Friday, January 2, 2015

How to sell more?

Every business relies on customers and very so often we hear marketers employing strategies for customer acquisition. However, the easiest and most stable source of revenue comes for existing customers. As mentioned in an earlier post, the cost of acquiring a new customer costs 6-7 times more. Building a relationship with existing customers with consistent customer experience will encourage brand loyalty; and that is one vital key to increase sales.

After-sales support
One of the major influence in future purchasing decisions is the after-sale support given by the retailer. With the trend of omnichannel, retailers need to ensure consistency in their after-sales support and allow a seamless customer experience. Besides allowing online or mobile purchases to be picked up in stores and allow customers to reserve products for a limited amount of time, retailers need to also consider allowing online purchases to be exchanged or refunded in stores.
Additionally, problems may arise between the retailer and customer that are neither of their faults; such as online purchases going missing due to a third-party postal service. Instead of dropping the blame on the third-party service provider and directing the customer to them, be quick to turn the situation around. Rectify the problem by allowing the customer to pick up a new order in the store or obtain a full refund. Take full responsibility of the error because if the customer is left to deal with the missing order, the entire shopping experience will be shattered. This customer will most likely not purchase at the store again. With a low barrier to obtain an exchange or refund, customers will be encouraged to purchase as it lowers the risk of making bad purchases.
On the contrary, with great after-sales service, customers will be more willing to increase future orders and tell others about the brand. This too helps in building a great relationship with the customer and increasing market share.

The foundation to selling more to existing customers is to listen to these feedbacks and act upon them. Retailers need to listen to their customers in order to deliver and build a great shopping experience. Customers hold an important wealth of information that retailers should find ways to tap on. Feedbacks allow retailers to identify problems about their company, products or services and stop reoccurring problems to arise.
Such feedbacks are valuable as they give good insight about the satisfaction level toward your brand and help determine the reason for the lost in customers. From product features and design to store layout and ambience, making adjustments to suit the changing needs of existing customers would encourage them to continue purchasing due to the relevancy of the brand.

With strong retail competition in power, customers are bombarded with a vast number of marketing messages from every single sector. While some customers may give different competitors a try, more often than not, customers will return to a trusted retailer as they know the risk of a bad purchase is low. Trust is an element that has to be built over time, through great customer management, after-sales service, effective communication and product reliability.
Trust is a win-win situation. The customer wins with a steady supply of products from a trusted brand while the retailer wins with a loyal customer who makes regular purchases. Interestingly, gaining customer trust is tightly linked to the time taken for a retailer to resolve issues. If issues are resolved efficiently and easily, customers will trust the brand more. In fact, these customers will have a higher trust than those who have never encountered any problems.

It can be an extremely uphill task to reach new customers. With that, more retailers are slowly turning to the untapped potential of leveraging on existing customers. There are 3 reasons why forgetting existing customers are to your detriment – lower margins, retaining market share and ease to sell. Gaining a new customer requires additional marketing efforts that would cost very much more than retaining existing ones. In contrary, existing customers spend more than new customers as they are familiar with the brand and have a level of trust towards it. Thus, the amount spent to reach out to them might just be a fraction of the value they bring to the brand. Moving forward, retailers need to build loyalty programs that are worthwhile to existing customers and to strategically incorporate data analysis and key trends to increase overall sales.