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Aliza Polkes
Copywriter & Editor @ Yotpo
April 7th, 2020

6 Strategies for Turning One-Time Shoppers Into Repeat Customers

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life, and consumer shopping behaviors shift online, product categories from food to fitness are seeing a surge in activity.

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On March 17, we conducted a survey of 2,000 consumers, asking them how their buying habits had changed since the outbreak of COVID-19.

When asked which product categories they were most focused on, these were the top selections:

  • Food: 78.82%
  • Health and Wellness: 42.44%
  • Pets: 19.76%

While these categories were at the top of the list, other industries also saw gains, including apparel/accessories, beauty, and media/entertainment. And with supply chains around the world being disrupted, 40.55% said they would turn to less familiar brands if their preferred brands were out of stock.

For many brands, this represents an unprecedented chance to introduce potential new customers to your products. With the right combination of diverse outreach, offering value where it’s needed most, and, above all, sensitivity and empathy during this stressful time, you may be able to not only acquire new shoppers, but also to turn them into loyal, repeat customers.

Here are six strategies your brand can leverage to build long-term customer relationships:

1) Meet your customers where they are

According to our survey, consumers are paying more attention to email, SMS, social ads, and more during this time (35.65%). They’re also browsing online more (32.05%), and buying online more (25.35%).

By pivoting your marketing efforts towards these channels, you can reach your customers more effectively. SMS is the perfect place to start: text messages have a 98% open rate and 35% click-through rate.

If, for example, the household cleaner a shopper is looking for is out of stock, use it as an opportunity to introduce them to even more of your offering, by sending a text with a discount on a similar product. Then, once you’ve restocked, send a text letting them know it’s back on the shelves.

2) Build trust with customer reviews

Now more than ever, you are on potential shoppers’ radars as they search for essentials from home.

Highlight the uniqueness and quality of your products by collecting and displaying authentic customer reviews and star ratings. At a time when we’re all looking to connect digitally, a ringing endorsement of your offerings from a satisfied customer is more valuable to fellow shoppers now than it’s ever been before.

Jimmy Joy uses reviews and UGC to boost purchase confidence

3) Stand out on search results

Our survey results revealed that If products are unavailable, many consumers would turn to less familiar brands as options (40.55%). Combined with the fact that so many shoppers are currently browsing online, and that their attention is focused on comfort, wellness, and essentials, this is an unprecedented time for brand discovery.

Capitalize on this opportunity with an SEO Page: a dedicated page that houses all of your site and product reviews. It can help boost your organic rankings on Google, driving more high-intent traffic to your site. In addition, Rich Snippets — aggregated star ratings and product information featured under your Google search results — immediately provide shoppers with the information they need about your products.

4) Run high-value promotions

There’s never been a more important time to show shoppers real value for their money. With so many consumers browsing online, offering coupons and promotions with timely, relevant value and sensitive messaging can make all the difference when it comes to capturing a potential customer’s attention.

If, for example, a shopper is looking to buy a case of water bottles, offer them 40% off their next case if they buy one now and leave a review, with messaging that speaks to making it easier for them to stay healthy and hydrated.

5) Turn your brand into a destination

We’re all looking for ways to connect during these stressful times. Bringing your customer community together in entertaining and creative ways is an essential step in demonstrating your brand value.

Ask your customers to share photos or videos of themselves using your product. For example, if you sell food, encourage customers to make recipes using your ingredients, and post the finished product. Or, if you sell makeup, have consumers share a video of them applying it or photos of them wearing it. Reward the winners with discounts or loyalty points — then display the visual content you’ve collected in galleries on your homepage.

5) Implement a loyalty program

A loyalty program can help you create and foster long-term customer relationships in several ways.

First, a loyalty program allows you to instantly connect with new customers by offering them value beyond product. When a consumer makes that first purchase, incentivize them to join your program by offering benefits like points towards their next purchase, discounts upon signing up, or VIP status.

Japanese snack subscription service Bokksu automatically gifts shoppers VIP status after their first purchase, immediately setting the groundwork for a long-term relationship.

Once a customer has joined your loyalty program, reward them for actions they’ll be particularly excited about during these times — like reading a list of health and wellness tips, signing up to receive the latest posts from your brand’s food blog, or tuning in for an Instagram Live workout session. Not only are you giving your customers value, you’re also building your brand equity.

For even more ideas on how to engage with your customers and build long-term relationships during these times, check out this helpful post, full of strategies compiled by our own Customer Success Managers. For additional resources, visit Yotpo’s COVID-19 hub. 

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