6 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Getting Customers to Return

From giving gifts to increasing offerings, here are some ways to keep customers coming back.
Magazine Contributor

A one-time customer is a wasted opportunity. So we asked six entrepreneurs: How do you create repeat purchases?

Related: 10 Simple Ways to Improve Customer Retention Rates

1. Treat ’em nice.

“We recognize our regulars, even if it’s a simple ‘Welcome back.’ People like to feel that they are being seen and noticed and are important to you. We also empower our team members to give complimentary guacamole or a free bag of chips when they want to delight a guest. It’s more fun if it seems like a random act of kindness."
-- Leo Kremer, co-founder, Dos Toros

2. Anticipate their needs.

“We make custom stationery using metal dies and plates that have been engraved specifically for individual clients. We catalog and store them, and our sales team is proactive about reaching out about reorders. For example, if a client works in fund-raising and sends a lot of thank-yous, we’ll remind them when it’s time to freshen up their supply.”
-- Jacqueline Kotts, owner, Mrs. John L. Strong

Related: 3 Ways to Increase Client Retention Through Transparency

3. Know their history.

“A single product is only the beginning of a sound system. We’re a brick-and-mortar consumer electronics retailer, but on our website we have a six-question quiz that determines a customer’s preferences, and a proprietary algorithm recommends products. Knowing what they already have and what they’re interested in helps generate loyalty.”
-- Leon Shaw, founder, Audio Advice

4. Give gifts!

“We have a referral program that includes a special discount for both parties -- the original buyer and the recipient -- and we offer a free gift with purchase around our big holidays, like Mother’s Day. It brings customers back and attracts some new ones, too.”
-- Helen Ficalora, founder, Helen Ficalora

5. More is more.

“Everything on our beauty site is $1, so we naturally have a lot of repeat customers. But we keep them coming back by adding more than 100 new products every single week, and we constantly promote new arrivals on Instagram as well as popular items that are back in stock. Having a bigger variety than any other outlet is what keeps purchases going.”
-- Jean Baik, founder, ShopMissA.com

Related: 5 Ways Small-Business Owners Can Improve Customer Retention

6. Help them never forget.

“We stand for more than just ‘cheap flowers.’ We offer subscriptions, which introduce the concept of automated deliveries -- weekly, monthly or quarterly -- but we also allow people to subscribe to discounted preorders for recurring specific dates, like birthdays or anniversaries.”
-- John Tabis, founder, The Bouqs Company

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