Valuable things a customer’s order history can teach you

Posted in Electronic product catalogue management and tips.

With an electronic ordering system it becomes easy to go back into a customer’s order history to see what patterns develop. An electronic ordering system allows you to see on what dates orders are placed, how many products are usually bought, and what type of products seem to be most popular. With the order history it becomes easy to track customers’ behavior, and the more you work with customers, the easier it will be to notice what routines they follow.

In this week’s blog post we take a look at three parts of a customer’s order history and how each part can tell you something valuable that will improve how you sell:

1)  When do they order?

If a customer has been ordering from you for a period of time a pattern will eventually emerge with regards to when they order. They might order during specific days of the week or at certain times of the day. Frequency might increase or decrease depending on whether it is early in the month or whether it is a particular season.

Picking up on this pattern can help you improve a customer’s experience immensely. If you notice that, for example, a customer orders new stock every Tuesday in the first week of a month, you can take some pre-emptive action. Have a sales rep contact that customer on the first Monday of each month or even the Friday of the previous week to enquire about their next order. This serves as a reminder for the client and makes them feel valued at the same time. It also helps you anticipate more accurately when you need to get more stock ready.

Your customers’ business will also go through seasonal highs and lows (just like yours), which will influence their sales and what they order from you. Certain products sell better in winter than in summer and vice versa. Sales might also be related to holidays such as Christmas or right after New Year’s. By anticipating these factors and keeping an eye on when your customers order you can be better prepared for large orders as well as seasonal ups and downs.

2)  What type of products do they order?

The type of products that your customers order from you will depend on a variety of factors. For example, the type of company and what they usually sell to their customers dictates what they need to order from you.

Your customers’ order history will also help you to determine what products they mostly buy and which of your stocked products they don’t really seem interested in? These observations can help you determine whether to get rid of certain stock, or whether you should stock products similar to best-sellers.

Another advantage of knowing what type of products are popular is upselling and cross-selling. We’ve already gone through what these terms mean in this article. If you know, for example, that the customer always buys a certain type of coffee, you can suggest a product that will complement it (creamer, sugar, biscuits, etc.). Or, you could suggest a product that is better than the one they usually buy or one which is more suited to the customer’s needs. Doing either of these things in a selling situation can easily help boost your sales.

3)  Frequency and/or amount of purchases

You can easily spot your most loyal customers when you look at the amount of products that they purchase over a period of time and the regularity with which they purchase. If you notice that a customer buys large quantities of a product (or products) on a regular basis, you know that they believe your products are both of good value and reasonably priced.

This is a great opportunity for you to reward these loyal customers by providing them with special deals. There are endless ways in which you can reward your most loyal customers. Perhaps give them a personal discount for buying a certain amount of a product, or a deal in which, when they ordered enough of a particular product, they get a product to test out for free, one of their choice.

Furthermore, by tracking the frequency of a customer’s ordering history you can send subtle reminders when you anticipate their stock running low. You can also help customers to better their ordering habits by making helpful suggestions. For instance, you can encourage them to buy in larger quantities when you notice they frequently place small orders of the same item.