The competition in eCommerce has never been greater. It’s easier than ever to launch an online store, and the pandemic has forced many businesses to go digital. How do you get ahead in such a crowded space?
One way is to make the most of the customers you already have. You can get as much as 60% of revenue coming from repeat customers, a recent report on customer retention among DTC brands shows. You’ve already acquired them, probably paid for them, and have first-party data, including their email address and at least some shopping behavior. It’s more than enough to focus your efforts on retaining these customers and cultivating repeat business. Especially if you’re tight on resources for growth, customer retention can be the only financially feasible option.
Here, we’ll discuss 9 effective retention tactics and how you can use them to grow your eCommerce business.
- Level up customer service in line with loyalty
- Help customers enjoy your products
- Make receiving each order exciting
- Respond to feedback
- Avoid generic promotions
- Reactivation at the right time
- Reuse campaigns that stimulate loyalty
- Next order discount
- Involve customers in product development
1. Level up customer service in line with loyalty
Customer retention is an ongoing process and people need to be continuously incentivized to shop again. They should see the benefit of sticking with you instead of shopping around.
That’s why it’s only natural that the customer service you provide gets better with every order they place. If it’s smooth and efficient at first (because you want to convert them), it should be above and beyond on the twentieth because they’re so loyal.
You can have tiers and improve the offers as people climb up in loyalty:
- Better discounts
- Back in stock alerts
- Priority shipping and support
- Free returns and exchanges
2. Help customers enjoy your products
If people never use your product, they’ll forget about it, and it’ll be hard to make them buy again. So you have to stay top of mind and encourage customers to enjoy their purchase.
This goal can be achieved with tailored post-purchase content sent via email. Show customers different ways to use the product and tips on how to maintain it in good condition. Include inspiration from other users and social media. Give buyers helpful information to enjoy the product as much as possible and they’ll want to buy from you again.
3. Make receiving each order exciting
Why are subscription boxes so popular? Because there’s an element of surprise each time and the customer feels a rush of excitement opening the box. Other eCommerce brands can imitate this experience by putting small freebies, samples, or useful package inserts with information or entertainment (think stickers) in delivery packages. Custom boxes can work too—they look great, grab attention, and can even be reused for storage, serving as a reminder of your brand.
Your customers will learn to expect a small surprise in each order, and that’ll make the decision to order again and again much easier.
4. Respond to feedback
Feedback is very useful, both good and bad. So it’s a good practice to thank customers who give you feedback, because they’ve taken the time to help you improve. Both positive and negative reviewers will experience greater satisfaction with your brand because you acknowledged their feedback. An unhappy customer might even give you another chance after seeing you’re down to earth and take criticism seriously.
5. Avoid generic promotions
Generic campaigns that promote your whole product range don’t catch attention. Instead, promotions should hit home and cause the customer to take action and order again.
The best way to personalize your campaigns is to look into past shopping behavior and offer similar products. What products have people viewed, added to their cart, and purchased? For example, if they look at a particular category very often but never buy from it, there’s probably an opportunity—maybe the price is too high for them. Send them a coupon code for this category to stimulate a purchase.
6. Reactivation at the right time
Reactivation emails work if they hit at the right time. Otherwise, they’re just irrelevant spam. Look at how often people normally shop from your store. That’s the organic shopping pace of your customers. Send the reminder email just before the average time between orders has passed. This is when people are ready to shop again, and your email will be welcome.
7. Reuse campaigns that stimulate loyalty
Some campaigns, coupons, influencers, and even products will naturally bring more returning buyers than other efforts. They manage to attract just the right kind of shoppers with the highest potential for becoming loyal customers.
Once you’ve identified these loyalty stimulators, replicate them, reuse them, and make them the base of your customer retention strategy. If something works in bringing you repeat sales, use it as much as possible.
8. Next order discount
This one is simple but effective. People love deals, and when you give them one readily, they don’t want to miss out. A promise for a good price is hard to pass up when you have it in your hands.
This type of discount makes people place orders more frequently and also creates a sense of insider satisfaction. Customers enjoy the little secret and look forward to receiving it every time.
9. Involve customers in product development
The more involved customers are with a brand, the more loyal they are. If they’ve invested time and ideas, they’ll hold brands dearer. That’s why seeking their opinion is vital. Gаther customer ideas for new features or variants. What colors do they want? How would they make the product better? How should you name a new one? It’s hard not to buy something when you came up with the name.
The more you crowdsource ideas, the more people will hear about your brand. They’ll see a friend commenting on your social media polls or joining your branded discussion group. These are opportunities for both retaining old customers and acquiring new ones.
These 9 tactics are simple to implement but bring customers closer to your brand. They give incentives, excitement, and reasons to shop with your business one more time. With a little customer insight, a sturdy email tool, and genuine care for your existing customers, you’ll grow your sales without acquiring new customers or spending on ads.
About the author
Murry Ivanoff is the CEO of Metrilo, an eCommerce analytics, CRM, and email marketing tool. Metrilo makes data usable and helps eCommerce brands grow sustainably through customer retention.