13 Customer Retention Strategies that Actually Work

» 9 min read

Tara Petre new perspective image

By Tara Petre

Vice President, Sales & Marketing Technologies

The ecommerce arena is increasingly competitive, and the cost of clicks and conversions is rising rapidly. Customer retention is more cost-effective than acquisition, but it can be difficult to re-engage customers and turn them into loyal, repeat buyers.

How do you keep your current customers happy and make sure they return? And how do you turn one-time customers into repeat buyers? It all begins with a cohesive retention marketing strategy.

1. Create a subscription model

Consumers want to simplify their lives. By implementing a subscription model for your ecommerce store, you remove the friction of having a consumer repeatedly visit the webstore to purchase the same product. If you don’t offer this feature, not only are you giving your customer an opportunity to buy the product from someone else, but you’re also lowering customer satisfaction, increasing churn, and jeopardizing your customer retention rate.

2. Provide outstanding customer service

The three pillars of a successful online brand are based on providing a simple shopping experience, enabling a multi-touchpoint fulfillment process, and delivering excellent customer service. Most brands tend to invest heavily in the shopping and fulfillment experience but fail to properly communicate with the customer when things go wrong. When a brand invests in great customer service and resolving issues, customers will want to continue buying from the merchant, regardless of any issues.

3. Implement a pay-over-time solution

Customers have tight budgets, so it can make sense in some cases to give them the option to spread payment over a period of time. The addition of an installment-based payment option can reduce cart-abandonment rates and increase conversions. An added benefit of the pay-over-time method is increased average order value (AOV), as customers are more likely to buy additional items at checkout.

4. Re-target your best customers with a unique discount

The 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle) can be used to improve sales, knowing that 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. You can easily identify repeat customers who fall into the 20% on your sales reports. Sending these customers personalized, high-value offers reinforces your brand value and strengthens customer relationships.

5. Increase speed of page loads

Customers don’t want to wait for a website page to download “heavy” images. Research has shown that merchants can boost sales up to 7% by increasing page speed by milliseconds. Users tend to favor sites that load fast, so improving slow page loads is an easy way to retain more traffic and increase the overall satisfaction of your visitors.

6. Provide better fulfillment notifications

Customers don’t want to have to call customer service to enquire where their order is (“where is my order,” WIMO), and those who do call tend to bottleneck your customer service teams. By implementing a service that provides a dynamic logistics notification feature, coupled with a simple design, you can deliver a superior customer experience that doesn’t leave your customers guessing when their order will arrive.

7. Create a mystery box program

Customers expect to pay less for products online, and some brands – especially those that manufacture their own products – have healthy margins that allow them to sell products with high discounts. A Mystery Box program can let you easily sell your products with significant discounts without losing product price point.

8. Understand key metrics on your reporting data

A deep understanding of products that receive high traffic but aren’t selling — and products that are getting little traffic yet are selling well — is invaluable to assessing product performance. Leveraging analytics, you can troubleshoot product conversion issues by either reducing the cost of non-selling products or improving the details of the products to show the “value” of the product, while at the same time surfacing best-selling products on landing pages.

9. Leverage accurate personalization on the shopping journey

Large ecommerce websites tend to struggle with this concept. When brands create landing pages geared toward either a male or female persona without context, they’re missing a large consumer segment. Some examples include hardware stores that tend to merchandize their landing pages to a “contractor” persona and forget that weekend warriors and designers also visit their website. Personalization solves this issue by properly understanding the visitor and presenting messages and imagery that fit their persona.

10. Add live chat with a real human

This feature has been around for many years, and lately it’s being driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Customers are savvy and know when an AI agent is behind the scenes trying to solve their problem or answer their questions. A poorly implemented AI chatbot creates more irritation for the customer and often results in abandoned transactions if a real person isn’t available for escalations.

11. Create custom communications based on customer segments

Segmenting your customers gives you the ability to activate parts of your customer base with custom messaging and promotions that create revenue. A deep understanding of how your customers differ can help you better target these demographics with messaging that resonates with their interests and preferred channels.

12. Add B2B shopping capabilities

Some retailers who also target B2B customers have larger orders, and if the webstore forces the user to shop on the website as a general customer, it can be both frustrating and time-consuming. Implementing a custom B2B shopping flow that allows the user to easily browse inventory levels and add items to the “requisition list” can increase B2B sales.

13. Simplify the shopper’s journey

Research shows that customers are more likely to buy if you simplify their path to purchase. Getting rid of “multi-page” checkouts, allowing customers to add items from the Category Landing Page (CLP), and implementing a “quick-purchase” feature can reduce the required steps and increase conversions.

Bottom Line

Your end goal should be to create loyal customers that return to your store again and again. Focus on building relationships that deliver increased lifetime value. Putting this type of customer experience first will allow you to grow your business by selling more to your existing customer base (the 20%), rather than trying to pump up the volume with the other 80%.

About TA Digital

TA Digital is the only global boutique agency that delivers the “best of both worlds” to clients seeking to achieve organizational success through digital transformation. Unlike smaller, regional agencies that lack the ability to scale or large organizations that succumb to a quantity-over-quality approach, we offer resource diversity while also providing meticulous attention to the details that enable strategic success.

Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity, and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.

Recognized in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, TA Digital is pleased also to share high-level strategic partnerships with world class digital experience platform companies like AdobeSAP, Acquia, commercetoolsSitecore, and Elastic Path.

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