Posted: Tue 29th Sep 2020
How do you turn one-off sales into repeat business? Oliver Horne, e-commerce marketing manager for UPS UK & Ireland, shares his tips on how to encourage your customers to keep buying from you.
For small business owners, single sales are not enough - repeat business is key to generating consistent revenue. But how do you turn a visitor to your online store into a loyal customer who will keep returning to buy more from you? According to our recent study of online shoppers, empowering your customers is one of the most important things you can do. Below, I've outlined three of the best ways to do this - all practical points that you can implement on your site today.
1. Empower your customers with information
Today, more information is available than ever to inform our purchases. Consumers can easily compare prices, quality and reviews. So once they check out a product on your site, how do you give them what they need to become repeat buyers?
Clearly display all costs
Are you providing your customers with all the costs they need to know upfront before they complete their purchase? In our survey, 89% of UK consumers say they research a product's price before buying, while 70% focus on delivery options such as cost and speed.
No-one likes nasty surprises. Make sure you are clearly displaying not only the product costs, but any additional tax, handling, packaging or shipping fees. It's crucial to be transparent about the total cost they will need to pay, including a pricing breakdown.
Being upfront with this information will show customers that you are a respectable and reliable business to buy from.
State your returns policy
Our study shows that 54% of online shoppers want to see a store's returns policy before purchasing an item, while 72% say the returns experience will influence whether they buy from an online retailer again. Make sure your policy is easy to find on your website, ideally along the customer's journey towards making a purchase. Does it include clear guidance for international customers as well as those from your own country?
Answer questions in advance
If you don't have one already, I recommend you create a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your website. Our study showed that 30% of global consumers like to see an FAQ page, as it is the best source of information during the research stage of their buying journey. Anticipate what your customers' questions might be and give them the answers they need straight away, so they can focus on buying from you.
2. Empower your customers with options
The more you can customise the customer's experience, the more valued they will feel. Here are some suggestions:
Offer a choice of delivery preferences
Consumers today expect more choice than ever with their online shopping experience, including when it comes to delivery. However, it's not all about speed. In fact, 94% of consumers we surveyed said they might select a slower and cheaper delivery option if available, so it's a good idea to offer a range of shipping services.
For example, customers who value convenience and savings can pick-up and drop-off parcels on their own time using UPS's network of collection and drop-off points, known as UPS Access Point™ locations.
Provide multiple payment options
It's no longer just about credit cards. Alternative payment methods such as PayPal and Klarna have grown in popularity in recent years. Research suggests that as much as 55% of all online transactions are now made using these different payment methods¹, with PayPal being the most recognised one in many western countries.
However, it's worth researching the local variants if you are targeting export markets. Our research shows that German consumers are most sensitive to this, with over a third abandoning their cart due to a lack of their preferred payment option.
3. Empower your customers by giving them a voice
You may be time-poor, but listening to your customers and responding to their needs is crucial if you want to gain their loyalty. Even a complaint, handled well, can generate a positive feeling and keep them coming back.
Be available and accessible to your customers
In today's digital landscape of instant communication, your customers expect to hear from you quickly if they contact you. The good news is that social channels, instant messaging apps and even AI-based chatbots are making it cheaper and easier than ever for small business owners to quickly respond to customers.
Actively solicit customer feedback
Many customers like the opportunity to leave feedback. User-generated reviews and ratings are a simple way for you to understand whether their shopping experience was positive and what you can do to improve it. If they leave comments, make sure you reply politely and constructively to show you value their opinion.
For further insights on how to empower your customers, download our whitepaper.
Tap into UPS's online rates for small businesses and receive a 5% discount until 31 December 2020. Want to unlock even more savings? Benefit from an additional discount of 10% by signing up to UPS communications here.
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