As a shop owner, one of the most important aspects of keeping your shop open is having customers. A type of customer that can be very beneficial to your shop and it’s future is the “returning customer”. Having returning customers can help your shop in so many ways. Most small business owners don’t really think about the little things a returning customer can do that can make big things for your shop. This type of customer returns because they like your work, they like your business and they like your service. They may even like you too. If the customers likes your shop enough to keep returning and making purchases then you have untapped potential. This customer has live friends, Facebook friends and online contacts. They may know one person they can refer you too, or they may know a hundred. Either way, if they like you enough to keep coming back then they may even like you enough to tell all their friends about your wonderful little oasis. To help persuade more customers to become returning customers and to help your already returning customers to keep coming back with friends there are a few ways you can be the little bird in their ear.
A few of these I have listed below. I’m sure there are a lot more, but five seemed like a good number to start out with.
#1. Newsletters: Everyone who uses the internet in any form has an email account. Some check there email once a week, some once a day and some check theirs fifty times a day. Normally, if someone is shopping online then they are checking their email to make sure their orders ship on time. So why not make sure your shop items, sales, coupons, information and everything else arrives in their inbox while they are clearing out their inbox. I have found a good service to use for this purpose. Actually, I use this newsletter on this site right now and if you want to see it in action sign up for my newsletter to check it out when I send it out soon. You can even design your newsletter from the photos, text, links and all to the way you want it. If you have advertisers you can add them in too. Everything is broken down so simple anyone can use it. That is what I like. Also the best part is, it’s FREE! The service is called Reachmail there is a free option and there are paid options. I found for starting out a free option is best. If for some reason you are sending out more than up in the thousands of newsletters then you may need to upgrade, but try it out first to see where it goes.
#2. Social Media: Social media is a big then in the today. You can reach millions with the right wording, photos and links. It’s also the best way to connect with other shops that are trying to accomplish the same goals as you. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pintrest are great social media sites to take advantage of to reach the audience you need. If you have a shop then you should have a shop page on Facebook. So many people just surf Facebook just for something to do several hours a day so by posting daily photos and shop status updates you keep your customers updated on what you are up to. If your working on something you just can’t keep to yourself share it on Facebook and Instagram show them what’s coming up. Share coupons on Facebook and Twitter. Show your completed work on Pintrest. Link all your accounts with your shop and let your customers know that you want to share everything with them.
#3. Coupons and Sales: Coupons and discounted sales are a great way to motivate a shopper. I know when I’m in a store browsing I will choose the item that is cheaper rather than the one full price. Why? Because money doesn’t grow on trees and I’m a single parent. Setting up good coupons and making sure every one knows about them can help boost their motivation to check you out. Make sure the coupons are worth their time. Also you need to make sure they know how to use them. On Etsy, it can be rather complicated to use a coupon for a first time shopper. Encourage your customers to turn to you if they have trouble. Let them know you respond to all attempts to contact and would love to walk them through it step by step. Your not only a shop owner, you are also a sales person and advertising manager. So you have to think in terms of all these positions. Do you have merchandise that hasn’t sold out in six months? Or do you have some littering your workspace you are ready to move into the guest room? Then put it on sale! Put your old items on sale and get them out of the way. Why take up space with the item that isn’t selling and not make space for knew ones? I would rather sale it at a discount than not sell it at all. Make sure to post all about all your coupons and sales on all your social media sites and newsletter.
#4. Blog: Shop owners should blog. I find it’s a great way to round up a new customer base. A lot of people use blogs and a lot love to read them. Why not? If you haven’t got anything to do, or your looking up something why not read a blog. Write about your shop and how you handle everything. Even if your post is just about your workspace you can make it interesting. Take photos and share them. If you really want to catch attention start a DYI page. A lot of people like to try new things at home so show them how to do something that is simple, but catchy. Also you can connect with other bloggers and shop to add it to your own blog. By connecting with other bloggers you can together fuel traffic from their blog to yours and visa versa. This will generate new traffic for customers and your returning customers will love to read about the behind the scenes of your shop production and more.
#5. Contest and Giveaways: When have you ever turned down free stuff? I haven’t. I ran a giveaway on my Facebook one day with a giveaway app. I gave a way a small item that only cost $2 to ship. It didn’t hurt me or break the bank. But it did gain me 200 new likes on Facebook and boosted my sales. I even locked in a returning customers. Your customers like to be reminded you are a small business and one man show. That is why they shop with you and not big box stores. Do you see Wal-Mart making handmade items and giving one away. If you use Giveaway App on Facebook then you can also have those who sign up answer questions for you. If you only use the free portion of the app you can only see the answer to one questions. Ask them something you are wanting a customers point of view on. For example: “What would make my shop better?” or “What item is your favorite?” or even “What would you like to see for sale in my shop?” People will answer the question for a chance to win. You can see how many entry and the entry forms before the contest is over. Once the contest is over then you notify the winner by email to get their address. It doesn’t hurt to send them their winning item in a pretty box. Everyone likes to feel special.
I hope some these ideas can inspire or help you achieve your goal. I have been practicing some of these myself and trying out some of the new ones.
Do you have an idea to influence returning customers? I would love to hear and so would others. Comment below and tell other small business owners how you target the returning customer audience or even customer audience in general.
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