In their search of ways to increase sales and customer retention, eCommerce store managers sometimes stand on their heads. But it’s not necessary to do so. Instead of guessing what the buyer may need, just start listening to him or her. Without listening, your customers will leak out of your store like water from a leaky bucket.
When you look at what customers actually want – as we did – the conclusions will surprise you.
1. Take Advantage of the Customer’s Attention as They Reflect on the Purchase
Our research shows that over 70% of customers spend up to 2 hours searching for a product, finding additional information about it and comparing it to other products (and that includes reading the opinions left by other buyers). Another 10% spend up to 5 hours in this way! This means that 4 out of 5 buyers carefully read the descriptions of items in your online store before making a purchase decision.
How can you use this knowledge to your advantage? Two to five hours is a lot of time – you can use it in such a way that the user ends up buying the article from you. First of all: make sure you have clear, accurate and comprehensive product data so that customers no longer need to search for them on other websites. Secondly: create expert content that will allow buyers to better understand a given sector. This can be in the form of product comparisons, PDF guides or blog tips that will help them make an informed decision to buy this product, and not another. Third: make sure that your customers leave opinions about both the products and the purchasing process itself. Encourage them to do so with even a small discount code for their next purchase. Such an investment will surely pay off – a positive opinion is priceless, as it’s much rarer. After all, customers are much more willing – and in fact need no additional incentive! – to leave negative opinions online.
2. Facilitate the Purchasing Process and Ensure Efficient Customer Service
Customers like shopping in stores that provided them with a good customer experience. We all tend to go back to online stores with an intuitive UX and shopping path – elements that have made our previous purchase easy, not difficult. There is a lot of potential to compete on a different level than price – after all, you have to protect your margin.
Of course, when asked what makes them decide to buy in a given online store, customers most often respond: ‘attractive price’, but they also give other reasons: free delivery, convenient methods of payment and delivery, customer-friendly return policy.
So, first of all: make sure you have an attractive UVP (Unique Value Proposition) – this may be free delivery. Second: make buyers feel safe – secure the store with a certificate, share only proven, popular payment methods. Third: develop an efficient return and complaint handling policy. Fourth: as mentioned before, collect customer feedback and manage the customer feedback acquisition process.
3. Focus More On M-Commerce
Did you know that more and more online transactions come from mobile devices?
Is it the case also in your eStore? Do you measure and analyze it at all? And does this knowledge influence your decisions regarding solutions used in your online store?
In order to generate more traffic from mobile devices, your social media ads and Google Ads should take mobile into account. Your store should not only be responsive, but also enable a smooth purchasing process on a smartphone. It should be just as convenient to shop at your eStore as it is on a desktop. Also, don’t forget that mobile also includes… email and SMS. Each smartphone owner has a mailbox installed on it, and the open-rate of SMS-es reaches 100%! Which brings us to the next point …
4. Communicate with Customer Primarily via Emails and SMS-es
Online stores and brands invest in social media, while customers want the conversation via traditional email and SMS.
Is this not the case for you? Are you not running after the herd, simply because everyone has ‘gone social’? Check what percentage of your customers comes to you from social media and verify your assumptions.
Remember that email and SMS contact details can always be useful for direct communication with consumers. And if you already use these two channels, be sure to check its effectiveness regularly.
5. Take Care of Post-Purchase Communication
Your customers want you to communicate with them both before and after the purchase.
Of course, you shouldn’t be sending a confirmation at every step of the order, but you should send your customers a reassuring message at key moments. What are these moments? First of all: confirmation of order fulfillment, i.e. parcel shipping. Second: notification of acceptance of the return/complaint. Third: information about any delays. In each of these cases it’s worth sending an SMS. Remember that if your customers call the customer service office with questions about their status order, it means that you’re doing something wrong. So fix it ASAP.
6. Use the Potential of (Re)Marketing
The best online stores don’t let customers forget about them. One of the most underestimated forms of customer retention is celebrating anniversaries with them. Most of your customers would like to receive such birthday messages with a discount, either via email or SMS.
But what if you don’t know their date of birth? Use the date of their first purchase or the date of their joining your loyalty program!
Instead of a Summary
So, as you can see, you don’t have to come up with crazy tricks to increase sales and retention in your online store. All you need to do is close the above 6 holes through which your customers leak out to the competition. Good luck!