Gartner Group says that 20% of your existing customers will bring in 80% of your future revenue.
Bain and Company mention that attracting new customers is 5 to 25X more expensive than retaining old ones.
These two statistics paint two clear pictures, a) more sales come from existing customers as opposed to new, and b) retained customers results in a higher ROI.
In simpler words, the customers you already have are your best bet for making your e-commerce store more profitable.
So, how do you retain them and turn them into loyalists because what Basecamp’s CEO, Jason Fried, said long back still holds true, “If you take care of your existing customers, they will take care of your new customers.”
You do it by implementing well-thought and well-executed customer retention strategies.
What Customer Retention Strategies Your Business Should Focus On?
With the right customer retention policies, you build a sense of loyalty towards the brand in your customers. Once that’s achieved, the loyal customers start acting as organic, authentic marketers for you, which, in turn, attracts new customers.
Here are a handful of strategies that will work like a charm for e-commerce stores:
Reduce Customer Churn
The easiest way to retain customers is to prevent them from leaving you, i.e., reduce customer churn.
Stay in touch with every customer and pay attention to their engagement. More often than not, you’ll detect signals of impending departure. When those begin, take proactive steps such as offering exclusive deals, discounts on products, or early access to new features.
A simple trick to reduce churn is to offer subscriptions, sometimes coupled with promotional discounts. Subscriptions can be offered on products that empty fast or are needed regularly. For example: baby products, home supplies, body jewelry, etc.
In light of the current situation, you can send your customers insights into how you are managing operations during the pandemic and the safety measures taken for your staff, etc.
These steps make customers feel cared for, appreciated, and not forgotten.
Focus on Efficient Customer Service
A great overall experience is more valuable than quality or price to retain customers.
Oracle’s survey found that 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. It is why bad customer service costs businesses around $83 billion. Fortunately, 86% of people are ready to pay more for efficient customer service.
Start using better customer service tools to provide a more satisfying experience. If your in-house team can’t handle it, outsource at least the easier portions of your customer service processes or first-tier support. A specialized outsourcing partner will be able to reduce your first response times with lightning fast responses and reducing response times is one of the best methods for improving customer satisfaction.
Personalize Customer Experience
Personalized customer experience builds top-of-mind brand recall, resulting in a 67% transaction value, a 300% conversion rate, and a 7% annual revenue increase.
Stop seeing your customer as just a number and start perceiving them as a person. Offer customer service surprises like a handwritten note or a birthday wish. The learning here is to add personality to every experience point with customers, especially on social media.
An example is Tesco’s Twitter, where each tweet has a personality to it and the name of the person replying to customers.
No one likes a canned response, so take a cue from Tesco and provide that extra human touch in all your communication.
You can even send personalized discount codes to your customers with a personalized message like: “Thank you Sarah for being a part of our family. As a token of appreciation, we are sending this special 10% OFF voucher to you. Use your personal code: THANKYOUSARAH10 to avail this.”
Another cardinal rule to follow for a better experience is responding to customers as fast as possible. Long response times and abandoned calls negatively impact customer experience, leading to poor CSAT scores for online stores.
The quickest strategy to nip customer attrition in the bud is empowering them. You do this by prioritizing the convenience of customers and asking them to share feedback.
Candid customer feedback assists you in identifying desires and discovering new ways of making your product or service more accessible.
Case in point: the mobile order + pay feature Starbucks’ rolled out to retain customers. The app allowed a customer to give their orders even before they stepped into the café, allowing for shorter wait times.
Offer Great Loyalty Programs
Loyalty points are excellent strategies to increase average sales per customer on e-commerce stores because you give customers an additional reason to make a purchase.
For customers who have stuck to your brand for long periods, create VIP programs. Getting rewarded gives incentives to customers to keep buying from you. A neat trick to delivering great loyalty and VIP programs is to tailor it to each customer.
An example of an excellent VIP program to retain customers is by Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty. When the online store launched, VIP’s got first access. This strategy is still in place for all monthly product drops at Fenty Savage. The brand also offers special pricing and free shipping to VIP customers.
Showcase Testimonials from Happy Customers
There is an obvious strategy for customer retention (reduce churn). There is the quickest strategy to lessen attrition (empower customers). And then there is a strategy for retaining customers that works the best – sharing testimonials from real customers.
Showcase the happy experiences of your top customers at your e-store. It has a dual effect. One, it further solidifies your relationship with the featured customer. Two, it gives your target customers the perspective of an actual user.
Don’t limit the testimonials to the website. Repost any content generated by your users on your socials, too. Such content is more credible in the eyes of the customer, and therefore more likely to keep them loyal.
How do you know which customers are ideal for testimonials and referrals? Use CSAT scores to identify them.
Inspire Customers with a Mission
Sales, marketing, and customer services help keep customers to a limit. Beyond that, branding becomes all but essential.
Instill in your customers a brand image that works towards a great purpose. This is vital because the consumer of today focuses more on brand image than on consumption. They want to be aware of the charitable and environmental impact of their buying habits. It makes engaging with your customers beyond simple services and products necessary.
One example is Lego’s plan to invest $150 million over a span of 15 years to make its toys environmental-friendly and its packaging more sustainable. The step you take need not be as enterprising, and pledging a portion of your profit to charity works equally well.
Another emerging scenario is a lot of makeup brands have been making vegan and cruelty-free products to attract customers like Fenty Beauty, Urban Decay, and The Body Shop, etc.
For any business, the existing customer pool is the best asset they have because these clients already know your brand, use your product, and are (most likely) satisfied with the service.
Keep your attention on them using these key customer retention strategies, and you’ll supercharge your revenue, even during these lean times!