Sales tend to take an upward trend during festive holiday periods. Shoppers will turn to your website, possibly for the first time, in search of goods and gifts to purchase without even knowing your brand very well. But often those seasonal shoppers will leave your site, just as quickly as they arrived, possibly never to return again. This leads to high profits during the holidays, and a dip immediately afterwards. So how, as the owner of an eCommerce site, do you convert these one-time shoppers into returning and loyal customers? We have some tips to help you on your way to ensuring profits stay consistent or, even better, rise throughout the year.
Use your emails as a form of remarketing
It’s widely known that strengthening current relationships with customers, no matter how small the relationship is, is far more time and cost-effective than looking for new customers. But while seasonal shoppers may have seen your online offers, products and adverts, they can easily forget about you once they leave your website. This makes it important to re-target shoppers who made a once-off purchase with a follow up email. This not only allows you the chance to re-introduce your brand to the customer but also starts to build a positive association to your brand, without having to do it from scratch. Your email can contain anything from a new product launch and items on promotion, to competitions, a rewards program or a product suggestion chosen according to the last product they purchased. Follow up emails let customers know you haven’t forgotten about them, and that a great online shopping experience is waiting for them.
Go the extra mile
Standing out in the online world can be difficult, but even the smallest of actions will help you build brand loyalty. If you know a large amount of the customers that come to your site over a holiday period are once-off buyers, ensure their experience during that time is not only pleasurable, but also memorable. There are a number of ways to do this:
send a follow-up email post purchase to thank them for their purchase
let them know that they are welcome to get in touch if they have any questions about the product
wish them a happy holiday depending on the season
possibly include a small free gift or gift voucher with their delivery - this does not have to be a costly exercise, your free gift could be a set of Christmas stickers to help shoppers out when wrapping and labelling their gifts, but this immediately creates a positive association with your site.
Invite holiday shoppers to join your exclusive rewards program
A holiday period that comes with an influx of new customers is the perfect opportunity to upsell your site and make it look as attractive and enticing as possible. One way to do this is to use your website, your emails and your social channels to make customers aware that you have a rewards program that it is easy and simple to join. Your rewards program can offer first glance at exclusive deals, specials and new products, and access to a larger variety of private services such as free shipping or discount vouchers after a certain amount of purchases. Highlighting rewards for customer loyalty will pull interest from those who might have only been once-off shoppers and hopefully create repeat customers.
Make use of a secure payment gateway
Last but certainly not least, ensure your eCommerce site makes use of a secure and effective payment gateway. Despite the strides that the eCommerce industry has made in the country, South African consumers still show a lack of trust in making online payments as well many still being unaware of the fact that multiple payment methods are available to them. Figures show that only three million South Africans regularly shop online. This means that you must use a payment gateway that offers customers security and multiple payment methods, and you must make them aware of it. If a customer is on your site for the first time, you want to make a good impression in order to create the potential for them to become repeat customers. Make sure their checkout process is safe and secure using a reputable and trusted payment gateway like PayU. PayU is the biggest payment gateway in South Africa and services over 1 500 local merchants. They provide various payment methods to suite your needs e.g. credit cards, debit cards, EFT payments and even loyalty points. They provide fraud protection and 3D secure and a simple checkout process to suit the busy customer as well as your business.
Every eCommerce site is different and so is every customer, we hope some or all of these tips can be applied to your business to encourage those once-off holiday shoppers to become regulars to your site. Once they’ve visited your site for the first time the relationship has already begun, now you have to nurture it by applying an array of approaches that will help customers remember your name. Follow up with customers after a recent purchase, surprise them with an unexpected gift, offer rewards, provide a safe and simple payment process and you’ll be on your way to retaining more customers over the holiday buzz.