It’s a lot cheaper and easier to bring returning customers back to your WooCommerce store than to get new customers. In this post, we’ll cover 17 returning customer tips for WooCommerce stores.

returning customer tips

Studies show returning customers are more valuable than new ones: higher add to cart rate, a lower bounce rate, and a higher conversion rate. They also spend almost double the amount as new customers. Additionally, in these 8 important e-commerce stats, returning visitors also spend a lot more time browsing your store:

New visitors spend an average of 2 minutes 31 seconds on site compared with 5 minutes 31 seconds for returning visitors. This is a difference of over 100%. When looking at pages viewed per visit, we see that new visitors view an average of 3.88 pages per visit, but return visitors look at 5.55 pages per visit.

Everybody wants new customers, but you can really gauge the health of your WooCommerce shop by how many returning customers you have. If you don’t know what ratio of new vs. returning customers your store has, iThemes Sales Accelerator, our WooCommerce reports plugin can help you track those numbers.

So how do you get those customers to come back? We’ve got a few ideas:

17 Ways to Generate More Returning Customers

  • 1. Pricing: The simplest way to bring customers back is to have the best prices. Unfortunately, a race to be the cheapest is not always sustainable. It’s an option, but seriously consider your industry and competition.
  • 2. Sales & Discounts: A related way to get more returning customers is to lure them back with sales and discounts. This is a tried and true retail strategy, but again, it can be problematic. You risk training customers to wait for a sale, and if you lose money on those sales, you’ll be in trouble with or without returning customers. But sales do work, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
  • 3. Coupons: Another related approach is to send your customers a coupon to entice them to come back. Rather than a site-wide sale, this can target the customers you want to bring back. It’s also a good way to make customers feel like insiders and start building that relationship that creates returning customers. The WooCommerce Smart Coupons extension might help you create those deals.
  • 4. Loyalty rewards: You can bring customers back with a loyalty program. Dole out points for specific actions, such as referring friends, sharing products, reviewing items, etc., that can be cashed in for valuable rewards. The WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension can make this happen.
  • 5. Encourage reviews: You can prompt customers to review products and get them to make another purchase with the WooCommerce Review for Discount extension. You can add social proof to existing products and encourage a customer to come back, and they save some money: Everybody wins.
  • 6. Occasional treats: Reach out to your old customers and throw them something cool. A coupon or discount offer is probably the first thing that comes to mind, but it could be helpful content or something else: a free ebook, a video from a known personality in your industry, etc.
  • 7. Unique surprise: Wow your customers by including a unique surprise in their purchase. Maybe it’s a thank you note or a free goodie. Maybe your packaging is unique—lush colors and nice tissue paper instead of bland cardboard and that air cushion packaging. This approach helped the Universal Yums customer story stand out.
  • 8. Email newsletter: Start connecting with customers with a consistent email newsletter. But you can’t just churn out marketing pitches. You need to build relationships. Talk about your products, offer advice, speak to your fans. Give them value.
  • 9. Make it automatic: Start building that relationship with new customers immediately by sending them an automatic welcome email after their first purchase. Thank them for their purchase. Introduce them to your store’s culture and vibe. Offer valuable insight and content. Encourage them to join your email newsletter (if they haven’t already) for more. Offer a discount bribe if you need to make it more compelling.
  • 10. Follow up: A simple welcome email to new customers is a good start at follow up, but that’s for beginners. Use the WooCommerce Follow Up Emails extension to completely automate all kinds of customer follow up and reminders.
  • 11. I got receipts: The age-old receipt is a standard part of any transaction, but with e-commerce, it’s an opportunity to get more returning customers. Make your receipt more than boring: make it valuable and helpful. With custom email receipts for WooCommerce you can set yourself apart, reinforce your brand, and forge that vital connection with customers.
  • 12. Join the club: The ultimate way to create returning customers is membership. Create an exclusive club for your best fans and give them all kinds of goodies: discounts, early access, insider news, exclusive products, valuable advice, free shipping, etc.
  • 13. Create content: Don’t just sell your wares, blog about them. Become a resource for your industry, offering insights, reviews, and previews. You’ll find returning customers come back because you’re building trust.
  • 14. Identify your fans: This one would be time-consuming, but if you really want to generate more returning customers, get to know them. Figure out who your best customers are (iThemes Sales Accelerator can help) and pick their brains. You could send an impersonal survey or do a focus group (be sure to offer an incentive for participation). Get to know your fans and figure out how to reach more people like them.
  • 15. Remember they’re not new: Don’t treat returning customers like new customers. They’ve already bought from you once. There will be some overlap with what you offer new vs. returning customers, but you should also be able to dial back the pitch.
  • 16. Don’t forget social: Social media can be a helpful way to keep your store top of mind for customers. Post pics of new products, updates on sales, helpful content and industry news, etc.
  • 17. Incredible customer service: A great way to bring customers back is to take great care of them. Be prompt and helpful in your replies, always say thank you, follow up to make sure issues are resolved, go above and beyond what’s expected. Under-promise and over-deliver.

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