When a customer walks into your store and places an order, chances are you won’t have much of an issue getting them to buy again in a few months. But how can you get your online customers to buy again?

I actually first found the answer back in college when I somehow had just enough money to feed an unfortunate obsession. I was young, highly receptive to advertising, and in love with… Korean beauty products.

I know, I know, but let me tell you—the Korea skin care industry is onto something.

See, Korean beauty companies are doing something that American businesses are only beginning to catch onto. Every purchase is more than a product—it’s an experience. Each delivery held the elegant product (in flawless packaging, no less) escorted by a variety of samples, business cards, good-smelling things, and occasionally even a handwritten note.

It was like a little love letter from a mystical fairyland where unicorns were real and acne didn’t exist.

So anyway, our co-founder JP Hunt and one of our Experts Tim Allen were recently at NBM Denver talking about the same secret sauce that hooked me as an online buyer all those years ago. Online customer retention requires a different approach than face-to-face purchases, but the techniques work impressively well across all industries—including printing. If you’re selling printed products online, this video is for you.

Online businesses have to go the extra mile to build the same kind of trust that happens so naturally when you have the luxury of face-to-face sales. Online buyers are not automatically customers for life. It’s up to you to nurture that relationship and encourage second purchases. Here’s how:

Include a handwritten thank-you note in the package

When you ship, take a few minutes to write a short note thanking the buyer for their purchase. It captures that human touch in a very tangible way, and it’s something the big players in the industry don’t have time for. You’ll stand out.

Send a branded promotional item

A kuzie, pen, magnet—any item that will be used often is a great candidate for sending along in packages. When the customer opens the box, the little extra things make it special.

Promote another product with a free sample

Let’s say you print shirts and cut vinyl. If a company orders their logo on 100 shirts, how cool would it be to send them a vinyl of their logo as well? Everyone loves stickers. And more importantly, it subtly showcases your other services.

Give them a discount code

Customers who make one purchase likely have need for more of your product. A discount code, maybe in the realm of 10-20%, is not only a good incentive to buy again, but it’s also a gesture that builds goodwill. Try including it in that handwritten thank-you note!

Schedule a designated time for follow-up

Your customers are busy, too. They may likely be dragging their feet to re-order. Make a note in your calendar to reach out again in a few months.

Bonus tip: Packaging!

Want to make an impact from a distance? Take a tip from Korean beauty companies and invest in packaging that reflects your brand. Even if it seems like something that’s not affordable right now, start small. A sticker with your logo on blank packaging is better than a generic box.


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Our goal is to make this blog 100% useful to YOUR business. Got a printing, business, or marketing question that’s been bugging you? Email us at hello@inksoft.com, and we might feature your question in a future article!


Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam