By Michael Auger
Making buyers lifelong customers should be the goal of everyone operating an online store. Retailers want this golden goose because it is less expensive to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. However, it takes a concerted effort to keep first time buyers around for life. Following are three strategies you can incorporate to keep shoppers coming back to your eCommerce site.
Track customer behavior
Knowing where your site visitors are coming from, what they are doing on your site once they get there, and what leads them to complete their purchase is critical information to you as a business owner. Setting up and properly configuring Google Analytics and Google Web Master Tools to track website traffic and visibility will help you gain this insight. There is a tremendous amount of data that can be collected via these tools. Basic information like page views can help guide decisions about site structure, site design and call to action buttons.
Focus on user experience
Once you have some data in your hands, you can start thinking about the overall user experience on your site. What pages are site visitors clicking the most? For example, if you sell sterling silver western jewelry and the most visited page on your site is a specific sterling silver pendant, you can create a video clip of someone modeling that pendant. Keeping customers entertained about a product or service can give you an additional 30 seconds of their time, and possibly a sale. Consumers buy from online sites that give them compelling reasons to come back.
Now that you have added compelling content to highly trafficked pages within your site and increased visitors’ average time on pages, how do you close a sale? This can be especially hard when your customer may not need to make a purchase at this time. However, since these customers have purchased from you in the past and know who you are, you can use email marketing as a tactic. This does not mean you should send an email to your customer that says, “Buy now!”; but you can send an email that says something like, “Hello, we are that company that you bought that awesome product from a while ago. We appreciate your business. Here are some more great products you might like.”
The point of an email marketing campaign is not necessarily to add dollars to the bottom line immediately, but to give your customers something interesting to chew on, with the hopes they will return to your site when they are ready to purchase. Timing and content is key. Other business basics that go into creating happy and engaged shoppers include fanatical customer service, products and services that are what you say they are, and a website that loads quickly. All these tactics help create customers that return to your site often, and become customers for life.