5 ways you can convert first-time shoppers into long-term customers

Presented by Afterpay Marketing

2022 is your year to leverage and convert new customers! And some would say it might even be more important than acquiring new customers, with return customers spending almost 300% more than new shoppers.

Customers come and they will most certainly go if your business doesn’t take the steps necessary to take care of customers once they’ve made a purchase. Focusing resources on customer retention strategies and encouraging return customers create long-lasting (not to mention profitable) relationships.

Interested in growing your return customer base? We’ve put together 5 tips on turning first-time shoppers into loyal customers.

  1. Encourage Social Sharing and Highlight Positive Testimonials and Reviews

Think about the last time you made a purchase. You likely asked friends and family for recommendations. And then you probably did a lot of online research and read reviews.  The fact is, your current customers can be your company’s best marketers and sales reps.

The total of informative product pages, delicious images, descriptive copy, and customer reviews about the product really do much of the selling for your business. Which means something like customer reviews can have a massive impact on if a customer returns to make another purchase.

Highlight and use the power of positive testimonials and feedback in your email newsletters, on social and site. More than 60% of customers trust online reviews. Use customer reviews to convince existing shoppers to return, discover new brands, or repurchase products from brands they’ve shopped at before.

  1. Give Your Customers a Flexible Payment Option

We’ve been seeing a shift in consumer preference from traditional credit options to more convenient, flexible ways to pay. Factors such as the high interest rates on credit cards make buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment options more desirable among Millennials and Gen Z.  In fact, research has shown that BNPL is growing fast among these age groups. Among Gen Z alone, BNPL has surged 330% since January 2020, says Artharva Karandikar of Accenture.

In 2021, OpenCart announced an exciting partnership with Afterpay. Through this partnership, OpenCart merchants can now offer Afterpay (also known as Clearpay in the United Kingdom and Europe) as a payment option, giving customers the option to buy their item or service now and pay over six weeks. 

  1. Align Your Customer Service Operations with Customers’ Needs

Successful brands make meeting their customers’ needs a top priority and are specific about their customer service principles. And they make sure that each employee is aware of said principles. Make sure you have qualified, friendly people on your team, who are efficient and give personalized service to your customers. Because if the person your customer comes into contact with is unpleasant to deal with, they will drive people away from your business.

Make sure to address all customer complaints, even for seemingly small issues. Remember: It often takes years to build customer trust, but only seconds for the trust to erode (especially through social media, where positive and negative reviews can go viral in a matter of hours). By responding immediately to negative reviews or complaints, you can keep them from spreading elsewhere — and you may win back your customers more quickly.

“At Afterpay, we always ensure a response time of under one hour to all consumer messages. We know that our customers expect a lot from and feel connected to us on social media.”

- Amy Plavner, Sr. Social Media Manager

  1. Show Gratitude

Express your gratitude with something as simple as a heartfelt thank you email—one that’s not related to a campaign or holiday. Such gratitude goes a long way toward building brand loyalty. And customers will remember that you reached out to them for a quick “thank you” that was unsolicited.

Take it a step further by sending a special thank you email (preferably with a promo code or discount offer) as their reward for a referral. The long-term payoff will be worth it, with 80% of future profits coming from just 20% of existing customers.

  1. Re-engage Customers with Retargeting

Don’t forget to focus on customers who browsed your store but never completed their purchase. Consider creating a custom Facebook audience to retarget shoppers who visited your site but never purchased, and then create advertisements to capture their attention. The most important thing is to remember that the opportunity isn’t over when the holidays finish, and in the long term, converting new customers into loyal shoppers will reduce acquisition costs and improve profitability.

To learn more about how OpenCart and Afterpay can boost your small business growth, click here.