Do you know that the first rule of making a business grow is to retain your existing customers? That’s because it costs five times less to nurture your existing customers than to acquire a new one.
Thus, you must incorporate customer retention into your overall business plan. This is especially true if you’re running an online business.
That said, here are nine actionable strategies that you can implement to improve your business’ online customer retention:
Figure Out Why They’re Leaving
According to Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Thus, it’s imperative to figure out why your customers leave and how you can minimize it.
In a post by SuperOffice, it’s revealed that 68% of customers leave because they do not feel like the company (your business) cares about them. You can solve this by following up with your customers.
It can be via email or a private message on social media. You can start by asking whether they were able to receive the product on time and if it was in good condition. You can also encourage them to send you feedback, and let them know that you’ll take it into consideration.
Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is something that you shouldn’t miss the moment you decide to start your own ecommerce website for your business.
For one, it’s your best way to connect with your customers. You can use it to thank them for making a purchase, send shipping updates and notifications, and ask for their feedback.
You can also take advantage of email marketing to retain and nurture your existing and previous customers. How? By sending emails that allow you to upsell or cross-sell your other products.
Use Other Channels
Other than their email, you can connect and engage with your customers through other channels such as social media. You can use it to build trust and loyalty among your customers and audience.
You can do this by keeping in mind that social media is a two-way communication street. As Taylor Fulton of Allen Press puts it, “Brand should both listen and communicate with its audience to build meaningful engagements. This means talking with people, not just talking with them.”
You can start by creating and sharing authentic content that resonates well with your customers and followers ‒ something that they will find valuable and worth sharing
Authenticity is Key
In 2013, the Boston Consulting Group carried out a study among millennials to know the most important things that businesses can do to keep them engaged.
Their top two responses were:
- Reward their loyalty with discounts and promos
- Be authentic
Remember: Authenticity is what draws your customers into your business. You can do this by creating and sharing meaningful content.
Start by sharing behind-the-scenes posts such as how your products are manufactured. Showcase your employees and how your business, with the help of your customers, was able to improve their way of living. Feature the organizations and advocacies that you support, and make sure that it is aligned with your branding.
Doing so allows you to build a strong relationship with your customers, encouraging them to spread the word about your business for you.
Create a Community
Behind every successful business is a community of loyal customers.
Why do you think there are people who are willing to camp outside of Apple stores just to get their hands on the new iPhone? It’s not because Apple products are better. It’s because the Cupertino-based company is able to build a community around their brand.
To create a community of loyal customers, start by empowering them. Make sure that your products are something that alleviates their way of living. Provide a platform where customers can ask questions and solve problems together.
Improve Your Customer Service
Do you know what makes Zappos successful? It’s the fact that they deliver “wow” in every customer service call.
Although you would want your customers to buy your products and be happy with it, this is not always the case. And they may have a multitude of reasons why they would want to connect with customer support.
That said, it’s important to consider your customer service the way you consider your other marketing efforts. Start by learning how Zappos connect with their customers using the order details, their particular question, or whatever issues they encounter that made them call in.
Beat Customer Expectations
Delivering “wow” whenever someone contacts your customer service is one way to beat customer expectations. Another is to surpass their expectations by giving them delight.
Providing free shipping if their online order reached a certain amount is something. Another example is sending your long-time customers a special gift for their birthday.
Whatever you do, the key here is to be consistent. Remember: Going the extra mile to show your appreciation to your customers can reaffirm their loyalty to your business.
Reward Their Loyalty
Sure, one way to make your business grow is to attract new customers. However, you should not ignore your current customers.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most important things that you can do to keep your customers engaged is to reward their loyalty.
Offering free shipping when a customer’s purchase reached a certain amount is not enough. They will feel rewarded if you give them promos or discounts.
For instance, you noticed that one of your customers spent $500 purchasing your products in the last 12 months. You can reaffirm his loyalty by giving him a 25% discount code that he can use for his next purchase.
If you want to level up your rewards program, you can send him a free gift pack this Holiday or an affiliate link that he can share with his friends. The link will allow him to earn commissions when someone bought your products through his link.
Personalize the Experience
According to Econsultancy’s CRO 2017 Report, 39% of marketers are seeing a “major uplift” from a personalized search engine marketing campaign. In relation to this, 31% of surveyed customers wish for a more personalized shopping experience.
This means that if you want to see an uplift in revenue, invest in personalization. Here are some quick tips:
- Personalize your email’s subject line by mentioning your customer’s name.
- Segment your campaigns based on demographics, customer journey, past purchases, etc.
- Run remarketing ads.
It may be more affordable to retain an existing customer than to attract new ones. But they can account for nearly half of your total online sales. So, don’t forget to incorporate online customer retention in your business plan if you want to grow and succeed.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing at Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.