Have you ever read the description for Etsy on Google? The site offers to connect customers with someone who put their heart and soul into making something special. It might be another eCommerce site, but it is one where there is an emphasis on the craftsperson who has spent time producing something unique and special.
In many ways, the ethos of Etsy should help you gain repeat clients. A loyal customer usually grows out of a warm and personal sense of service and the delight in receiving something unique. However, it also raises the bar for you, as you need to deliver on this promise of the site if you hope to keep those customers coming back.
Why is it so essential to your business that you gain lifelong customers? Well, finding new customers is one of the hardest things to do in retail. While you may feel you have a global market on the internet, in truth, you are aiming your wares at a small demographic. You will only appeal to a minority of this demographic. Therefore, the more you think about it, the smaller the group of potential customers becomes. In short, you must win one, keep one to enjoy a successful business.
But how do you do it? How do you get these people to keep choosing you and your store? Here is our best advice.
Get to know your people
Researching your target market should be one of your first jobs when setting up your Etsy online store. Every choice you make – from your language to the photographs of your products – should scream your knowledge of your people. It takes time to understand your customers’ needs, but it is an essential first step in retaining their business.
You can start this process by looking inward. How would you want to be treated by your business, and what would this practically look like? Do you get a sense of delight out of receiving a personal note with your product thanking you for your custom? Then, it is likely that your potential future community of “regulars” are going to love the same.
With a site like Etsy, that speaks to people’s hearts, your job is to make this client feel like your friend. They will want to feel a personal connection to you and will place a high value on small moments of thoughtfulness.
Get it right first time
There is too much competition to give you time to recover from an error with a client. The surest way to lose a customer is to make a mistake. We are all human, and when first setting up your Etsy store, you will have made a hundred and one small errors along the way. These mistakes are not terminal. However, if something regularly goes wrong, it will really begin to show in your profits. Therefore, reflect, learn and do better each time.
One of the best qualities to possess when working in retail is an attention to detail. Small moments of contact with your customer matter – for instance – spell their name correctly, make sure the postcode is accurate, ensure it’s the right product. If you want to gain the loyalty of a community of shoppers, then double-check everything and don’t employ anyone that wouldn’t do the same.
Stay in touch
There will be times when your customers contact you. They will likely want to know a day of delivery, or it could be to complain. Whatever the communication, you should respond as quickly as possible. The longer you leave it, the more likely it is to cause you problems. Telling people of a delivery date might feel challenging, but it is something that could gain you an advantage. There is every possibility that your product is meant for a special event or the customer doesn’t want to miss the delivery person. Therefore, going the extra mile with that last mile of your delivery by working with a courier firm could make the difference.
Try to be memorable
These days, people receive a lot of products to their front doors. In fact, there were 22 parcels shipped per person globally in 2018 and one can only assume that the unusual events of 2020 have added to that number.
Therefore, when it comes to packaging, try to avoid just sending off a plain cardboard box. Yes, it is probably the most cost effective in the short term, but when cultivating a loyal customer base, you want to appeal to their senses and be a memorable arrival in their home. Consider using string, ribbon, thank you cards or stickers to add personality and interest to your parcel.
Finally, you need to be a constant presence on social media. You are running a business that relies on the personal touch, so people need to feel like they relate to you. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is social media and the behind-the-scenes view you can give of your business. You are the face of your business. Being a small independent is an asset against the big corporates of this world, so make the most of your individuality!
Laura McLoughlin is a Digital PR with past experience as a website editor and writer. Away from the keyboard, you can find her binging nature documentaries and dreaming up travel plans. Laura works with Glaze Digital in Northern Ireland.