How to Turn Browsers & One-Time Buyers into Loyal Customers

By August 11, 2017eCommerce

You really only have two options to increase sales. Drive more traffic to your website or convert more of your existing traffic into paying customers. The next step to take is to get those customers to purchase again and become a loyal customer. This has more to do with your overall business model and how you differentiate your brand among the competition.  We’ll explore more below, but first we need to understand the types of customers that buy products.

The 5 Types of eCommerce Customers

In the eCommerce world, generally speaking, there are five types of customers:

  • One-time shoppers: They use a coupon code or heard about an awesome sale so make a purchase, but then never visit your site or buy from you again.
  • Browsers: They browse through your site, and do so numerous times, but have yet to buy anything from you.
  • Bargain hunters: They only buy something they want when they see or hear about a good deal.
  • Researchers: They thoroughly review your site and your competitor’s’ site before deciding if they should buy from you or not.
  • Loyals: They know your products and always choose your site to make their purchases.

Obviously, the latter is what you want out of these five customer types.

Turning Browsers into Buyers

Before you can have loyal customers, you need those browsers to actually buy something from you. Here are a few ways you can convert a browser into a buyer:

Once you get a browser to make a purchase, you can then work on turning them into a loyal customer. Here are some examples of what other retailers are doing.  

Creating Loyal Customers

If you’re great to first-time customers, they’ll come back. That profitable cycle will continue if you continue providing great customer service and products. In fact, business that have 40% repeat customers generate approximately 50% more revenue than business that only have 10% repeat customers. It would be wise to measure your repeat customers using custom variables in your analytics platform then segment the data for additional analysis.

But, you have to know how to get repeat customers for your eCommerce business. Luckily, there are a few ways to do it.

Customer Loyalty Programs

It costs businesses more to get new customers than it does to get repeat customers—five times more to be exact. That’s why creating a customer loyalty program is such a profitable tactic for many eCommerce business.

And there’s not just a one-size-fits-all type of customer loyalty program. There are numerous options to test if you aren’t sure where to start.

The Points System

A common type of loyalty program is signing up for an account with the business and then getting points for signing up, making purchases, referring friends, sharing your experience on social media, etc. Evy’s Tree, a luxury and comfort wear retail company for women, is one company that offers a point system loyalty program.

 

referral program evystree

[Screenshot: evystree.com]

The Tier System

This program puts customers into different levels based on their loyalty, aka the more they spend with you. The more they spend, the more they receive. Fashion and jewelry retailer Charming Charlie has their Charm Club Reward Program. Depending on how much you spend per calendar year, you become a bronze, silver or gold member. The higher your level, the more perks you get.

tier program loyalty

[Screenshot: charmingcharlie.com]

The Value-Based Program

If you and your customers have a cause you really care about, you can base your loyalty program off that. With this program, though, a customer’s reward isn’t points for free stuff. Instead, you donate money or an item to a charity or organization. That’s what Amazon’s AmazonSmile is all about. When you create an Amazon account and shop through smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choosing.

The Paid Program

barnes noble membership program

[Screenshot: barnesandnoble.com]

The paid program is really straightforward—people pay an annual or monthly fee to be a member of your VIP club that offers free shipping, discounts, etc. New customers are highly unlikely to join this club, so you need a solid returning customer base before trying this one out.

Email Marketing Strategy

Sending optimized, triggered emails is another great way to garner more loyal customers. Emails are an easy way to add personalization to your marketing tactics.

sephora email marketing

This email from Sephora is the perfect example of sending a personalized message to a customer. It addresses the customer by name at the top, reminds her that she needs to restock her last purchase soon and then shows other products she might be interested in based off her recent purchase. You can’t get more personalized than that.

You can also send personalized emails when a shopper has abandoned their shopping cart or when you have an upcoming promotion their past purchases show they’d be interested in.

User-Generated Content

You can also turn a one-time buyer into a loyal customer by utilizing user-generated content. UGC is all about the customer. It’s a simple but effective way to make your current customers feel more included. Plus, people trust their peers more than brands. And in the case of UGC, 90% of respondents from a recent survey said UGC had an influence over making an online purchase, with 53% saying it was either extremely or very influential.

Once a customer makes a purchase, encourage them to share their experience and your product with a tweet, Instagram post, etc., and then tag you in it and/or use a hashtag. Then you can respond to their post or share their post on your website or social platforms. UGC makes customers feel a little closer to your eCommerce business, and this small bond will spiral into a loyal relationship if you handle it right.
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About TJ Welsh

TJ has worked in the digital marketing space since 2006. He has worked at a number of agencies and and helped hundreds of clients grow their business through SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing. He currently lives in Lehi , UT and enjoys spending time with his family.

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