Tips on getting repeat customers

Acquiring customers costs money, whether that’s eBay fees or a vast marketing budget for your national TV ad campaign. It’s a lot cheaper for most of us to sell again to the customers we’ve already got…. after all, we’ve already got ‘em, they already like us, right? Some thoughts about drumming up repeat business:

1. Ask for it. I’m constantly stunned by the follow-ups I don’t get from eBay and small ecommerce sellers. Pop a business card in a parcel, tell me about your website or your email newsletter or your blog about the stuff you sell, do something to remind me you want me back.

2. Make me feel valued. Don’t assume that everyone who hasn’t complained is happy. Ask me how the transaction went for me: if I wasn’t happy, acknowledge it, and tell me how you’d fix my issue in the future. This isn’t just putting a feedback form or product reviews on your website: an email that just asks for my comments without trying to sell anything is nice, and if you can possibly justify the time, a phone call is great (we’ve been doing this at work and it’s paid huge dividends).

3. Be reliable.
When I sold beads on eBay, one of my spendiest customers sent her first order back. She then went on to spend an absolute fortune with me — and said on more than one occasion, “if you hadn’t been so nice about me sending that first thing back, I wouldn’t have come back again”.

Conversely, I’m just dealing with another website whose courier has failed to turn up three times now to collect my return (and that’s the only method of returns they’ll accept). I won’t be going back. Moreover, when I complained at the stupid process, they sent me a boilerplate cut and paste email full of corporate apology and not one bit of humanity. If you screw up, get on the phone and admit it, and then fix it. Customers are amazingly forgiving.

4. Be unique. On another post, Chris commented “I can hardly remember the name of a single seller I’ve ever purchased from on eBay. If someone asks me where I got something from I always say ‘on eBay’.” You don’t want your customers to say the same. Lots goes into this: being a memorable brand is about what you sell as much as how you present it. But if you’re just another eBay Shop/website selling the same range of stuff as everyone else, with the same template site layout, who’s going to remember you enough to come back?

5. Sell something that generates repeat business. Don’t expect repeat business if you’re selling things that people only want one of. Market accordingly.

HowKE Team

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