Ecommerce businesses have become increasingly competitive, with online stores websites constantly coming up with new ways to acquire costumers. There are various important ecommerce strategies which need to be followed to get more loyal customers. Ecommerce retention being the one because the focus is on retention marketing and as the words suggests, it helps to retain customers. Ecommerce businesses (from small stores to large industries) began adopting customer retention strategies which simply prevents the customers from going to the other brands/sites and retaining them through customer loyalty programs or other initiatives. Customer relationships are important, the stronger the bonds, the stronger the company.
This is not to say that customer acquisition is not important, indeed it is, but perhaps not as important as customer retention.
According to the Harvard Business School, “increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to 95 percent.”
It is also said that acquiring a new customer is seven times more expensive than retaining one.
Now you know why an ecommerce retention strategy is absolutely essential. So how does one launch a successful strategy?
Measure Key Customer Metrics
In order to find out how well you’re doing on the customer retention front, you need to calculate the worth of each customer over the whole shopping cycle and calculate the customer lifetime value (CLV). Track retention rates, so that, over time you get an idea of how good or bad they’ve been, measure your repeat customer rates, the frequency with which they make purchases and then set benchmarks. By doing this, you know where you actually stand and how effective your retention strategy is!
When Retention Marketing Makes More Sense?
If you have a new ecommerce site, then your customer data base isn’t going to be very big, so retention marketing doesn’t mean a whole lot here. Unless you acquire customers first, only then can you think of retaining them. The scenario is different for an established business with a large customer base. Customer retention will make you grow faster rather than customer acquisition. So you need to budget accordingly.
How to Start Your Ecommerce Retention Strategy – An Infographic
Infographic Source: Cognitionagency.co.uk
What You Sell is Important
Common items or products that are likely to be purchased over and over again will benefit from retention marketing. The key here is ‘how many repeat purchases’ the customer makes on your site. Of course high end items are not going to be bought that often but if they still have repeat customers, then retention strategies are still worth it.
Reselling to Current Customers is Profitable
It usually costs less to sell products to an existing customer; moreover, the more times a customer buys from you, the stronger the relationship, the more powerful the referrals and the more new customers you gain.
Having decided that customer retention is profitable, you need to focus on how to target your existing customers to buy more.
Reward Your Customers
Your customers have done you a good turn by buying from and they deserve more than mere kudos for that. Implement loyalty programs and reward your customers with either a freebie or an extra item when they make repeat purchases. If you’re a big company, then automating the task with apps will make sure that your customer is rewarded with a coupon or a discount. Customers lap those up and are sure to shop more.
Use Newsletters and Emails to Entice Customers
Emails are a great way to build relationships and maintain them; in fact, studies show that emails have proved to be “one of the top converting channels for commerce.” It’s not hard to start an email campaign, it’s easy to keep track of, quick to implement and can produce large profits.
Customers Love Surprises
Surprise your customers with gifts and offers because they mostly love it. Present seasonal gifts to them or even unexpected ones. Surprise them on their birthdays and you have a loyal customer for life. Even a gift voucher or a digital gift certificate will delight them. The key is to make them feel important and special and these are ways of reminding them. They shop regularly at your store and you recognize that fact.
Using Customer Accounts to Your Advantage
Don’t make these compulsory for new customers. Wait a while and then give them an option of activating their account. They are more likely to do so after they have bought from you a couple of times. Invite them to do so and you’ll be surprised at the response.
Connect Through Social Media and Keep Posting
Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to build relationships with your customers. The better they know you and your brand, the more they will buy and the more they will refer. Keep them posted about promotions, deals and new products regularly and you’ll have an ardent follower for life. Commit yourself to a content strategy and you will have more followers.
“Rome was not built in one day”; so don’t expect your retention strategies to produce overnight results. Stick to it doggedly, don’t give up and in a few months, your patience will be rewarded. Once your retention strategy is working, you don’t need to do anything, it will work itself.
Retention marketing is worth the trouble as it is cheaper to get old customers repeat purchases rather than new ones to buy or buy again. Go that extra mile, build long-term loyalty and offer personalized services to them.
Starting your ecommerce retention strategy requires a lot of common sense, customer knowledge, a lot of effort and a personal touch. All these combine to give you a winning strategy, one that pays over and over again.
Deepak Wadhwani has over 20 years experience in software/wireless technologies. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies including Intuit, ESRI, Qualcomm, Sprint, Verizon, Vodafone, Nortel, Microsoft and Oracle in over 60 countries. Deepak has worked on Internet marketing projects in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange Country, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, New York, San Francisco and Huntsville. Deepak has been a founder of technology Startups for one of the first Cityguides, yellow pages online and web based enterprise solutions. He is an internet marketing and technology expert & co-founder for a San Diego Internet marketing company.