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WooCommerce TutorialsE-commerce: how to retain customers and keep them coming back to your store

Every single seller, from oil tycoons to lemonade kiosks, know that the first and most important thing for their business is to have customers.

That’s why we invest time and money in marketing campaigns that might spread the word about our stores, often ignoring one important element: if new customers are important, then regular customers are even more important.

Surely more customers mean more sales, but the pool of potential customers we are drawing from isn’t endless as we would like to believe and it wouldn’t be wise to discard a customer after one single “use” right?

I’ve mentioned in previous articles that it’s important to keep your customers loyal, but I never really got deeper into this point: so this time let’s focus on five ways to make customer perform further purchases.

Discount vouchers and custom coupons

The internet is a cold and desolate place where it’s hard to feel at ease, but we can work on it!

The best way to keep our customers coming back to our store is to make them feel at home by customizing their experience on your website according to their choices.

That’s why it’s particularly effective to display a “users also bought” section, why not take it a step further?

You might have noticed that many forums usually send birthday or holiday wishes emails. It’s shown that a simple gift or happy birthday email could keep customers loyal to a specific service for years!

This happens for two main reasons:

  • It makes customers feel important – “Hey, they remembered my birthday” without thinking it’s an automatic email and that vendors probably don’t even remember their name.
  • It makes customers want to reciprocate – A gift, a congratulatory message or a custom discount for birthday occasions are great ways to trigger the Principle of Reciprocity, a subconscious human mind process theorized by Robert Cialdini.

Whenever we receive gifts we feel obligated to reciprocate. Cialdini himself defines this process as one of the most powerful in the world. Why?

  • It may be imposed – Customers didn’t ask for a discount, but they received one anyway, which puts them in a position of debt (psychologically speaking).
  • It gets paid back in higher value – People don’t reciprocate gifts with something of a lesser value, they would still feel in debt.

Make customers feel unique and you’ll be their only vendor.

If you use WooCommerce, you can use the WooCommerce Coupon E-Mail System plugin to send digital coupons via email directly to customers.

Create a customer loyalty program

After making your customers feel special, we need to appreciate each purchase they make.

After buying something people often feel a sense of regret for the money they spent.

And this is how a lot of dangerous questions start to form in people’s mind, such as “Did I do the right thing?” or “If I could go back, would I buy it again?”.

Those doubts surely don’t affect the purchase they already made, however, you are reading this article to keep customers coming to your store, right? That’s why it would be a good idea to reward every single purchase, connecting them together rather than making them a one time only experience.

A good customer loyalty program rewards customers with shopping points that can be exchanged with gifts or good discounts, which leads you to two main results:

  • It improves your relationship with customers, making them feel like they are getting closer to an objective each time they buy from your store.
  • It increases the average transaction value by customers who would otherwise stop at their first purchase.

Keep in mind that this tool increases its effectiveness in time: each time customers buy from you, they are encouraged to buy more, because this will shorten their path to the loyalty discount.

Loyalty programs are one of the most powerful marketing systems in the world.

You can easily implement a loyalty program to your WooCommerce based store thanks to the WooCommerce Points and Rewards plugin.

Offer good customer service

Usually, sellers only have one question for their customers: “Would you like to buy this item?” and they aspect for the answer to that question to be “Yes!”.

Sadly there’s no guarantee your customers are going to actually do that. At the contrary, even just one customer can be an endless source of questions and doubts that might undermine their trust in you and your store.

Which is precisely why I recommend you offer the best customer service you could possibly afford, in particular I recommend you:

  • Implement a live chat system in order to answer all of these questions in the very moment they are asked.
  • Implement an FAQ page for each product you sell in your store.
  • Offer a technical support service in case your products may require one.

Offer help and assistance and you will surely be appreciated and reciprocated.

Create a blog with interesting themed articles

Offering content regarding the products you sell surely is a good way to obtain visibility and attract new customers (we all hope our store is going to end up on page one in Google searches sooner or later…) but we shouldn’t underestimate the impact of this on regular customers.

Especially when it comes to specific topics and fields, it surely pays off to try and make your store a landmark for all people interested in them.

Your objective in this case is to have them set your website as their browser homepage. Clearly this is the best case scenario, but better aim for the stars, right?

The three main rules of a good blog are:

  1. Perseverance – Publish your articles on a regular basis
  2. Quality – Offer interesting content that can be appreciated
  3. Uniqueness – Don’t copy/paste articles you find around the web, make your own!

Appreciate customers reviews

In the first part of this article we have seen how the Principle of Reciprocity influences your customers when they find a discount, but this is not the only fixed action pattern we can use.

The Principle of Social Proof is also very important: if an event has many participants or an object is being bought by many people, then many other are going to want it.

This subconscious process is what lies behind, for instance, the developing of fashion and is so ingrained in our head to the point that it affects our every day behaviour (whenever, for instance, we look at others when in doubt about what to do in specific situations).

That’s why it’s good to show customers that many others came before them. How?

  • Adding a “Best Seller” section to your store.
  • Encouraging customer reviews.

This last one is particularly important, since other than appreciating buyers’ opinions, thus improving your relationship with them, you also get a powerful persuasive tool for new customers.

It could also work to reward reviewers with discounts or, even better, to let them upload their own pictures of themselves with the product and dedicate a section of your website to these pictures.

The SammyDress website is a good example of this system, it rewards customers’ pictures with credits, making customers feel important and motivating them to share their products on Social Networks.

Excellent! Following these 5 steps you just created a user friendly website where your customers can spend some quality time, preventing you from losing them after one single purchase.