How To Turn One-time Amazon Customers into Repeat Buyers
- May 8, 2016 | Avalara
Amazon’s marketplace is the place to sell your products. After all, millions of people visit Amazon every month with a buying mindset.
Selling on Amazon is not without its disadvantages, though. One big one is that there seems to be little opportunity for branding and customer loyalty, since the platform is Amazon, after all, and not your own.
Still, you can’t beat the fact that Amazon gets more traffic in a day than a small niche store may get in a whole year.
So how can you turn one-time customers into repeat buyers?
How Do Other Online Stores Do It?
The key is to gain repeat customers. If a business is really lucky (or smart), they’ll have customers visiting their store very often just to browse around.
Normally, online stores encourage return visits from their customers via savvy marketing, especially email marketing and social media, such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.
Unfortunately, marketing in these ways and gaining customer loyalty on Amazon is very difficult. And it's not just Amazon -- it's equally difficult on eBay and other marketplaces, too.
To quote Jamie Salvatori from a very thought-provoking article on Practical Ecommerce:
The bottom line is that businesses can only exist upon repeat business. You cannot create repeat business on Amazon and eBay because all of the branding is designed to reinforce their sales channel and not your store.
Working Around Limitations
Realistically, if you want to stick to Amazon and try to foster repeat buying, then you can use an automated Amazon email service such as Feedback Genius. I personally use Feedback Genius to follow up with my customers to get reviews, and I have been happy with the results.
Feedback Genius could even help you set up a whole sales funnel. The app lets you set up filters for each message by product, so you could set up a special sequence of messages for each product you carry, using the communication to introduce buyers to your other offerings.
This sort of email marketing is a little limited, though, because you don't really have a proper “list” -- you are limited to just sending follow-up emails to previous buyers via the selling platform. Additionally, it's against Amazon's policies to link out to external websites from emails sent through their system, so you will have to be a little savvy to get your existing buyers following you on social media.
To build a strong social media brand as an Amazon seller, you'll have to think of creative work-arounds. For instance, a way to get customers into your social media fan group is to include a little card with a QR code in your product's packaging. When your buyer scans the QR code with their phone, it directs them to your social profile. QR codes are painless to generate and you can do so from here.
The best way to use social media as an Amazon seller is to create a social media following via other activities, whether selling through your own online store or via blogging or other communications that garner loyal audiences. From there you'll be able to promote your Amazon products easily to your fans.
Building Your Own Brand
You can get the most ROI from building your own brand outside of marketplaces like Amazon. Having your own website has advantages: It is independent and totally in your control. Using your website, you can build a proper email list and grow your social following.
If your products are primarily in Amazon FBA, that's still OK -- you can still funnel people to your products from your website. Though as your independent Web presence develops, you may find that using Amazon is more of a limitation than a help to your business, primarily because of its restrictions on your ability to build your own loyal base of customers.