How to Get Customers to Spend More
Monday August 9th, 2021
While all retail businesses focus entirely on reaching new customers at first, it quickly becomes tough to maintain a steady influx of first-time clients after the initial launch phase. At that point and beyond, knowing how to get customers to spend more becomes just as vital as chasing new acquisitions.
Indeed, according to various marketing sector studies, you’re around 50% more likely to successfully upsell or cross-sell to an existing customer than you are to convert a new one for the first time. Happily, there are many effective sales techniques aimed at increasing the average order value (AOV) for customers you’ve already successfully engaged – and that’s what we’re looking at in this guide.
What to buy, not whether to buy
Bringing in new buyers is expensive: average marketing spend is typically up to 5x higher than for re-engaging a previous client. Channeling resources into helping existing customers decide what to buy next offers far better ROI than trying to convince someone new to buy from you in the first instance.
As soon as your retail business is achieving a handful of reasonably consistent weekly sales, it’s therefore wise to dedicate a solid chunk of your time, energy and marketing budget to maintaining relationships with existing buyers. Doing so will usually pay dividends: if you can successfully encourage returning buyers to spend gradually higher amounts over a number of visits, you’ll exponentially increase each customer’s lifetime value to your business, as well as your bottom line sales figures.
Remove barriers: retail finance is a powerful motivator
In any potential retail transaction, various friction points can quickly result in a change of heart and an abandoned shopping basket. The absolute number one way to get customers to spend more is to remove as many of the perceived barriers between the buyer and the completed sale as possible.
For the vast majority of customers, financial considerations are by far the single most important barrier to a successful purchase. If you’re trying to encourage your clients to spend more money with your business, you’ll need to make sure they feel confident about this aspect above all others.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to offer a range of flexible financing options, giving them the ability and motivation to handle more expensive purchases by spreading costs over time, based on a clear and manageable repayment plan.
At Duologi, that’s exactly what we give you the power to offer your customers:
- We provide you with access to a range of versatile retail finance packages, including popular 0% interest and Buy Now, Pay Later models.
- All repayment plans are handled by us in direct liaison with the customer, meaning there’s no extra paperwork for you to worry about. Moreover, cash flow into your business isn’t affected – you’re still paid upfront and in full for the products or services you’re selling.
- We even provide you with a range of point-of-sale marketing tools and materials, helping you steer potential customers to the right financing options for them, both in store and online.
If you’d like to learn more about how retail finance can help grow your business in a highly competitive marketplace for modern SMEs, download our free Think Forward article today.
Online retail vs. physical stores
Besides offering a compelling incentive through customer finance, how else do you get shoppers to spend more? There are many effective strategies out there, but not all will work equally well for every type of business model. Finding the ideal approach means fully understanding your customers’ individual needs and expectations.
The basic approaches listed below are all proven strategies for the right business. However, while various techniques apply equally to both online and physical points of sale, some are much more relevant in one case or the other. In order to put together the ideal value-increasing package for your customers, you’ll need to tweak the formula depending on what kind of products or services you’re selling, and in what environment.
- In most physical sales environments, a key part of what you’re looking to do is to slow the customer down a little bit. This shouldn’t ever happen to the point where it becomes intrusive or inconvenient, of course – ideally, you’ll find ways to extend their stay on the premises just long enough to encourage wider browsing.
- ‘Slowing the customer down’ in this sense means providing an experience that makes them want to stay for longer, rather than creating unnecessary delays or obstacles for them to navigate around.
- In a sufficiently comfortable and fulfilling environment for each individual buyer, this will often lead naturally to increased spending.
- Your ultimate aim should be to make each visitor to your physical store feel directly engaged and valued as an individual, rather than just a buyer. This is a powerful motivator in encouraging higher average spends, as well as for securing repeat custom in future.
- In physical stores, retail staff play a major role in increasing sales volume. Effective customer service training will be crucial in encouraging buyers to stay longer and spend more in-store.
- Ideally, sales staff will help create the impression of a more personalised and attentive experience; modern buyers expect to be viewed as individuals with unique needs and expectations.
On-site amenities, comforts and conveniences
- Customers will spend more time in-store if you make it physically comfortable and convenient to do so. Again, aim to understand the needs of your target customer, and address them directly.
- Also think about what’s lacking for the types of customers you don’t get so many of, and see whether there’s an opportunity to provide a more enticing environment for them. Setting up a kid-friendly area, for example, can be a huge help to family groups, allowing them to take their time when browsing.
- Similarly, providing a clean and comfortable bathroom, having somewhere to sit comfortably and browse a catalogue, or offering busy shoppers a mobile phone fast-charging point can all prove equally effective strategies – especially if yours is the only nearby store offering such facilities.
eCommerce and online sales
- With online retail, the ideal approach is rather different. While it’s just as important to encourage wider browsing at the decision-making stage, it’s vital to avoid slowing visitors down at all en route to checkout.
- When it comes to online transactions, any customer perception of unnecessary delays can be incredibly damaging to successful conversion rates, as well as to any chance of repeat online sales in future.
- Shoppers’ online experience should be personalised to the extent that it makes their visit feel more streamlined and relevant. However, always be aware that eCommerce customers tend to value privacy; many will find it off-putting when an online retailer is clearly attempting to track and direct every click.
User experience design and testing
- Removing as many barriers as possible between basket and checkout is key in online retail. This applies across the board, regardless of whether you’re selling larger quantities of lower value goods, or single ‘big ticket’ items.
- Making the actual process of completing a sale as smooth and hassle-free as possible will always give you a significant advantage over competitors. That’s why so many tips about increasing online sales are aimed at streamlining site navigation and checkout.
- Free delivery can be an incredibly powerful motivator for getting customers to spend more online. Studies indicate some 90-95% of shoppers feel more encouraged to buy online when free shipping is included. (Paying additional delivery charges offers little sense of extra value for most buyers who’ve already bought an item outright.)
- Offering free shipping above a certain spend is one way to encourage higher basket totals – but be wary about setting limits too high. Larger retailers are now increasingly removing delivery costs at much lower thresholds than in the past, meaning more customers now view free shipping as ‘standard’.
- Smaller businesses won’t always be able to stretch to it, but you should typically do all you can to avoid losing a sale for the sake of a relatively small hit on delivery.
Strategies to get customers to spend more both online and in-store
Store layout and product optimisation.
How you choose to display and present your products is hugely important in both online and high street retail, and can have a big impact on increasing AOV for your customers.
- In physical locations, there are countless ways to curate and steer the customer’s journey around a store. Start with understanding whether your product range favours a grid or a loop-style layout, and then look at customer flow behaviours. Aim to create well-placed stopping points, install prominent displays at prime locations, and maximise opportunities for cross-selling.
- Digital storefronts, on the other hand, can be automatically populated with goods directly relevant to customers’ individual interests and purchase histories. It’s vitally important to make online browsing simple, fast and convenient – this is the online equivalent of a store walk-around, so always ensure that your sites are well optimised for use on a wide range of desktop and mobile devices.
Coherent upselling and cross-selling strategies
A considered strategy for upselling and cross-selling is among the best ways to get customers to spend more, both online and offline. Although upselling and cross-selling have similar aims – encouraging a higher average spend per transaction – the approaches they rely on are quite different.
- Upselling is about convincing a customer to stretch to a more expensive version of an item or service they’ve already chosen. This involves more emphasis on creating a strong sense of increased value for the higher spend, making it the ‘better deal’ despite costing more.
- One subtle technique often used for upselling online is to promote slightly more expensive products alongside much more expensive ones. The presence of a far higher price on the page immediately makes the more reasonably priced option appear better value.
- Note: it’s important to do this well before the actual checkout process is underway, as that’s completely the wrong time to be introducing any doubt or confusion into the buyer’s mind.
- Cross-selling is about convincing a customer to buy additional linked or complementary products alongside their main purchase. This is done by highlighting or bundling together relevant items in a way that emphasises convenience and quality of experience.
- Cross-selling often relies on some sort of multibuy discount or promotion, particularly when the bundled item(s) serve to support or enhance the main purchase.
- Extremely common examples of cross-selling might include things like cases for mobile phones, refill packs for pod coffee machines, memory cards for digital cameras, and so on.
- Flash sales, ‘last chance’ discounts and finite windows for specific tie-in promotions are especially powerful motivators for shoppers already browsing your store. Whether online or offline, the key is to make customers feel they were lucky to stumble across these offers when they did.
- The aim is always to encourage prompt action that may not have been planned in advance. Note that you needn’t always discount the specific product you’re promoting: limited time offers regularly involve deals on bundled items, or vouchers redeemable against future purchases.
Loyalty and reward schemes
Since gaining repeat custom is absolutely key to encouraging gradually higher spends over time, offering your regular customers some form of loyalty discount or points-based reward can be a highly effective strategy for long-term retention.
- There are multiple ways to approach this, from the sorts of loyalty cards you often see in supermarkets and coffee shops, to online points systems tied directly to logged-in user accounts.
- The ideal method for your customers will depend largely on the type of product you provide; it obviously tends to be far more effective for sellers of goods or services that regularly need reordering.
Be more attentive, responsive, and customer-focused at all times
If we had to pick out just one of the strategies highlighted here, developing better customer service is perhaps the ultimate driver of repeat custom and higher AOV for retail business of all types and sizes.
- If you really want to build true customer loyalty, the old adage about ‘under-promising and over-delivering’ still holds absolutely true. In fact, it’s probably more relevant for today’s consumer mindset than ever before.
- With every successful transaction, you’re actually selling two things: the product or service, and yourself/your business. These two things combined amount to a fully fledged customer experience – and it simply must be a positive one if you want them to come back again in future.
- Always remember that, from the buyer’s POV, this experience doesn’t begin and end with the order button. Done right, your role is to carefully manage their full journey towards and beyond a successful purchase.
- Answer all presale queries as fully and helpfully as you can, streamline the buying experience to make it as frictionless as possible, and provide real value through your exemplary follow-up support once the deal is done.
Ultimately, adding value is the real key behind all these ways to get customers to spend more: you can’t expect your buyers to delve ever-deeper into their wallets without providing something worthwhile in return. On the other hand, if you can find ways to bring genuine added value to a customer experience, you’ll be well on your way to building a long-lasting relationship – and, in almost any retail environment, increased trust means increased spending over time.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get financing for your customers – and how the right retail finance options can encourage higher order values and better retention rates over time – feel free to get in touch. We’re always happy to discuss your immediate business needs and longer-term growth aims, and our bespoke finance packages can easily be tailored to fit the exact needs of your brand and your buyers.