Growing your business isn’t all about attracting new customers, but also about keeping your existing ones. It costs up to 7 times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one. It’s definitely good for business to focus your time, energy and resources to create a solid customer retention strategy.
Statistically speaking, your current customers are more likely to buy from you again and spend more on their purchases than the first time buyers. They already know your brand, your products and they find value in your services.
Let’s look into the most effective customer retention strategies for your eCommerce store.
- Welcome campaigns
Your new customers will be more engaged during the purchase and immediately after that. You can use this to your advantage and add to the classical “Thank you” email a discount for their next purchase. Offering them an incentive such as a time-sensitive discount will encourage them to make a second purchase.
- Subscription programs
Subscription-based business models are a good source of stable cash flow and a great strategy to win long-term customers. Another great benefit is that you can track your customers more accurately, having more insights about who they are and what they like to buy.
Create a subscription model based on a lower price for repeated purchases and even consider adding complementary products to the formula. There are a lot of models you can use and adapt to your business – subscription to get access to content & information, membership access to products/services, a subscription box for products and so on.
- Loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are built around the idea of rewarding customers for their purchases and lead them back to your shop. They usually offer different rewards based on the frequency and the value of the orders.
Here are some ideas you can use for your loyalty programs:
- Offer loyalty points or special rewards for referrals
- Offer special BOGO deals
- Use the stamps system
- Run a loyalty contest
- Offer substantial discounts for higher-priced items on X purchase
- Offer free products or samples
- Offer loyalty points as a bonus
Always promote your loyalty program everywhere you can – social media, website, physical stores, marketing emails.
Customers will remain loyal and will get you more customers too when they are satisfied with the benefits of your program.
- Win-back campaigns
Win-back campaigns are a widely popular method to get inactive customers back to your shop. The timing of this action is crucial, you don’t want to do it too early or too late. The way to find the best time to approach them is to see how frequently customers buy from you and set up the campaign based on that information.
You can approach them with gift certificates, bonus products, free items, free shipping or other discounts which might be of value to them. Set up expiration dates for your campaigns and follow up with them, but don’t do it too often.
Gamification is the process of applying elements of game playing to other areas of activity, usually as a marketing strategy to encourage people to engage with a product, brand or service. These elements are typically psychological, such as competition, achieving goals, receiving rewards or reach a certain status.
The most popular methods used in eCommerce are contests, scavenger hunts, referral programs, and points systems.
For example, encourage your customers to promote your products on social media and run a contest for the most creative description. Select a winner and offer a gift certificate as a reward.
The possibilities are endless, be original with your ideas and try to engage as many people as you can.
- Surprise your customers
Everybody likes surprises, especially the ones that have a personal touch to them. In eCommerce, an automated and virtual environment, personal gestures mean a lot. Try these simple ideas for your customers:
- Send your customers a handwritten note thanking them for their order
- Follow them on social media & engage with them
- Offer them unexpected free gifts and discounts
- Include package inserts to an order (sample products, stickers, etc.)
- Offer post-purchase discounts
Your customers like to feel special and important, and personalization is a great method to achieve that. By using customer data and delivering more relevant, personal experiences, you have a lot to gain when it comes to customer retention.
Analyze the customers’ purchase history and see what products you can recommend which they might find of value. Use their names in all email communications, involve them on social media, ask for feedback and show them you truly care. Keep reminding them why they started shopping from you in the first place and encourage them to come back.
Other important tips for your customer retention strategy
- Offer a great customer service – improve your customer support level, be available and address their questions or concerns, always be there to help your shoppers
- Use referral marketing – 83% of customers admit that they trust recommendations coming from their peers, so work with your loyal customers to recommend your store to their friends. Offer rewards and discounts as part of your referral program.
- Ask for feedback – use surveys, giveaways and rewards to get your shoppers to share feedback with you. This is extremely valuable for you to know so you can work on better experiences for your customers.
- Create VIP memberships – create exclusive deals and discounts for VIP members and keep in mind the benefits should outweigh the money your customers put in.
Customer retention is essential to growing your business. The most important thing you can do to increase customer retention is to focus on the needs of your shoppers, to empathize with them and to earn their loyalty. Make them feel valued and you’ll have a lot to gain on the long-term.