Running an online business is no different to having a chain of stores on the high street – your best customers are always your existing customers. People that have purchased from you before know how good you are, know your service levels and more importantly know you. As long as you ticked all of these boxes with a big green tick and your prices are well levelled against your competition, these are the kind of customers you should hold on to and existing customers are the easiest to sell to in the future.
Many businesses spend lots of money and time on chasing new customers, organising offline marketing in newspapers, paying for flyers, running TV / Radio adverts and just always chasing the fresh £. How often do you see adverts which apply to “new customers only” and feel slightly frustrated and maybe irritated that you are not allowed to apply for the promotion because you are a loyal customer already?
Isolating your existing customers in pursuit of the new breed is a such a bad thing to do, especially if you are selling products that frequently need to be renewed like food, clothes or peripherals, because your existing customer base is always the easiest to encourage back onto your store to buy from you again.
Imagine if you have a database of 1000 people that have purchased from you before. You could easily email every single one of them using your own system or a dedicated email sender for less than £10. But you decide to spend hundreds of pounds on a newspaper advert and mailing list trying to get new customers. Not only have you overlooked your perfect target audience, but you have just wasted money on chasing new customers which will be harder to convert rather than targeting your existing database which will be much easier to convert.
There are a few things that you can do to keep your existing customers satisfied and buying from you and these can include:
- Special Discounts / Voucher Codes – Discounts will always work for all of us, especially in these hard times. You could offer returning customers 10% off or maybe free postage and packaging.
- Exclusive Promotions And Offers – Exclusive BOGOF (buy one, get one free) are a cracking way of getting people to buy from you again and also to make them feel rewarded for their loyalty.
- Personal Product Promotion – How often do you get product information through from certain retailers and actually connect the product with something you want? Again, this makes you feel looked after as a customer.
- Loyalty Schemes – As most of the major supermarkets will testify, loyalty schemes work because you are encouraging customers to keep spending with you to earn something back.
- Previews And Specials – One of the leading clothing retailers offer their customers 24 hours exclusive access to the sale items before the general public can see these items as this kind of thing makes people feel rewarded.
If you can implement some of the above then you have a very good chance of getting that customer to buy from you again or at least come back to your site.
New customers are always great and sometimes have a higher disposable income with their first order, but it is always cheaper and more effective to get sales from your existing customer database than to spend thousands of pounds of trying to chase the new customers.