How to Ensure Repeat Business From First Time Visitors

Posted by Robin Johnston on Jan 4, 2018 7:00:00 AM
Robin Johnston

Repeat customers ensure long-term business success, but getting them in quantity can be difficult when you lack feedback on the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Fortunately, such feedback is readily available in digital form for all businesses. While e-commerce has always benefited from this, brick and mortar businesses can also get digital information on the foot traffic in their stores and restaurants.

How is this possible for offline businesses? The answer is Wi-Fi sensor technology. People today are reliant on Internet access with their mobile devices, and if you provide free Wi-Fi access to your customers, most will use it. When combined with the right sensor technology, your Wi-Fi can provide the digital feedback you need for marketing success in converting first time customers into repeat buyers. This technology provides you with many useful customer behavior metrics. One particularly important metric is the first time visitor return rate.

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This metric is the number of visitors making their second visit and is expressed as a percentage of all visitors. Subsequent visits such as third visits, fourth visits, etc, are not counted. Wi-Fi sensor technology recognizes the appearance of mobile devices within its range and tracks them. After five minutes of tracking, a visitor's second appearance is labeled as such. The second visit is especially notable because the person has a strong potential of becoming a loyal customer.

If you have a high first time visitor return rate, it means you're doing something or several things right. If you can maintain this return rate, retain these customers over the long term, and increase their lifetime value, your business will grow rapidly.

Here are three ways the first time visitor return rate can help your business:

Business and Marketing Troubleshooting

If your first time visitor return rate is consistently low, the problem could be that your marketing strategy isn't bringing in many first time visitors. Obviously, you can't have first time visitor returns without first time visitors. You can verify this by checking the first time visitor metric, which Wi-Fi sensor technology should provide.

However, if your first time visitor return rate is low, but you're getting plenty of first time visitors, then there's something about their first visit that is putting them off. Checking through your records will reveal when the pattern began. What changed during this period? Did you change your interior decor? Perhaps a key employee who interacts with customers either left or was hired. Perhaps there is a disconnect between your marketing message and what your visitors encounter at your business.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Turning first-time visitors into repeat customers may be more difficult than retaining your current group of longtime loyal customers. First time visitors lack the long history of customer satisfaction enjoyed by your loyal patrons. This may require different loyalty incentives, and working these out will require some testing.

Test a new loyalty incentive by comparing your first time visitor returns against what they were previous to the test. This will prove invaluable for improving unsatisfactory return rates. On the other hand, if your return rates are good, then this testing can improve them further.

Test YOUR Emails

Keep the incentives for existing loyal customers separate from those tailored for your first time customers by using different email notifications for each group. Once you have enough baseline statistics for a specific incentive, you can then test the effects of email subject lines, content, and call to actions on your first time visitors. For those who haven't responded to your previous emails, offer a deep discount, or other attractive incentive.

Finally, the first time visitor return rate is particularly relevant for new stores and restaurants that need a strong base of loyal customers but haven't been in business long enough to establish one. Use this metric in combination with well thought out testing to quickly grow your business.

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