The holiday orders are going to soon be rolling in and with them a slew of first-time customers either ordering gifts for someone, or treating themselves to an item they’ve been eyeing up and saving all year to purchase.
These first-time buyers can quickly turn into lifetime customers if you wow them from the start by making them feel their purchase was truly appreciated.
Let’s face it, when that box from Amazon arrives on someone’s porch, it’s “just another box from Amazon.” There’s nothing special about it and there’s not going to be any surprises inside when it’s opened (unless they happened to ship the wrong item!).
But, you can make YOUR packages stand out, show that the order meant something, and delight the person who opened the box.
It’s a lot simpler than you think.
When was the last time you opened a box and found a thank you note tucked inside with the items you purchased? That little gesture is a rarity these days but it can mean so much to your customer.
It’s human nature to want to feel appreciated and when you’re spending hard earned money somewhere, that appreciation is warranted even more.
It only takes a second to have someone write “Thanks for ordering from our small business, we hope you enjoy your holiday” on a packing slip or invoice. No stickers, no stamps, no pre-printed stuff… have a human with a pen in hand do this.
If you want to go an extra step, notecards printed with your company logo can be printed real inexpensively and are great for things like this.
This small, simple gesture is something that should be done year-round, but the holidays are a great time to start something new!
While your customer may be ordering a gift, why not surprise them with a gift of your own? Now you don’t have to break the bank or get all fancy here, but tossing in a “freebie” with an order, unannounced of course, makes that customer say, “wow, this is really nice that they did this.”
Promotional items with your company’s logo on it are perfect for surprise gifts like this. Or, if a manufacturer has a sampling program, samples are great as well and can turn into repeat business.
Gifts inside orders were something my online stores did year round. Mousepads, free samples of pet treats, pens, notebooks, and one we did every year around the holidays… a magnetic calendar complete with four coupons they could use during each quarter! The calendar was something that was kept around all year long and the coupons served as a subtle reminder to place another order.
Items like these can cost pennies but the goodwill they provide can lead to years of repeat business.
If you’re still using non-eco friendly packing material, now is the time to switch. There are many viable and affordable alternatives to styrofoam packing peanuts and plastic bubble wrap.
Today’s consumers are savvy when it comes to finding ways to go green in their lives and support businesses that help in that mission.
While you may not be able to investigate materials and suppliers in time for the holiday, you can start the ball rolling now to make it one of your goals for 2020. Perhaps one of the easiest and quickest things to change is packing peanuts. Bio-degradable ones made from corn starch are easy to obtain and can quickly be introduced.
If you’re going to introduce green packaging, be sure to let your customers know about it! They’ll appreciate the effort you’re making to give back to Mother Nature and will share the news with their friends as well.
Don’t Be Scrooge!
If there’s any advice I can give, it’s just that. Don’t make your customers call you Ebenezer because you make their experience with you so difficult it would make Tiny Tim cry!
Make sure your contact information is clear and easy to find on your website. This includes a phone number! Yes, I know… nobody picks up the phone anymore, right? Wrong! You’re a business. Someone is handing you money for things you sell. Let them talk to a human when they need to. If your site doesn’t have a phone number listed on it, put one on there.
Don’t make customers jump through hoops to return an item that didn’t fit or wasn’t as expected. Keep in mind how easy it is for someone to return something to Amazon. Making a customer email, fill out a form, or call for a return authorization first just doesn’t cut it anymore. Make sure your return policy is simple to understand and is hassle free. A few bad reviews about making returns can be a nightmare!
If someone says they can purchase an item for less at a competitor, match it and go the extra mile to make them happy. Don’t pass up the sale because you don’t want to lose a buck or two on an item. You’ll make that back on return business.
Thanks, come back again
Give your customers a reason to come back. One of the simplest ways of doing so is by providing them with a coupon they can use on a future order. Have these offers pre-printed on cards you can toss in with each order or send them a coupon in an email a few days after their order was placed.
Keep it going
After you see the success these small gestures will have, you’re going to want to continue year round. After all, new customers come around daily not just at Christmas time, so make sure you keep them happy so you can jingle all the way to the bank!
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.