Your best customers are not the ones who just buy once and vanish! All the traffic in your eCommerce store doesn’t mean anything if your customers aren’t coming back every day. Keeping a consistent customer retention rate is a tough job, sure. But there are techniques that help you keep your buyers happy and make them visit your site frequently.
Running an online business means looking for new clients and turning them into your regulars. Because unless they buy frequently, your sales and revenues are not getting a boost.
In this article, we will go through some strategies about how to improve customer retention. Near the end, we will also provide some examples and benefits. So, sit tight!
About customer retention rate
Customer retention is simple. It’s the way of engaging and encouraging the existing customers to continue buying from your business.
Clearly, it doesn’t have anything to do with increasing conversion rates because you have already achieved that.
Here’s how the customer retention calculation goes.
Customer retention rate = ((Customers at End Period – Customers Acquired During Period) / Customers at Start Period)) X 100
Importance of customer retention-
- Nearly 65% of business comes from existing clients than the new ones.
- If you boost the rate by 5%, you will get around 25%-95% increase in profit!
- $1.6 trillion is lost in businesses because of losing customers to competitors.
- The frequenters who stay loyal to your service buy more than the new ones because they value you.
- A 100% satisfied customer is most likely to spread kind words about you.
Check out the statistics from Review42 for more details.
15 ways to increase customer retention rate
Are you all amped up now? Ready to boost the retention rate? However, there are several tricks and tactics that you should follow.
Bring your notebook and jot down this checklist on how to improve the customer retention rate for your eCommerce store.
- Smart marketing
- Loyalty program
- Improve UX
- Coupons and discounts
- Refund policy and free trial
- Notifications and email
- Asking for feedback
- Referral marketing
- Cross-channelling and cross-selling
- Free tips or DIY tricks
- Making a difference
1) Smart marketing
First of all, a good marketing strategy is always a winning shot. You can keep your customers buying often if you know the right way to spread the words about your business.
Social media marketing
It’s inevitably the best process suited to this digital era. You have to be omnipresent on every social media platform, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Post attractive videos and images to make the lost and existing shoppers come back.
Put those social buttons at the top of all your pages. When customers send feedback, thank them promptly with friendly words and share it with the followers.
Announce your promotions, new updates, deals, new arrivals, etc. on socials. Believe it or not, starting a buzz with social media works like magic!
Content marketing and blogging
Create content that speaks to the customers and make it easy to understand. Update the old ones and track the traffic rate.
Likewise, use the blog section of your site to write and update blog posts about your products or services. Informative blogs help visitors and buyers understand your business.
In simple words, all the emails you sent to your potential or present buyers are part of email marketing. It can include commercial details, transaction info, a request for business, advertisement, information on sale or donation, or merely a thank you note.
2) Loyalty program
These programs are mostly a way of giving back to customers. It works as incentives and encourages them to come back over and over to shop from you.
Customers feel special when you-
- Hook them up with top offers and deals.
- Provide them with a first-look or quick peek at your next best-selling product.
- Manage a surprise top-shopper discount coupon for them.
- Distribute “Buy and Get Free” loyalty cards, “Spend and Save” codes, referral bonus, etc.
- Arrange a giveaway or just deliver a free gift as a token of appreciation.
Sephora’s loyalty program allows the buyers to access the giftcards without spending any extra money on it! But, buying more from the shop means they can get more discounts in the future. As a result, a customer often gets lured into buying more frequently.
A “Spin the wheel” feature that comes back every 24 hours with new and exciting prizes can help you get back some of the lost customers too. Just make sure the prizes are worth it.
3) Improve UX
Here’s the most important fact about customer retention rate for eCommerce businesses. If you want your business to grow, you better provide an excellent user experience!
A visitor who just turned into a customer might drop-out after one purchase because of the presentation of your website. Maintain quality of service by updating the design.
You might want to adopt a tabular format for your WooCommerce product presentation. Follow A Smart Way of Adding Product Tables To A WooCommerce Marketplace.
OuterBox says 79% smartphone users purchase from their mobile devices! So, making your website mobile-friendly should help retain clients.
Also, a lengthy checkout process is a big turn off too. Keep the checkout simple and short without causing any trouble to customers. Otherwise, you can face a massive number of abandoned carts!
Don’t push them to sign-up to purchase because it’s possible they may leave you right there. Apple uses a “Guest Checkout” feature that doesn’t require customers to sign-up anywhere and purchase smoothly.
Accept payment methods of all sorts so that they can come back anytime.
To build trust, you should be upfront about any drawback your product or service might have or any trouble the shoppers might have to face.
Setting realistic expectations about your service and products is a must, and especially for businesses that are targeting to retain customers. Let them know what to expect from you, good or bad. Customers will often willingly cut you some slack if they are satisfied with your transparency.
For instance, suppose a person wants to order a dinner set from you. Now, you have to make sure they know the following things-
- Price (regular or sale)
- Number of items
- Color, size, and quality
- Shipping cost and arrangements
- Delivery time
- Assurance of refund if things go wrong
Besides, if you don’t include how long it will take to deliver, the customer will not feel confident about it. All the shipping information should be crystal-clear on your website and in the email sent to clients/visitors.
Pay attention to shipping to get happy shoppers and a high customer retention rate.
You can consider adopting a subscription-based business model to target lazy customers. Add a “Subscribe and save” deal where a non-subscribing customer can click the subscribe button to win the deal.
Importance of subscription-
- You can predict your revenue and figure the expenses to get new customers.
- Customers can know what they’ll be getting.
- You know how much to stock based on the subscriptions.
- A monthly subscription means consumers don’t have to order again.
- A commitment bonus for subscribers is a great incentive.
- You can keep them happy by providing complementary products.
A personalized shopping experience is the key to unlock the profit chest!
Here’s where you keep track of the purchasing pattern and preferences of your customers. For example, if they are connected to you via social media, you can follow their consumer behavior and buying habits.
Similarly, track the dates they buy from you. Suppose they buy something on a specific day every year. Get back to them on the same date before they reach you! You can assume it’s a special day and add a little note or a gift with the product.
You should also check their wishlist or abandoned carts. So, you can offer them something better in the same product category.
Follow their searches on your website and show them the best ones from that genre when they visit you next time. If a customer buys a shoe now, displaying some more popular shoes upon their next visit could be a good UX.
You can also cross the extra mile and send them a hand-written note as thank you or a gift for being a consistent customer. Shopify’s Touchcard makes things easy for them in this case.
7) Coupons and discounts
While these fall under the loyalty program to some extent, we can’t but emphasize on them separately.
Online shoppers love discounts! You can follow their purchasing habit to offer a discount on the products they buy or encourage them to buy more to receive a discount.
A personalized coupon can let them add any product from a complementary category. For example, if they buy an espresso machine, they can use the coupon to buy a weekly supply of coffee.
Buy more and get more schemes perform excellently, but there are some other discount options you can try as incentives.
- Discounts during holidays or for any occasion will make your digital store swarm with customers! A mid-season sale, stock-clearing sale, and sale on the top-selling product can work as well.
- A discount on the products they abandoned in the cart or from their wishlist can make them come back to buy again.
- Provide a “referral discount” to anyone who spreads the words about you.
- Giveaways for big festivals like Christmas can attract customers to stay.
- Discount on product bundles and packages with products of the same category will lead to more sales and happy shoppers.
- Suggest some upsells and encourage them with a discount.
- If they subscribe and become a member, provide a member discount for every purchase.
- Don’t forget to set a discounted price for your top buyers who come back every day!
8) Refund policy and free trial
You should be clear about all your business policies, including refunds. If things don’t work out for customers with the product they bought, ensure a refund, store credit, cash-back, or money-back guarantee.
This way, the buyers will feel more comfortable with you and make another purchase because they know you care about their preferences.
You can also offer a free trial option. In online markets, customers can’t see or test the products personally. They can only depend on your words, assurance, and service.
So, once they are in the purchasing stage, let them know that they can test the product first, and if it’s not how they expected, they can return it without cost.
All these might sound so simple. But they definitely work to maintain your retention rate!
9) Notifications and email
You can try push-notifications, although, for some shoppers, it doesn’t really work. Some get annoyed, while some others love it!
Web push notifications from Chrome can take your product updates to the Chrome users in all devices. But, you need to ask your customers whether or not they want to be notified with the “Deny” and “Allow” opt-box.
Your customers can interact with you on your website, using their mobile, or from social media. According to Retail TouchPoints, 76% users buy because of social media posts. Notifications from social media platforms are a great help in online business indeed.
There’s also another way – Sending email after the purchase to keep them on-toes and alert about your newest products. Notify them about the sale codes, their position in the buyers’ leaderboard, a short thank-you note, and some suggestions about what to buy next.
But flooding the mailbox can get pretty annoying and would be counterproductive. Instead, keep it short and fun.
10) Asking for feedback
It’s never easy to run a successful business if you don’t receive any feedback. Follow the comment section on the socials and look for any question or comment about your business. Also, ask for feedback via emails.
Use a customer feedback tool to track how they feel and how you should improve.
Try to act on the feedback as soon as possible.
Feedback from new and existing clients can encourage you to work on your business strategy. And ultimately, customers get a positive vibe from you. So, it’s a win-win situation all the way.
Look for a good feedback strategy from LiveAgent.
Maintain a customer support team that’s always ready to answer any queries from them. The team should be active on all social media, email, and phones to respond promptly.
If you come across an impulsive shopper who is less likely to wait for the answers, try “Live Chat” feature on your website.
Qualtrics lists best practices of customer service with Tesla, Adobe, Coca-Cola, etc. Follow how they provide their service but improvise according to your customer preference.
Customer support is a fundamental fact for a business. Don’t lose your regular shoppers just because you didn’t care enough to interact!
12) Referral marketing
Getting some new buyers by referral marketing is one of the many useful tricks. It depends on “Word of Mouth” because a loyal and satisfied customer will talk about you, recommend your site, and maybe share your content too.
This might not even require you to work on advertising if you can keep your consumers happy. But you can use a referral program with rewards. For instance, after referring, a customer can get a gift voucher or a discount.
You can also arrange contests for referral and show the leaderboard on socials or your website. Incentivize with a free product or 50% off.
Ambassador says that 82% Americans seek references from their friends and family when they consider a purchase.
13) Cross-channelling and cross-selling
It’s a way of remarketing where collaboration plays the leading role.
You must have heard about Google Ads and Facebook ads. Let’s say someone is using Google ads. Why not take your message there? You can get some lost customers back who have abandoned your site previously.
Facebook ads, on the other hand, are an excellent way of personalized ads. Facebook shows ads depending on user activity, age, gender, location, etc. In this platform, you can choose your audience.
Read more on cross-channeling from Shutterstock.
Cross-selling is when you invite people to buy a related item. If they bought a watch, recommend quality sunglasses. You can also throw in a bonus discount if they buy from the cross-sell.
14) Free tips or DIY tricks
This is where you show how much you care about your buyers. You can drop one or two pieces of advice to add a personal touch or publish a DIY video on something trendy.
Suppose a shopper has just bought some jeans, shirts, and shoes. You can give them tips on what accessory can go with the outfit they chose!
Add a “You may like” section too where they can pick by themselves. Or drop a pop-up like – ”No idea what to wear? Check this out!”
Similarly, if someone bought some bird food, show them how to make a DIY bird feeder wreath.
15) Making a difference
At this point, you must already be convinced that a high retention rate depends on how good customers feel about you. By engaging in any social responsibility, you can raise that rate even higher!
What we mean is, you should also make them feel better by showing them that a part of your profit supports a good cause like charities and fundraisers.
Convince them that they’re doing something good for society by buying from you. Start a program to save the money for charity, donation, or auction off some of your best products to help in the emergency states.
For the Coronavirus pandemic, brands all around the globe, including Nordstrom, Crocs, L’Oreal Paris, SKIMS, etc. have helped with donations.
Pretty sure their regulars feel really proud right now!
High customer retention benefits
Here’s a rundown on the benefits of high customer retention rate.
- Brands have more chances of selling to an existing customer than to a new one.
- Identifying and fixing flaws from feedback and paying attention to customers’ needs become easier.
- Loyal shoppers are likely to spend 67% more.
- If you can keep the consistency, faithful customers are more willing to forget or ignore your mistakes.
- A high retention rate builds reputation by word-of-mouth advertising.
- You can keep a good relationship with your customers.
- A regular buyer will try out an experiment with a new item, unlike a new customer.
- You can spend less and sell more!
Customer retention examples
Some customer retention examples from renowned companies are as follows-
- Amazon suggests related products to encourage clients to buy more.
- Reward programs by Starbucks give back to customers.
- Southwest Airlines utilizes social media to retain their buyers.
- Tesco focuses on personalization to give a pleasant shopping experience.
- Apple boldly started the “Mac vs. PC” campaign to make themselves an obvious choice.
- LinkedIn gives a shout-out to loyal customers and thanks them.
- Even as a beverage company, Coca-Cola’s “Beat Generator” app was a delight!
- A post-sale follow-up works for all. Ring Security keeps in touch with its customers.
Over to you
Attracting and acquiring new customers isn’t crucial if an established online company wants to thrive in the eCommerce world. In fact, retaining the existing buyers is the best technique to keep your sales chart enviable for others!
To increase customer retention rate, you should focus on maintaining the quality of your products and service, improve customers’ shopping experience, and prove your brand’s worth.
We have listed 15 strategies, but choosing the suitable ones and executing them depends on you. Improvise and implement according to your audience.
Have a look at our article on “How To Increase Average Order Value in WooCommerce“. Also, let us know how things work out. Good luck!