Thursday, September 3, 2009

Return Business

So I was watching the "Hotel Inspector" the other night on the telly - which is a great show from the perspective of running a business in general, and not just hotels. The lady running the show is up front, frank, down to earth, and pretty much always on the money. She speaks from experience, and doesn't mess about. She had this to say to her current incompetent subjects:

"I've been a hotelier for a good time now, enough to know that return business is GOLD. If you give them a reason to come back - they will. Good memories alone is the easiest money you'll ever come by. Nothing I've seen from you lot has enticed me to come back at all."

Here's another interesting tidbit: At Zappos, on any given day, approximately 75% of orders are from repeat customers.

What gets customers to visit again?

  • Customers come back because the experience is memorable.
  • They have more confidence in your abilities because they already know how it all works from the first time.
  • They come back because they know what they're getting.
  • Better the devil you know?

How is this applied to an ecommerce situation? There are plenty of strategies that can be deployed:

  • Give great follow up service
  • Give a little unexpected suprise in the delivery. It can be as simple as a personalise, hand written note. It could be a candy treat.
  • Deliver fast!!! I can't ephasize this point enough. It wins over almost anything else you can do.
  • Give existing customers discounts. It's doesn't have to be much, but that lost 5% in order value (or whatever you set it at) is easily made back in continual return business.
  • Give your customers something to talk about. It'll get published on twitter, facebook, or any other worthy channel.
  • Build in negotiation points into your site - give hints about vouchers and how to get them.
  • Be reponsive.

Return business is the best business you can possibly attract. Be sure to include it in your online store strategy.