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3 Simple Strategies to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Online Store

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Daniel Bailey
April 10, 2018

Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey has written 3 articles for WebKnowHow.
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Do you know which type of customer brings your online store more money? New customers? Or repeat customers? Think that you should only be focusing on getting new customers? Statistics from various marketing sources might surprise you.


In a BIA/Kelsey report, they found more than half of the revenue from 61 percent of small businesses came from repeat customers. Marketing Tech Blog says that, on average, customers who are loyal are worth up to 10 times their first purchase. Additionally, the National Law Review has concluded it is 5 times more expensive to gain new customers than it costs to keep customers coming back.

Naturally, this need to keep customers coming back extends to brick and mortar stores, as well as service-oriented businesses. Customer loyalty is essential to a business’s bottom line, no matter the industry. So much so, it is a point that is considered when businesses are purchased or sold.


Some services have created a business model ensuring businesses keep their customers during acquisitions. For example, a major selling point of US Dental Transitions is "dentists purchasing a practice are confident that patients and staff continue to stay loyal."

So how can online stores ensure customers keep coming back for more? Here are 3 simple strategies any e-commerce business can try.


1. A welcome and “you are awesome” gift.


Who doesn't like to feel loved and treasured? We all want the red-carpet treatment and appealing to that desire can increase loyalty in your customers.


After a customer makes their first purchase and signs up to receive X item from your store, give them a little something for free.

Stats show that your customers will be the most engaged with you and your store immediately after their first purchase. So capitalize on that. It is the one time that mail from your store will not be thoughtlessly chucked into the trash box, so grab onto this opportunity with both hands.

Great welcome gift ideas that companies have used effectively include free shipping on their next order. Or a two for one deal just for the customer. Or if yours is a subscription-based service, a free month of content.

2. A win-back / “we miss you” campaign.

Life is busy for your average customer. They have plenty of options when it comes to online stores. So don't let your feelings get hurt if they forget about you. It is on you to remind them of the great deal they found on your site and do something to win them back.

A win-back campaign typically involves an email to the customer with a special coupon. The coupon could be free shipping on their next order. Or it could be a great deal on an item similar to what they purchased the last time.


Just be careful that you don't try the win-back approach too soon. If you do, you might be giving away money to customers who still remember their last purchase and were just about to return for more.


A good amount of time to wait is around 3 months after a first purchase.

3. A loyalty program with perks that don't suck.

Loyalty programs have long been used to keep customers returning for more. And with good reason. Loyalty programs reward customers for each purchase they make, starting from the first purchase. Often, they involve awarding points that can be used toward in-store purchases. Other loyalty program ideas use a method of one free item for each X number of items purchased.

But with so many loyalty programs in play, how can you make yours stand out and be a strong selling point? Turn the loyalty program itself into a game. For example, have customers compete with others to get the most points during a limited amount of time. And then award a prize to the winner. Other ideas to gamify the experience include introducing levels into the program. Achieving a certain level could equal greater discounts on items for a certain amount of time.

There is a strong psychological reason for gamifying the purchase experience. We all like to compete with others, achieve goals, and receive recognition for doing so. A loyalty program that hits all these emotional sweet spots is one that will be effective at keeping users engaged and coming back for more.

Get creative in what you offer. With a little brainstorming, you can turn an old marketing trick into one that appeals to today's buyers.

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