We all put a great amount of effort trying to get people to visit our online store.
But if you think about keeping them around for a longer duration, most of us really don’t give it a second thought. How much time do you think you spend refining customer retention strategies and get them to buy for the second, third, or fourth time?
If you don’t have an answer to that question and thinking about it makes you uncomfortable, don’t worry because you aren’t the only one.
It goes without saying that customer retention is one of the foundations of a strong business. If your online store has a steady flow of new customers every month, then turning them into loyal buyers is the best thing you can do to boost your revenue and profitability.
Wondering how should you do that? Well, keep on reading!
Tips to boost retention for your online store
1. Run Win-back campaigns
Haven’t heard from a customer in a while? Great! This is an excellent opportunity to run a campaign to win them back. Direct response marketers have been successfully using this strategy for years. But, there are a few things to keep in mind before you start:
a) Mind the timing: offering discounts and perks should be done just at the right time. Try to win customers back too early, and you may end up offering discounts to those who would have bought your offering anyway. Start too late, and you may never hear from them again because they have forgotten all about you.
b) Present an irresistible offer: give them a whacky, no-brainer offer that they cannot refuse. Give them something they value – massive discounts, gift certificates, free shipping, free items and whatnot! Use this strategy as a bribe to get them back.
2. Overdeliver on your promises
Running an e-commerce store is not easy, given how people still doubt the legitimacy of online sellers. While it’s true that people remember an exceptionally positive buying experience, it’s also true that they never forget a bad one. You must implement proper customer experience strategies to keep them interested in all stages of the sales funnel.
Some of the things you can do to offer an exceptional customer experience are:
- Free delivery on all orders regardless of the purchase amount
- Free returns to all customers in case they’re not satisfied with the product
- Write personalized letters instead of opting for automation as it shows you care
- Make customer support a priority among other things, so that you’re always there to help
3. Offer loyalty programs
The idea for loyalty programs is simple – reward your buyers for frequent purchases. “Loyalty points” are possibly the most common form of reward out there as the system is easy to implement and highly effective. Sure, a free sandwich might not be a good enough reason to buy ten, but it’s enough to stick to one eatery on the way to work every morning.
The same principle applies for e-commerce stores too. Give them store credit for frequent purchases. Free shipping is also a good idea. These reward types work well because they encourage future purchases and gets your customers talking about your store.
4. Offer products as a subscription
Subscription-based business models are nothing new, but few e-commerce store owners give it a thought. Subscription-based packages have their downsides, sure, but if a person is buying the same supplement month after month for three years, why not give them the chance to save some money by subscribing to regular deliveries?
These subscriptions can come in a boxed form, with the product around a certain niche. These boxes are already one of the most popular form of e-commerce subscriptions and “subscribe and save” deals seem to be on a steady rise.
In fact, Hitwise Retail 500 claims that subscription box websites grew from 722,000 in 2013 to a whopping 21.4 million in 2016!
Do this right, and you’ll slowly build up a recurring monthly revenue. Combine excellent customer support with monthly subscriptions and you’re bound to get a significant boost in retention.
5. Get customers to purchase for the second time ASAP!
The e-commerce industry (like many other industries) operates on the principle of the 80/20. That means 80% of revenues come from 20% of customers. One way to boost customer retention rate is by converting your one-time shoppers into multiple time buyers.
You can do this by offering a slight discount (say 15%) on the second order within a limited number of days. This will create a sense of urgency among your first-time buyers and in all probability, get you the second sale. From there, it’s all about keeping them interested in brands and offerings.
And that about wraps up our guide on customer retention for e-commerce and other online stores. Which strategy are you looking forward to trying out first?
Let us know in the comments below!