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Top 50 eCommerce Tips - Part Nine, Customer Retention

It’s a lot harder to recruit new customers than reactivate your existing ones.

Research has shown us that acquiring a brand new customer can cost up to five times more than retaining an already existing one. So if you’re wondering how much it would cost for you to recruit a new customer to your business, just use the following equation:

Divide the total costs associated with the acquisition by total new customers, within a specific time period.

However, before you spend your time generating new customers, it’s still best to do everything you can to keep the ones you already have – it’s easier, faster, and cheaper plus existing customers typically convert higher too so your investment will go even further.

The best thing about this is that most of the work can actually be automated by the likes of clever campaigns that do all the heavy lifting for you, tailoring specific offers to your customers based on their profile, order history, and even environmental factors at the time.

Implement Email Marketing With Dotmailer

Email is the most popular and effective way of communicating with your existing customers and with the advanced campaigns Dotmailer offers, you can plan journeys for your customers which are tailored and personalised at every stage to ensure they convert as high as possible. With the help of Dotmailer, you can implement the following in order to help boost your customer retention:

Personalised Emails
The limits are endless when it comes to email marketing. Something as simple as just ensuring your emails are personalised can help improve your click-through rate (CTR) by an average of 14% and conversions by an extra 10% too. With the use of Dotmailer, you’re able to personalise the basic content for your customers, offers and promotions as well as subject lines too. Emails with any type of personalised aspect to them will help potentially deliver 6x higher transaction rates for your store.

Product Tailored Recommendations
Product recommendations are a no-brainer when you consider that the use of personalised emails drives a double-digit lift in both click-through-rates and conversions too. Shoppers who click on product recommendations will be more engaged in that product and therefore more likely to repeat shop with you in the future. Various surveys and studies have shown that over 80% of consumers now say that personalised product recommendation plays a vital role in their purchase decisions when shopping online. Customers will also be more inclined to share personal data with you if you were to offer them more relevant content in return.

Shoppers who click on product recommendations will be more engaged in that product and therefore more likely to repeat shop with you in the future.

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Well-Timed Offers Based On Previous Order History
Are you aware of what your customers bought from you six months ago? A lot of retailers only tend to focus on looking forward and seeking out new and fresh ways to make more sales, but by only doing that it’s easy to get lost in all the possibilities as there are just countless things that you can try.

This is why looking back at old purchased items is often a missed trick when it comes to customer retention. Using data generated from your customer’s previous sales can help you create better strategies to increase revenues. Order histories serve as a kind of blueprint when you need to make decisions about how you’ll boost sales and with that information you can make informed choices based on actual data.

Responsive Emails For Mobiles
If your company emails are not optimised for mobile then it’s about time to get on board. Mobile open rates have never been higher – in fact, the percentage of emails opened on mobile devices has jumped from just 8% in 2011 to 47% in 2018. Yet, marketers rarely use a responsive design for emails that are being viewed on mobile devices. This is a huge opportunity lost for businesses as they’re potentially forfeiting the chance to reach over half of their email subscribers.

Great Customer Service
In my opinion, the most influential factor for keeping customers returning is to give them a great experience. Contrary to what the name suggests, this doesn’t just mean having a skilled and “customer focused” service team (although that’s clearly a big part of it). There’s a lot more involved with delivering great customer service – from a slick and easy to use contact system to offering existing “loved” customers exclusive offers.

Offering Free Delivery
Delivering things is necessary for eCommerce retailers. As much as people like buying things cheaper online, they don’t like waiting for them, especially if shipping costs significantly increase the final price. It’s now possible for even the smallest online retailers to offer free delivery, and these features have been around so for long enough that business owners should not consider them to be a perk for their customers. Research has shown that wherever possible, free delivery is a necessity for retail sites.

Offering Paid Subscription Service
A lot of businesses are now opting to make subscriptions their main model or a core part of it. Businesses and companies that have embraced the model have seen tremendous growth. The biggest eCommerce brands to mention here are the likes of Amazon and ASOS where customers will pay a yearly or monthly fee and in return receive free next-day delivery on any of their products.

Collect Customer Feedback & Respond To All Feedback (Both Good & Bad)
Customer feedback is your insight into what’s working and what’s not about your products or services and what should be done in order to make the experience even better. You may have the best expertise in the industry in which your company operates, but your professional knowledge will never be more valuable to business performance than your own customer insights.

Satisfied customers will stay with you, unhappy customers will find a better alternative and leave. Customer feedback helps you determine if your customers are satisfied with your service but also detect those areas which need more work. By asking for opinions regularly, you can always keep a finger on the pulse. Each time a dissatisfied customer expresses some kind of disappointment you can react immediately and find the solution to fix the issue. This is the perfect moment to win them back and even increase the level of loyalty you have with them. In a lot of cases, an unhappy customer who encountered an issue with your service, but got it fixed straight away will later demonstrate bigger devotion to your brand than a customer who has never been disappointed by your service.

Customer feedback helps you determine if your customers are satisfied with your service but also detect those areas which need more work.

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Product Subscriptions
A subscription service isn’t right for every business but if you offer consumables or regularly ordered products on a subscription basis, you can increase loyalty through convenience. Here are a few of the top reasons just why subscription services could work for you and your business.

• The ability for you (the retailer) to plan your cash flow
• Increased visibility on advance stock ordering
• Easier for customers to get their favourite products.
• Introducing free samples and offers in a way to try and up-sell to your customers.

Having a subscription service can work wonders for your business especially if you’re noticing that a lot of your customers are repeat purchasing – however it’s important that if you do offer this, you also give the ability for your customers to change, pause or even opt out of the subscription at any time.

Loyalty Programs

Customer loyalty is in my opinion driven by customer service and experience. However, for many businesses that naturally generate repeat business, a loyalty scheme can work well.

Loyalty schemes work best for customers that buy regularly already. Which begs the question, why do you even need a loyalty scheme? At any point, you can lose those customers to a competitor (price, service, delivery options, availability etc.) but if they are already invested with a loyalty scheme, they are significantly more likely to stay. Today, when there’s a lot of schemes around, you need to offer up something really good to get people to sign up. A great example is the Boots Advantage Card which offers 4p back for every £1 you spend (4%). Nectar, on the other hand, gives you 0.5p for every £1 spent (0.5%).

Loyalty programmes help increase your customers lifetime value (CLV) which is the net profit attributed to the overall relationship you’ll maintain with a customer. It measures how valuable the customer is to your business and the projected value of all your interactions with them in the future. A loyalty programme can help you calculate exactly what the CLV is for each of your customers, and will also help you wield those statistics into usable data from implementing solid strategies to retain your customers.

They can also help provide you with behavioural data of your customers’ purchasing habits and it’s another step towards building a more emotional connection with your customers by showing that you truly value them, So, if you do have a loyalty scheme in place, you need to market it well so that it’s not too overpowering and confusing for one-off customers, but at the same time ensures repeat customers are aware.

We’ve seen loyalty schemes work well and others fail, so test the water first and see how your customers react and use the scheme.

Personalised Follow-Up Emails With Recommendations

According to research, 63% of consumers say they think more positively of a brand if it gives them content that is valuable, interesting or relevant to them.

It’s fairly difficult for a business to send relevant emails to their entire audience due to the fact that they can’t always be sure what each of their clients in their address books will find interesting to them.

However, there is one email that is more relevant than most – the follow-up email.

This type of email is sent whenever a prospect or customer has engaged in a conversion with you or taken a particular action of engagement on your site.

Follow-up emails work well due to the fact they are highly relevant to the individual recipient and also have the potential to not only generate even more revenue, but also to improve the user experience and keep your business front of mind.

Adding in personalised product recommendations to your follow-up emails helps shoppers explore products that they may love but might not have seen otherwise. There are a few different programmes that will automatically do this for you; one of which is Nosto, the personalisation tool for eCommerce sites. Nosto is an AI-powered eCommerce intelligence engine which analyses each and every interaction across your store to build a deeper understanding of your business and each visitor interacting with it.

Nosto has extensions which you can integrate directly with your Dotmailer or MailChimp account so you can input bespoke product recommendations for your individual customers when you send out a follow-up email.

Bespoke and personalised emails have a big part to play when it comes to customer retention as you don’t want them to forget about you, so don’t forget about them.

Join us for the last part of our 50 eCommerce facts coming very soon!