Attracting any number of new customers is a win in the world of selling digital and printable products. There’s a lot of competition out there and it can feel impossible to find a way to make your products stand out from the ones being offered by your competitors.
While there’s no denying that getting new customers is exciting, it’s not the most cost-effective way to increase your sales and profits. That honor goes to customer retention, which requires taking one-time buyers and turning them into repeat customers.
Since repeat sales are the key to making your shop a success, here’s what you need to know about selling (and selling some more) to the people who have already bought from you.
How Valuable Are Repeat Customers?
Before we talk about how to encourage repeat sales, let’s review some of the reasons that repeat customers are valuable.
- It’s less expensive to retain a customer than it is to attract a new one. Depending on who you ask, attracting a new paying customer may cost anywhere from 10 to 16 times as much as it does to retain an existing one.
- It’s easy to sell to repeat customers. When a new customer visits your shop, there’s only a 13% chance they’ll buy something. With a repeat customer, a purchase is going to happen more than 60% of the time.
- Repeat customers tend to spend more than first-time customers. You’ve probably had the experience of visiting a shop or website for the first time and making a small purchase. You’re testing the waters. With online sales, this testing is even more likely than it is with in-person purchases. People don’t know how trustworthy you are and buying something small allows them to get a first-hand experience. A return purchase after a successful first purchase is likely to be bigger because the customer already trusts you.
- Repeat customers may help attract new customers. People who have bought from you more than once are likely to recommend your shop and products to others. They can even turn into brand ambassadors who highlight your products in social media posts.
You can see that repeat customers are more profitable and can do more for your brand than new customers. If you can build an audience of loyal repeat customers, your business is likely to be successful.
What Your First Sale Can Do for Customer Retention
The road to customer retention begins the moment a new customer clicks on one of your products and visits your shop for the first time. There’s a reason that we often talk about first impressions in life. A positive first impression can color our perception of people and experiences for a long time—and the same is true of a negative one.
What can you do to create a positive first impression for new customers? Here are some pointers.
- Make the first view of your shop a WOW experience. That means having an interesting name that reflects your products, a compelling cover image, and a description that makes a casual shopper want to know more about you and what you’re selling.
- Put time into creating beautiful product images. Your product images may be mock-ups if you’re selling digital downloads or printables, but that doesn’t mean you can afford to use lackluster images to represent them. I suggest creating a product template for every mock-up to ensure that your products have a unique and appealing appearance.
- Use accurate keywords. Nobody likes a bait and switch. Remember that new customers will use search terms to find you. If you use a keyword in your product description, make sure that the product you’re offering matches the keyword. The same rule applies if you’re selling on Instagram or Pinterest and using hashtags.
- Optimize your product delivery system. It’s always a wise idea to test your digital downloads to be sure that your links are working and that the finished product downloads quickly. For POD products, make sure that you’ve properly synched your shop with your POD supplier.
- Give a little extra. You’ve probably had the experience of receiving a package from an Etsy seller with a small sample or a cute thank you note. It’s difficult to replicate that experience with a digital download, but you may want to consider including free printing instructions for printables or a project sheet for a digital download.
- Encourage repeat sales. One of the easiest ways to get a repeat sale from a first-time customer is to offer them an incentive to buy from you again. You can email or message a customer with a discount code to use on their next purchase.
If you do these six things, you’ll begin laying the groundwork for repeat sales the moment a new customer visits your shop for the first time.
Customer Service and Repeat Sales
In many industries and venues, there are sayings about what attracts a new customer as opposed to what brings them back for more. For example, in restaurants, the saying is that the menu attracts new diners, and the service brings them back for a second visit. That’s a concept you can apply to your Etsy shop or website.
Customer service is just as important as your products when it comes to retention. That means you’ll need to make it a priority to respond quickly and professionally to any inquiries, whether they happen via a private message or email. A first-time or existing customer may come to you with a question about a product or a related topic, such as printing or print on demand. Your response may very well be the thing that inspires them to buy again—or to find another shop for their next purchase.
Every interaction you have with a customer is a chance to build trust and demonstrate your authority. Remember, this applies to reviews, too!
Email Marketing and Retention
If you have already built an email list, then you have a huge advantage when it comes to repeat sales. You can and should use your email list to give subscribers a heads-up about new product launches or seasonal sales. You may also choose to give your subscribers a special coupon or discount code to encourage them to purchase your products.
Do you need help fine-tuning your shop to encourage repeat purchases? Click here!