Okay, so you’re managing to make some sales, you’ve cast your lines, made your catch and you’ve got customers to your store. But, the big question is – How do you keep them there?
Customer retention has a massive part to play in all retail environments, be that online or offline. Give me 10 customers who buy from me once a week over 50 one time purchasers any time. Consistent profit is the difference between businesses that survive and businesses that don’t.
Records prove that across the board customer retention costs on average 10% of the cost of bringing new customers in, so it makes good business sense to have loyal customers. But, as is the case with everything, you have to give them a reason to stick around. Simple things such as having the right attitude and being prepared to answer any questions they may have, or personal touches such as calling them by their first name and leaving your first name at the bottom of any correspondence can do wonders for your relationship with your customers. People like to feel like you’re not too big for them, every single sale must be as important as that first one to you.
You should always include a size chart in your description and make sure it’s somewhere that they will see it (you can get size charts for our products from the resources - size charts section of the learning centre) because 99% of us know the struggle of ordering clothes online and it arrives and doesn’t quite fit. Having the size chart there means they can buy from you in confidence and know they won’t have to worry about returning the item over a sizing issue. Things like this will have them coming back if for nothing but the easy buying experience.
Good customer retention practices can also help to acquire new customers too – especially through word of mouth. If one of your customers is approached by a friend asking where they got that new T-Shirt from, what do you want them to say? You certainly don’t want them to say they got it from your site but had a problem with your customer service. If they had a good experience, they’re likely to tell their friends about it, which more often than not will lead to a sale.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry can run a store without problems, but where the really quality stores shine is in the way they deal with problems that might come up. Your best chance to make a lasting impression is when you get an opportunity to rectify an issue your customer has, helping them with the order process, or by answering a question they have about your products. How many of you have a favourite place to buy something from just because you know 100% that if something does go wrong the staff are more than happy to fix it?
When your store is turning over enough money to pay for staff, one of the first people you should recruit is a customer service operator, have them run the live chat on your site, even if they won’t be answering questions on there all day, they can also monitor emails, social networks and the phone. If your customer has a question and decides to see if they can get an answer, is it unreasonable to assume almost 100% of sales will fail if they don’t get through to someone? Especially to someone who can give them an answer.
Start a newsletter ASAP. You can do this for free via Mailchimp. Make sure you make your newsletter attractive, one of the best ways to do this is to offer a 10% discount code to all newsletter subscribers or a code for free postage. Use your newsletter to showcase new designs that come into stock.
The golden rule of customer retention though is this – Actions speak louder than words!