The top eCommerce brands drive revenue by maximizing lifetime value with their products. In addition to building your customer base with single sales, you want to turn one-time customers into lifelong fans.
Customer retention strategies encourage buyers to return to your store again. Some methods are passive ones, where you can achieve your customer retention goals with a few taps on the computer keyboard. On the other hand, others might take a little more work to complete to ensure success with customer retention rates.
The bottom line is that all of these retention methods can work if you apply yourself and follow the steps to achieve results. When you put the following methods into motion, you’ll be able to encourage customer retention and loyalty, turning occasional sales into continual sales.
Before we explore how to put your customer retention plan into motion, we need to look at what the term “customer retention” really means.
What is Customer Retention?
The concept of customer retention is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the act of retaining or keeping a current customer who comes back to shop at your ecommerce store time and time again.
In the business world, it’s important to attract new customers. But, that’s not all. You also want customers to find your products so worthwhile they simply can’t live without them. You want to turn all your existing customers into lifetime customers.
You have to ensure that your products are worth returning for in general. But, you should also use methods to entice current customers to return to your specific ecommerce store when they need that particular product.
With so much competition out there these days in the ecommerce industry, there are plenty of ecommerce stores that offer the same products. It’s important to make sure you don’t lose your customers to the competitors.
So, the next question is, “How do you do so?”
Here are 21 ways to pursue customer retention and make it possible for your ecommerce brand to grow:
1. Customer Feedback
When you provide an opportunity for customer feedback, this speaks volumes to your customers. This means you’re open to hearing the good and the bad that your customers have to comment on.
Accepting customer feedback shows your customers you care and provides you with a way to improve, if needed.
With Yotpo, you can ask for feedback through email contact or you can send out a customer satisfaction survey. Asking for customer feedback benefits both you and your customers by hearing the pros and cons of the business.
And, when you receive the customer feedback, you can address those comments and suggestions and help to boost your customer retention numbers.
Customer feedback access is something all store owners should consider making available to their customers. Doing so will aid in personal growth, show your customers you care, and make your business better overall.
2. Onboarding Assistance
If your product is a technology product that might take a little while to learn how to use, onboarding assistance is a useful thing to offer to help customers. This is also true with new types of products that consumers aren’t familiar with and require learning assistance. Offering onboarding help will lend a hand to your customers and turn occasional customers into longtime fans of your company.
Onboarding assistance is when a company representative offers assistance or training for a particular product. The company professional will provide help for the customer to learn how to use the product quickly and correctly.
This type of aid can be provided to the customer through various methods. It can be done through YouTube videos, tutorial sessions, or live chat assistance. You can tailor your onboarding assistance to a type that will best suit your product needs.
In addition to providing optimal customer service, onboarding assistance is an easy way to let your customers know you value them. This attention to detail and guided assistance will make it more likely that they will return to purchase future products time and time again.
3. Ecommerce Email Automation
Email marketing automation is another effective customer retention method. Mix transitional emails such as offers with branded content.
Your company newsletter can contain a wide array of information including:
- Details on the latest products currently available
- Company news
- Future products which will be released in the coming weeks
- Upcoming events
And the good news is that newsletter creation and transmission is easy to accomplish! Email automation methods are readily available and make sending out newsletters easy as can be.
Company newsletters provide a simple and cost-effective way to keep your company’s name and products on the minds of many and do so on a continual basis.
Monthly newsletters are often the best option, as this delivery frequency won’t flood customer inboxes with too many emails. It’s just enough information to keep customers informed, keep them engaged, and keep them coming back for more of your products.
Abandoned cart emails can also help increase revenue.
4. Connect with Customers Through Philanthropy
Another way to pursue customer retention is to add a philanthropic theme to your ecommerce store. Many individuals love helping others and are eager to support stores that have a giving aspect to their sales.
If you decide to donate a portion of your proceeds to a specific charity, whether ongoing or single events, your customers may really appreciate this. They’ll want to buy your product for what it is but also because proceeds will help a specific cause.
This is a great way to entice your customers to buy your products and become repeat customers, as they’ll get an excellent product and help a worthy cause at the same time.
ShoppingGives provides an exceptional avenue for selling your products while giving back to charities. It’s a win-win situation all around!
5. Build Customer Loyalty with Rewards Program
A popular way that ecommerce stores and retail stores pursue customer retention is through customer loyalty programs and incentives.
A customer loyalty program is a special rewards program that offers discounts and special deals to frequent customers. This loyalty program provides a way to thank an existing customer for their patronage. It also makes it likely that your ecommerce store will become their one-stop shop for their favorite products.
The customer loyalty program can provide customers with a set discount for every specified amount purchased. Once the customer gets to a certain order amount, they’ll be rewarded with a discount, free product, or a combination of the two.
If your customers know that the more items they buy from your store, the more rewards they’ll receive, they’ll be likely to return to your shop more.
Customer loyalty programs help to build customer retention and ecommerce brand growth.
6. Offer a Convenient Shopping Experience
Sometimes all it takes to turn a one-time customer into a return customer is to offer an enjoyable, convenient experience.
If your website is easy to navigate and enables customers to complete their purchases with little effort, this is going to be a website they remember. It’s also going to be a website that customers return to after the initial purchase.
Let’s be honest. Nobody wants to deal with a frustrating ecommerce website experience. When you make your site easy to use, you’ll see customers return.
With this in mind, check that your ecommerce website offers easy product purchasing and fulfilment capabilities. If the shopping experience is a positive one, they’ll remember this and return for product purchases in the future.
7. Personalize the Experience
Another way to boost customer retention is to personalize the shopping experience. You want your customers to feel valued and not like a number or monetary deposit in your bank account.
By personalizing the interactions, you can let your customers know they are more than just a customer number. They have a name and you aren’t afraid to use it!
So, how do you do this and personalize the customer experience?
You can personalize the customer experience in a few different ways including:
- If you’re corresponding with prior customers or even new patrons via email, address them by their first name. This creates personalization and makes your customer feel as if they are speaking with a real human, not an automated system.
- If you’re using social media and replying to comments on posts, always address the other person by first name, if possible.
- Include personalized letters with every package shipment. This will help build the connection between the store owner and customer.
These types of interactions show that your customers are more than just a dollar sign to you. You know they are real individuals buying your items and should be treated in a personalized manner.
8. Customer Referral Programs
With customer referral programs, your current customers have a way to refer friends to your company. In addition to being a loyal customer, they might even get something special from it. This could include a discount or free product.
Setting up a customer referral program will help you gain new customers and also help you keep the customers you have. If your current customers like your products and spread the word, they’ll promote your business. In return, you can give them something special for doing so.
Customer referral programs work wonders to build customer retention. They’re easy to put into motion and will pay off in the end.
9. Show Your Strength Amongst the Competition
In addition to showing your customers how much you value them, you should also highlight how your product compares to the competition. This will help you to retain customers.
Customers can be tempted by similar products offered by other ecommerce stores. Therefore, you want to detail why your product is superior to the products of others.
Show off the superior qualities of your product as it compares to the competition. This will make it more likely your current customers stick with you and don’t purchase the same items from other shops.
10. Consider Subscription Services
Customer retention can also be achieved by using subscription services. You can put your subscription service into motion by offering fast shipping services for your products, such as overnight delivery. To be a part of the service, your customer pays an annual fee and gets unlimited deliveries, similar to Amazon Prime.
You can also add on additional inclusions that make becoming a subscriber to your program too tempting for customers to pass up.
A subscription service offers a way for your company to make extra money by offering this additional service. It’s also a way to encourage customers to use your company for all their product buying needs.
11. Post Testimonials
Sometimes an individual has to see customer testimonials to make them want to join the group and become repeat customers. Testimonials from prior customers can give your business a boost and turn one-time customers into loyal fans.
Ask those who have purchased your products in the past to provide feedback on their purchase history. These testimonials will encourage others to buy your products.
If your ecommerce store has a website page that lists customer testimonials and comments, this can attract new business and keep current customers returning.
12. Educate Customers on Your Products
If you’re hoping to pursue customer retention you should consider educating your customers on your products.
Whether you sell basic products or more intricate items, there are ways to educate consumers on your products. For example, educate customers on the following things:
- Show them how the product works
- Highlight the different uses of your product and how it can help
- Detail how to maximize the use of your item
When you educate customers on products that you sell, you’re helping them put your product to good use. Also, you’re engaging with customers and showing them that you care enough to take the time to educate.
This can be done through videos, tutorials, or social media posts. You can even send helpful emails to your customers or include informational sheets along with the products.
13. Engage With Your Customers to Promote Positive Feelings
Sometimes it just takes a feel good aspect to make your products stay fresh on the minds of consumers. This can be done through website advertisements or social media posts.
By using social media and website content, you can post product information in a way that elicits positive feelings and promotes customer engagement.
If purchasing your products makes the customers feel good overall, chances are likely they’ll keep using your company for all their purchasing needs.
Plus, if your advertising campaign or product announcements are tailored to make the customers feel good about buying your products, not another company’s, they’ll do so. This will help you to achieve customer retention success.
14. Offer Surprise Discounts and Free Gifts
If you keep your customers engaged and enticed, in addition to offering superior and unique products, you can increase customer retention. After all, why would they want to go elsewhere if you offer everything they could possibly want and need?
One way to keep them enthralled is to offer surprise discounts or free gifts with purchase throughout the year.
You don’t have to reward customers for providing referrals or spending a certain amount of money. You can just offer occasional discounts and free gifts, well, just because!
When you do this from time to time, your customers may be thinking about when the next time will be when these fun surprises pop up and make their way from your company to their door.
It’s this surprise element that makes the gift special and ultimately makes your customer feel special, too.
And, most importantly, surprise discounts and gifts don’t have to break the bank. They can be small tokens of appreciation for your customers that say, “Thank you for doing business with us!”
15. Continue to Offer Popular Products
Keep track of what your customers like to purchase and whether these customers purchase the same items on a continual basis.
You want to be certain to stock products that customers buy each and every time they shop at your ecommerce store.
The easiest way to lose a customer to another ecommerce store is to discontinue their favorite and frequently ordered products.
It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes the same products aren’t available. Maybe the manufacturer stopped making the product. Or, perhaps the cost effectiveness is no longer there and you can’t offer an affordable product and still make a profit.
However, if there’s any way you can continue to offer the popular products, certainly do so! You’ll find that your loyal customers repeatedly contact your store for their beloved products and you want to be able to answer the call.
16. Offer a Quality Product
Whatever products you sell through your ecommerce store, from electronics to clothing to outdoor items, be sure your products are quality ones.
Your items should be well-made, durable, and eye-catching all at the same time and throughout all aspects of customer acquisition.
If you sell a subpar product, it’s pretty much guaranteed that your new customer will be a one-time customer, not a repeat one.
When you select your ecommerce store products, make sure they’re items you’re proud to attach your name to and products you would purchase yourself.
When you offer a quality product, you are increasing your chances of client loyalty and customer retention.
17. Keep the Product Selection Fresh
You want your customers to trust that your ecommerce store will continue to offer their favorite products. But, on the flip side, you don’t want to neglect offering new products for other customers as well.
Some individuals are interested in buying the latest and greatest items on the ecommerce consumer market. You want to be the online store that provides these items to them.
Be sure to stock the usual popular products customers like to buy but offer additional new products, too. These new items will draw customers in and appeal to those customers who like to explore new products.
It doesn’t matter what type of ecommerce platform you use to offer your products for sale. You could use Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, or your own individual website to sell items. Just be sure to keep the product selection fresh and creative!
18. Keep Prices Steady
Ecommerce product prices fluctuate from time to time, especially when it comes to high demand items. But, if the cost is too high, you’ll lose customers who will shop around. All they have to do is find another ecommerce seller that offers the best deal and purchase products from them.
In this case, you want to do everything you can to keep your items stocked and for sale at a reasonable price. If there are large price fluctuations, this will turn customers away and your customer retention strategy will fail.
There might be only so much you can do with regard to pricing, based on how much you pay for it and how much you sell it for online. With that said, keep the price as close to usual as possible. This will help you retain your loyal customers and not miss out on new customers who might buy from other ecommerce stores.
19. Offer Fast Delivery
When customers order products from an ecommerce store, you better believe they are anxious to receive their new purchase. They don’t want to wait an exorbitant amount of time to have it delivered to their door.
You want to always offer quick and reliable delivery service. When your product gets to the intended recipient with speed, you’ll have one happy customer on your hands. And this will be a customer that’s likely to shop at your ecommerce store again in the future.
When you’re contemplating shipping and delivery service, always keep length of time in mind. Choose a shipping option that will be quick regarding the length of time it takes to get from your warehouse to the customer’s door. And make sure the shipping option you choose is one that will be reliable as this too can affect shipping time.
20. Make Shipping Deals Available
In addition to offering quick delivery, you want to offer affordable delivery. Shipping can be expensive and not all customers want to spend a fortune just to have the product delivered. This cost can add a lot to the product charge and may turn customers away if the price is too high.
Offer shipping deals where the customer can get discounted or free shipping if their order cost reaches a certain amount. When you have a purchase minimum, you’ll see a profit from the higher sales and not lose a lot of money on shipping costs.
Always remember that customers love free shipping offers. You’ll have a happy customer and one who will buy products again from you in the future.
21. Offer Exceptional Customer Service
Customer service is something that should be carefully thought out and pursued with excellence every step of the way. Not only will good customer support keep customers happy via this customer relationship, it will help you turn one-time site visitors into frequent customers.
Offering premier customer service skills means that you are providing your customers with help every step of the way, including before, during, and after their purchase.
Besides providing assistance to your customers whenever they need it, you want to offer constant communication access. Make sure your customers have many different ways to reach you and ask for your help. This can include live chat forums, phone communication, email access, and other ways of reaching out.
When you offer this type of inclusive customer service to your customers, you’re showing them that you’re there to help whenever they need it. This, in itself, can turn an occasional shopper on your site to a lifelong loyal customer.
Use Customer Retention Methods To Sustain Long-term Growth
If you put the previously mentioned customer retention strategies into motion, you’ll be taking great strides to keep your current customers. You’ll also be gaining new customers at the same time.
When you perfect customer retention methods and increase customer lifetime value, you will see your ecommerce brand grow. This will help to increase profitability and also build a reputable, well-known name for your ecommerce business.
Past customers will immediately think of contacting you for all of their desired product needs. With this large and loyal customer base firmly in place, you know that your prior customers will return to your ecommerce store for their favorite products. They may even discover new products that they come to know and love.
Remember, customer retention is not a one-and-done marketing tactic. The customer retention process is an ongoing activity that your business must continually pursue in order to keep your customers happy, loyal, and returning.
You should also continue to think of innovative ways to entice new clientele and maintain your present customer list. This will help your profits to continue to grow and your ecommerce brand to flourish. As a result, all of this will help to supercharge your business growth.
To discover powerful solutions that can help your brand optimize your customer journey to effectively engage, convert, and retain your best customers, download the free eCommerce Essentials Playbook and get everything you need to optimize your customer journey and increase your customer retention.