A few minutes of googling will tell you that acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining the ones you already have. The difference in costs varies from industry to industry, but the fact always holds true.
Successful customer retention programs have excellent ROI.
Then, the question is: What does a successful customer retention strategy look like in the eCommerce industry?
There isn’t a "be all and end-all" answer. Instead, there are plenty of plans that work. We’ve selected for you five of the most efficient:
1. Remarketing Campaigns
In a way, you could call remarketing the root of all customer retention strategies.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, remarketing is the practice of creating marketing campaigns specifically geared towards people who have interacted with your store in the past, whether they’re clients or just visitors.
The great thing about this strategy is that you can leverage the data you have to create personalized ads for your clients. Start with their purchase history and on-site behavior and create ads based on their interests.
This strategy allows you to approach all your clients in short period of time. Use it to boost the sales of your online store when you’re in a hurry.
2. Loyalty Perks
This time-tested strategy has been in use since before the internet was a thing. Probably the most common example of loyalty programs used in brick-and-mortar stores was in the form of cards. The perks these cards offered varied:
- For every X you buy, you get Y for free;
- 5% off your next purchase;
- Gift cards that can be used in that store.
The list goes on. On the internet, however, you have even greater leeway to offer special perks to loyal customers. Besides the aforementioned bonuses, you could offer things like:
- Free shipping;
- Exclusive content in the form of a newsletter or blog posts.
- The chance to try new products before everyone else.
- Access to “loyal customers only” contests and raffles.
Even the classic bonus point system can be greatly customized around purchase frequency and order value. The quintessential rule is that the perks should encourage people to keep coming back.
3. Unbeatable Exclusive Offers
While it’s nice to get a message when a new product you’re interested in is out and while special perks can help you save some money, a super offer stays with you for a long time.
Big discounts are sure to bring people on your eCommerce website, but you can’t cut awesome deals for everyone and expect to turn in a profit. That’s why you should put aside these big moments for your most loyal customers.
The strategy is to convince a customer to stay with your online store by offering extremely good deals from time to time. While not profitable in the short term, you stand to gain many loyal customers that will keep bringing in money to your store.
4. Surprise Gifts
By clearly stating the benefits that loyal customers get, you offer them a goal to strive for. Yet, a surprise gift added to their package can have a much deeper impact on their view of the store.
An unexpected gift can bring glee to your return customers and shows how much you value them.
The most important aspect is how relevant your gift is for the customer. Use your collected data and choose something that will actually be useful for them. The bonus item should not only inspire loyalty, it should also represent your brand.
5. Genuine Gratitude
Sometimes, you don’t need bells and whistles or discounts to retain customers. A few kind words can have the same effect.
With the technology we have today, it’s easy to reach out to customers and thank them for their business. Here are some of the tools at your disposal:
- Personal emails - a simple email may lack the pleasant design of a newsletter, but it can make up for it with a heartfelt thank you.
- Active social media accounts - Facebook isn’t just for promotion and announcements. Use it, together with other social media networks, to communicate with your audience and show your love.
- Phone calls - the most direct method on this list, calls should be reserved for your most loyal customers. Brighten their day with a few kind words.
- Handwritten cards inside packages - a classic method that still works wonderfully to this day.
Our advice is to avoid trying to automate thank you messages. People can tell how much heart you put into them.
There are many ways of convincing clients to keep coming back. At least a few strategies will work well with your brand and audience so do some experiments. See what people respond to.
Remember: the first step towards customer retention should always be excellent customer service.
Don’t forget to check out our blog for more eCommerce tips and guides!