How to Gain and Retain Customers Online
Running an online store has a number of benefits but in a competitive market there can also be many challenges and implications along the way. So how can you attract customers without spending a large amount of your budget? Here are a few simple ideas that can lead to successful outcomes.
Don’t be shy and ask for help from bigger brands
Running competitions via larger brands or asking them to collaborate with you can lead to rewarding results. It enables you to reach out to their customer base which is likely to be a lot larger than yours.Usually mobile providers like O2 and Vodafone will be happy to include you on their discount apps, providing you send them a decent offer to use. If their marketing team agrees to data capture as part of the activity, jump at the chance to increase and strengthen your email contact list.
Example- Vodafone VIP lounge
Spread the word about online sales
If you have an online seasonal sale or are offering specific discounts on products, ensure you push them by promoting via Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms you use.
If you partake in affiliate marketing (a process where publishers are rewarded for helping a business by promoting their product, service or site) make sure they are aware of any unique offers so they can spread the word for you. They tend to have their own social community and are very active in pushing the word out there on your behalf, especially if it is a benefit to their larger network.
Remain competitive and offer price matching
If you are stocking brands that are popular but are not selling at prices that are competitive, potential customers will just go elsewhere to receive what they are looking for at a lower price. If you can price match or offer an incentive that will encourage a customer to buy from you, then do so and you may just steal a sale from a competitor. This is easier said than done if your margins are low and will not work for all retailers.
“In the world of retail, price remains king; more than two-thirds of us will shop online to get the best price, according to Kantar.” BBC reports.
Working with bloggers
Instead of spending a huge amount on advertising, make the most of a social media plan. Reaching out to influential bloggers who can spread the word about products to their followers will have an effect on increasing sales. Links from bloggers are also powerful in aiding your SEO, helping your business get to that all important better position on Google through social mentions and links that carry authority.
Making sure your products stand out and look appealing to customers will encourage more sales. As it is hard to see the full detail of a product without picking it up, styles and colours can soon appear different online. Introducing new technology like 360 degree product imagery enables customers to see products in as much detail as possible before they buy, making the decision process easier. However this equipment can be pricey, so if you don’t want to invest in 360 just make sure your photography is as crisp and clear as possible. It is also worth asking suppliers to send you high res images of products to speed up the process.
Listen to your customers and provide rewards
With the likes of Facebook and Twitter creating a free space for customers to voice their opinions about shopping experiences, it is imperative that you pay attention to open channels of communication and respond appropriately. If someone has a complaint and you want to resolve it, take the conversation away from the public eye and send a personal email. This shows you care and also directs the conversation away from other customers. Keep your customers connected by sending weekly e-newsletters about new products and discount offers.
People always like to feel like they are getting a good deal, even if it is only 10% off. If your customers shop with you on a regular basis, make them feel special by offering an exclusive discount or run a competition via Facebook and encourage all customers to partake.
Make delivery appealing
Changing something simple like the delivery options, can make a difference when a customer is going through the decision process before buying. Offering free delivery for a limited time or when customers spend over a certain amount will encourage people to stick around and shop with you rather than going elsewhere.
This post has been written from a personal point of view and using my own knowledge from experience.