Warming Customers to Repeat Buys
by Joanna Lupo
If you’ve ever stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, you know it’s hard to stay anywhere else.
The hotels are gorgeous and the amenities are world-class, but the thing that keeps people coming back over and over again is their customer service. There are a lot of other luxury hotels to choose from, but none of them can quite reach the same level of consistent service across all of their locations.
Once you’ve experienced it, everything else seems just ok, and it’s enough to make a one-time customer turn into a lifetime customer.
In the Amazon ecosystem, it’s not easy to get repeat customers as an individual seller. You have few touchpoints with buyers and some may not even be aware that you exist. But there are a few things you can do to stand out from the crowd, encourage customers to come back and shop from you again and again and build a world-class reputation of your own.
One way to stand out and build a loyal following is to operate with an extremely high degree of professionalism. How professional is your packaging? Are you careful to make sure the experience of opening your product is a delightful one? Or do you let your 6-year-old pop all the bubble wrap as you wrap it up with masking tape? Do you use nice-looking, properly formatted labels and packaging, or do you hurriedly handwrite the address as you wait in line at the post office? Have you figured out that it really makes people happy when you ship an item before you promised? Being professional in every aspect of your interaction is a great way to show the buyer that you are worthy of their business again.
One of the easiest ways to build trust and loyalty with people is when you communicate with them. Sellers on Amazon are often limited in how they communicate with buyers. The only time you may have direct communication with the buyer is if there is a complaint. Handling these touchy incidents is a great way to show good communication skill and build loyalty.
Assuming there are no complaints, one of your only chances to communicate with them is with your feedback request. Using a service like FeedbackFive, you can customize your messaging to be more memorable. Instead of saying “Please leave your valuable feedback”, you might say “We hope you love your Star Wars Collectible DVD as much as we do. Let us know how we can improve our Jedi skills.”
When you become known for only stocking a very specific line of products, you are more likely to be known by a very specific community. That community will bond with you if you can demonstrate that you are there to serve them. Suppose all of your products cater to old-time shaving paraphernalia. If your store name suggests that you specialize in these products, someone who really wants a safety razor might also check to see if you sell shaving brushes and creams too. When you hyperspecialize, you are not so much selling a specific product, but meeting the desires of a specific community. Many niche communities these days are fairly connected and you might not only get repeat buyers, but referrals also. Then, as Seth Godin says, “Your job isn’t to find more customers for your product, but more products for your customers.”
It’s often tempting to think of buyers on Amazon as faceless transactions that randomly stumble onto your product page and then bounce off into oblivion. But if you think about how to treat customers as individuals and referring members of communities, you may find that getting a repeat buyer isn’t as hard as you thought.
Originally published on July 10, 2015, updated August 12, 2019
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.