Did you know that there is a large chance that someone who has already become your customer will repeat purchase?
According to the book “Marketing Metrics” by Paul Farris, there is a 60-70% chance that your repeat customers will convert again!
And a study by Adobe found that returning customers can generate three times higher revenue per visit compared to other shoppers…
Your goal should be to ensure that your first-time shoppers become repeat customers and develop a loyalty towards your brand.
And building brand loyalty is fairly simple if you know the strategies.
If you’re serious about growing your business, you cannot afford to let your one-time shoppers drift away.
But, how do you convert one-time shoppers into lifelong customers?
Let’s find out.
1. Get to Know Your Customers
Once a customer shops with you, that interaction leaves you with a big opportunity to get to know them better. And it is important to do so. You need to know your customers well to deliver the kind of experience they expect. Analyze the demographic data you have on them. And if possible, find out more about their interests, hobbies, and lifestyles.
Are they married?
Did they buy things that would suggest that they have kids?
Can you learn more about their daily habits?
Which site did they visit last before landing on your site?
Once you know your customers well, it will give you better ideas for creating more touch points with them to build stronger relationships and instill brand loyalty.
2. Analyze and Optimize Their Sessions
Have the right tools in place to analyze their shopping sessions.
Analyze their behavior, and find out the if there are things they looked at but did not buy.
Did they have trouble finding a product? Did they have enough information on the things they bought or wanted to buy?
Where did they click on your site? It pays to know which products and pages they checked out. Data tracking will tell you if they were indecisive or hesitant at any point. Or if they had any problem with the website at any juncture.
Find out the pain points if you can.
Did they know the right procedure to purchase any product or service they were interested in? If you pay attention and make an effort, you will be able to learn a lot from a session analysis and then you can work on optimizing the experience.
3. Treat Your Customers as Your Business Partners
You have to start looking at your customers differently.
Treat them as business partners.
Try to learn what they think about certain procedures and policies you have built into your business.
You can conduct surveys and ask the questions you would like answered from a particular subset of your customers.
If there are any changes you are planning to incorporate into your usual business practices, let them know in advance.
Are you turning a monthly subscription service into quarterly? Then inform them and try to learn what your customers think about the proposed change.
Explain your rationale, and listen to what they have to say.
When you go for win-win strategies, you earn the trust of your customers.
There are also training sessions and workshops available that can help you with advanced user acquisition.
4. Have a Rolling Calendar of Communication
The best way to be in touch with your customers and keep them in the loop is by having a rolling calendar of communication.
It should detail your whole gamut of messaging.
You could send them direct mailers, emails, details of any events you plan to have, phone calls, cards, etc. at defined points in pre-sales, sales, and post-sales processes.
The picture shown above is Kohl’s gift to their customer for 19 years of opening their charge card with the company. It acknowledges the customer as a valuable part of the organization.
You will be surprised to learn how much your customers appreciate these efforts. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge your customers and make them feel valued.
Post sales communication strategies make them feel like part of the organization, which can help make them want to keep in touch with the excitement of the journey ahead.
5. Segment and Prioritize High-Value Customers
All customers are not the same.
There are some who will spend more on your products or services than others. You must be smart enough to recognize these whales.
It pays to be more attentive to them because big buyers appreciate the attention.
If you are serving your high-value customers, assign your best sales team to attend to them. There are several tools such as Selligent and Zendesk that will help you segment your customers properly to improve their shopping experience in every way you can.
They are worth more than the average customers to you, so you should prioritize retaining them.
6. Ask for Feedback and Act on It
You might think everything is hunky dory with your processes if your customers don’t complain. But they may be experiencing small issues that they don’t find important enough to complain about.
Don’t wait for things to escalate and become complaints.
You can ask your shoppers for their feedback at an opportune time to see where you can make improvements.
Once you get their feedback, make sure you act on it and make changes.
If your customers have any questions, respond quickly. Every element of your interactions with your customers must convey to them that they are valuable and their opinion matters.
Don’t forget to thank them once they provide their input, like Aaron’s Auto, does in the following screenshot.
7. Send Them Discounts or Promotional Coupons
It is best to track the behavior of your customers when they shop with you and then stay connected with them through follow up emails.
There are various subjects that can be covered in the follow-up emails you send. If you track their behavior, you will know if there were things they passed on.
If there were things they stopped looked at but didn’t buy, you can cover those products which you think would be of interest to them and notify them when they are on sale.
You can also send promotional coupons to them. The idea is to know what interests them, and then to draw them back to your site using those interests.
8. Cross Sell or Up Sell to Your Customer
Find out the products your customers want to buy, and then implement upselling and cross-selling tactics. Predict the things your customers could return for by analyzing their purchases.
For example, you can send them emails suggesting “If you buy this now, you can get this other item at a discount of 20%.” Or, “Instead of opting for B, you can opt for B+ at a 25% discount.” You could even provide product recommendations while they are shopping and display items that would go well with the product they are currently viewing.
Turn your customers into loyal shoppers by always provide them with solutions.
Don’t ask them, “What can we do for you?”
Find out the answer yourself, and proactively tell them, “This is what we can do for you.”
This approach generally works as you are helping simplify your customer’s life.
9. Personalize Web Pages Based on Past Shopping Lists
Use the previous history of your customer’s purchases to personalize web pages for them. A personalized web page is different from a normal web page. It will have the things a customer would most probably buy again.
For example, if they buy dog food, they would probably need another packet of dog food again. If they bought diapers, they would need diapers again soon.
There are algorithms that can predict the recurring purchases.
You can also add your suggestions on the personalized web page for them to explore. In the example shown above, SmartMart takes personalization to a whole new level, complete with the recipient’s name.
10. Reward Them With Loyalty Programs
To make your one-time shoppers loyal lifetime shoppers, try to enroll them in your loyalty program. A customer loyalty program promises members rewards in the form of discounts or freebies.
Loyalty programs help engage, retain, and reward loyal customers.
Most programs have the points system where customers earn points for each purchase. Customers can redeem those points for some gifts or a reward or a discount.
There are non-monetary programs too that engage customers and earn their loyalty.
Toms, the footwear brand, donates a pair of footwear to an underprivileged child in South America on behalf of the customer. Many customers like this social cause that Toms supports and this has won their loyalty.
11. Build Relationship on Social Media
In this age of super connectivity, you need to provide your customers more than one channel to connect with you.
You need to have a presence on social media.
One of the best ways to gain a customer’s trust and to build a relationship with them is through social media.
The main advantage of connecting with your customers on social media is that you can talk to them in real time. You can deal with their issues in real time.
Social media works as a customer support channel where the grievances of the customers are heard quickly and are addressed in real time.
You can have fun with it like Wendy’s does in the screenshot below.
12. Share Related Influencer Content, Customer Stories, and User-Generated Content
Customers like to see content from real people, including influencers.
Partner with influencers that your target audience looks up to.
Let them create content for and about your brand and products, and then share this content with your own audience as well.
When they see a reliable influencer vouching for you, this audience is likely to trust your brand more. This trust will act as the foundation for loyalty.
It’s crucial that the influencer is highly relevant to your brand.
You can look for relevant influencers in your industry using tools like Grin. You can use location, category, and social platform filters to narrow down your search.
But it’s not just content from influencers that you should be sharing.
Share content created by your regular customers as well (also known as user-generated content).
This not only wins the trust of other customers and potential customers but also wins the loyalty of the customers whose stories or content you share.
Keep your eye out for valuable customer stories and interesting user-generated content about your products and services. They can be aligned with your content strategy, and used in remarketing strategies to bring back those customers.
Using customer stories and user-generated content makes a brand seem friendlier.
It increases customer loyalty.
As shown in the picture above, Buffer used user-generated content and saw their followers grow by 400%.
13. Put Out Fires Quickly and Make Amends
A good brand takes care of their customers at all times.
Your customers should be satisfied by your offerings, and the customer service that accompanies them. In spite of our best intentions, sometimes things do go wrong.
That’s why you need to be armed with a hose at all times to put out any fire you see.
Social media fans fires and spread them fast. You need to be seen dousing the flames as soon as they appear.
Starbucks has always believed in equality.
Recently, an unfortunate incident resulted in the arrest of two of their customers. The incident sent shockwaves everywhere. Starbucks soon posted the statement shown in the picture above on their social media profiles to contain the damage.
It certainly helped douse the flames to a significant extent. Customers want to know where you stand when the controversies hit your brand.
14. Use Effective CRM Tools
There are several tools that can help you manage your customers properly. They can help you turn one-time shoppers into loyal lifetime customers.
Pipedrive: Pipedrive is one such tool. It helps you manage the sales pipeline.
It organizes and manages your business leads efficiently and it helps you focus on the prospects you want to pay special attention to.
They can be your one-time shoppers too.
The system is intuitive and develops an individualized approach for each of your prospects.
Freshsales: Fresh sales optimize sales.
It is a cloud-based CRM system that helps you with email tracking, enables direct calls, lead management, and more. It helps you track the history of the client, discovers what got them interested in your product, and how they are interacting with the product.
Building Brand Loyalty is Important for Your Business
Your one-time shoppers can very easily drift away to your competition if you are not attentive and smart enough to engage them.
You need to gather all of the information you can on your shoppers, understand their interests/pain points and provide solutions, and ultimately make their lives easier.
If you can do these things, they will stay with you as loyal customers and some will turn into brand advocates.
Any thoughts on these points? Feel free to share them in the comments.
About the Author:
Brandon Brown is the CEO of Grin, an influencer marketing software solution for brands.
Grin’s software helps customers identify, recruit & activate the world’s most engaging influencers. Prior to Grin, he was lead marketing for the #1 energy drink market in the world, Los Angeles & Orange County, at Red Bull North America.