Growth is one of the most pressing ecommerce problems. How do you grow your business with the resources you already have?
Not everyone has access to or desire for extra funding. Growing in sales while not investing more is a hard task. One strategy we see working for ecommerce brands is a focus on existing customers and getting repeat purchases from them rather than acquiring new customers all the time. Repeat orders can be the answer to growth for many small and medium-sized ecommerce businesses. A recent report on retention among direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands showed that as much as 60% of revenue can come from repeat customers at a retention rate of 28% on average.
Why drive repeat orders?
Ecommerce competition grows by the day and so do customer acquisition costs, i.e. ads. If you want to grow your ecommerce brand, you need another way of increasing revenue that does not rely on constant marketing investments. That’s where customer retention comes in.
Selling more to existing customers saves you money because it is virtually free and your profit margins are not eaten by high costs. Also, it’s easier because those people already know you so little persuasion is needed. They are familiar with terms, shipping times and sizes so they don’t return or cancel orders often. And they’re much more likely to do word-of-mouth marketing for you after shopping repeatedly.
Generally, a brand enjoying loyal customers is a successful one. It means people are satisfied with the quality and service. On the business side, it translates to stable revenue, predictable cash flow and sustainable growth, independent of marketing spending.
Email marketing driving repeat purchases
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective parts of ecommerce strategy. Coupled with first-party data for customer segmentation and personalization, it is the easiest tactic to drive repeat purchases from your existing customer base. Here are ideas for email campaigns you can run for different customer segments to get them to buy again.
Follow up on buying a particular product
This is an easy base for future engagement. Inform buyers about new versions of the product they bought – new variants with more features, new colors, limited editions. Launching accessories for the main product is also a great way to reconnect with old customers.
Inspirational content is another tactic to keep people using your product and increase their satisfaction in the hope it will make them shop again. It should be tailored by product and can include use tips and inspiration from other clients – user-generated content.
Especially if you sell many items in different categories, it makes sense to focus your retention efforts by category. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cross-sell categories, but a more personalized approach will be to tailor your offers by what you already know the customer likes. This can work really well with special categories like maxi sizes (they won’t shop petite) or age-defined categories like mature skin (vs acne-prone).
So to get more orders from those people, offer them more of the same category they’ve shopped before. Even give them a discount for their next order. It likely fits their style, needs and preferences. Fight browse abandonment with a good offer on the product they viewed (a good ecommerce CRM will help you track browse abandonment and engage people directly and even automatically).
Pro tip: To make your customers feel even more comfortable, take their location into account and tailor campaigns so you don’t offer heavy-duty down jackets to Australians when it’s summer there.
To keep people’s interest for longer and prevent them from churning, repeat purchases should keep being exciting. Increasingly better offers every time and surprise freebies will make every order and delivery special. Perks like premium access and priority support are a good way to thank your loyal customers. Thus, they’ll be happy to continue shopping from you.
Engage with feedback and ideas
Another email campaign to stimulate returning customers is asking for feedback. Ask what people think and respond to both negative and positive feedback to show care. Even if there was some dissatisfaction, your authenticity and approachability can fix things. And for the positive reviews, your answer will strengthen the relationship with the customer.
What’s more, you can ask people’s opinion on the name, color, features, etc. of a new product. First, this will make it a better fit with the target market. And second, the more involved customers are in the creation of a product, the more they’ll buy.
Reactivate idle customers
Driving repeat sales relies on regularly reminding old customers about yourself. The trick is to do it in a relevant and timely way so they are really interested.
You can automate an email to go out when they haven’t ordered for over the average time between orders for your product. This is a reorder reminder so they don’t run out of coffee, dog food or shaving cream.
You can also re-engage idle customers with products that have demonstrated they stimulate high loyalty in others. There should be at least one product that creates more loyal customers than others. Look at your retention analysis to find out, then use this loyalty driving product as a peaceful weapon.
Some people don’t shop from you for themselves and that’s a valid reason not to bother them all the time. But use the occasion on which they did buy to reactivate them – holiday shoppers, for example. They’re an excellent segment to go to for repeat orders – you’ve won their trust once. Last but not least, you can use data on coupon usage to reactivate people with similar campaigns. For example, people who used a coupon for Mother’s Day or back-to-school.
To sum up
Email marketing and customer data offer near endless opportunities to drive sales. Instead of a blanket approach, it’s better to use different segmentations and targeted campaigns to engage on a more personalized, relevant level.
Murry Ivanoff, CEO, MetriloMurry believes that the brands of tomorrow will be created by entrepreneurs, not corporations. Metrilo helps those ecommerce brands thrive with ecommerce analytics, CRM and email marketing focused on customer retention and sustainable growth.