Repeat business – it’s one of the most valuable features of any business.
It can grow your profits in record fast time and reduce or even annihilate competition along the way.
It’s all about getting first time customers to buy from you again, and again, possibly for years to come, at the same time making them oblivious to others selling similar or even identical products.
Benefits to sellers are obvious and include:
– Attracting a first time buyer is more expensive and time-consuming than converting established buyers to regular customers. So imagine, for example, you attract first time eBay buyers for low price items, like beads and guitar strings, and when you fulfil orders you tell them about more expensive beads and high quality guitars selling from your outside eBay website.
You may have been one of countless people selling those lower value items on eBay and you could have invested considerable sums of money listing and selling hundreds of items to attract first time customers. But you won’t have to share your takings with eBay from higher price products sold from your own website.
– Just a handful of products can generate regular high profits for many years to come, perhaps indefinitely, even for low profit items. So you could sell greetings cards, for example, or pencils and art paper, knitting and crochet patterns, and other things people buy in multiples at the same time or over the indefinite future. Profits per sale might be low, but each regular buyer can ultimately generate hundreds or even thousands of pounds pure profit.
– Good for generating fast profits. When sales dip, during warmer times, for example, when fewer people bid and buy online, a quick email to your past buyers telling them you are running a sale just for them will bring orders and profits your way. That’s a good reason for having clearly identifiable product categories within your eBay shop where, if one particular product type is underselling, you run a sale on that one product type and email people who purchased it previously.
– Repeat buyers trust you, or they wouldn’t be repeat buyers, and that means they are unlikely to leave undesirable feedback and face being removed from your buyers’ list. Good feedback is the backbone of any eBay business and the more of it you have, the more sales you will make, and the more money you will bank.
Getting repeat business isn’t just a question of listing quality products at reasonable prices; it’s more about interacting with buyers and making them trust you and want to do business with you again. Respect like that can not be bought but it can be earned. This is how to earn it:
– Acknowledge orders right away. Send a simple thank you email saying when orders will arrive and inviting recipients to contact you with questions and concerns.
– Do as you would be done by. Treat customers well, as you would like to be treated yourself, and you won’t ever go far wrong. Consider what your biggest worries might be when buying from someone you haven’t purchased from already. Will the item arrive, will it be as described; if there’s a problem will the seller help you? Anticipate and address potential problems inside your eBay listings and in confirmation and thank you emails.
– Let your buyer know he is valuable. Send a small gift or unexpected extra item inside outgoing packages. Include a note saying you hope your buyer likes his product and ask if there is anything you can do to increase his enjoyment of it. Doing so not only makes a buyer feel important, and likely to buy from you again, but it can also reduce negative and neutral feedback appearing from buyers who choose not to approach sellers first for a solution.
– Convert difficult and disgruntled buyers into repeat buyers by working hard to address their concerns. Researchers say an unhappy first time buyer is more likely to buy again from someone who apologises and solves their problem. Better the devil you know, you might say.
– Ask for repeat business. Pop a business card or compliments slip inside outgoing packages; tell buyers to mention they have purchased from you previously and ask you for a discount. Make a note of people who respond and their contact details. Having them remind you, as they will, is much easier and less time-consuming than identifying repeat buyers manually. Software is available to pinpoint repeat buyers and it’s not all that expensive, but having customers contact you for a repeat buyer discount is just as good.
– When payment arrives, make a note of the buyer’s name, his interests, and email address and add to a Word file ready to insert into your email software. You are allowed to collect and store contact details for your own buyers as long as you make it easy for people to remove themselves from your list.
In your first email to new buyers, say something like ‘Thank you for buying from me on eBay. I am very grateful for your custom and want you to enjoy special buyer only offers in future. If you don’t want to be approached with special offers, please let me know and I will remove you from my mailing list and thank you once again for your custom.
– Make your eBay ID and shop names memorable and past buyers more likely to purchase from you in future than search for people selling similar products.
Give those ideas a go and soon you could be making the bulk of your profits outside of eBay and forfeiting less of your hard earned profits.