Think about the last place you got your hair cut. Did you feel comfortable there? Did you like you stylist? Did you come away feeling like you had a pleasant experience? Do you plan on going back?
Obviously, whether or not you were pleased with the resulting product (your hair cut) will factor into your decision of returning to the salon. But there are a gazillion places to get a hair cut, so whether or not you become a repeat customer has to do with so much more.
Customers are willing to pay for a great experience.
There may be a salon that offers decent enough hair cuts, at a measly $10 bucks a pop. They have price going for them, and that’s cool. But that may be ALL they have going for them. If the stylists are less-than-friendly, the music tasteless, and the atmosphere stale, I won’t return. (Ever been to a place with blank, artless white walls that reminded you of a metal hospital? Bleh!) Having to spend two hours waiting in line at a location where all of the employees seem to hate their job isn’t even worth the 10 bucks, as measly as that amount is.
Now take the salon down the street. Maybe, you decide to try it out next time, after your less-than-fun experience at the 10 dollar place. Right off the bat, you notice how much friendlier and nice the stylists are. They welcome you with a smile, and get you in the door right away. As you are getting your hair snipped, you are offered hot tea to drink, and the atmospheric music relaxes you into a near-slumber. The interior design of this salon makes you feel luxurious and comfortable. No details are missed! (Even the bathroom is Pinterest worthy!) All this, for just $45.
Price means nothing when the experience can’t be matched.
When you are offering your customers a shopping experience that they will enjoy, they will want to return and feel that sense of enjoyment again. They will tell others about how great their experience was, and the word-of-mouth promotion will multiply. The same effect can occur with online shopping as with any other brick and mortar location.
Think about it: have you ever been to a web site with terrible, blurry product images, annoying music, flashing graphics and ads, and stuck around for the “great online shopping experience”? No! At a certain point, it doesn’t matter if the knitted hat is only $5 when it’s torture trying to locate the add-to-cart button.
So if you have your own web site, make sure the design is easy on the eyes, and simple enough to navigate. If you sell on a marketplace website like Etsy, keep your photos clear and your product descriptions easy to skim over.
Some additional ways you can ensure a great buyer experience:
- Thank the customer as soon as you can by sending them a convo or e-mail letting them know you got their order. Let them know when it will be shipped out and through what provider.
- Ship as soon as possible. Customers return to sellers who swiftly send their items.
- Package your items safely to minimize the chances of damage along the way. Include a business card, a repeat discount code, or thank you note. Make your customer feel appreciated.
- Handle bad situations swiftly. If your item does break, no matter how well you packaged it, offer an immediate refund or replacement. When this has happened to me, I do not require the customer to go through the hassle of sending me the broken item back, I want the process to go as smoothly and stress-free for him or her as possible. Same goes for an item getting lost in the mail. Sure, it may not be your fault that the post office misplaced a package, but it’s your job to make your customer happy.
- Finally, offer refunds for items that came over fine, but that the customer changed his or her mind on. Sometimes people don’t read the details in your descriptions, regardless of how clear they may be. Sometimes they just seem to look different, or feel different than they thought they would by looking at your pictures. Sometimes people forget to check measurements and things don’t fit right. Sometimes people just changes their mind for no apparent reason. Regardless of the reason, the customer’s experience (and how they will talk about that experience to others) is much more important than a single sale.
When you strive to offer a better buying experience, you can begin to sell it for a price that is happily paid in return.