the motivation to keep coming back.
2. Make your site the “in” place to be
To get customers to buy, first, get them in the door.
They may not buy today; they may not buy tomorrow; but if they keep visiting your store and they’re made to feel welcome, they’re likely to buy at some point.
Any booklover in the USA in the 1990s remembers visiting Barnes & Noble. With comfortable armchairs in quiet reading nooks, author readings and other literary activities, Barnes & Noble welcomed everyone, even – and notably – those who weren’t intending on buying anything.
Barnes & Noble stores became a hangout spot… and when booklovers consistently hang out in a bookstore, you can bet that eventually, they will turn into purchasing customers.
What’s the takeaway? Give your potential customers reasons to come and “hang out” in your Shopify store even if they’re not intending on purchasing immediately. Set up forums or create an on-site social community for your customers to share tips and advice related to your product and niche, or selfies of them using your product. Post high-quality content (not just about your product, but rather incorporating your users, their priorities, their concerns and their lifestyle) and update it regularly, ensuring that your site is a constantly evolving, current resource. Ensure that you offer relevant social sharing options, since you want your community to entice their communities.
Your customers will have a reason to visit your site more frequently. They’ll be exposed to more of your products, whether through the product listings on your site or through community-generated content. Their enthusiasm and passion for your brand will grow.
3. Games, contests, and challenges on site
Let’s take the last idea one step further. Imagine that if you hung out in Barnes & Noble, every so often a staff member would come around and hand out free books, regardless of whether you were purchasing something or not.
Would you hang out there more often? You bet!
How can you replicate this in your Shopify store?
Create opportunities for site visitors to win free products and gift cards, irrespective of purchases. Use contests, challenges, and games that, aside from being fun in their own right, award prizes to winners or high scorers.
If the games require a measure of skill, have a winner or high scorer list on the site to encourage them and others to keep returning and honing their skills.
They win. You win.
4. Appeal to your customer’s values
Do you feel a responsibility for the world and the people who share it with you? Your customers do, and they want you to feel it too.
91% of millenials would switch brands to one associated with a cause. And it’s not just the millennials; 85% of the general American public would do the same!
When your Shopify store shows social responsibility, it’s a magnet for customers.
But not all social endeavors are created equal. If you want your customers to feel the power of their purchase (and therefore purchase more), you need to show them that power in a concrete way.
Check out the snack bar company This Saves Lives. You couldn’t get any clearer if you tried:
They also have stories about some of the children and families that have benefitted directly from the nutrition they and their customers make possible. We don’t know if they email updates and stories to their customers, but we bet that if they did, anyone reading those emails would be inspired to return to the website and order more snack bars.
If you can find a way to send your customers email updates about the positive social impact of their purchase, you’re likely to see them purchase again… and again.
5. The secret of communication
Don’t wait until you have a big exciting story in order to be in touch with your customers. Communicate with your customers on a regular basis. You may have to experiment a little to find the balance between radio silence and being a pest, but the benefits are worth it.
If you run out of things to say, try asking for customer input on your offerings. What products should you sell? What colors, sizes, shapes or flavors should you offer? Everyone appreciates being asked for their opinion.
In addition to the valuable market research data this will supply you, it’s also likely to encourage more sales. When customers give you their opinion, they feel more interested and invested in the outcome.
If you ask your customers to suggest snack bar flavors, and one customer comes up with “Green Tangerine Sardine,” and you actually make it – guess who is going to buy a whole bunch of Green Tangerine Sardine bars? That’s even if she suggested it as a joke!
You can – and should – give your customer store credit on the site and let her know about it. What better incentive to get her to pay a visit to your store? After all, who doesn’t want to see their “name in lights”?
Keep them Coming Back
Ultimately, the best way to improve your bottom line is to retain customers, enticing them to return to your store. Cultivating loyalty is a winning methodology; customers want to feel connected, motivated and inspired by your brand. Give them everything they’re craving, and they’ll become your gold.