9 Proven Strategies to Retain Your eCommerce Customers

Proven Hacks to Retain Your eCommerce Customers-croped
Ricky Peters

Ricky Peters

Founder and Owner at Black Sheep Social

The cost to retain an existing customer is 5x less than the new one. This is why customer retention is crucial for the success of any eCommerce business.

The fact of the matter is that eCommerce businesses are losing a chunk of the sales to their competition due to a lack of a solid customer retention strategy.

What is customer retention?

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Customer retention is the ability to encourage customers to keep coming back to make purchases. Studies show that repeat customers spend more than new customers, making retention a priority for an eCommerce business that wants to grow. 

According to the research, eCommerce sales are set to be more than $548 billion by 2024, therefore, you need a strong retention strategy in place to get yourself a piece of the pie.

Also, it is noteworthy that acquiring customers from different channels is a vital part of eCommerce business growth.
Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the most predictable and consistent source of revenue for these businesses comes from their existing customers, who are already fond of the brands.

5 good reasons why existing customers are crucial to success

Higher Conversion Rates 

Existing customers who have already made a purchase from a website are more likely to place another order from the same brand than those who are unfamiliar with the company. 

Undoubtedly, retailers have to encourage the second purchase, but it does mitigate the fact that it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new one. 

Given that the company have already gained some trust and built a bit of a rapport with existing customers, it will be much easier to identify and meet their needs

Less Marketing Required 

With the right eCommerce customer retention strategy, sellers spend far less time and resources in convincing consumers to make a subsequent purchase.   

The fact of the matter is that, as per the Salesforce research, acquiring a new customer can take up to eight touches. However, an existing customer sometimes can purchase with just an automated email sent in the mailbox, the two simply do not compare.  

Opportunities for Improvement 

Another great advantage of having an eCommerce customer retention strategy in place is that brands and retail partners will have an amazing opportunity to keep upgrading their products and increase customer satisfaction by paying attention to buyers’ feedback.  

Higher Profits 

Businesses having existing relationships with their customers are more likely to convince them to become interested in other products or services through cross-selling and upselling.

 This is a massive financial advantage over attempting to gain a new customer. 

Moreover, as Forbes reported on customer retention data:

 “According to Bain and Co., a five percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent. And if those numbers don’t impress you, Gartner Group statistics tell us that 80 percent of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers…

One final statistic provided by Lee Resource Inc. should give you plenty to think about: Attracting new customers will cost your company five times more than keeping an existing customer.” 

With all consideration taken, it becomes abundantly clear how an eCommerce customer retention strategy can result in higher profit margins in comparison to a new customer acquisition strategy.

Having clearly explained the reasoning for implementing an eCommerce customer retention strategy let’s go ahead and dive into tactics that will successfully reduce churn rates and increase profits. 

9 eCommerce Customer Retention Strategies to Implement

Strong Onboarding Program

An onboarding program, like a welcome email series, worked as a tool to teach the new customers about the brand and its products or service. Rather than them learning on their own, an onboarding program plays an active in teaching them about your brand.

It is an effective eCommerce and direct-to-consumers retention strategy as it helps to keep the churn rates low. Onboarding enhances the customer experience by making the customer more aware of your brand and its offerings.

Build a Unique Brand Image

Consumers love to follow brands that reflect their own personalities and values. This is why retailers should utilize brand aesthetics to generate an online store rich with stories and identity.  

Making use of brand image and creating an online store with an interactive and engaging interface can surely help to resonate with customers and create a movement to make the company more memorable.

Pay attention to Churn Rates in Advance

The most obvious and yet overlooked plan to employ an eCommerce customer retention strategy is to interpret the signs that a customer is getting ready to defect before it actually happens.     

In order to understand these early signs, a merchant or retailer must identify the variables which are of utmost importance to study customer behavior, such as purchase patterns, product usage, customer service inquiries history, and similar elements. Analyze these patterns and take the necessary action to prevent the customer from churning.

Fortunately, there are several technologies that retailers can utilize to harvest and analysis the data. Software like ERP, CRM, Google Analytics can assist the sellers to collect, study and act upon the potentially dissatisfied customers to make their buying experience delightful again.

Customized Offers for Audience

The more information merchant has about their customers, the more capable they will be of approaching them with customized offers.

Referring back to ERP, CRM, and analytics tools, sellers can study a customer’s buying history to create tailored-made offers, which will entice the individuals most. 

By sending out offers that are specifically crafted for particular segments of a retailer’s audience based on their previous buying pattern, sellers can effectively revive their interest in the brand and convert that momentum into a purchase.

Enhance Customer Support

Being one of the crucial elements in determining if a customer chooses to stay with a brand or not, enhancing customer support is a prime eCommerce customer retention strategy. Be it a live chat or other help desk software tool, quick response and accurate solutions can help to convert a query into a sale or a complaint into a satisfied customer.     

Moreover, a brand with elevated customer support will receive constructive feedback from customers, which can help to improve the brand’s website, products, services, and overall experience.

Multiple Delivery and Return Options

In an eCommerce era that is lightened by giants such as Amazon, eBay shoppers are looking for the most convenient option to buy stuff online. and this includes receiving items in the mail or faster delivery options that will address their pain points.

Therefore, Merchants should also aim to implement a similar system as Amazon or eBay has adopted. Having said that, many of their offerings may not be feasible for some merchants, it is nonetheless vital to provide shoppers with a multitude of delivery and return options.

Invest in Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO (conversion rate optimization) is a term that is often associated with the eCommerce industry, though many of us are still unsure what it exactly means.

Moz in the article defines the term CRO as “ Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take the desired action — be that filling out a form, becoming customers, or otherwise. The CRO process involves understanding how users move through your site, what actions they take, and what’s stopping them from completing your goals.”

Understanding this, investing in conversion rate optimization is a vital eCommerce customer retention strategy as CRO aims to maximize sales, among other metrics.

CRO’s importance in eCommerce customer retention strategy cannot be overstated, as it aims to harvest the full potential of a brand’s website to drive consumer action.

Therefore, retailers mustn’t aim to draw the attention of new customers but to maximize the conversion potential of the website’s existing traffic.

There are several tactics that help in the successful implementation of conversion rate optimization such as: Streamlining the checkout experience, detailed and engaging product pages, implementing clear CTAs, adopting a mobile-first website, customizing product recommendations, and messaging.

Pay Attention to Packaging

Good packaging says a lot about a company. Admittedly, no one likes to receive poorly packaged products or even the ones with dull and monotonous packages. It can surely leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth and also aggravate buyers’ loyalty, memorability, or retention.

Contrary, when a brand puts some extra effort and investment into a product packaging, people tend to notice.  

When a product comes with a stunning box that is accurately designed and made with high-quality material, consumers tend to pay more attention to the company’s name and are more likely to remember the name for long, as the package of an item can often be an indicator of the quality of the product itself.     

Provide a Subscription Service

Retailers or merchants seeking to establish an eCommerce customer retention strategy should consider providing a subscription-based service to their customers to attest some part of their business, where they see the most reoccurring purchases from their customers such as consumables or digital products.

They might want to offer the subscription on a monthly or weekly basis, providing discounts and early availability on in-demand items.


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