25 Ways You Can Turn a One-Time Buyer Into a Repeat Buyer The most profitable customers are repeat buyers.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you are a business owner, you want customers to keep coming back.
Customers who make repeat purchases lower the costs that your company incurs for marketing and advertising. With repeat customers, you can easily market for any new product or service you add to your offerings because repeat customers are happy with what they have been getting from you so far.
Chances are that you aren't the only business offering a solution to your customer's problem, so why should they keep buying from you? The answer lies in the techniques you use to keep those customers coming back to you.
Here are some ways you can convert one-time buyers into repeat buyers.
1. Make every effort to ensure an easy transaction. 80% of customers say that convenience, speed and knowledgeable help are important elements as they transact with any business.
2. Offer multiple payment options A client of ours saw a huge uptick in sales by just adding a "Pay with Paypal" option at check out.
Why? Think about how much easier it is to log in to pay, versus finding your wallet when shopping online.
3. Offer free shipping on the initial order. The key here is to make sure that the company has enough of a profit margin on each sale, and is not losing money when offering free shipping. Consider your costs before offering free shipping.
4. Offer discounts for frequent purchases. Offering a 10% discount after the customer buys from you five times is an incentive to buy multiple items, and they'll be encouraged to use your store as a resource for any similar future purchases.
5. Offer loyalty rewards points that can be redeemed for a free product or future discounts on additional products. In fact, 75% of customers are more likely to purchase again when they get an incentive.
6. Offer rewards for referrals. Referral programs are one of my favorite strategies. The key here is that there should be a specific incentive for the person who refers a friend — don't just give them a "discount." Offering money motivates customers to share your site with their friends and family.
7. Send a handwritten thank-you card to customers, especially when they spend a certain amount. Today's world can be very impersonal and many people value personalized experiences over automated ones. TD Bank reveals that 77% of customers are pleased when businesses show them their appreciation.
8. Create an unforgettable unboxing experience. Get creative in the way you package your products so that the unboxing experience is exciting for the customer. Premium packaging increases the perceived value of your brand, boosts the perceived value of the product and lets your customers know what your business stands for.
9. Make your returns policy flexible. Many buyers get scared of purchasing because they perceive the returns policy as inflexible. Use this knowledge to your benefit by implementing a return policy that is flexible enough to encourage people to buy from you.
10. Send newsletters or emails with current sales and offers to all clients, including those who have not purchased in a while. For example, I love that my favorite meal prep company sends me an email once a month reminding me of what is coming on the menu.
11. Offer upsells and cross-sells to customers based on what they express interest in purchasing. Use upselling and cross-selling to customers as tools to identify the best product or solution to a client's problem. The client will be happy that you helped identify what will serve them best, and a happy customer is likely to return.
12. Offer customers the option of buying gift cards online. Take your existing offline business, connect it with technology and extend your reach to people who are otherwise unaware that you exist.
13. Keep special occasions in mind. In today's automated world, it is easy to keep track of your customer's birthdays. A birthday card will do wonders to a buyer who purchased their wedding gown from you, for example. Take note of those special days and use them to deepen your relationship with customers.
14. Give away free samples because they establish brand loyalty. My favorite chocolate company, Godiva, sends me free samples of their new creations all the time and it doesn't matter that I didn't buy anything for over a year. This makes them stand out as a reputable brand that cares about its customers.
15. Deliver products quickly. 63% of online shoppers expect an average delivery time of three days. You can win repeat customers by delivering their purchases quickly to beat that average time. You will become the go-to company when people want something, fast.
16. Update your website, Facebook page and other online resources regularly with fresh content. The internet changes every day, but I'm sure we can all agree that it's not enough anymore just having an "online presence" because people have short attention spans. Make sure your webpages are updated regularly with fresh images, blog posts and videos.
17. Showcase testimonials from happy customers. According to one study, up to 90% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. If someone sees other people singing your praises, then chances are they'll also buy from you too. User-generated content is a powerful way to win customer loyalty while cutting your marketing budget.
18. Tell a compelling brand story. All customers prefer to do business with companies that mirror their values, so your brand story should be compelling to attract repeat buyers. For example, if you let your customers know that you only source organic materials, you are likely to win lifetime customers who value that.
19. Add a twist to social media platforms. In today's world, most people tell their friends about products that they enjoy by exposing them on social media instead of talking directly with them face-to-face. Make your social media easy for customers to share with discount codes.
20. Follow up with customers every 30 days. Focusing on repeat buyers and ensuring customer satisfaction is the best way to boost your word-of-mouth without having to spend any extra money on marketing.
21. Offer a VIP program where customers receive special perks, discounts and freebies if they buy from you regularly. Virgin Airways does this well; each time someone flies with them, they are automatically given points which they can use to redeem things like free flights and other perks that make customers feel special.
22. Offer unparalleled customer service. 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a good experience, and a whopping 80% of customers say that their reason for switching to another company was poor customer service.
23. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing and try something similar. It's easy to spend a lot of time and money trying to be innovative, but this can sometimes backfire. Instead, try doing something similar — but better — than what your competitors are currently doing. Use them as an example for success and add your twist.
24. Send just-in-time purchase reminders. In the case you sell products that a client is expected to replenish periodically, send them a quick message a few days to the time when what they bought is about to be depleted. If, for example, your automated sales tracking system tells you a certain customer buys pet food monthly, remind them to replenish on day 25, just before what they have is used up. The person will gladly buy from you again and again.
25. Give existing customers early access to your new products. When a new product is about to hit the market, give your existing customers a chance to buy that product before it is available to everyone else. Pre-sales are good for your business, and the customers will feel valued when they are first to access your new product.
Does it sound like you have to do too much to win repeat buyers?
Well, consider the fact that a customer is likely to spend 67% more after doing business with you for 31-36 months when compared to the first half-year of doing business with you. In terms of transaction value, repeat customers are also 31% more likely to spend more on their average order value with your business. This shows that every effort invested in getting repeat customers pays back excellently, so get to work and design a system through which you will convert as many buyers as possible into repeat buyers.
Related: Customer Service Is the New Upsell