When a new customer makes a purchase, it’s only the beginning of your relationship–so you want to knock that first impression out of the park to ensure they keep coming back for more.
Here’s what e-commerce businesses need to know about turning first-time customers into repeat buyers, including:
- Why first-time customers don’t return.
- What turns first-time customers into repeat buyers.
- How to create a memorable experience for your customer before, during and after the checkout process.
Why E-Commerce Customers Don’t Return After Their First Purchase
To start, it’s important to understand why customers don’t return after their first purchase, as you’ll want to solve these issues prior to implementing any customer retention strategies.
Here are some of the top reasons why customers don’t return:
- Purchased a product they loved that is now out of stock or discontinued.
- Unhappy with the product.
- A poor experience with customer service, exchanges or returns.
- Shipping-related issues, including high fees or slow delivery times.
- The shopper has become a customer elsewhere, usually due to lower pricing on products or shipping.
What Turns E-Commerce Customers into Repeat Customers?
A lot can happen between a first-time customer checking out and making a second visit to your online store. You’ll want to keep your brand top-of-mind between visits, and a personalized shopping experience will do just that.
With in-person shopping, a sales associate welcomes customers, learns their preferences and tailors the shopping experience to meet customer needs.
For instance, if you were shopping for a new mattress, the sales associate would ask how you sleep (stomach, side or back), and the level of support and cushion you prefer. They’d ask questions about common aches and pains that may disturb your sleep, along with whether you’re a cold or hot sleeper. From there, they’d let you test out the different available mattresses, take into consideration your responses and offer alternatives as needed. If you mentioned needing sheets or pillows in the conversation, they might point out deals or sales they’re running to help you save.
That’s personalization in action.
With e-commerce, the sales associate is replaced largely by the website, making it extremely difficult to personalize and tailor the shopping experience.
Whether in person or online, personalization makes customers feel like a business cares and appreciates them–and they’ll return to your store when they feel this way.
- 91% of consumers are more likely to shop from brands who recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers.
- 68% of consumers believe it’s important for businesses to tailor experiences based on the client’s tastes and preferences.
- 33% of consumers ended their relationship with a company because the experience wasn’t personalized enough.
Every online purchase that comes in presents an opportunity for you to connect with customers in a meaningful and memorable way. Here’s how to personalize that experience and wow first-time customers.
How to Personalize the Online Experience
To start, navigate to your website as if you were a first-time customer. From the moment you click into the homepage to the moment you land on check out, identify where there are opportunities for personalization.
If you’re trying to reach multiple target markets, consider how to capture their attention with unique messages and visuals across the site. Make your website friendly to return visits, with features like “continue shipping” or “your cart is calling you back,” similar to the Netflix model of “continue watching” for shows you’ve already sampled.
Once you’ve identified areas you can personalize, it’s time to start tailoring the overall brand experience. Here are some effective ways to tie the two in:
- Help visitors decide which products are right for them by using quizzes.
- Offer the option to connect with a personal stylist via chat or video.
- Leverage influencers to promote your products and share your resources. This will help establish a sense of trust with your brand.
- Use customer data, like their location or previously viewed / purchased items to dynamically update content across your website.
- Cover shipping for purchases over a certain amount.
- Offer free returns and exchanges.
While digital tactics are effective, it’s difficult to humanize your brand and create meaningful engagement with customers on a computer or mobile phone. This is why it’s critical to implement personalization strategies after the checkout process.
E-commerce businesses are perfectly-positioned to do so because, unlike in-person shopping, your brand has a one-way ticket into the hands and homes of customers. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to leave a lasting impression and physical reminder of your brand.
How to Personalize the Experience with Your Brand After Checkout
Consider the digital world in which we live. Consumers are bombarded by ad-infested websites, spam emails and click-bait articles every day.
That’s why online retailers are increasingly leveraging print marketing.
Print has inherent trustworthiness that resonates with customers who have become immune to digital advertising. Even better, your message is literally right there in front of their face with print. An analysis of 33 different studies confirmed that people absorb information better when they read it in print instead of on the internet.
Customers had a 77% higher brand recall after reading printed information compared to only 46% with digital ads or email.
But wait, how can a business personalize with print?
Digital printing technology, such as variable data printing, pulls customer data directly from your CRM into every printed piece.
Content, images, colors and logos can be adjusted from one printed piece to the next based on things like a customer’s location, gender, title and purchase history.
Here are some effective examples of personalizing print to keep your brand top-of-mind, delight first-time customers and incentivize return visits:
- Thank you letter with the customer’s name, items ordered and a special offer on a future purchase. Wine.com, for example, includes both of these with shipments and as monthly mailings.
- Tutorial cards that provide detailed instructions based on information unique to the individual customer, such as their experience level, body type, age or skin type. This can also help mitigate returns or bad reviews from customers who aren’t using the product correctly.
- Incentives to connect with your business and share their purchase on social media. Use a unique QR code for each customer to track their engagement and reward them accordingly.
- Give advanced notice of upcoming sales you think they'd be interested in. They will appreciate that your business thought of them and will keep your brand top-of-mind since you helped them plan future purchases around sales or seasonal events.
The opportunities for personalizing print are endless.
Wow First-Time E-Commerce Customers After Checkout with GLF
With more than 20 years of experience in e-commerce fulfillment, GLF takes pride in offering unmatched reliability, personalized customer service and transparent pricing.
As an all-in-one e-commerce fulfillment partner, we can handle every aspect of the order fulfillment process. Unlike other fulfillment partners or 3PLs, GLF has an entire marketing fulfillment division–complete with an in-house, state-of-the-art print shop and commercial mail house–to take care of all of your print needs, including production, storage, inventory management, variable data printing, direct mail and more.
We’re here to answer your questions and tailor our e-commerce fulfillment services to meet the needs of your business. Contact us today to learn more.