Direct-to-Customer Commerce

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Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Repeat Customer Remain the Key to Success

In today’s issue of Direct Newsline, an electronic newsletter from Direct Magazine, appears the headline: Repeat Online Visitors Make Better Buyers.

The story reports on an analysis from WebSideStory, which documents that repeat visitors to merchant sites convert to buyers at the rate of 12.6% compared to 1.5% for first time visitors.

WebSideStory goes on to document how these conversion rates differ for various industries, but repeat visitors always have dramatically better conversion rates than first time visitors. WebSideStory concludes, “For marketers of e-commerce sites, this data further drives home the importance of building customer loyalty online.”

My only “beef” with their conclusion is the narrowness of their focus. Let’s face it. Building repeat business is important for every channel, not just online.

The first time you interact with a potential customer, regardless of the channel, that propsect is asking, “Can I trust this company to treat me right?” “Are their products/services a good value for the price?” “If I have a problem will they resolve it quickly and fairly?”

If you get a second chance to interact with this same potential customer, it’s an indication that you succeeded in providing positive answers to those questions, the first time, so, they’re giving you another chance to prove yourself.

Each succeeding interaction increases your chance of really doing business with each customer.

When you finally succeed in getting an order from a customer, you’ve got your first real chance to prove yourself worthy of their business.

Isn’t it somewhat obvious that it’s easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one? That’s why good fulfillment or operational execution is so important and why customer service is critical. If you mess up the execution, customer service may, emphasis on may, be able to save the customer. But doing it right the first time is easier and cheaper than trying to make up for a mistake through customer service.

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Filed under: Direct Commerce, Uncategorized

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