Today’s shoppers have multiple options when choosing where to buy from. The e-commerce era has made geography less important, which has created an extra challenge for business owners: How can you cultivate a loyal repeat customer base when your audience is freer than ever to shop around?

The answer may reside in tactics that can make customers not just remember your e-commerce offerings, but also return time and again. What do these tactics look like? The following are a good starting point:

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1. Free Gifts

Gift-with-purchase (GWP) marketing is popular not just for the obvious reason that everyone likes getting something for free, but also for the element of fun it adds to receiving an online purchase. In many e-commerce industries, particularly those that fall under the health and beauty care umbrella, including complimentary product samples with each order is a common practice. The goal of this tactic is twofold: firstly, to deliver surprise and delight, and secondly, to drive future sales by encouraging customers to try additional products. To maximize the effectiveness of this approach, it’s important to get the sample size and packaging right. Samples should be large enough to clearly signify added value, but small enough that it doesn’t put profitability in peril. Similarly, packaging should communicate quality without being cost prohibitive.

2. Free Shipping

Free shipping is a perk that most online shoppers have come to expect on some level, and while reluctance to pay for non-tangible services is common enough, the psychology surrounding shipping seems to be more complex than that.

It’s a fairly common practice, especially among small e-commerce businesses, to require that online shopping carts reach a minimum threshold before a customer is eligible for free shipping. Going this route allows you to calculate the minimum order value needed to justify absorbing the shipping costs, and it may lead to increased sales as customers spend more on product to avoid spending anything on shipping and handling. Another option is to offer free shipping on ALL orders, which generally involves raising product prices to offset shipping costs for your business. While a lower product price point with shipping fees and a higher product price point without shipping fees may result in the same final cost to the consumer, the perceived “free” element often results in a higher level of customer satisfaction.Ultimately, free shipping probably won’t be the factor that draws customers to your site, but shipping fees could very likely be the reason they move on to a competitor.

3. Referrals

Making referral programs part of your marketing tool kit is a smart move because it allows you to target new customers and retain existing ones simultaneously. This tactic is also so effective because it produces quality leads (since referrals are typically prompted by shared interests and a whopping 92% of consumers say they trust the recommendations of people they know personally) and usually guarantees at least one more purchase from the initial shopper (since they will want to take advantage of their referral reward). The personal connection component of a referral program is powerful, and there are numbers to back it up. Referred customers have a 37% higher retention rate and are four times more likely to refer even more customers to you, so once you implement a strong referral program, it will grow exponentially.

4. Compelling Content

From unboxing videos on YouTube to influencer endorsements on Instagram to trends and tutorials on TikTok, sharing well-curated content across multiple platforms is a great way to gain and grow a captivated audience.

Unboxing videos, whether they’re created in-house, contracted through paid influencers, or simply shared by happy customers, represent an opportunity to promote brand awareness, showcase the design of your product packaging and packing elements, share information about your products, and fuel excitement among current and potential customers.

Beautiful images might stop the scroll for a second or two, but increasingly, people go to social media looking for entertainment and instruction. When creating content for your e-commerce brand, look for ways to add value and inspire engagement, whether it’s by incorporating humor (e.g., participating in the latest viral trend) or imparting actionable information (e.g., product demos/tutorials).

5. Website Appeal

A brick-and-mortar store is objectively more likely to thrive if it’s well maintained, thoughtfully laid out, and visually appealing, and the equivalent for an e-commerce business is a well-designed website. While the aesthetic is important, your site needs to do more than just look great…it needs to perform flawlessly. As an online retailer, your website is your primary platform for brand identity, product presentation, point-of-sale, communication of policies, customer service, and much more.

As your business evolves, it’s imperative that your site evolves along with it. Working with a dedicated e-commerce partner like DHL can help maximize your potential, especially as you navigate big changes. Whether you’re expanding into the global marketplace, updating processes and policies to accommodate increased demand, or just in need of fast, reliable shipping and logistics services, we’re here for you. expert to learn more about all the ways that our business can support yours!

What is your e-commerce business currently doing to increase awareness and boost customer loyalty? Talk to us on Twitter @DHLUS.
Serious about going global? Your brand can reach 220 countries. Get started today.