Although an ecommerce website owner technically works for his or herself, you may often feel that you work for your customers. Like a boss, they make demands that you must comply with and have a huge effect on your day-to-day life as well as the success of your business. However, your customers should also be working for you—helping you build your brand and your ecommerce business. Like any job, this requires training in order to perform effectively. Here are a few tips for turning your customers into the most effective sales force you have ever experienced:
- Ask for testimonials. Many happy customers are also happy to give you a testimonial or a reference. These can be prominently displayed on your website and also on review websites such as Google Places and Yelp. This allows customers to share their feelings about your business and gets them into the habit of talking about your business to others. Customers effectively become a mobile PR team.
- Create case studies. Case studies are a great way to show exactly how your company works and solves problems on a regular basis. They are also good marketing tools because viewers see your company in the best possible light and also understand that your products or services are worth the expense. You can involve customers in these case studies so that they have their say about the process as well.
- Give a sense of community. In a world where a customer might be thousands of miles from your ecommerce website, a sense of community is definitely lacking in most modern interactions. However, you can begin to supply this in a different form, a virtual one. Offer Facebook pages, chat rooms, and other places where customers can gather to talk to you or each other. Even if no one takes advantage of this immediately, it nonetheless makes your business feel more personal and personable. It also allows your customers to begin talking about your business and your products, creating buzz.
- Educate. If you are using surveys after orders have been completed and making them a part of your email marketing, you have a valuable tool in your hands. Make your customers go to work for you by asking questions that you can use to improve your business. For instance, are there any unusual ways that they use your products? Are there any accessories or other products that they wish you would offer? Your customers can function as your ecommerce website’s unpaid research and development department if you learn to ask the right questions.
- Encourage referrals. If there a place in your checkout for customers to enter a referral code? If not, you may want to consider adding this. Offering incentives and discounts to customers that refer friends will give them the inspiration to do so. This can turn a happy and quietly satisfied customer in an outspoken fan in one swoop. Remember: running an ecommerce website by yourself is hard enough. You need to get your customers working for you!