Bring back your existing buyers with these 2023 eCommerce customer retention strategies.
Do you know that a 5% increase in customer retention leads to a whopping 25% increase in revenue?
This statistic alone is enough to show the heavy impact of customer retention on revenue generation. Now when it comes to eCommerce brands, the competition is ever-growing, with new businesses booming in every industry.
In such a scenario, brands must prioritize customer retention, as selling to existing customers is easier than acquiring new ones.
But as more companies focus on retention, what can you do differently to keep customers engaged? Here are some top eCommerce customer retention strategies you must experiment with to outperform competitors.
E-commerce customer retention strategies for 2023
In this section, we have covered everything from social media to well-laid loyalty programs. But let’s start with making customers feel more comfortable at your store:
#1 Give consumers a personal shopping space
Many eCommerce stores overlook the importance of having a customer account page. This page is where you get crucial customer details, like purchase history, repeat purchases, wish lists, recently viewed products, etc. All this important customer data helps in personalizing communication.
Amazon remains a benchmark for other eCommerce businesses when it comes to customer pages. It includes all relevant information regarding orders, subscriptions, customer care contact info, payment options, etc.
Now, having this page will help in long-term retention once customers like your products. Many will choose to checkout as a guest as well. However, after using your products, some would love to sign up.
These customers will then have a personal space to shop according to their preferences. Overall, creating a customer account page will help you increase customer engagement and provide crucial data to enhance your marketing strategies.
#2 Run effective customer loyalty programs
Customer loyalty programs are designed to lure in customers with different types of rewards like discounts, access to premium products, free samples, etc. Most successful eCommerce brands rely on garnering emotional engagement through these programs. They give customers a sense of achievement through points, tiers, and challenges at every touchpoint. Instead of plain discounts, customers can create their accounts and engage with the program.
While creating a customer loyalty program, remember that your customers desire more than financial benefits. Discounts must never be the highlight of your program. Start by identifying the benefits your ideal customers want. For instance, early access to upcoming products and extended warranties are two desirable benefits.
Here are some eCommerce loyalty program best practices to follow:
- Run tier-based loyalty programs – A tier-based or hierarchy program assigns customers different statuses at varied stages. Customers invest their time in reaching higher ranks for enhanced benefits. Now that they have spent time and effort reaching higher ranks, they are less likely to give them up for other brands.
- Give different ways of earning rewards – You can also go for a point-based reward system if you focus on targeting multiple ways of earning rewards, not simply purchasing an item. Give them points on signing up for your newsletter, referring a friend, profile completions, and even noble causes like donations.
- Offer rewards your customers cannot resist – You cannot eliminate discounts entirely from your loyalty program. However, you can simultaneously introduce enticing rewards. For example, reward your customers with autographed products from their favorite influencers, free tickets to events, concerts, etc.
- Use gamification in your programs – People love the sense of achievement that comes with badges, challenges won, and increased ranking. When you make your program fun and engaging, users interact with it even if they don’t want to purchase from your brand. After reaching a certain tier or collecting certain points, they will eventually redeem them through purchasing.
Sephora’s beauty insider is an excellent example of a customer loyalty program comprising both point-based and tier-based practices. Every customer receives one point for every dollar spent. Then they also divide customers into tiers, namely Insider (Free), VIB (spend $350/year), and Rogue (spend $1000/year). Users can then access rewards like savings, discounts, free samples of deluxe products, and premium customer experiences, including same-day delivery.
#3 Increase your social media engagement
According to Statista, Global social commerce sales are estimated to reach up to $1.298 billion in 2023. This shows that social media remains the core revenue generation channel for most eCommerce businesses, especially if you target gen-Z.
In such a scenario, you must use the right social channels to promote your products, interact with frustrated customers, and build an engaged community.
Even the top eCommerce giants like Amazon are highly active on social media. Here are the two strategies the brand uses that you must implement to improve your social media engagement.
Strategy 1: Showcasing product usage with short videos.
Amazon recently posted a reel with normal kitchen items like chopper, grinder, etc., under $30. The reel received incredible engagement, with people wanting it even more after seeing its usage.
Instead of simply posting a picture of its products, it created a video with all the ways you can use them. Videos take time to create, but the comments on the post show how the effort is worth it. Also, Amazon heavily focuses on video content, as the majority of Instagram content is compelling videos.
Strategy 2: Respond to frustrated customers.
Frustrated customers often use social media to express their disappointment. Addressing these issues often creates a positive image in the minds of your current and potential customers.
Amazon does this right by responding to negative post comments and a separate Twitter account (Amazon Help) to address customer concerns.
The brand took a step ahead to ensure all its existing customers had a separate space to share their issues. Therefore, make sure you give customers a chance to express their disappointment and receive immediate assistance.
#4 Run solid email retention campaigns
Customer retention emails are sent to existing customers after establishing a relationship with them. These emails update customers with their point gain, extract reviews and provide exclusive offers to keep them returning to your business. But the same email campaigns can also drive them away if executed poorly.
If you don’t want to bombard your customers with generic emails, here are some retention emails that receive solid engagement:
- Order confirmation email to confirm details of recent purchases, including order content, delivery date, address, and amount paid/payable. Customers often open these emails to cross-check correct order placement. Therefore, it gives you an excellent opportunity to suggest relevant items based on the purchase.
- Personalized product recommendation email to suggest products based on purchase history and on-site behavior. The increased relevancy of recommendations acts as a motivating factor to take action.
- Birthday emails work great in customer retention as they come with an element of surprise. You make your customers feel exclusive by giving special discounts on their special day.Here is an example from Kikki.k, a stationery, and gifts store that provides a $10 birthday voucher and personalized product recommendations.
- Survey emails to collect valuable feedback and work on areas requiring improvements. These surveys show that you value their experience and work on improving it at every step. Survey results are also solid social proof and can be used in marketing. However, make it a point to keep them short and engaging.
- A special occasion email helps brands stay on the top of their customers’ minds. For example, send a personalized email a week before Mother’s day or Valentine’s day along with gift suggestions.Here’s how Nordstorm compiles a list of the top 100 gift ideas for moms. It solves a common challenge of what to gift your mom. Let’s be honest; we all could use a little inspiration, right?
- Feedback emails motivate customers to share their experience with the purchased products. Many eCommerce brands motivate customers to leave a review by offering flat 10-15% discounts on every review. These incentives not only help you build social proof but ensure repeat purchases.
Now that we know the types of customer retention emails, here are some tips for building a solid customer retention email strategy:
- Identify inactive customers – Identify the customers that haven’t engaged with you in a while. Then help them see your value with an email containing a personalized discount or deal based on their purchase history.
- Show your value – Provide them with enough reasons to choose you over competitors. You can only bring back inactive customers if you show them your value. Target their points and show you can address them.
- Use positive reviews to your advantage – Use your positive reviews to frame your email strategies. All the happy words out there show what makes customers satisfied. Use these pointers in your email strategy to garner engagement.
- Take feedback from churned customers – Ask for feedback from churned customers to understand why customers decided to leave. Work on those areas and return with a positive approach.
- Timely monitor your campaigns – Use heavy personalization in your emails and monitor the results to make necessary modifications.
Additional tip: Integrate your SMS and email marketing campaigns instead of running separate campaigns. It improves their effectiveness and ensures you understand your customers’ preferences better.
#5 Provide an amazing post-purchase experience
The post-purchase experience remains one of the most crucial aspects in the eCommerce space. It helps businesses create a unique identity and boost customer satisfaction. Many businesses still limit the post-purchase experience to order confirmation and update emails. But here are some more areas that make up an outstanding experience:
- Send them a personalized thank you note, promo codes, discount offers, and a place to share customer queries or concerns.
- Transparent return and refund policies give customers the confidence to buy from your brand. Remember that these two areas remain a core factor in buying decisions, especially from new brands.For instance, the return or refund time generally remains 15-30 days. Ikea’s return policy stands out by giving 365 days for customers to change their minds. Now think about how you can stand out amongst the competition in the return and refund area.
- There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to track the order. Many brands provide a tracking link that hardly works and end up frustrating customers. Therefore, ensure you make order tracking easy by providing complete details from dispatch to delivery and a workable link.
- Do you know that #unboxing has over 3.7 million posts on Instagram as of now? People love sharing unboxing videos, which emphasize enticing product packaging. Make sure you provide visually compelling boxes with a thank you note. Along with that, you can also provide reusable boxes like Rituals, a cosmetic company, does.
- Along with asking for feedback and personalized product recommendations, ensure you are there for your customers when they need you. A strong customer support system that quickly addresses frustrated customer queries remains crucial. Therefore, be there for your customers when they need you.
#6 Build a mobile app
A mobile app provides customers the convenience they need to interact smoothly with your business. For instance, your referral marketing program will only get increased signups if you make it easy for your customers through an app. Customers are impatient and will leave if the program remains confusing or takes a long time to load.
But remember that simply creating an app with a superior user experience is not enough. Connect it with your loyalty program and offer rewards and incentives to ensure users keep coming back. Also, prioritize simplicity and acquaint customers with your app through in-app tips at every point. All these practices ensure you end up retaining customers for a long period of time.
Now that you have eCommerce’s top customer retention strategies in 2023, it’s time to take action.
Begin with improving your current practices and slowly introduce more strategies. The key here is to experiment with different programs and monitor progress. Moreover, increase your focus toward a solid social presence and a simplified user experience.
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