You’ve spent time and money—not to mention effort—to get customers to your store. Just to get their eyes on your store. And you’ve done your best to make sure their visit is appealing. How you do that will likely vary from store to store, but the point is, you don’t want your potential customers to back out as soon as they enter.
So, you’ve got them in your store, and they’ve stayed and had a look around. And since you’ve done everything right, they end up making a purchase.
You take their money, dance a jig, and show them out with a Thanks for your Business email.
Then you start the process all over again with a new customer.
Actually, no. You want to continue this process.
First, I’m not saying you shouldn’t continue in your quest for new customers. That shouldn’t ever stop. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t send that Thanks for your Business email, because you should, as we discussed in a previous article dealing with what should be in your autoresponder email.
What I am saying is you should have a variety of different marketing paths, and one of those paths is for existing customers to follow. You just need to create it. It’s sort an If you Build It, They Will Come philosophy.
Let’s talk about how you can build or create this path that will have your customers returning to you over and over again. Returning to you and ultimately purchasing from you.
Yes, we’re going to dig into this topic again. It’s that important.
You may—and if you don’t, you should—offer up-sells and try to cross-sell right in your store. Maybe you offer up-sells in your cart at check out.
This is a great method to incite your customers into last-minute impulse buys. However, for a variety of different reasons, many people don’t pay attention to those.
This is where your autoresponder email comes into play. You could set up an auto email to send to any customer who purchased X but didn’t purchase Y, where Y is a typical add-on product to X. At this point, you could offer them a time-sensitive coupon with an appealing discount.
Appealing discounts are hard to ignore. I speak from experience.
This is a simple, effective way—not to mention automated!—way to get customers to order from you again. And you can play this out for as long as you want.
There are places where I shop where I’m pretty much guaranteed a coupon towards a future purchase, every time I buy something. It’s just the way the store roles, and
You’ve got a lot of play with this kind of promotion. But you don’t want it to be a throw everything at the wall and see what sticks kind of scenario.
If you wanted to, you could tie it into something seasonal, or you could just do it based on inventory. Say you have to make space for new stock.
Choose a segment from your customer list—a subset—and match something from your inventory to it. Now create a promotion targeting your subset and set it free.
The point is you are interacting with your customer and offering them an incentive to order something from you again.
It’s Time to Order Again!
This type of email is a must for any store that sells items that are replaced on a regular basis.
You may or may not choose to add a discount to this, but customers love discounts, and they certainly offer an added incentive.
Say your store sells coffee and tea blends. Assuming they are regularly consumed, you would have a general idea of how long either could last. An email prompt to your customer pointing out that it might be time to order again could mean instant business.
I know I will do everything in my power to never see a morning where there is no coffee in the house. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Build customer loyalty. Build their appreciation. For sure they will order again and again.
How time flies. Does your customer know it was a year ago this month when they made their first purchase in your store?
Wouldn’t it be a nice gesture to send them an email thanking them for their past business and perhaps encouraging them to shop with you again? Or maybe your records extend to having their date of birth on file.
Every year, on my birthday, I get a ton of emails from companies I’ve worked with in the past. Some of them I don’t even remember working with, but that Happy Birthday email is a reminder.
So, if you have your customer’s date of birth, be sure to send an email on their birthday, and include a coupon.
Everyone Loves Getting Something Free
How often have you found yourself ready to make a purchase, your items in the cart, and then hit a momentary pause as soon as you realize how much the shipping charges were? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve abandoned the cart because of that.
While it’s not necessarily fair to expect the store owner to absorb the shipping cost, if there’s something a store owner can do to cover that cost elsewhere, it could mean more customers. Customers who will return to your store.
Maybe there’s no way for you to cover the cost of shipping. Is there anything else you could give away with an order? Perhaps free samples sizes of some of your bestselling products?
I know of one health and beauty store that will give you a sample of nearly anything in the store. They have little sample sized pots available, and all you need to do is ask. They know it’s a great way to get more business, so they’re happy to do it.
Of course, depending on what you sell, free samples might be an option. I wish I could get free samples of shoes, but I don’t see that ever happening. So come up with something else.
If you sell shoes, offer a free pair of socks or hose with the purchase. It’s not the same as a free pair of shoes, but you’re still building customer loyalty.
New Product Announcements
This would work particularly well if you sell products that have any sort of hype around them.
Sticking with the shoe analogy mentioned above, there’s always hype around some sort of shoe. Typically sport shoes.
If you carry a shoe—or any product—that already has a lot of market hype around it, you most certainly want to let your customers know about it.
Make a splash. Make sure customers know your product will sell out soon, incentivizing them to make their purchase sooner rather than later.
Building a relationship with your customer—building loyalty—is critical. Give yourself an edge over your competition by keeping your store in your customer’s mind. There’s no need to stalk them, but you do want to connect with them regularly, reminding them why they purchased from you in the first place, and hoping they will do so again.