— Old friends and old wine are best. (Proverb)
When a visitor finally turns into a customer, unconcerned business owners and marketers relax — life is great, the money is paid, the business seems to be safe. The mission is done. But what happens to the same customer later?
Logically, you may think like that: "Well, if the customer was content he would definitely come back. He will recommend my online store to friends and then buy something else in the future when the time is right.”
But no, here is what really happens.
On Reddit we often see questions like: "I've bought a cool wallet in a great online store but I can't remember the name. I think it started with P or M”. Look around you, choose 10 things off the top of your head and try to remember where you bought them. It's hard, isn't it? Well, life is short but memory is shorter. And your existing customers will bring you money again only if you systematically work on their coming back, or in other words, increase the customer lifetime value.
Returning customers to your store should be an essential part of your marketing strategy because repeat sales have at least one undeniable advantage — they are approximately five times cheaper than new ones. Still, customers who have already purchased something in your store require constant care, nurturing and guidance.
In fact, it is much easier to work with existing clients because they are still "warm". The question is: why so many online businesses pay so much attention solely to drawing new leads and leave their existing customers alone and abandoned? Just remember that if you do not work closely with your current clientele you almost certainly turn them towards your competitors.
Let's imagine that you have an online store selling sports nutrition and you’ve got a customer who has recently started going to the gym. His first purchase has been made, most likely, after Googling "buy protein". Three months later, his protein is running out. What do you think he is going to do?
Next time your athlete will come to Google again and type in something like "buy protein ON chocolate". Most likely now he will be looking for a particular brand or product name. It will be great if Google brings him to your website again. And if not? Your competitor appears just one line higher in the search results and the customer spends money (your money for God's sake) in another store.
Well, we can’t allow that, can we? So let’s have this imaginary situation stay a harmless scary tale.
In a way, customers are like women. You need to win them over, again and again, collect relevant data about them and constantly remind them of your value. You stop doing that — and competitors will get your customers all warmed up and ready to purchase.
Now let's go back in time and start all over again. The same customer-who-wants-to-be-athlete buys 30 portions of protein. Assuming he trains three times a week, that package will last approximately for 10 weeks. What should we do with this assumption? OK, send him a personalized email in 8 weeks with the offer to replenish his stocks. You don’t even have to mention a discount… yet.
Last time he was looking through some related goods — shakers, vitamins, and amino acids. Well, well... offer him to add these items to the new purchase!
You can go further and set up a special newsletter to notify your customers about promotions and discounts in relevant categories. In this case, customers may finally remember you and, likely, will come directly to your online store next time they need more of your staff.
Be ready and don’t miss them out!
With the customer data collected by Convead (purchases, product views, the frequency of visits to the online store, the average check, etc.), you can group the online store's visitors into segments that have common behavior patterns and then create personalized email campaigns, automating and streamlining the customer nurturing process. Or you can implement a personalized pop-up notification. Instantly, customers will see the products they have bought last time, or something similar that comes with a discount right now, or maybe some accessories and supplements for their initial purchases. Exact tactics depend on the type of goods you are offering. Unleash your imagination but always take into account the customer's past experience and individual preferences.
By the way, repeat purchases can be different, too. The client who buys from you once a month, little by little, it’s one story. Customers making large purchases twice a year — quite another. And your tactics to approach them should be different either. If you know that some time back the customer spent a lot of money in your online store — give him a call! Or send him a tub of protein powder as a gift. Just like that, without even asking.
One last thing. Some eCommerce business owners and marketers are afraid of being too intrusive. They are reluctant to email or phone a customer one more time. True, it gets annoying sometimes. But the money goes to the stores that people remember, annoying or not. Think about it and take action!