For many businesses, acquiring new customers is the hallmark of their operating model.
This makes sense seeing as the ultimate driver of a business lies in growth and what better way to grow than to constantly expand your customer base, right?
Well, it may seem so but there is an important dynamic to consider in the ever evolving world of consumer behavior. With the advent of ecommerce, customers are less loyal than ever given the multiplicity of choice. While this was considered standard millennial behavior, studies indicate that with a proper, insightful customer retention strategy, companies can retain up to 60% of their existing customer base.
Customer retention is the number one revenue driver according to KPMG in the following chart:
Let’s look at some metrics from Forrester that necessitate customer retention strategies;
You will spend five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer.
Existing customers spend 67% more on your products and services than newly acquired customers.
Increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5% and will increase your company’s profits by anywhere from 25% to 95%
With this in mind, it’s now easy to see how critically important it is to incorporate a formal customer retention strategy in your business model.
Below, we will cover five effective customer retention strategies from world’s top brands that will give you the upper hand in the highly competitive world of ecommerce;
Re-Targeting Your Dormant Customers
It beats logic to spend massive resources in acquiring new customers while you have a repertoire of customers who no longer work with you but once formed your base. These are the ones with whom you stand a higher chance – a 30% to 60% chance, in fact.
Dormant customers are highly receptive to your offer if you come at them with the right, informed approach. This is because people tend to go for the familiar. Reaching out to customers who know you and your products is one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase your revenue.
Knowing what caused cessation of interest in your business is the first place to begin. By understanding their objections and overcoming them, you demonstrate respect and value for them and this will usually lead to increased sales as well as loyalty to your brand.
Amazon has hacked this. They are always emailing customers with improved deals on items, available discounts, new products and even the newest ratified payment methods. Learning to combine customer data with a personal touch has enabled them to become the biggest ecommerce retailer.
In business, adding a personal touch never hurt. It helps you resonate more with your customers and gives them the idea that your relationship with them is a partnership rather than just a sales opportunity, enabling you to form warm, close relationships.
Personalization involves much more than addressing your customers by their first names in your emails. While this is a powerful tool to get your customers’ interest and to appear human, it is just the first small step.
For big brands like E-bay, achieving this can be a problem and here’s where your customer relationship management (CRM) system comes in handy. Using data stored on your customers’ preferences, including pain points, products purchased, interests, etc, you can personalize every single aspect of your interaction.
Most companies have aged loyalty programs and this has proved detrimental. The old focus on behavioral loyalty – getting that next incremental transaction- does not cut it anymore. More companies are increasingly focusing on driving emotional loyalty by understanding the motivation and context of a customers’ purchases and why they choose to work with you.
Loyalty programs are not a one-size-fits-all. Even with a business offering a specific product, loyalty programs should be tailored to an individual customer in alignment with your brand’s goals.
Starbucks, for example, has one of the most intuitive loyalty programs. Customers receive incentives based on their visit frequency and lifetime value, not whether they bought a $50 gourmet cup or just a simple $2 house blend.
In designing loyalty programs, it is imperative to reduce the hurdles one has to go through. A faster throughput translates to more revenue. ApplePay loyalty program is a good starting point. Their interface is as light and inconvenient as possible without multiple check-ins, extra plastic cards or additional 2D code scans. A speedier checkout drives strong consumer adoption.
Email automation can go a long way in customer retention due to its omniscient nature. Since it works with available data on the customer and on schedules, it is a powerful reinforcer of previous notions.
Sending periodic email newsletters to share new developments and keep customers in the loop as well as getting feedback on these helps your customer feel valued and results to loyalty. Make sure to send tailored automated emails to segmented users as irrelevant emails lead to apathy which is counterproductive.
A simple automated “Thank You” email after a purchase can work wonders. This makes them feel they made the right choice in working with you and keeps you on their radar post transaction.
Be sure to also constantly test incentives and other factors to see what is most effective. For example, find out which subject lines elicit the most opens and what cadence of email increases customer engagement for your audience.
To ensure maximum engagement with your customers, you should offer more than just a catalogue of your products and a FAQ/About page.
The content you send your customers should constantly change based on their preferences, needs, and behavior. You can enable dynamic content either on-site or via email by using personalized recommendations.
Relevon, for example, a customer retention platform for eCommerce, lets marketers send only relevant content via emails, creating that unique shopping experience for each customer.
The key to customer retention lies in the customers themselves. Understand their needs, cater to them, and respond appropriately to their feedback and voila, you have got yourself a happy, loyal customer. This in turn results to reliable, recurring revenue flow.