Profit comes from existing customers. I’ll say it again. Profit comes from existing customers. Sure, you need to build this customer base, but we all know the struggles of maturing your company after you establish a solid customer base. If you look at the numbers, a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase your profitability by 75 percent.
That’s quite the incentive to start looking at your existing ecommerce customers and learning how you can please them the most! The stats are sound, so I figured I would put together an ultimate list of ways to maximize your profit by just focusing on your existing customers. Feel free to bookmark this!
1. Hold an online webinar that helps your customers learn more about how to use your products. A solid tool for this is Go To Webinar.
2. Hold customer events to show how much you appreciate them, to give out cool stuff and to show them how to use products. (Ladies night, concerts, networking events, etc.) Shopify (the current leader of our ecommerce platforms chart) offers a nice Events Calendar add-on.
3. Create a consistent testimonial program for you to gain quality testimonials and so customers feel they are being listened to. The Kudobuzz Testimonial and Review system works well for this.
4. Make an online forum where customers talk to each other, share ideas and constantly think about your products. (This also brings people back to your site.) Try out the Muut Shopify add-on for forums.
5. Send out automated receipts that include upsells and promotions to convince them to come back and buy a little extra. Receiptful is my best recommendation for automated receipts.
6. Implement a strategic rewards program, coupled with segmentation, for targeting those who are truly your top customers. Check out the various rewards add-on options if you use Shopify.
7. Start a customer referral program. This rewards those who refer and it brings in new customers as well. Use Friendbuy for a slick referral program
8. Devise a monthly payment program for some of your most loyal customers. This often works if you set a buying limit, because it ensures people don’t buy too much with their monthly payment, but it guarantees monthly money in your pocket. A nice add-on for this is ReCharge.
9. Upsell with related products throughout the checkout process.
10. Package some of the items that are typically sold together. This way, customers receive a small discount when they opt for the larger bundles.
11. Analyze past purchase information to send properly targeted marketing emails. If someone never buys toys for girls, why would you send them an email for a Barbie doll?
12. When you send out a marketing email, make sure the links lead to relevant pages. Someone might seem interested in your new clothing line, but they won’t buy anything if the link just sends them to your homepage.
13. Respond to all customer reviews, good or bad. Just because someone attacks you on Yelp or Facebook doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reply. Always apologize and try to make it right by offering something in return. That customer will most likely never come back, but everyone else who sees that you responded professionally gives you a gold star. Keep in mind that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved bad experience. So mitigate the problems quickly!
14. Send out automated defector emails for customers who haven’t shown up to your website in a while. Offer a promotion and tell them that you miss them. This is a tried and true method for bringing back customers who forgot about you. Autoresponder Max includes these features.
15. Target the customers who are not good, and not bad, but neutral. These people require a small nudge to push them towards some of the items that they either didn’t understand or weren’t certain about buying. Create automated emails to reach out and offer educational guides, tips and tutorials.
16. Always include a direct email address in the communications you send out. This structures a line of trust between you and the customer since they no longer have to shuffle through a knowledge base or sit in a lengthy call queue.
17. Figure out your high-season and target your customers during this time, because this indicates they have more cash to spend.
18. Prepare for the burden of the holidays, and reward your loyal customers with things like free shipping, discounts and maybe even a little holiday greeting card.
19. Keep your affiliate sellers constantly updated throughout the year. Although your affiliate’s customers are not your direct buyers, you still make money from them.
20. If you don’t have an affiliate program, create one. This initially helps you bring in new customers, and once the affiliates began selling, you have your own little sales crew. The affiliate program add-ons from Shopify are endless.
21. Think about creating lifetime customers by offering payment plans.
22. Amplify your lifetime customer program by letting people trade in old items for discounts on new ones.
23. Create no-brainer upsells like media storage or gift wrapping.
24. Give some of your customers complimentary items when they hit a certain checkout price benchmark. If everyone knows that you distribute little treats at a certain price point, why wouldn’t they always try to hit that mark?
25. Send out letters from the CEO or president of your company. Small online businesses don’t have shareholder reports, but try to make people feel special by keeping them in the loop with your company.
26. Never assume that even your most loyal customers know about every product you offer. Send out a physical letter or email every year thanking customers for their support and reminding them about some of the newer or more obscure products in your store.
27. Give your customers a say in what you produce and sell. How happy would it make a customer if they suggested a cool style or product and you pieced together a new item?
28. Ask your customers what ticks them off the most about your company. It may hurt at first, but fixing problems and showing folks that you care about their opinion is what matters most. Try out POWr Survey to gain feedback.
29. Provide multiple outlets for customers to stay connected with your company. For example, some people like using Facebook, while others would rather learn about promotions and updates through email. Try to utilize as many mediums as you can.
30. If a significant portion of your customers are from a certain area, bring the shop to them. Hold your own little community fair. Give out prizes and entertain your customers with what they can expect from you in the future.
31. Always have a person on your support team ready. Implement a popup support module on your store and make sure the system is manageable from mobile devices. This gives your support team the ability to respond to questions while sitting at home. Shout Support is a useful add-on to chat with customers from your phone.
32. Make creating accounts simple so that when a customer returns they have all of their information already filled in and ready for them to go through with a purchase.
That’s it for my tips on maximizing profit from your existing customers. If you ever feel like your online store has hit a plateau, post this list on your wall to remind you that you can never stop catering to your most loyal customers. Tell us some other tips you might have for utilizing existing customers in the comments section below.
Feature image curtsey of Elena Lazutina