Gaining and Retaining Online Retail Customers

You have worked hard to get a perfect website. The next step is gaining and retaining customers. Online shoppers are different from the average retail customer. The average retail customer enters a store in need of an item and intends to purchase that item from that store because it takes time and gas to go from store to store. Online shoppers tend to do more research at several different sites prior to purchasing. They can visit many stores in a matter of minutes at no expense. Thus their loyalty is more difficulty to garner. Here are some ideas to keep customers returning to your store and to nudge new shoppers into purchasing from you.

  1. Since the online shopper is a researcher, stores with more information about a product tend to have more purchases. Item descriptions need to be extended, but not wordy. Remember, customers want to know how a product will benefit them. Make use of bullet lists to keep the page clean and easy to read. Provide lots of pertinent information about each product. Good quality pictures, possibly even multiple views are a must.

  2. The website needs to be neat and information in plain view, not hidden between banners and advertising. After all, the reason people are at your store is to purchase your products, not to click on Google ads. Phone numbers and methods of contact need to be very visible and quick to find. I always cringe when a client tells me that they do not want to put a phone number on a website. I personally am unlikely to purchase from a site that does not appear to have good customer service. Just the other evening I left a site and bought from a competitor because the only way to contact the store in the event of a problem was a form. No email address or phone number was to be found. You will notice that this website offers several methods of contact on every page: email, phone number, live chat, phone connect and a link to a contact form.

  3. Offer multiple payment options. There are some people who will not use PayPal. Even more think you still need an account with PayPal in order to check out. There are several companies who compete with PayPal’s rates and finance charges. We have used two for our clients, of which 1stPay Gateway seems to be the best. (see our online banking article for more information along this topic). Usually we recommend using PayPal and at least one other method of payment.

  4. Offer ways for people to search for products. Make sure your search box is in a good location.

  5. Attempt to obtain the email address of every customer who visits. Email addresses are important for continued marketing. You should be sending out an email, minimally, every other week to notify customers of sales and events. Be careful not to spam and always provide a method for customers to opt out of receiving further mailings. Be sure to remove these customers from your list!

  6. Update your site frequently. Spend 30 minutes each week selecting and displaying featured and sale products, changing text and graphics on your homepage and adding product reviews. If you cannot spare the time, then let your web developer take care of it for you.

These six ideas will help you gain and retain customers. Of course, Wiregrass Advertising is always willing to assist clients in building a strong customer base through better website design, search engine optimization and internet marketing. Contact us today for more information.

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