There’s no doubt and has been proven time and time again that instead of finding new customers, it’s always cheaper to get current customers to make repeat purchases. This is the science of customer retention where brands hunt for opportunities to re-engage customers to get them to come back.
Off late, there’s been enough talk about how nurturing existing and old customers can be far more profitable than converting those first-time shoppers. In fact, statistics say the same thing much louder: A 5% increase in customer retention can rise a company’s revenue by anywhere between 25% and 95%.
What is customer retention?
Customer retention is the exercise of increasing repeat customer rates and pulling out additional value from those customers. It aims to ensure that the first-time customer makes repeat purchases, is happy with a company’s services, and does not shift to other competitors.
Why is customer retention important?
Focusing on customer retention, one of the most scaling eCommerce trends, has a number of benefits:
- Higher average order value
A high customer retention rate means your customers trust your products and your brand and are more likely to buy more from you in the future too. The longer a customer has a relationship with your online store, the more he will customer spend every time, thus increasing the AOD.
- Increase in sales and profits
Customer retention ensures that your customers trust you and are willing to try other products from your company. Higher customer satisfaction increases your profits across all product lines and all channels. A study by Bain & Company stated that 70% of Gap’s customers would also consider buying furniture from Gap.
- Brand ambassadors
Your retained customers also act as your brand ambassadors since even today word of mouth is considered one of the best marketing strategies.
- Less expensive to sell to existing customers
There’s no second thought to this. It is more cost-effective to retain your existing customer than to find new ones.
Top tips and strategies to increase customer retention:
1.Start a customer loyalty program with superior benefits
Customer loyalty programs have proven that it is a very effective way to encourage customers to make repeat purchases. According to research, 75% of shoppers prefer a brand that has an ongoing loyalty program.
With a loyalty program, you can offer points on every purchase, give a discount on the second/next purchase, or even offer a free gift when a shopper spends a certain amount.
A brand loyalty program can also be called a customer retention program help to increase purchase frequency as it motivates customers to purchase more often to earn valuable rewards.
With AI enabled chatbots, organisations are moving their loyalty programmes to drive personalised customer loyalty at scale.
Instead of the one-size-fits-all model, the marketing team can come up with different loyalty programs that meet the specific consumer demand of a particular audience segment. With help of these incentives that are offered to customers, organisations can better create personalised recommendations and loyalty programs.
Here are a few considerations you must think about:
– Make the program free & easy to join keeping the sign-up process short and simple.
– Offer access to exclusive discounts to those under your loyalty program.
– Introduce tiers to deepen loyalty and provide every superior tier up with more benefits and features.
According to a report by McKinsey, on average brands with personalisation can generate 40% more revenue than others that don’t.
Seamless and personalised experiences are very important in today’s competitive retail market to understand your customers’ preferences. AI can help you know exactly what your customer likes by identifying his past purchase behavior and online touchpoints. Personalise marketing provides a tailored in-store brick and mortar experience, delivers consistent value, and increases customer engagement and loyalty.
Most marketers will agree – Emails are the best means for building a good customer relationship before and after the first purchase. Get started with follow-up emails and ensure that your post-purchase email packs a lot of value.
Customer retention can’t only happen with the right product recommendations through email, but also with the way you refine your post-purchase nurturance.
By using these ways, you’re establishing that if the shopper continues to engage with you, he’ll be rewarded for it.
– Send tips on how the benefits of a product can be best maximised.
– A combined thank you and feedback email.
– A discount for the next purchase
– Trigger emails to bring back inactive users.
4.Incentives for first purchases
This is particularly to attract the first-time buyers and early purchasers. 59% of consumers search for promo codes before they actually make a purchase online.
Tips to retain one-time buyers and make them long-term buyers:
– Declare 10% – 15% discounts on the next purchase
– Offer a discount amount on purchases over a certain total AOV or within a timeframe.
– Announce a 10% – 15% discount on abandoned carts.
Focusing on incentivising subscriptions becomes important if you want repeat sales.
Which is why you can:
– Offer a tangible benefit that’s not applicable to one-time orders.
– Offer a reduced per time price or an advantage like free shipping over a certain price.
6.Reward the repeat purchases
If you want to notch up repeat sales, you’ll can consider these:
– Study the buying behaviour of repeat customers so far, the products they’ve repeatedly purchased. Analysis their past product choices, likes, and dislikes.
– Offer a reduced / discounted price on products they’ve been repeatedly purchasing
– Less or free shipping on the second and future purchases.
– Offer free samples of products they’ve been exploring but haven’t purchased yet
– Free complementary product with a purchase – you can offer a cover free on purchase of a mobile.
-Develop a personal connection with repeat purchasers by greetings on the special days in their lives.
7.Make delivery, returns, and refunds easy
When your delivery, return and refund processes aren’t easy, you’ll have trouble retaining your repeat purchasers.
Few tips to consider here –
– Offer multiple delivery windows based on shipping rates
- Announce free shipping on a minimum cart value
– Enable shipment tracking transparency across channels as 98% admit that their shipping experience has a direct bearing on how they feel towards a brand.
- Keep your returns policy transparent in a visible location on your product pages.
– Make sure your free returns policy content elaborately explains what can be returned, by when and what documentation will be required on the shopper’s part.
– Consider offering store credit as an option to refunds – this will reduce the financial impact of returns and increase the chances of repeat sales.
8.Incorporate different communication channels
Know which channels could be optimised for which pieces of communication if customer retention and repeat sales are your end-goals. Consider using an omnichannel platform for rapid growth and to bring all your communication channels together.
Here’s what can work for you:
– Email to raise product & brand awareness since as per McKinsey, communicating over email is 40 times more effective than other mediums.
– SMS are best viable medium for personalised communication. Welcome messages, order confirmations, communication on reward points earned or information on flash sales & limited time deals all can be effectively sent across SMS.
– Facebook & Instagram for retargeting your already loyal customers, promoting new products, influencer marketing, and to show ads for products the shopper left behind in abandoned cart.
– WhatsApp for quick reminders & surveys
9.Provide prompt customer service
Statistics prove how important and crucial it is to provide real-time customer service in eCommerce.
Here are some key considerations for this:
– Enhance self-help resources by placing your FAQ and policies across accessible locations in your site and making site content searchable in your chat feature.
– Feature a Q&A section along with customer reviews for instant insights.
- Establish live support/ chatbots across channels not only on your eCommerce website but also on channels like WhatsApp and FB messenger, Instagram.
10.Make your customers your brand ambassadors
When brands that put the customers values and vision in their innovation and marketing campaigns, the customers would want to associate with them.
Few things businesses in 2023 can do to make your regular customers your custodians:
– Offer incentives to loyal customers for writing reviews for multiple products
– Announce giveaways/ gifts on social media handles to boost your customers to socially share your products more intentionally and not just once.
– Announce contests to highlight the best UGC
– Request customers to participate in your product photo shoots, share their usage videos, etc.
11.Improve the ease of use for mobile customers
By 2025, studies project that mobile commerce will be above 44% of the total eCommerce sales. Thus, optimising your eCommerce CX for mobile customers is very important to boost overall customer retention.
Here are the best considerations to think of:
– Simplify and minimise form fields
– Optimise CTAs for easy searching and touch
– Add relevant labels to products you want to draw attention to
– Make your product related benefits, discount, durability, shipping time super visible
– Pay special attention to optimisation & resizing of images – tools like TinyJPG and TinyIMG can help.
12. Boost your content strategy
The content you generate must give your buyers good reasons to stay connected, consider your brand for repeat purchases and even refer your brand to others.
Few ways to craft your content strategy for customer retention:
– Leverage topics of interest around the products details.
– Compare with kind of content competitors are creating.
– Focus on building brand and product awareness.
– Leverage to feature across channel with specific product content – like videos, interesting product-related content and trending hashtags.
AI technology, machine learning and accurate data, can help organisations to understand customers better and predict their future behaviour. By analysing your customer behaviour, you can ascertain their requirements, likes and dislikes. Hence when your organisation will offer content and product recommendations that your customers will like, it will improve their shopping experience with the brand.
At Adobe Commerce, we provide the best solutions and opportunities through Artificial Intelligence for our retailers. We offer multiple data-driven solutions to benefit from customer data, data management tools, and analytics to boost customer retention.
So, build your customer retention strategy today with help of the above tips. Focus your time and energy on improving their experience, finding new customers, pursuing one holistic approach – an omnichannel experience that will keep your consumers coming back to you.
What are the top customer retention strategies? (2023). Shopify. (2022, December 1). Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.shopify.com/uk/blog/customer-retention-strategies
17 retention strategies that actually work (for ecommerce): Convertcart. eCommerce growth platform and consulting. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.convertcart.com/blog/customer-retention-strategies
36 experts rank the top customer retention strategies for 2023. RSS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://www.parative.com/blog/customer-retention-strategies