eCommerce Customer Retention eBook

Chapters

Customer retention is one of the most important aspects of your online business. According to research by Bain & Company, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one who comes back because they’re familiar with who you are and what you offer them. In short, these repeat customers are your bread and butter, and it’s important to keep them happy.

We break down exactly how you can maintain satisfaction—and even exceed expectations—among these customers. After all, their loyalty—or lack thereof—can make or break your business.

Chapter 1: What Is Customer Retention?

When a customer buys from your eCommerce business, you don’t want that to be the end of their journey. Your goal is to keep that customer coming back. But that doesn’t just happen.

Your first step—even before a customer visits your site—is to create a customer retention strategy. This strategy involves various steps your business will take to increase the number of repeat customers, as well as to increase the profitability of each existing customer.

In short, your customer retention strategy should ensure that the customers you worked so hard to acquire stay with you. You want them to continue having a stellar customer experience and to continue getting value from your products.

Chapter 2: Why Is Customer Retention Important?

The reality is that if you can’t keep customers happy, they will not do business with you again. And without these customers, your eCommerce business is destined to fail. Success cannot be maintained solely on new customers.

Take a look at two things that emphasize the importance of customer retention.

Rising Customer Acquisition Costs

According to Social Media Week, acquiring a new customer can cost seven times more than selling to an existing one. Depending on the industry, that cost can range from $7 to $395. 

The more money you spend on acquiring new customers, the more you will have to increase your own product pricing—and your existing customers won’t be happy about that. 

Brand Trust

The foundation of your online store’s success is customer trust. You can’t build a successful eCommerce business without it.

Millions of people browse the internet every day searching for products they want to buy. They want to know that they’re going to get what they pay for when they make a purchase, and if you can’t provide that by building trust, those customers will go elsewhere.

Offering top-notch customer service in every part of your business, not just sales is vital in establishing trust with your customers.

Be sure to also converse with consumers on your social media pages.

Start conversations and answer their questions. These interactions will help create long-lasting relationships with your audience.

And don’t underestimate the power of customer reviews. Consumers like to hear feedback from those who have already purchased from you.

Chapter 3: Retention Strategy

Retaining customers takes more than a simple mindset—it takes a strategy.

Here, we outline the strategy:

Purchase Journeys

The steps a potential customer takes from landing on your site to completing their purchase is called the “purchase journey.” Understanding how someone ends up on your website and how they interact with it will help you decide where you should place calls-to-action, as well as how you can better tailor your content for each stage of their journey.

First Impressions

The customer’s journey actually begins long before they even land on your website. Whether they heard about you through word-of-mouth marketing or read something about your business on social media, they are starting to form their opinions of your brand right away.

Presenting your business the right way to make that first impression involves knowing your audience. You need to dig deep to understand who a potential customer is, why they need what you provide, and what they want from your business. Every interaction you have with a customer should reflect these things in order to keep them engaged with your offerings.

Payment Types

Accepting multiple payment types in your eCommerce store will increase conversion rates. You’ll be surprised at how much more readily customers will buy from you with various payment options available, such as credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. Need proof? Consider this—Amazon, one of the most popular eCommerce stores, accepts more payment types than any other store.

Customer Service

We don’t need to tell you that there’s fierce competition out there. The eCommerce world is growing at an exponential rate, and the majority of online shoppers are looking for a bargain. But they’re also looking for something else that is just as important—a good experience as they make their purchases.

Your level of customer service determines the difference between one-time buyers and loyal customers who will recommend your brand to others. Even if you aren’t a customer service expert, you can still deliver on your promises and provide a great experience for your customers. The key is to be honest, accurate, and transparent.

People want to buy from companies they know are reliable, honest, and ethical. When you can confidently deliver on your promises, customers will be hooked.

Fulfillment and Unboxing

One of the best ways to keep your customers happy is to make them feel like a million bucks. Fulfillment and unboxing are some of the fastest ways you can create happy customers who’ll tell all their friends about your business.

Offering free shipping is the best place to start a great fulfillment experience for your customer. But don’t stop there. You can improve customer retention by making sure that when a customer receives their product, they’re delighted with it.

The process of fulfilling an order isn’t just about making sure the customer receives their package in the fastest, cheapest way possible, it’s also about giving them a great experience when they open that package and get to check out what’s inside.
Having your own branded packaging is an effective way to increase brand awareness. Customers will associate your brand with your packaging, and more importantly, they’ll remember how they received your product.
Unboxing videos are another great way to gain trust and build your audience. People love to see the unboxing experience. It peaks their interest even more as they imagine opening the box themselves. These videos also give you an opportunity to interact and connect with your audience.

How TrustSpot Helps

One of the best ways to retain customers is by building trust. Collecting reviews from customers goes a long way in doing that. People are more likely to buy something once they have read about others’ experiences with the product or company.

Automate the capture of company and product reviews to showcase on your website and social profiles with TrustSpot.

Customer Relationships

Keep in mind that once you acquire a new customer, your relationship with them is just beginning. If you want to create a happy customer, this is the time to pay attention to their needs.

Referrals

Good customer service is something everyone appreciates but doesn’t always get. Your goal is to not only meet your customers’ expectations but to exceed them.
Stay engaged throughout every customer’s onboarding process to ensure they are set up for success. Ask your customers questions and listen closely to their answers. If a customer runs into an issue, be ready to solve that issue right away. And continue checking in with customers on a regular basis no matter how long they have been with you.

When a customer is happy with your service and product, they are likely to share their happiness with others and refer them to your business. In short, these satisfied customers become ambassadors for your business.

Tailor your messages to your customer

Another important strategy in creating relationships with your customers involves personalizing each experience. Start by always addressing the customer by name, whether in an email, text, or phone call.

Keep a record of your interactions with each customer so you can refer back to any issues they have had and how you are solving them. And share specific ways in which your product or service can help that particular customer.

Your customers will be delighted—and maybe even a little surprised—at the personal attention. And they will want to tell others about it.

Another good way to help customers feel appreciated is to share exclusive information with them. Let them know that only your most loyal customers are privy to this knowledge. Maybe it involves giving them advance notice about an upcoming product release or early access to that release. Or perhaps it’s an upgrade at a special discount that you are only offering your best customers.

When customers realize they are getting perks that prospects are not getting, they are much more likely to stay with you—and to inform others about the benefits of being your customer.

How TrustSpot Helps

TrustSpot helps bring your site to life with authentic photos and videos from your customers (a complete user-generated content experience). This allows you to connect even more with your customers and continue building relationships.

TrustSpot even allows you to reach your customers where they already are—on their phones. SMS messaging through TrustSpot increases your review capture rate—and increases trust with your customers.

Re-engagement

Another important aspect of retaining customers is re-engaging with lapsed customers. Whether you’re sending them a reminder email or responding to their comments on social media, do everything you can to let your customers know how much you care about them and want them back.

Here are three strategies to help you re-engage with your audience:

Use social media

Social media is one of the most effective ways to connect—and reconnect—with your customers. Encourage your customers to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Make sure your social media accounts are active, and make a point to interact with your customers on these sites.

Building a relationship with your online followers is an ongoing process. Exciting content is critical to the process. You can use social media to share new products, post special offers, and enhance your brand’s culture.

When your customers engage with you on social media, be sure to listen to what they are saying about your products. Address any concerns promptly, just as you would via email, on the phone, or through your website.

Send emails

Electronic communication drives eCommerce. With so many alternatives for such communication, email may seem obsolete—but it’s actually still very relevant. Customer retention emails remain a tried-and-tested strategy for re-engaging with and retaining customers.

A good example of a customer retention (or re-engagement) email is a birthday email. Most people love to receive gifts on their birthdays. Sending customers a voucher for their birthday is a powerful customer retention tool.

Other customer retention email options include:

  • Special-occasion emails
  • Thank you emails
  • Anniversary emails
  • Feedback emails
  • Reminder emails
  • Follow-up emails

Recurring Revenue

In eCommerce, it’s incredibly important to get a customer to add a product to their cart, but it’s equally as important to get them to complete the purchase. The easiest way to accomplish this is by offering a recurring revenue stream, which is where a product or service is purchased on a regular basis.

Recurring revenue is one of the most important things for any business. It’s what will allow you to stay afloat even if a particular product or service doesn’t do well. It’s also what will allow you to grow over time and expand into other products and services.

Recurring revenue doesn’t mean selling a product or service and getting paid once. It means bringing in a guaranteed amount of money each month.

Add Subscriptions

Recurring revenue can come in the form of subscription products such as membership services, purchases within apps, and more. Each of these recurring revenue streams have their own unique rates and conditions.

Here are a few of the benefits of subscriptions:

  • A guaranteed amount of income that arrives in your bank account on a regular basis even without acquiring new customers.
  • Subscription customers tend to stay loyal longer.
  • Subscription customers are likely to make referrals.
  • Subscriptions save customers time by reducing the effort required to buy.

Create curated offerings

You’ve got big players who are dominating the market with huge inventories and an endless pool of funding to subsidize their costs. How can you possibly compete? One way is to create curated offerings to your customers.

Believe it or not, customers actually like to be told what to buy. This is why curation is so important. If you can curate for your customers and tell them what to buy, then they’re much more likely to buy from you.

Curated offerings also appeal to the human need for convenience. A lot of customers are looking for products that are pre-selected for them before they make their purchase. They don’t want to have to do any guesswork or research on their own. They simply want to know that the product they’re buying will work and will fulfill their needs.

Third-party curated offerings are another option that customers like. One way to do this is to feature products from other small businesses on your social media and then direct your fans to their website. By teaming up with those third parties, you are creating a mutually beneficial relationship that has value for both your businesses.

The Bottom Line

The reality is that customer retention is vital to your business. It doesn’t happen overnight, so you have got to have an ongoing strategy that keeps your customers happy and coming back for more.

Start your journey toward retaining more customers today with the help of TrustSpot. You can quickly increase your interactions with your audience while building trust and loyalty among your customers in order to retain them for years to come.