15 Powerful eCommerce Customer Retention Strategies
In the highly contested race of getting new customers, many eCommerce businesses often neglect the ones they already have. And this is how they miss out on a large share of sales.
Experienced eCommerce entrepreneurs hold that the best customers are the ones that you already have. And that’s not just because retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones. Customers you retain bring more value to your business than the ones you acquire.
This is backed by statistics. The average returning shopper spends 33% more per order than new shoppers. There are countless advantages to customer retention, but the most valuable one, by far, is how a loyal one helps your business grow via word-of-mouth marketing.
We all know how powerful customer testimonials are. That said, almost 60% of loyal customers talk about their favorite brands in their social circles. This has the potential to make your conversions increase in days!
Table of Contents
What is Customer Retention?
This might seem like a straightforward answer. But there’s more to it. It’s better to understand what your customer retention rate is and how you can use it to improvise your business development strategies.
Customer retention is the ability of an enterprise to retain customers after it has converted them. But the term also refers to the range of activities you undertake to encourage a person to buy from you again and buy more than they did before.
The customer retention rate is the percentage of how many customers you’ve retained over a given period of time. It can be calculated with this formula:
[(Total Customers at End of a Period — New Customers Acquired During the Period) / Customers at the Start of the Period] x 100
The customer retention rate is affected by two things primarily: customer acquisition and the number of existing customers that chose to no longer do business with you. This is also known as customer churn and is the number of clients who end their subscription, close a contract with you, or just no longer return to make a purchase.
Now that you know what customer retention is and how to calculate it, let’s briefly go over the benefits of having a robust customer retention program before we introduce you to powerful customer retention strategies.
Why is Customer Retention Important?
Customer experience defines the success of a business. And your customer retention rate is tell-tale for the sort of experience people have with you. A high retention rate definitely means you’re providing them with the most pleasant experience, which is why they keep returning.
As mentioned above, retaining customers is much easier and economical than acquiring new ones. This is because trust matters a lot. Roughly 81% of consumers make purchases based on trust. And once a buyer has bought from you and had a good experience, the trust is there to stay.
Here are some facts and figures:
- Retaining buyers is on average five times cheaper than acquiring new ones.
- A meager 5% increase in your customer retention rate can boost revenue by more than 25%.
- A good client retention rate means your customer base is constantly growing, which in turn leads to sustainable business growth.
Reading all this, it might seem obvious to you why a company should concentrate a fair share of its resources on keeping its customers. But still, as companies grow, it’s easy for them to neglect the fundamentals.
Without further ado, let’s get straight into the thick of it.
Customer Retention Strategies that Work
1.Focus on Good Ol’ Email Marketing
Email marketing is a pillar of your brand’s EDM marketing strategy. Once a consumer has bought from you, you have valuable insight into what kind of products they like, their hobbies, and their interests. It’s imperative that you capitalize on this precious information via engaging email marketing campaigns that stand out of the crowd.
Emailing your clients about exclusive offers is a great idea. Understand that by making their first purchase, a buyer invests their trust and money in your business. You can reciprocate that with promotions. Don’t forget to make this look like personalized, exclusive offers that are only available for a limited time.
It’s important to send your customers emails about what they want to know, rather than what you want them to know. A great way to do this is to send personalized, relevant emails that the receiver can relate to.
2. Keep Customers Engaged in Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool, both for customer acquisition and retention. A consumer is more likely to follow you on social media once they’ve made a purchase with you. To make the most out of this point of contact, craft a clever social media marketing strategy that pulls users back to your eCommerce store to make a purchase.
Here are some examples of the type of content you can post to boost customer retention:
- Post promotional offers. Use social media to inform people about what products are on sale and how much they can save if they buy now.
- Share attractive images of featured or most popular products to help them gain more traction
- Engage with shoppers on a personal level by replying to comments and messages
- Hold contests or lucky draws from time to time.
3. Personalization is the KEY
Personalized marketing efforts yield the best results. You should make a person feel valued for them to keep making purchases from you. Now, you can personalize your communications with your buyers at so many different levels.
You can send personalized promotional emails to your customers on their birthdays. Perhaps, you can study their interaction with products in your store and send them emails about offers they’d be interested in. This is because almost 90% of U.S. consumers find personalized marketing appealing.
Take a look at this amazing personalized email marketing strategy used by Grammarly. Grammarly emails users about their weekly and monthly work stats, something everyone would like to go through.
Personalized communications help you stay in customers’ minds for longer. The moment you lose that place, they are likely to move on to another brand. Communications only let you attract a shopper back to your store, but how do you improve the in-store customer experience to try and sell more to every returning user?
One of the greatest ways to provide a better experience to your customers is with personalized product recommendations. This is where Recom.ai comes in. You can utilize upsell & cross-sell recommendations across your entire site to make your clients feel they are the center of your universe.
4. Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs
Customer loyalty programs are a great way to retain buyers and increase each one’s lifetime value (CLV). Simply put, loyalty programs lead to a win-win situation for both the seller and the buyer.
They encourage a buyer to keep coming back to your store and make larger purchases so they can get a loyalty reward. This creates additional value for them and also helps you boost your retention rate and CLV.
The rewards you offer can be exclusive discounts, coupons, free shipping, free gifts, or elite group membership. Whatever rewards you offer, make sure they are attractive enough.
A good way to start off on a loyalty program is to award points when a user first signs up on your store. Give them a lot of points so they can see how easy it is to earn rewards. You can award them after a set number of purchases or the total value of purchases. You can use the CLV calculator to see how well your loyalty program is working.
5. Smart SMS Marketing
SMS marketing can seem like a bit too much, but if done right, it can do wonders. Not everyone likes their phone to be ringing every few minutes just to find out another promotional text in their inbox. So make sure you capture the receiver’s attention the right way.
Once you’ve acquired a customer, you get access to their phone number. If they’ve opted in for promotional texts, you can take advantage of this unique point of contact to send well-crafted marketing messages.
Text messages have a whopping 98% open rate. You can be sure that an SMS will find your consumers’ eyes at some point. Better make it worthwhile.
6. Ensure High Customer Satisfaction
Customers satisfied are customers retained. Your eCommerce business should have SOPs in place to make sure each shopper is satisfied with the shopping experience with you. This can be accomplished with a robust order fulfillment process.
Order fulfillment is complex and must be given due consideration. Here are a few examples of things that can go wrong which ultimately make you lose a buyer.
- Delivering the wrong products.
- Damaged products due to bad packaging.
- Product quality is lower than customer expectations.
- Late product delivery.
- Delayed refunds on returns.
Note that these are only some of the many things that can go wrong. In order to make sure things go well, you should decide on adequate standard operating procedures.
This enables you to ensure that products go through strict quality checks and that the right products are being delivered. You can also minimize the delay, if any, in product delivery.
Focusing on customer satisfaction in this way reduces the chances of bad experiences to the bare minimum, which ultimately leads to better retention rates.
7. High-Quality Content Matters
Content is king. When it comes to customer retention, this couldn’t be truer. High-quality content has the potential to engage new and existing buyers and keep them interested in your brand.
The important thing to note here is that it’s not only promotional content that you should focus on. Your company should produce a mix of promotional and informational content that adds value to your customers’ lives.
Content marketing is one of the top eCommerce strategies for a reason. Here’s how to make the most out of it.
- Create a blog that solves problems for your buyers. Informational blog posts can also be a great place to promote your brand.
- The content you share on social media should also add value for people who follow you.
The Shopify blog is a great example of high-value content marketing. With its expertise in eCommerce, Shopify produces content eCommerce entrepreneurs can benefit from and grow their business.
8. Let Your Customers Make Content For You
This customer retention strategy needs a lot of traction and following on social media. If you have that, utilizing user-generated content can be a great way to boost engagement and make them stick with your brand.
In this content marketing strategy, you’re not creating content for your customers. It’s the other way around. You get high-quality content and engagement while participants get incentives and rewards for doing that.
A great way to kick off user-generated content is by creating a hashtag trend with your brand name or something that you want to advertise. You can encourage your social media followers to then create more content by giving them incentives like winning a lucky draw or contest where the most popular post wins.
For instance, the beverage company Coca-Cola managed to boost its social media presence with its #ShareACoke social media campaign. Social media users shared pictures with their coke bottles by the thousands.
9. Make the Most Out of Your Brand Story and Values
Ethos is powerful. Everything apart, a strong emotional bond with your customers can outlive any other aspect of your retention strategy. Capitalize on the emotional part of your buyer’s experience with you. Give them something deeply memorable, something that they’ll feel good about every time they do business with you.
A great way to create this bond is by sharing your brand’s story on your eCommerce store. You could talk about everything from how the business was established, the struggles you had to go through, or the ultimate success that defines your store today. By giving them something to relate with, you can trigger a special part of your consumer’s brain that makes them want to stick with you.
10. Shipment Tracking
The average online shopper checks their order status 4.6 times between placing an order and receiving it. While eCommerce is all about shopping from the comfort of home, customers prefer being well-informed of all that happens before the product shows up on their doorstep.
Letting them track their order, or better yet, see where it is before it reaches them improves customer experience. It makes them feel more in control of their shopping experience. Incorporate a shipment tracking page on your eCommerce store so orders can be tracked easily and accurately.
11. Understand Why Some Customers Leave
Inevitably, some customers will churn at some point of the journey with you. While you can’t bring churn to an absolute zero, you can track and analyze churn figures so you can understand why they’re leaving and how to minimize that.
Prioritize customer feedback. When they decide to leave, for instance, if they unsubscribe from your email list or from a service, or they uninstall your app, you can politely, and briefly, ask them about why they’re leaving.
Most leavers won’t care to answer, but this is still worth a shot as you’ll get some insight into what went wrong. You can then use this information to improve experiences for existing customers, and maybe try to bring customers back.
12. Create a Customer Advisory Board
Your most loyal customers are your most important assets and for a range of reasons. They are not just our biggest, most reliable source of sales but also a rich source of valuable information. Feedback from your oldest clients holds a lot of potential.
They not only tell you what they like about your brand but also ways to improve some of your longest-standing weaknesses.
Creating a panel or committee of such customers is a brilliant way to access this valuable feedback. Plus, you can enhance their confidence by asking members to share their experience with your business publicly. Don’t forget that testimonials not only attract new clients but can build confidence in those who’re already in business with you.
13. Initiate a Corporate Social Responsibility Program
Enterprises around the world are moving towards stringent corporate responsibility. With rising awareness about social issues and climate, people want to buy from businesses that give back to the community and the earth.
This can be reducing your businesses’ carbon footprint, participating in tree plantation drives, donating to a cause, or restructuring your corporate framework in order to be more supportive of everyone and fight social issues.
If you’re doing some or all of these things, make sure you highlight your steps on your eCommerce store so your customers are aware. People like to buy from brands that are sincere with what they claim to be.
14. Make Up For Your Mistakes
Unless a business is fully run by machines, mistakes are bound to happen. Although strict SOPs will minimize the number of errors you’d make, you should stand up and accept them once they’re made.
This may be a late delivery, a billing error, data breach, or something else that may put you at the risk of losing your valuable shoppers. In such a case, you should apologize. But an apology alone will not work.
You can make the situation better by offering your customer a discount on their next purchase or a free gift that’ll help them understand that you genuinely want to rectify your mistake and keep their loyalty.
15. Be Grateful to Your Customers
Last but not least, thank your customers for their business. A simple act of gratefulness can do wonders for you. Taking the time and making an effort to say thank you can solidify your relationship with your buyers.
Note that this thank you message should reach them as a standalone message rather than tag along with another marketing campaign or purchase confirmation.
Saying thanks is a simple, but powerful, retention tactic that differentiates faceless websites from brands that are loved by people.
A robust eCommerce customer retention program takes time and consistency to build. But it’s worth every bit of effort that goes into developing it. To see how well you’re performing in this department, keep an eye on the CLV charts.