ecommerce strategies
29 Jan, 2018

5 Strategies That Will Help You Retain Your (E-commerce) Customers

E-commerce businesses spend a lot of their time figuring out how to attract new customers. After all, isn’t that the point of marketing? To reach out to an audience that you haven’t previously engaged with?

Well, sure. But you don’t want to spend so many of resources attracting new traffic that you forget about the customers that have already committed to your brand through an actual purchase. Once you’ve made a customer, how you proceed with them is going to affect your reputation big time.

But, there’s more.

It’s hard to track down exact numbers, but acquiring new customers cost more than retaining the ones you already have. Depending on who you ask, that cost can be anywhere from 5 times as much to nearly 30 times as costly. This has a huge impact on your ROI.

Going the extra mile to retain customers and keep them happy is good business, especially in the world of e-commerce. Are you doing everything that you should be to keep your customers coming back for more?

Here are a few strategies for making sure that you are providing the ultimate in customer care and keeping hold of the customers that have brought you to the point of success that you’re enjoying today.

Social Engagement Is Crucial

There are always exceptions, but for most e-commerce businesses, social media matters. Even if you have made it easy to contact you through your website, email or phone, social media is critical to customer interaction.

Your customers want to be able to connect with you from where they are right now, which is often social media. Social platforms have become so important in the engagement process that 59% of Americans feel that social media has made it easier get issues resolved and have questions answered.

You don’t want to let them down.

The first step is to make sure that your business is on the same social media platforms that your customers are. For example, if you offer custom designed clothing that appeals to a female millennial market, you are far more likely to reach them on Instagram than on LinkedIn.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be on multiple social media platforms, in fact, it’s a good idea to spread yourself around a little. The takeaway here is to make sure that you aren’t missing your target, and even more important, that you are engaging with your audience.

Make it part of your daily business practice to look in on your social media accounts, or if you have the resources, assign someone to take care of the responsibility for you. Messages, questions, and concerns should be answered promptly, and when you create a post, make sure you’re taking the time to interact with the people who are commenting.

Remember, your social media profiles are there for all the world to see. Providing top-notch customer service in front of such a large audience will not only keep loyal customers by your side, but you’ll also win the hearts of new ones.

Content for Lasting Relationships

Customer service goes beyond the point of sale. The best customer interactions evolve into long term, mutually beneficial relationships. How are you going to keep them engaged along the way?

You’re going to do it through content.

Think of content creation as a text or phone call to a friend in between meetings. Its intent is to show that they’re on your mind and you can’t wait to meet up with them. Quality content can let your customers know how much they mean to you, making it one of the best methods of customer retention.

The goal of your content should be to entertain, educate and inform your customer base. As they absorb your content, they should become motivated and excited about your brand. You need to stay away from bland content that offers no real value to your customers. By bland, I mean content that is more about you than it is about them. Here are few strategies for amping up your content creation game.

  1. Get your customers engaged with call to actions. Include newsletter sign-ups, invitations to try a subscription model or even a discount incentive, like an abandoned cart discount, to keep them interested.
  2. Don’t forget about SEO when creating content, and this includes making content available on as many relevant channels as possible. Share your newest blog on your social media pages to make it more accessible to your customers, and use the opportunity to invite them to follow your blog or subscribe to your newsletter.
  3. Make sure that you’re addressing the wants and needs of your customers through content. Can you identify what you’re giving them? If all you’re doing is telling them about how great your newest product is, then you’re missing the mark. Q&A and tutorials are a great way to meet your customer’s needs through content.

Email Provides Personalization

There is one thing that has become critically important to customers, especially those in the millennial age bracket. It’s personalization.

Personalization and the buying experience are so important that many consumers will base their purchasing decisions on those factors alone. When you address your customers on a personal level, you’re giving them an identity. You’re saying that you see and value them as separate from the crowd.

There are different ways of personalizing the experience for your customers, but one of the most effective is through email. Email gives you the chance to address them one on one, by name. With a personalized email, you can show that you’re paying attention to their buying habits and are attempting to tailor the customer experience to them.

Take advantage of every opportunity to engage with your customers through email, while taking care to not seem too pushy. Strategies might include sending out a monthly newsletter and using critical customer care moments like order or delivery confirmations to reach out and personalize the experience with a message or discount offer that reflects their buying habits.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Who doesn’t love a great customer loyalty program?

These types of programs are easy to implement and give existing customers an incentive to stay loyal to your brand. As a bonus, a well-crafted customer loyalty program also makes you more attractive to potential customers.

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, or your size. There’s a way to implement a loyalty program that will help keep your customers by your side. Think along the lines of a discount incentive or give away after the accumulation of a certain amount of points, or incentive offers to a loyalty club that offers exclusive deals after a customer makes their second or third purchase.

Customer loyalty programs will also help you retain customers by being able to better track and assess their spending habits. When done correctly, these types of programs contribute to a positive customer experience.

Worried that implementing and managing a loyalty program might be too much? Let apps like Shopify spread the word of your loyalty program while you work on building a customer relations management strategy to help both you and your customers get the most out of the program.

Subscription Models Keep Them Coming Back

Does it seem like everyone is running to a subscription model of business? There is no question that this model of business has become more popular than ever. It’s estimated that 41% of e-commerce revenue comes from repeat purchases.

Subscription models provide an opportunity to make those repeat purchase experiences as seamless as possible.

This means that for a brand like Nomad Coffee Club, a subscription model is a smart business. The key is learning how to adapt your subscription service to meet the needs of your customers. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of good subscription practices.

  • Do take into consideration the wants and needs of your customer. Your subscription model doesn’t need to resemble your competitor’s to be successful.
  • Do honor transparency in your offer. Make it clear what’s included and avoid tacking on any hidden fees. If something costs extra, state it upfront. Nobody likes surprise charges.
  • Do offer tiers in your subscription model. Don’t expect your customer base to be a one size fits all market.
  • Don’t get them to subscribe and then forget about them. If the only time you bother to contact an annual subscriber is a month before their subscription is set to run out, you have missed out on an entire year’s worth of opportunities to connect. Subscribers still need to be nourished along the way.

At the end of the day, the secret to customer retention for your e-commerce business is all in the details. You need to market to your existing customers with as much dedication as you put into attracting new ones. Never underestimate the value of your customer base or the importance of keeping them happy.

It’s what great e-commerce business is all about.


Also published on Medium.