Online retail has risen to record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers make the switch to internet shopping for everything from essentials to gardening supplies and sports equipment.
In April, online shopping accounted for a record 30.7%% of retail sales according to the Office for National Statistics, highlighting lockdown as an unprecedented opportunity for internet retailers.
A couple of months down the line, it’s prime time for online retailers to hone the virtual customer experience and turn shoppers into loyal, repeat customers.
There are various reasons customers decide to return to a business. Sometimes it’s convenience or special offers, maybe there’s a particular brand or product in stock that’s not easy to find elsewhere, or perhaps it’s the level of service or product quality that keeps the customers coming back for more.
So, what can you do to encourage customers to come back? Here are our top three picks for tipping the odds in your favour.
Exceed your customers’ expectations
The service a customer receives can make or break a retail relationship. Make sure the consumer feels valued from start to finish along their journey and you’ll have laid the foundations for a repeat visit.
A recent study suggests that more than 80% of consumers are more likely to shop with a business again after receiving good service. High standards of service include making sure orders are well packaged and arrive on time, responding to queries promptly and efficiently, and perhaps even stretching to little extras like a handwritten note with an order or a special offer.
Increasing customer retention can also generate a rise in profits – the same study found that an increase in customer retention of just 5% equates to a rise of 125% in profits.
Go the extra mile to add value
To build up a relationship with customers, and to keep them interested in what you have to offer, give them more than just what they order. This doesn’t necessarily mean a free gift – it means sharing your expertise and ideas in ways that will keep shoppers engaged and add value.
If you have a website, consider creating helpful blog posts that are relevant to your audience and include a snippet in your email newsletter. Alternatively, you might decide to create video content like tutorials that are designed to help customers have the best experience when using your products.
Showcasing your expertise can help establish your brand as a leader in its field and build trust with consumers, which in turn makes them more likely to shop with you again.
Personalise the experience
Customers need to feel valued, which means anticipating the different needs and requirements that individual consumers might have.
Just as you might offer variations of a product to give more colour or size options, providing plenty of choice throughout the customer journey means you can cater for different audience segments and nobody has to feel overlooked.
Recommended items based on what a customer has browsed on the website can be helpful, while tailored advertising after a purchase or newsletter subscription can be customised to show your audience a selection of products or services personalised to their browsing history.
Another way to customise the experience is to offer a range of payment options at the checkout, such as credit or debit card, buy now/pay later options, and zero-interest credit choices. By offering different ways to pay, you put the consumer in control as well as offering maximum convenience.
For more information about how interest-free credit options could work with your website, contact the specialist team at DivideBuy today. We’re specialists in point-of-sale finance that helps your customers spread the cost of their purchases – and gives them another reason to come back to your website.