It’s a truism in every form of marketing: Acquiring a new customer requires more marketing effort and resources (read money) than selling to someone with whom you’ve done business before. Though the tactics in building an online repeat customer base may be some what different from a traditional brick-and-mortar retail operation, the value of ecommerce repeat customers is perhaps even greater. A 2012 Adobe report titled “The ROI From Marketing to Existing Online Customers” also revealed that while repeat shoppers account for only 8 percent of an average ecommerce site’s traffic, they represent 41 percent of revenue.
GunBroker.com’s highest volume sellers recognize the importance of repeat clientele and work to build and maintain this important customer base. Grant Williams, President of Sportsman’s Supply in western Pennsylvania reports as much as 90 percent of his GunBroker.com sales today are with customers to whom they’ve sold before. He credits the level of customer service Sportsman’s Supply provides largely to the GunBroker.com automated Checkout Feature.
Building repeat customers to your online sales – whether on GunBroker.com or your own website – requires a well-planned and well-executed campaign, and the efforts must be ongoing and continuous.
Competitive Pricing: There’s no doubt, online customers are price sensitive. Online buyers conduct their research, compare products head-to-head, and read reviews to make their decision on a product. Once they’ve decided what they want, the next thing they go looking for is the best price on that product.
To create a repeat customer, you must attract their attention, and make the first sale. You’re best bet is hitting them with a great price. However, particularly in selling firearms, margins are nearly universally slim to start. To have any hope of selling new guns to a new customer, your pricing needs to be competitive … at least within a few dollars of others selling the same products. You build repeat customers by giving them more for their money.
Customer Service: This is where you win – or lose – repeat business. On future purchases, repeat customers will likely be willing to spend more with you than with your competitors if you’ve delivered superior customer service on previous sales.
On GunBroker.com, customer service really begins when you are creating your listings. Potential buyers appreciate detailed listings which answer all their questions right up front. Great photography builds immediate confidence in your business and quality of service. When they email you with questions, respond in a timely manner with a complete and friendly answer. Anticipate additional related questions and provide all the accurate information you can. And be sure to make your replies public on your listing to answer the same question for other interested shoppers.
Once a sale is made, this is where your customer service can really shine – and ensure repeat customers. Beat their expectations in billing, correspondence and shipping. With GunBroker.com’s Checkout Feature enabled on your account it’s often possible to ship – even firearms – in less than 24 hours of the auction closing, many times in less than 12 hours. Time your auction closings appropriately and make this a goal for your team.
Establish Your Niche: If you build a reputation as THE source for a particular category of products or THE seller who can find guns or ammo no one else can, repeat business will beat a digital path to your website and your GunBroker.com listings. With 3.25 million registered users and 6.5 million unique visitors to GunBroker.com each month, the opportunity for building a loyal, repeat customer base is enormous. If the products you offer are truly unique and you support the sales with superior customer service, you could very well join the elite GunBroker.com sellers who are doing millions of dollars of online sales each year – mostly to repeat customers who will seek you out again, and again.