Working out how to retain Black Friday customers is more important than you think.
Black Friday typically provides eCommerce stores with a huge influx of new customers, taking advantage of discounts and one-of-a-kind deals. And while Black Friday might prove lucrative for your online store, fail to retain these customers, and you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
The good news?
It doesn’t have to be this way.
With a few tweaks to your ecommerce customer service strategy, you can transform those Black Friday customers into a loyal customer base that keeps returning.
And with 65% of a company’s business coming from existing customers and highly engaged customers making a purchase 90% more often, creating a loyal customer base is a must for your business. Let’s dive into how you can make it happen.
- Retaining customers that purchase from your store on Black Friday is a great way of boosting long-term profits.
- A retained customer is much cheaper to market to than a new customer. Plus, they comprise around 80% of your total custom, so keeping existing customers happy is a no-brainer.
- Improving the post-purchase user experience, highlighting loyalty programs, and providing excellent service are key to transforming one-time customers into lifetime ones.
- eDesk is eCommerce customer software that helps you transform every customer into a lifelong one, with automation and AI features that improve response times and a smart inbox that allows you to provide the best service possible.
Why Black Friday can be a good long-term growth strategy
The mistake that most businesses make is focusing on the sales of Black Friday alone. While it’s true that if you do Black Friday right, you’ll enjoy a serious uptick in sales on that day, just think how much more lucrative your store can be in the long run if all those customers become repeat customers. Doubling your sales for one day can easily become doubling your customers for life if you play your cards right.
Selling on Amazon? Then winning the buy box is critical.
So, exactly how valuable is a retained customer? According to the statistics, pretty valuable. On average, around 80% of a company’s profits will come from 20% of customers, so if you fail to retain any customers, that can represent a massive decline in sales.
Not to mention that retaining customers actually reduces costs. Think about it – in general, it takes much more money to market to new customers than to existing customers. Every new customer takes a much more significant chunk out of your budget than existing customers, so if you have barely any existing customers, your marketing strategy will have a hefty price tag attached.
So, for the upcoming Black Friday, don’t approach it as a one-day thing. Instead, think about how you can use Black Friday to your advantage, by encouraging long-term growth and creating a loyal customer base.
1. Focus on the post-purchase experience
You’ve marketed your Black Friday deals. Customers have arrived and purchased products in droves. Your profits for the day are up 100%. Your job’s done. Right?
What you do post-purchase is just as effective as the moves you make pre-purchase. Rather than letting the customer think their journey with your online store has ended, continue your story with a well-thought-through post-purchase strategy.
One place to start is with your post-purchase comms. Are you checking in with your customers about their purchases? Are you offering them discounts on future purchases? The better you stay in touch, the more likely they’ll be to remember you and come back for further purchases.
You can add value to your customers after their purchase, too. Let’s say they bought an item of clothing from your store. Why not email them giving them tips on how best to style it or what to pair it with?
Sending your customers all the information they need will also get you extra brownie points. Send over a clear receipt, order tracking details, and a way for them to get in touch if they were to have any problems. And make sure you’re ready to respond quickly if they do!
By using post-purchase emails to provide great aftercare to your customers and create a buzz about the rest of your products, you’ll create a customer who’s eager to come back for more.
2. Sort out your return policy
The reality is, many shoppers flock to buy numerous things on Black Friday intending to return a significant chunk of them. If you’re a small online business, you might want to avoid the costs that come with processing a ton of returns by putting policies in place around returns.
Doing so is fine, but you must make your returns and exchanges policies as clear as possible during the purchase process, especially before your customers actually check out. Having a banner at the top of the page is one option, as is including return details at the checkout stage of the purchase process.
If you fail to be clear on your returns policy and an unhappy customer wants to return their purchase, you’ll run into trouble when they come to return it and find they can’t. To avoid such a situation (and make sure the customer returns thanks to your excellent customer service), be crystal clear on what customers can and can’t return or exchange. That way, you’ll avoid bad reviews from a challenging return experience.
3. Keep your customer updated (even when things aren’t going great!
We’ve all been there. You receive an email from an online store you’ve purchased from telling you that your product has been dispatched. Great! So you sit back, relax, and wait for it to arrive. And wait. And wait…
Eight days later, there’s not only no sign of your product, but no update from the sender, either. It doesn’t look great for an eCommerce store.
Transparent, regular, and helpful post-purchase communication is key, which includes keeping customers in the loop about their orders. When somebody makes a purchase on your site, email them (eDesk’s feedback can automate this) with tracking details, so they can see for themselves when the item is expected to arrive.
Dispatch emails help, too, and opt for a courier that’s not only reliable, but also great at keeping in touch with recipients.
Consumers tend to be more understanding about a potential issue or delay when you’re honest to start with – overpromising and under delivering is a bad idea.
Consider allowing your customers to choose how they’re contacted, too. While some people are never off their emails, others much prefer to receive an SMS, so give customers the option of which type of communication best suits them.
4. Highlight your loyalty programs and other products
The most straightforward way to keep your Black Friday customers coming back for more? Give them an incentive to do so! One such incentive is a loyalty program, whereby customers enjoy discounts and other bonuses for completing certain actions, such as referring a friend or making a follow-up purchase.
Being part of a loyalty program not only makes customers feel special and valued, but also makes them more likely to shop with that particular seller. After all, if you were deciding between two brands and one gave you a special discount to reward you for your loyalty, which would you be more likely to buy from?
A referral program can be even more successful since your band of loyal customers can help create a whole new band of loyal customers by recommending you to their loved ones.
As well as pointing customers in the direction of your loyalty program, cast their attention to your other products through email marketing. With some email automation programs, you can establish rules so that customers who buy a certain product will have similar products recommended to them automatically.
This personalization works well at making customers feel valued, and it means they’re more likely to buy from you again when they receive a tailored recommendation. Naturally, advertising your loyalty program on a banner at the top of your online store will also boost your conversion rate, for new and returning customers alike.
5. Gather feedback
Gathering feedback is a criminally underrated form of improving your online store, but it can be a game-changer for your success. By listening to what customers did and didn’t like about the purchase experience, you can use this valuable insight to improve the service for other customers.
By requesting feedback and reviews from your Black Friday customers, you can get an insight into what new users think about your online store. You can also take the opportunity to get back in touch with people who have bought from you. By showing your desire to improve in a way that customers want, they’ll feel more valued.
Plus, positive reviews translate into better sales, with many shoppers seeking the validation of other consumers before they make a purchase. eDesk’s feedback feature makes it easier than ever to collect reviews and feedback from customers.
You can even send feedback requests based on order conditions. So, for example, if a customer has an open support ticket, you can ensure that they don’t receive a feedback request.
Bonus tip: If you actually implement a piece of advice you gathered from customer feedback, shout about it! Release a newsletter or write a blog about the difference these changes have made and express gratitude for the feedback. Doing so will prove to your customers that their opinion counts and nowadays, customers want to work with companies that care.
6. Abide by SLAs and improve response times
A service-level agreement does what it says on the till – it involves you agreeing to provide a certain level of service and sticking to it. If you sell on Amazon, staying within their SLA limits is a must.
But even for stores selling on Shopify or BigCommerce, setting (and sticking to) your own internal SLAs and response times ensures that customers are well looked after. This is especially true if you don’t look after your customer service desk entirely by yourself and there’s a whole team replying to queries. An SLA template that can be followed by the whole team ensures that not only is the level of customer service consistent, but also high standards are maintained.
Using a help desk like eDesk makes it easier than ever to stay on top of CS targets with an SLA timer. Simply set the SLA timer to the number of hours that you want tickets resolved by (24 or 48 hours, for example)
An SLA timer starts counting down as soon as eDesk receives the message from the customer. The timer stops when an agent sends a response to the customer from eDesk.
Enchant existing customers with a help desk that gets results
You have one shot to keep your customers with you even after Black Friday ends. If your response times are too long, your customer service options too few, or your communication too poor, you risk losing a would-be customer for life.
That’s where eDesk comes in. eDesk is an eCommerce help desk that’s compatible with more than 200 integrations, so regardless of where you sell, you can benefit from our help desk app for Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and more.
Our smart inbox allows you to see messages from everywhere and reply, all within one handy platform. Thanks to eDesk’s automation features, you can respond more quickly to queries while freeing up your time to focus on your core competencies. Plus, you can access order details next to every ticket, so no more flicking between tabs to find customer information.
Happier customers and a lighter workload for you.
Auto-translate features allow you to take your eCommerce store international, while insights will allow you to see where your service can improve and make adjustments accordingly.
The best part? You can try it all for free. So why not try eDesk this Black Friday and see just how much potential your online store can unlock?