Customer Retention Strategies for eCommerce Stores in 2017

Customer retention is as important as customer acquisition when it comes to eCommerce. Here are some strategies that your brand can employ.

One of the key elements for success in eCommerce business is customer retention. Though getting more traffic and high conversion rate could increase sales, it is making the customers come back to buy your products and explore more of your new products that can sustain the growth of your business with minimal expenses. However, making a customer come back to you and to retain them does require a strategic approach. To stay ahead of your competition in today’s highly competitive market, you need to constantly strive towards customer satisfaction and engagement.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the best ways to retain customers, as it educates and motivates customers about your existing and new products/services with a personal touch – by making each one of them feel special. It is essential to ramp up your content through adequate call to action methods as it will make your audience interested and willing to explore more of your offerings. Make sure your blogs rise to the top of SEO rankings by making them visible on as many paid and free channels on the web as possible whenever relevant keywords are searched for, as this will bring more traffic your way. The most important step is to get involved in various groups and communities associated with your niche and participate in discussions, Q&As related to the popular topics to get noted. Update your blogs regularly with the latest style guides and tools to hook your readers. Never miss an opportunity to resolve customer issues and address the genuine negative comments on social media fast.

Social Engagement

E-commerce success is all about customer relationship and one of the best ways to achieve this is through social media since it’s the most broadly preferred channel of communication throughout the globe. It is the best way to regularly connect with your customers on a weekly, daily, or if the need be – even twice a day. Get your business a position prominent in the most popular social media platforms or the ones where your target clientele mostly are with interesting content as well as by updating all your latest offers and deals without being too pushy. Monitor your social media accounts regularly and respond to negative comments with a resolving approach. Make your posts very different, interesting and engaging, as these are the key elements that will make a reader want to come back again and again to your posts and in turn, your e-commerce store.

Use Emails

Though there might be several social channels to reach out to a customer, emails can slightly overpower them through the personal touch, as they are addressed specifically to each individual. Send regular emails to customers about all your new products and offers along with coupon codes to those who opt to subscribe to your newsletters. Email customers to confirm their payment, update their order and shipment status, and much more. Research reveals that emails can boost sales by up to 50% provided you have an attractive and engaging content with regular follow-ups. Have a strong and segmented database to send out focused emails, as this can boost impulsive purchases. Workout appropriate strategies for email campaigns and keep them up to date.

Email on Computer

Engage with Customers

Retaining old customers is a significant way to stabilize long-term profits. This requires planning your own strategies and come up with creative ideas to communicate through various channels like social media, calls, emails, blogs, and more in order to make every customer feel special. Never ignore any mode of customer engagement and ensure you respond in the shortest possible time to their concerns and queries. Appoint someone to constantly manage and monitor all forms of customer engagement processes and leverage the available tools. Take time to study and understand various aspects of brand loyalty, as this would help you explore ‘word of mouth’ marketing through your current customers.

Improve Customer Experience

In today’s highly competitive market, you can make your business stand apart with exclusive customer experience and top-notch support on offer. Make use of all communication channels like phone, email, social media, live chat etc as each of them is equally effective to bond with your customers. Kissmetric report reveals that companies miss out on over 71% of customers due to bad customer service. Depending on your business, you may also utilize software such as Zendesk for customer support. Ensure your customers are extremely satisfied with your support services and periodically train your customer service team with the latest retail trends and buying behaviors. Focus on every aspect including your website design, loading time, navigating options, device compatibility etc to offer a very smooth experience throughout the shopping process.

Customer Loyalty Program

Having a good customer loyalty program is the secret behind successful customer retention. There are several ways in which you can implement this. For instance, you can let customers accumulate points for each purchase of certain value and exchange points thus gathered for a discount in their subsequent purchases. You can offer special perks to be a part of some exclusive clubs, or a significant reward or coupon, or have a dedicated VIP package for the loyal customers. Make use of apps like Shopify or Klaviyo, which automatically communicate about rewards to your customers when they make repeat purchases. There are fully automated apps like LoyaltyLion, SLoyalty etc., which you may consider. Create a good CRM (Customer relationship management) strategy to observe the buying patterns to entice people into making the most of your customer loyalty programs on offer.

Business Meeting

Meetups and Events

Hosting events and meet-ups would add a special touch to the entire shopping experience of your customers and help them realize that they belong to an exclusive group or community. You may also set up a trade show or booth to meet your customers. If you feel this to be quite expensive, you may choose external platforms to host your event and get associated with various networks in your industry. To make your events more successful, use expert services to make presentations on your business. Try to get the same venue for repeat events in a professional manner. You can use platforms like ‘Eventbrite’ to host events effectively.

Utilize Customer Accounts

Encourage your customers to create accounts as and when they wish to make a purchase. This would give you their entire demographic details, which would be very handy for your customer retention efforts. It would also help you serve them better by being able to track their shipments and payments. It would help store their credit card details also to make the subsequent buying and payment processes simple through just one click. You may even provide an option for customers to choose or not choose to create an account after their first purchase. If you use Shopify platform, you can invite your customers to activate their account, which makes it quite simple for them.

Share Your Growth

One of the best ways to make sales or motivate repeat customer is through real-life customer experiences or testimonials. Case studies and testimonials create a trusted platform for new visitors to relate with it. Let your blogs have more of case studies and customer experiences rather than being salesy. There are various platforms that help you create several user-generated testimonials and reviews. Reach out to some of your loyal customers and offer rewards to motivate them to write reviews and experiences. Consistently analyze the reviews to make amendments and corrections to your products/services to provide more customer satisfaction. Keep your existing customers updated with your new products/services and offers.

Coffee Shop

Delight Your Customers

While you give huge promotional offers to new customers, excite your existing customers with the best deals designed exclusively for them by sending coupon codes through emails. This would make them feel appreciated and encourage them to buy once more from you. You may also send surprise gifts or a handwritten thank you note to some of the loyal customers and make them feel special. Give special offers rather than discounts, as this is a win-win situation where you don’t have to compromise on your margins. For example, if you are into CD selling and understand your customer’s favorite artist, you can offer free shipping on purchase of that CD instead of a discount. This doesn’t give the notion of a variable cost to the customer, who would have otherwise waited for a similar discount the next time s/he plans to buy a CD of that artist. However, this requires you to study the database of customers in detail. Remember – creative ideas and offers can retain customers forever.

Right Place, Right Time

Reaching out to the customer at the right time is extremely important. For instance, if one of your products lasts for 8 months, create automated emails that would reach the customer on the 6th month and remind him/her that it’s time to replace the old product with the new one. If you are too early to approach or too late in this case, you might not get the repeat order. You have to choose the right time and this requires appropriate data management and automation tools. This strategy is called the ‘right place, right time’ marketing, which is significant for customer retention.

Subscription Business Model

This is one of the most common and successful ways of customer retention. If you sell products that require regular purchases, then you must make the buying process quite simple and easy. The easiest way is to offer subscriptions. Subscriptions also help you to predict revenue easily and establish recurring payment methods to make it seamless for customers. In case you want to know the success rate of this model for you, just try and see how it actually works for yourself. Most often, subscription model works for products like underwear, coffee, toiletries, shaving products, food, clothing; pet supplies etc.

Conclusion

Customer retention is one of the smartest ways to succeed in the increasingly competitive eCommerce world. To be successful in your endeavor, pick the most suitable strategies for your business from the aforesaid list and work on them. Along with implementing these strategies, keep analyzing why certain customers are not making repeat purchases and work on them. While acquiring new customers must be in your agenda, focusing on your existing customers is a less expensive way that offers long-term benefits.

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