How to Turn First Time E-Commerce Customers Into Regulars


Repeat customers have always been the cornerstone of business, and that hasn’t changed with the rise of e-commerce. On average, 40% of an e-retailer’s sales come from 8% of people who are repeat customers.

This requires that the online businesses make the best out of all available online tools from a website’s user interface to social media.

Providing A Good E-Commerce Customer Experience

By 2020, customer experience is going to be a more substantial factor in making online purchases than price or product itself. Customer experience in this context isn’t about other vital e-commerce aspects like excellent customer service.

This is about the process of being able to quickly find the product, having several payment options, hassle-free shipping, and easy returns. The last thing people want to experience is anything that is complicated. They will want to research, find, get, and return a product if there is a problem, as smoothly as possible.

Communicating with Customers

Letting customers know about special sales, promotions, or sending appointment reminders is an excellent way to show them that your business is with them at every step of the customer journey. It shows them that your company cares.

68% of customers will stop returning to a business if they feel that they aren’t appreciated. This caring level of communication goes beyond marketing emails or getting promotional codes texted to them. It could be sending out happy birthday emails, get well soon texts for them or a loved one, or even a quick message about how much they are missed if they haven’t bought anything in a while.

Creating a Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty programs are valuable to businesses for two reasons. One is that it gives customers a tangible incentive to stick with a particular retailer. The other is that a loyalty program may provide some serious data on a customer’s spending habits which allow retailers to customize their approach and directly market to individual customers.

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Customized and targeted marketing combined with a rewards program is essential since 77% of customers believe that rewards should be personalized in some way. Dedicated SMS service providers offer fantastic tools for implementing and managing customer loyalty programs.

Understand the type of loyalty and rewards program your customer base wants because different demographics will want different things from loyalty programs. In fact, 66% millennials like some level of interactivity and surprise in loyalty programs, compared to only 33% of Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers like things more traditional; they prefer the idea that more points earn them free products.

Any rewards program should be offered on an opt-in basis since customers want to feel like they’re the ones in control.

Multi-Channel Distribution

86% of online customers will shop via more than one channel. It isn’t always online retailers either. A customer may begin their journey when they see a Pinterest post or a tweet about something that piques their interest.

They then may look in other places, like a product’s Facebook page or website, and then check out prices at various online retailers.

When it comes to making a new customer a regular, giving them multiple ways to look at, research, and ultimately buy a product will make them more likely to find their way back to you in the future. These customers will see your thriving e-commerce company as a reliable source of information on their buyer’s journey.


Branding is ultimately a business’s image that winds up imprinted in the hearts and minds of customers. People want to do business with someone who shares their values and world outlook. This makes understanding your customer base vitally important.

64% of customers say that having shared values with a brand is a primary reason they will stick with it.

When your brand aligns itself with a social issue, a religious issue, or any other type of conviction, it’s vital that you stay true to those beliefs.  For example, an eco-friendly e-commerce site can logically push a product from a company which champions sea turtle habitats to a customer who shares that specific view.

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Just remember, consistency is what gives a brand its power. If you try to play both sides by telling one customer your business stands for one thing while telling another customer that it stands for something else, it’s an excellent way to alienate both customers.

Encourage Word of Mouth

How important is word of mouth marketing? 92% of people trust what their friends and family say about a product or brand more than they trust any sort of ad. Word of mouth has grown to be more than one person telling another about a product or service.

One new aspect is the customer experience getting shared online. When someone posts about a positive experience on Twitter or Facebook, it can reach several potential clients. This is also a great opportunity for your business to engage via the comments and offer up a thank you. It will make your consumers feel appreciated and valued.

When a satisfied patron shares their experience with another satisfied patron, it reinforces the positive opinions they share.  Thanks to social media, these clients never even have to meet or directly interact. All they need to do is see that post and realize that excellent customer experience is the norm.

The bottom line is simple, use share buttons throughout the consumer journey so that customers can easily share their expertise.

Following Up

Get in touch with the customer in two weeks after their purchase. Make sure that they are satisfied, and offer to fix any problems they might have with it.

The follow up can quickly be done via email or text message, depending on customer preference. Millennials, in particular, tend to be more comfortable with texting than other demographics.  Be sure to make this experience as interactive and positive as possible.

Don’t make the thank you note a simple ‘send it and forget it’ task. Follow up communications are also a great way to cross-sell, upsell, offer other promotions, or set up a new appointment.  Use the thank you to firm up the relationship with your customer.

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Converting a first-time customer into a repeat customer is different for an e-commerce venture than it is for a traditional brick & mortar store. Some aspects might be similar, but with an e-commerce customer, a business needs to find a way to communicate and bond with someone they may never see or talk to in person.

Luckily for you, there are several different digital options you can use to turn your first-time e-commerce customers into brand loyal regulars.


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