A past customer is the easiest customer to whom you can sell future products. These customers feel comfortable with your products, they trust the buying experience, they read your content, they often will actively seek out your website and products, and sometimes they even recommend your services to other people. Here’s how to make sure you retain online shopping customers for good.
Cater your website to your target market’s expectations
Your prospective customers will have certain expectations for how your website should look and feel, and designs that do not conform to their expectations will feel jarring to them and make them wonder if your site really offers the products they are seeking. A site for children’s toys should be colorful, for instance, while a site for menswear will likely feature shades of black, gray, and white.
In other words, do not be too unique with your basic design. Think of book covers. The best book covers are beautifully designed while still clearly conveying their genre. With online shopping, visitors are looking for an experience that matches their prior experience with purchasing these types of products.
Offer easy navigation and search abilities
Research how customers seek out information and products on your site. This may involve having links to the same category of products in multiple places on the site or listing the same product in multiple categories. For example, on a home decor site, a throw pillow might fit in both the bedding and linens category and the living room category. Allow redundancy, if it is reasonable. Also, have a clearly visible search bar for visitors to search for their desired product themselves.
Create an easy checkout experience
Reduce the friction of the online checkout experience. Some customers will always leave the checkout process, but if the hurdles are too time-consuming due to requiring too many steps or if the next steps to purchase are ambiguous, you may lose many customers you might have been able to retain if you had a better checkout process.
One way to improve the customer’s experience is to offer a guest checkout option to minimize the information (including account registration) that they must provide to complete their purchase. You can offer the option to create a member account after the order is submitted, and you can capture customers you would not have retained if the member registration had been mandatory at the beginning of the checkout process.
Get them to sign up for newsletter
Often, sales are not made when a potential customer first encounters your website. To increase your chances to turn a visitor into a future customer, you need to create some sort of way to stay in their lives.
Offering a subscription to your email newsletter is a popular solution, and for good reason. Email marketing is consistently shown to be one of the most successful marketing techniques, because customers trust the sender enough to intentionally allow them into their lives.
To incentivize customers to sign up for your newsletter, offer some sort of incentive when their email address is verified. Coupons are a common incentive, as are ebooks or advanced guides to the product you are selling.
Stay in contact with them and provide useful information or discounts
Once you have people signed up to your newsletter, you must provide them with information they are genuinely interested in or they will unsubscribe, because most people don’t want to read endless advertisements.
Provide useful information, such as buying tips, information on sales, and coupons (especially those that are exclusive to newsletter subscribers), and readers will open your emails and eventually return to your site to purchase something.
Offer returns and a price match policy
Customers need to be able to trust that if your product is not to their satisfaction for whatever reason, as long as it is not used, they can return it to you and get their money back.
Though sellers may initially be wary of this policy as a possibility to reduce their revenue, remember that the peace of mind that these policies offer customers and the increased sales will be worth much more than any refunds you must process. Similarly, to keep an existing customer or acquire a new one, consider offering to match prices against your competitors. You will benefit more from creating a repeat customer than from maximizing your revenue on any single transaction.