Many new ecommerce business owners may believe that their relationship with a customer ends with the final purchase. This thought can’t be farther from the truth; maintaining a good customer relationship after an order has been made is one of the most beneficial strategies a store owner can use to earn success.
If you’re a business owner, you may be wondering exactly how you can easily foster a loyal customer relationship in a meaningful way. You may be surprised to learn that it can actually be as simple as saying “thank you.” Let’s go through some of the best ways to thank your customers, and reasons why you should be thanking them in the first place.
1. Thank you email
Perhaps the easiest and most common way to thank a customer for their business is with a thank you email. This type of email can take many shapes and sizes, with some having as little as one line of text. Regardless of length and look, thank you emails are a tried-and-true method of thanking your customers on a personal basis.
If you’ve done the right set-up within your checkout process, you’ll have captured those customers’ emails, with which you can send out thank you emails that double as order confirmation emails.
Thank you emails don’t have to just be sent out after purchases, either; you can send out emails thanking them for:
- creating an account,
- signing up for a newsletter,
- leaving a review on what they’ve purchased.
Personalization is key to thank you emails. Using simple automation software, you can make it so that every thank you email that’s sent out will address the recipient with their first name, making the message seem personal without having to manually email each customer.
To up the personalization factor, you can add more dynamic information to the emails, such as pointing out the exact items that the customer purchased and asking for feedback on them. In the thank you email you send out, you can make it easy to leave valuable feedback by including a link to where they can leave their review. Once you’ve gained a few customer reviews, you can promote them on your product pages, acting as powerful social proof for future customers.
2. Store credit
Typically, store credits are an easy way to compensate an unhappy customer after returning a defective or unsatisfactory product. Rather than refunding the customer with the money they spent on the product to their payment method, which can be a hassle for many merchants, you can give them store credit that acts as funds on their account with your business. Customers can then use those credits to buy anything on your store, ensuring that they stay customers and don’t use that money with a competitor.
So, if store credits are usually used in the case of a return, then why mention them while we discuss thanking customers? Well, even if a customer would like to return an item for a refund, you can still take the time to genuinely thank them for your business. Upset customers actually present a great opportunity to you as a business, because you can show that you care about their experience and are willing to reimburse them for the utmost satisfaction. This care goes a long way towards turning a disappointed customer into a returning shopper.
However, store credits don’t even have to be used solely in the case of a refund. They can be used as rewards for frequent buyers as well, thanking them in the form of compensation on your store for shopping with you regularly.
3. Gift certificates
A gift certificate in an ecommerce landscape usually takes the form of a unique code that translates to redeemable funds for use on your online store. Sending out gift certificates to your customers is an effective way of both thanking them for their business and encouraging repeat business with your store. By rewarding loyal customers with gift certificates, gift cards, or any other form of redeemable funds, you’re thanking them for always choosing your business over the competition.
You can easily send out and present gift certificate codes to customers via a thank you email, wherein you can customize the messaging to your liking. You can get as detailed as personal as you like, or as capable as you can, within this message.
You can also reward different types of behavior with a gift certificate, whether it’s simply loyal business that you’ve noticed, or as a reward for winning a contest that you’ve held among your audience. Gift certificates can be a great motivator for customers to engage with your brand—especially if it’s offered as an incentive on social media.
4. Reward points
One of the easiest ways to encourage customers to always shop with your store and engage with your brand is through a loyalty program and reward points.
Reward points operate based on customers shopping normally on your site; each product (or select products) will reward customers with a predetermined amount of points that are automatically applied to their account upon checkout. Of course, the design and functionality of your loyalty program is entirely up to you.
You can advertise your reward point program in many ways, including bonus point promotions wherein customers can earn more points than usual on certain products that you’d like to sell more of. As the points stack up on customer’s accounts, they can use these points to get discounts on products, earn exclusive deals, or even receive free products or merchandise.
Not only are you thanking each customer with these reward points, but you’re also presented with a unique marketing opportunity to encourage repeat business; one way to do this is by sending out point balance reminder emails to let customers know that they have points waiting to be spent.
5. Free company merchandise
In ecommerce, your “thank you” doesn’t always have to be digital. By printing and sending out custom merchandise to customers for free, you can thank customers in a much more tangible way.
There’s a variety of ways you can do this, such as including a free sticker with every purchase, or sending company merchandise (like t-shirts or mugs) with your logo on it to customers for free. Not only will customers be surprised and excited to receive tangible products that they didn’t pay for, but they’ll also likely use these products in ways that advertises your business. For example, a customer can wear a t-shirt with your logo on it and expose your brand to every single person they see while wearing it.
Aside from being free advertising and a meaningful thank-you gift, you can directly integrate free company merchandise with a reward point system like we mentioned before. In action, this may look like a customer redeeming their loyalty program reward points for a certain free gift with your logo on it. While this type of thank-you gift may seem like more effort, utilizing a print-on-demand service can streamline the custom printing process and make it nearly as simple as any other digital option.
6. Replying to reviews and questions
You can also thank you customers for leaving a review, either by replying to the review or sending a personal email. This simple action can be powerful, making your customers feel like you value their opinions and feedback enough to personally read each one and thank them for leaving it.
As you thank your customers for shopping, you can use that as an opportunity to answer any frequently asked questions that customers may have about your products. You can do this by linking them to an FAQ page, including additional resources (like set-up tutorial videos) in your thank you email, or simply providing information about your support channels.
Doing this not only prevents confused and unhappy customers complaining about your product and service, but it also shows that you’re proactive and that you care about their experience—even after they’ve paid you. Taking the time to answer product questions can go a long way in establishing customer loyalty while cutting down on the work you have to do.
7. Recognizing customer referrals
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most influential forms of marketing; unfortunately, it’s also one that is difficult to control. That being said, you can reward and encourage customers for engaging in word-of-mouth marketing by recognizing when they’ve referred a new customer to your store. Whether they’ve personally directed a family or friend to your business, or simply shared their experience on social media, you can thank them personally for that valuable referral.
If a customer has said something positive about your company on social media, you should take the time to thank them by directly replying to that message. Or, if a customer stated that they were referred to your business from a previous customer, you can thank that loyal customer via email and reward them with a gift certificate.
Once your business grows, you can streamline and automate this process by assembling a referral program, wherein customers can opt-in to earning rewards by sharing your business across their various networking channels. While this does make the process less personal, it’s a good way to encourage customers to share your business while thanking them in the form of compensation.
If you’re a small business, it’s not difficult to recognize when a customer has been loyal to your brand for an extended period. If this is something that you’ve noticed, it’s always a good idea to show that you recognize their loyalty and that you care deeply about that recurring business. Or, if you’re a larger business that can’t possibly pick and choose all of the loyal customers you have, then utilizing automated software, like Automate.io App, may be your best bet. CRM software can identify how often certain customers shop with you and give you the ability to send out automated thank you messages to customers for their continued business.
By taking the time to thank your customers for choosing your business among the sea of online store competitors, you can bring some much-needed warmth into the online shopping experience. With the right tools by your side, you can easily automate your customer appreciation while establishing a level of trust that other types of marketing messaging can’t.
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