By Shannon Belew, Joel Elad

One of the most overlooked customer rewards is the simple expression of thanks. As the owner of an online business, you can show appreciation to your customers in many ways:

  • Post-order landing pages. After your customer completes an order, send an entirely new page (or landing page) created specifically to say “thank you” for the order. Surprisingly, many sites still overlook this opportunity.

  • Send automated thank-you notes. Use an autoresponder program to automatically send a thank-you e-mail to your customer immediately following each purchase.

    The option to send automated e-mail messages (and order confirmations) is already built into many shopping cart and e-commerce software programs.

  • Send thank-you notes in shipments. Customers appreciate opening their shipments and finding thank-you notes right on top.

  • Post-order e-mail. After an order is scheduled to be delivered or a ship date is confirmed, send an e-mail expressing thanks. Sending the thank-you note after the order has arrived is also a good time to ask for feedback on your customer’s shopping experience.

  • Send personalized cards. Just because you run a website doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate the old-fashioned way. Send loyal customers a thank-you card by way of the U.S. Postal Service to seal your relationship.

  • Give social shout-outs. Increasingly, your customers are spending more time on social media sites, and they love to hear from and be recognized by their favorite brands. Find your best customers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social networking sites, and give a shout-out, or a public thank you for their loyalty.

    At the very least, be sure to respond to your customers when they give your business a favorable shout-out on social media.

  • Make phone calls. Let your customer service department (even if it’s just you!) make a few calls rather than just receive them. Phoning customers to say thanks provides the opportunity to make a direct connection with your customer.

Any time a thank-you is issued, offer an incentive. You make the customer feel special while inviting the person to do business with you again.