8 Strategies to Improve Ecommerce Customer Retention
Updated: May 4
Retaining an existing customer costs seven times less (Bain) than acquiring a new one. This makes it obvious that customer retention should be one of the main areas of focus for most businesses that want to grow.
Ecommerce businesses that focus on making their customers happy and retaining them for as long as possible are those that succeed in the long run.
Here are eight ecommerce retention strategies that will ensure that your customers stay customers for a long time.
1) Ask customers to create an account
One of the easiest ways to improve customer retention rate for your ecommerce business is to ask customers to create an account in your store. Customer accounts make it easier for shoppers to make more purchases because they contain all the customers’ shipping and billing details. Customers who have registered accounts are also more likely to repurchase.
However, since a large number of shoppers don’t enjoy creating an account during their first purchase, you should certainly allow customers to check out without creating an account. You can offer them the option of creating an account once they complete their purchase. This can be done on the thank you page or via an automated email message.
Find a way to make account creation seem like a good deal for customers. Offer exclusive discounts or other perks for shoppers who create an account. This will ensure that a large percentage of your customers end up creating an account in your online store.
2) Offer excellent support
You need to make your customers happy if you want to retain them for as long as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that you offer excellent customer support.
It’s been shown that customers are four times more likely to switch over to a competitor (LinkedIn) if they’re not satisfied with the experience they’ve had with a brand’s customer support service. This makes it crucial for ecommerce businesses to work on providing the best customer support possible.
Start by making it easy for customers to get the help they need by offering them a variety of ways of reaching you, including email, call widget, social media, and live chat.
You also need to make sure that you respond to customers’ questions, concerns, and issues in a timely manner. This is especially important when it comes to your social media accounts since as much as 88% of shoppers state that they avoid buying from brands that have unanswered complaints on their social media pages. (Conversocial)
Listen to customers’ feedback and suggestions, and try to implement changes that will delight them. This will let customers know that you value their opinion and want to please them, which will, in turn, improve brand loyalty and retention.
3) Keep nurturing customers through email
The process of nurturing your customers doesn’t stop after they make a purchase. You need to design a nurturing strategy that will allow you to keep building a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your customers.
Email is one of the best mediums for staying in touch with your customer base. There are a variety of different types of emails ecommerce businesses can use to keep nurturing their customers, including:
The welcome email is the first non-transactional email a customer will receive from your brand, so it’s important that you use it to make a good impression. Let customers know more about your brand and the way you do business. Give them an insight into what kind of emails they’ll be receiving from you in the future.
Abandoned cart emails
As much as 69.57% of all online shopping carts are abandoned. (Baymard) This makes it crucial for ecommerce businesses to send out automated emails in an effort to retrieve a part of those abandoned carts. Use the abandoned cart email to remind customers what they left behind and see if you can do anything to help them complete their purchase.
Customers sometimes need a small nudge to get back to shopping in your store. Send re-engagement emails to customers who haven’t purchased anything from you in a while and ask if there’s something that might be holding them back from making a purchase. Give them an attractive discount to try to get them excited about shopping with you.
Product recommendation emails
Most shoppers enjoy product recommendations when they’re actually relevant to them. Email customers about products they might enjoy based on their previous purchases to help them discover new products in your store that might benefit them. This will allow you to delight your customers as well as generate additional revenue through upsells and cross-sells.
Sending customers an email wishing them happy holidays is a great way to show that you care and think about them. These types of emails help to keep your brand top of mind and boost customer loyalty. They can also get customers back to shopping, especially when combined with a discount.
4) Build a community
A great way to improve customer retention rate is to build a community around your brand. This will help to make your customers feel that their purchase isn’t just about getting a product, but rather about joining a group of like-minded people.
Your brand’s community can gather on your social media pages or a dedicated discussion board on your website. Encourage customers to share advice, help each other out, and discuss topics that interest them.
Starting a community and getting the first batch of members to actively participate is always the hardest part. One way you can get the ball rolling is to reward your most active community members with free products or discounts. This would give people an incentive to participate more actively and help your community grow.
Once customers become active participants in your community, it’ll be hard for them to imagine shopping anywhere else.
5) Improve your return policy
As much as 63% of online shoppers check a website’s return policy before making a purchase. (FitSmallBusiness)
Your return policy can make the difference between shoppers buying from you or going over to a competitor. It’s also a determining factor in whether they come back to shop with you, with 48% of shoppers stating that they would buy more frequently if online retailers offered an easy way to return products. (CommerceHub)
Offering a friendly return policy will make your customers happier and more likely to stay with you for longer. Remember to keep your return policy short and easy to understand, and provide customers with different ways to return items.
Strive to create an effortless return experience for your customers, and you’ll be able to improve customer loyalty, boost repeat purchases, and increase retention rate substantially.
6) Personalize the shopping experience
Ecommerce giants such as Amazon have accustomed shoppers to a personalized approach to shopping. People have started to expect a personalized shopping experience from brands. As much as 82% of shoppers say that they would make more purchases from brands that send out personalized marketing messages. (Digital Commerce 360)
Additionally, businesses that offer a personalized shopping experience generate four times more revenue than businesses that don’t. (Watermark Consulting)
If you want to retain your customers, you need to work on creating a personalized experience for them.
You can use personalization on your website, through email, and on your social media pages. There are different factors you can base personalization on, including customer location, purchase history, gender, and age.
7) Surprise your customers
Most people enjoy pleasant surprises. The same is true for your customers. Putting in the effort to do something out of the ordinary for your customers is a great way to boost brand loyalty and improve retention.
One of the simplest and most affordable surprises you can give your customers is to include a nice, handwritten note with their package. This will show them that you value each and every one of your customers and are willing to take the time to thank them personally.
Another welcome surprise would be to include free samples with every order. Apart from delighting your customers, this will also give them a chance to try out some of your other products, which might result in them making another purchase.
Since 65% of consumers who receive gifts from brands share the experience online (Retail TouchPoints), it’s also a great way to gain more exposure for your business.
8) Implement a subscription-based pricing model
Offering a monthly subscription for your products or services is a great way to ensure that customers will be staying with you for a while. Monthly product subscriptions are popular with consumers as well, which can be seen in the popularity of subscription box services such as Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox.
A subscription-based pricing model works exceptionally well for ecommerce businesses that sell consumables such as food, supplements, beauty products, or office supplies. If you don’t sell products that are suitable for being purchased as a subscription, consider offering add-on services such as support or insurance that could be packaged as a subscription.
Apart from helping you improve customer retention rate, implementing product subscriptions into your offering will also allow you to predict revenue more accurately as well as manage your inventory more effectively.
Are you working on improving customer retention?
Is improving customer retention one of the main focus points for your ecommerce business? If it isn’t, you might want to reconsider your priorities. Take advantage of the strategies outlined above to improve your retention rate and grow revenue.