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Retention marketing is a rising topic in the e-commerce community for being extremely vital and profitable.
Its importance can be summarized with the famous statistic by Bain & Co. – a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profitability by 75%.
Indeed, retaining more clients increases the repeat purchase rate, average order value, conversion rate, ROI, customer lifetime value and long term profitability.
So what can you do to achieve all of these?
There are many retention strategies that you can implement. In the core of each strategy is the goal of keeping customers happy, repurchasing and loyal.
This aim is achieved by establishing and maintaining a relationship with those customers, by continually engaging with them and creating a relevant and valuable experience.
Read this article to find out what the client retention strategies that work the best are and how exactly you can implement them.
- Exceed your customers’ expectations
What is worst than unhappy customers? Disappointed customers.
If you’ve ever heard the sentence “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” I’m sure you understand the severity of this feeling.
Once customers have expectations, if they are not met, they will be disappointed. According to InReality, only 16% of shoppers would give a site a second chance after a poor experience and BI Intelligence estimates it takes 12 positive customer experiences to negate the impression after 1 bad experience.
But, if there are no expectations, to begin with, the same customer will feel less bad about the same experience.
For this reason, you must set customer expectations early and lower than you can provide. This way, you have certainty that you will always (at least) reach customers’ expectations, perhaps even exceed them.
When you do measure up to the expectations, you secure happy and satisfied customers who may repeat purchase. When you exceed expectations, you acquire customers who are ecstatic about you and are likely to become loyal and repeat purchasers.
As Shannon Kohn from Datta said, “under promise and over deliver”. You will display integrity, consistency, and care, and seem as a brand that goes above and beyond.
Pragmatically, this could involve saying delivery is a week’s time but having the order arrive in 4 days. Another example is having a return policy of 2 weeks but if it took a customer 2 weeks and 4 days you will still allow the return. Simple things, big surprises, and much admiration.
- Provide excellent customer service
Oh customer service, the backbone of any company. If you want to retain your customers (and achieve point 1) this is a vital strategy.
Accenture estimates that 52% of consumers have switched providers in the past year because of poor customer service, which is estimated to cost $1.6 trillion.
So how can you provide excellent customer service?
First of all, you must be forever attentive to your customers from their very first interaction with you. Never end the contact, even post-sale, continue to contact, help and engage your customers. This can make the difference between a satisfied and a retained customer.
Secondly, provide your customers multiple ways to contact you, so that it is easy for them to interact and get help from you. This includes an email address, a phone number, a live chat (crucial to 42% of consumers), social media accounts and any creative channel of communication you can think of.
Third, ensure to respond quickly.
Lastly, have a proactive customer service. This means that you don’t just help individuals, but you learn from their needs, issues, and complaints and improve these aspects. This improves your site, brand and customer service by preventing such issues from recurring as well as shows customers you care.
According to Apptentive, 97% of shoppers will become more loyal to a company that implements their feedback.
- Indulge in regular communication
Regular communication is essential for retention.
This involves emails, phone calls and letters about anything related to your business such as follow ups, cart abandonment emails, post-purchase confirmation emails, special offers and promotions, events and more. Continue to engage with the shopper even after they have purchased and even if they don’t go on-site anymore.
This strategy helps with client retention as: it reminds the shopper about the company, makes the company engaging, makes them feel important, provides them information and eliminates any doubts and fears (particularly after purchase).
However, don’t just engage with the customer for the sakes of engaging. Your contact must have a purpose and provide value to the customer. Otherwise, it isn’t engaging and the customer will not be interested.
- Use a retention/CRM platform
If you want to retain customers, you must need to know which customers to retain and how to communicate with them. This you can easily know with a retention platform.
A retention platform collects information with each interaction of each customer with the company (online and offline) and creates a 360 profile. The profile is composed of demographic information and tracked engagement with the site, which reveals the shopper’s needs, interests, preferences, and habits.
With this information, you can segment your customers to be able to target (via emails or phone calls) specific segments that are in need of communication to remain retained. Examples of segments include:
- At-risk customers. Reactivate customers who have not purchased in a while just before you completely lose them. Remind them of your existence and ask them why they have stopped buying.
- Valuable inactive customers. Reactivate customers who used to make big/frequent purchases, but haven’t purchased in X time.
- Profitable customers. Reward your current profitable customers who have the highest returns, to encourage continuous purchasing and retention.
- Abandoners. Send personalized offers to customers who put items in their carts and didn’t make a purchase.
Following these client retention strategies will jumpstart your customer retention rate improvement. Remember to consistently monitor the rate to know the effect of your strategy.