Part 2 – Top Tips on Securing Second Purchases

In our last blog post, we discussed seven steps to simplify your sign-up process. This week we’re going to look at some common website mistakes even after your customer has made their first purchase.

After a customer signs up for the first time, it should be the beginning of a long-term relationship spanning many years – and purchases! But it can all go wrong as soon as they try to sign into their account for the second time. The following five to tips will help you avoid some of the common traps that can cost you sales.

1. Make it easy to browse

Once a person has signed up don’t expect them to have to go to your home page and sign in. For me, this is right up there with getting my teeth drilled. After a user registers, you should know who they are – so let them in immediately! You can always ask them to verify their identity when they want to place their order, just like on Amazon.

2. Help them through checkout

The main aim of your site is to encourage customers to buy your products. So why not make it easy for them to place their order?

If they forget their login details (let’s face it, who doesn’t?), you should be making it as simple as possible for them to retrieve it. Therefore your log in form should have a “remember me on this computer” check box, so the user can click on it and the next time their username will automatically appear.

Of course they may still forget their password, but they can then choose to remember this using the browser’s functionality. Should they choose to do so no doubt their kids will go on to max out their credit card!

And for us really forgetful lot, you need to ensure resetting the password is as intuitive and pain-free as possible. Firebox has got this right:

3. Promote, don’t spam

So you have now got a nice list of customers who have purchased from your site. Sounds like a great list to send your marketing collateral to, right? Wrong!

Email newsletters, coupons and promotions are considered marketing or commercial emails and therefore you must have permission from the sender before you email them anything. Regular newsletters are a great way of keeping customers coming back to your site. Sites such as River Island, Superdrug and even Sainsbury’s offer a “check here first” service, keeping their shoppers in-the-know about upcoming discounts, sales and promotions.

But be careful! If you send something without permission, then you’re sending unsolicited commercial email (UCE), otherwise known as SPAM. Spam is much more than just a pain in the neck, it also means you are breaking the CANSPAM law. Why does this matter? Well, not only will you receive a slap on the hand from the FTC but your site could be blacklisted meaning that search engines will no longer list your site. All in all, it’s bad news – so stay clear!

And, even if you do have permission, you still need to take care. Sending customers swathes of irrelevant communications will only lead them to opt out, or to put it legally, “withdraw their permission”. When it comes to content, quality is better than quantity.

4. Offer Great Service

You won’t get loyal customers without good customer service, and loyal customers lead to repeat sales. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you if they have a problem or question.

John Lewis has built their company on their reputation for quality and customer service. Their site website highlights how easy to is to contact them through a variety of ways.

Make it clear to your customers what the best way to contact you is if they have a question about their product, delivery or if they want to return something.

Once you have customers, you need to treat them well. Handle any complaints fairly and promptly and they will come back and likely recommend you! In today’s online environments, a bad customer experience can become visible more quickly and have more lasting consequences than ever before.

5. Always upgrade your eCommerce application to the latest version.

Whether you use Magento, osCommerce, Zen Cart, Actinic or any other eCommerce platform, make sure you are always using the most recent version. Not only will this enable you to use the newest features but it will also make your eCommerce site more secure.

Without the latest edition, your site will be far more susceptible to getting hacked, leaving sensitive data such as credit card information more open to be compromised. So save yourself a lot of time and hassle and upgrade your eCommerce platform as soon as a new version becomes available.

You can spend a lot of time and effort casting your lines, making cash and reeling the customers in. But once you’ve got them to your online store it’s not always easy keeping hold of them.

Modern customers are clued up – if they are not happy with your company or your website they are only a click away from another store.