In today's world of internet-based EVERYTHING, online shopping is how most people make purchases. While large businesses, such as Amazon, are responsible for a huge amount of these purchases, there are many small-business online stores that offer unique products and options that large companies just can't provide.
However, the owners of these online businesses often struggle with how to build their client-base and retain customers while still adding new business. Without face-to-face interaction, customer loyalty can be a tough obstacle, and as every business owner knows, loyalty and customer retention is one of the best, and quickest, ways to grow your company.
So, how do you market your online business so as to hang onto your customers?
Win Them Over
It might seem like a given, but customer service goes a long way in customer retention. In a traditional store setting, business owners could chat with customers, be available for product explanations and demonstration, answer questions, etc. With an online store, this is not as straightforward since there are often no hard-set business hours, and you aren't able to have in-person conversations with clients. However, all is not lost! There are some simple ways to offer great customer service to your online customers. A few include...
· Be available for questions through means such as email or online chat. Consider advertising times that you are online and available for answering questions or concerns. Make sure your times are accessible for the general public, or for the client base you serve. For example, if most of your customers are working folks, being online at 2:00 in the afternoon won't be easy for them from their office. Consider having early morning or later evening hours when they can reach you.
· Prompt response is important! If you receive an email from a customer, answer it within a 24-hour period. The sooner you answer, the more they will feel like they are being taken care of, and that's a huge way to build customer loyalty.
· Let them "get to know you". Have a small blurb or introduction on your website. By having a brief description of you, and perhaps a photo or two, customers are reminded that they are interacting with a person, not just a computer.
Reward Their Loyalty
By offering customer loyalty or rewards programs, you can keep clients coming back for more! Knowing that their continued business is appreciated and valued by you as a business owner is a great way to get customers to purchase from you on multiple occasions. Want more "bang for your buck"? Offer a rewards program that encourages them to involve friends in the shopping experience. For example, a "bring a friend to shop, and you both get 10% off your total purchase" or something like that. This not only offers your existing customers an opportunity for savings, but it also introduces new faces to your store, meaning you have the chance at winning them over as well!
Keep It Personal
Not only do customers need to see that YOU are a person (refer to the "getting to know you" idea above) but they need to know that you see them as an individual as well. If they feel like a number or a check mark, they are far less likely to return to your business. Make sure you keep the online shopping experience personal for them by including their name in every piece of correspondence, and do your best to include details that pertain to them. Even if it involves going back into past emails and looking for some specifics, it's worth the effort if it means you are gaining a long-term customer.
So, be encouraged online business-owners! You can gain a huge customer following without ever meeting your clients face-to-face. All you need are some simple marketing strategies. Don't think you have the time, energy, or talents to do this? We can help! Newton Peach Marketing specializes in retention marketing techniques, and we will customize a plan for you based on what your needs are and the customers you serve. We do the hard work, and you reap the benefits. It's that easy!