10 Ecommerce Tips: Converting One-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers

December 7, 2020

Ecommerce is the most lucrative business of our time. Perhaps you had the vision to see the potential and dive into ecommerce with full confidence. You have a great Website, a good product, and a highly competent team. Everything is running smoothly, and you have all the ingredients of success. And yet, your sales seem to have stagnated. You’ve done everything right, but don’t see the growth you anticipated. Are you wondering why?

Most online business owners invest significant resources and energy into attracting and gaining new customers. The key here is to keep an eye on your one-time buyers and try to convert them into loyal customers. In this article, I’ll provide some actionable tips to help you retain your customers.

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1. Develop a Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty is their inclination to keep coming back to your Web site because of its rich user experience. It’s crucial to remember that the modern customer is smart enough to see through the sorts of selfish schemes that sites target at them to make them spend more money.

A customer-loyalty program is a rewards system that companies use to motivate their customers to engage with them regularly and, thereby, create more business. The rewards they offer can be points, reward or discount coupons, free merchandise, preview sales; or exclusive, advanced releases. Such a loyalty program is a fantastic way of developing a strong bond with the customer and creating a potential brand ambassador of each one of them.

Cultivating targeted loyalty programs to promote customer loyalty among your existing customers can affect your growth rate phenomenally. A genuine, generous approach to creating innovative loyalty programs that provide a good user experience and surprising perks makes customers feel valued and goes a long way toward creating a contented, dedicated buyer.

2. Encourage the Use of Referral Programs

Referral programs are an excellent way of increasing awareness of your business and reaching a broader audience. A referral program can leverage a new or an existing customer base to tap into their vast network of friends and family. With so many new businesses coming up, customers find it easier to place their trust in a mobile ecommerce app that someone they know well has tried and referred them to.

A well-conceived referral strategy that encourages your existing customers to recommend your business goes a long way toward increasing revenues and your client base. It is a win-win strategy for everyone who is involved. The customer receives program-specific rewards and benefits. Your business gets more traffic and new customers, who already trust you more than your competition. Rewarding new customers you’ve acquired through referrals by giving them some welcome points or perks is an excellent way of converting them into loyal customers.

3. Share Your Content Across Platforms

Sharing high-quality content across all of your channels and platforms helps maintain your brand reputation, builds credibility, and keeps your customers engaged. Investing in evaluating and upgrading the content that you share can provide ample benefits by establishing a voice for your brand.

Social media is a potent and powerful tool in the ecommerce arena. Its content is king. The content you share should be consistent across all platforms. You can use this content to project the core values that drive your brand. For example, today, many brands focus on sustainability and highlight that as a core value. Regularly sharing relevant, engaging content keeps your customers coming back and increases your visibility across their social media. Their media handles can generate a lot of traffic to your Website.

“Create content that teaches. You can’t give up. You need to be consistently awesome.” —Neil Patel

Besides sharing promotional content, it is also a good idea to create and leverage user-generated content (UGC). A potential customer might want to hear the opinions of your other real customers about your brand. You can encourage the people who have already used your product to share their reviews, demos, and experiences. Instagram hashtags, time-limited offers, and contests are good ways of implementing these strategies. Unboxing videos are another great way of demonstrating your product, as well as your competence in packaging and delivery. Creative, innovative thinking goes a long way toward establishing your brand and helps you stand out against the competition.

4. Use Transparent Pricing with No Hidden Costs

Modern customers are empowered. They dislike falsehoods and fallacies. Above all other factors, the customer’s trust in you is the thing that can move your relationship forward. The only authentic way of relating to customers is to be honest and genuine. People value their time above everything else, so a customer would hate it if you revealed additional costs or charges only at checkout. Such surprises might leave them feeling betrayed, and they might never return.

A genuine business should incorporate and reveal all costs from the very beginning of an ecommerce sales funnel. Estimate the shipping charges and add them to a product’s original price. This gives customers a feel-good factor before they’ve committed to giving you any money.

5. Build Genuine Trust

Modern customers are smart and immediately know when you’re trying to fool them—tricking them into buying things they didn’t initially mean to purchase or trying too hard to sell them something they don’t need. You don’t want to trade your credibility for anything. Being genuine builds your image, and customers keep coming back because of that positive experience.

There are many other ecommerce platforms selling the same products as yours. Prioritizing your customers’ needs and helping them buy what they need increases your credibility. Trust can win over their hearts.

6. Sell the Customer Experience, Not Just Your Product

The more time consumers spend browsing your online store, the more likely they’ll end up buying something. To avoid any confusion, its basic structure and navigation should be consistent across the platform. It is essential that you avoid adding unnecessary details or clutter that would distract customers’ attention, make them deviate from their purpose, and cause frustration.

The time customers spend on your platform should be a good experience. A compact design layout with high-quality images, easy navigation, clear information, and impeccable customer support makes a user experience extraordinary. Technology can be overwhelming at times. So it is always best to keep information concise and straightforward and make it easy for all kinds of people to navigate your online store.

7. Train Your Team

A well-trained team with a deep understanding of the value of customer retention is crucial to the success of your business. The whole team must learn to value customers and respect them under all circumstances. A single negative incident with any employee of your company could annoy a customer. Training your team to treat the customer as the king is essential.

Pre- and post-delivery customer support play a vital role in the overall user experience. Adding a live-chat tool or automated chatbot can help customers resolve their queries and complaints right away. Train your entire team to follow a consistent approach in dealing with customers. Professional training in communication skills goes a long way in dealing positively with customers. Your customers should always feel happy and satisfied at the end of a transaction because of the responsiveness of your team. Always remember, a happy customer stays, while an unhappy one might leave and never return.

8. Amplify Customer Service Through Your Delivery Process

You can also consider finding ways to create a beautiful delivery experience. Finding innovative packaging and adding small surprises or custom notes can make the unboxing experience memorable.

Making all deliveries within the time promised must be a priority. Apologize for any delays and compensate customers for delays whenever possible. Delivery agents must be polite to customers and address their queries and concerns with patience. Providing a good delivery experience adds a final seal of goodwill at the end of the whole transaction between you and your customer. Showing a little warmth and appreciation at this time can make a huge difference.

9. Show Gratitude

Showing your gratitude and saying thank you is always an excellent way of creating warm relationships and costs nothing. Appreciating your customers for entrusting your business with delivering the product they need and showing humility creates an overall positive impact. It helps win the admiration of your customers and makes them feel special.

The key here is to make the customer feel appreciated. You can add custom notes or cards, small gifts such as samples, or coupons to give your customers the feeling that you cherish them. Immediately following up with calls or messages, asking them for feedback on their overall experience, also gives a personal touch to the transaction.

In Figure 1, you can see an excellent example of how Epicbar’s handwritten note to Megan Walker Holcombe showed their gratitude and made her a customer for life.

Figure 1—Epicbar’s handwritten thank-you note to Megan
Epicbar's handwritten thank-you note to Megan

Image source: Megan Walker Holcombe’s Twitter feed

10. Over Deliver and Exceed Customers’ Expectations

Creating an unforgettable user experience that compels your customers to return is absolutely going to pay off for you. By exceeding your customers’ expectations, you can prove to them that you are better than they expected.

You can achieve this by making deliveries ahead of the promised time, adding small gifts and coupons to their packages, providing adequate help in case of returns or exchanges, and offering professional customer support at all stages of a transaction. The more innovative you get in providing a customer experience that is better than that of your competition, the better your chances for sustaining success in this competitive industry.

Closing Thoughts

Ecommerce is a hypercompetitive market, and we all need to be on our A-game to ensure we retain our customers. The future of ecommerce is going to be even more challenging and highly competitive. I hope the tips that I’ve provided in this articl

Tech Consultant at Simform

Orlando, Florida, USA

Hardik ShahHardik has spent the last ten years helping startups define technology-product roadmaps and building highly scalable, high-performing technology stacks from the ground up to as many 200 million users. He leads large-scale mobility programs, covering platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. He earned a Master’s of Science degree from University of Florida.  Read More

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