What are the chances that the same customer will make a second or a third purchase at your online store?
If you are hesitating to give a clear answer or if you’re having an unpleasant feeling, I’m sure you have already been thinking about the term customer retention.
What does it mean? Simply put, it means make your customers return.
The good news is that you don’t need groundbreaking methodology to achieve this goal. You can try some practical methods, ranging from classic to contemporary, that have already helped others. To provide a quick recap, I am listing all of them in this blog post.
(Answering the question “How can I shape these formulas to fit to my brand and build a community along the way?” is the other side of the coin. I will cover it in the next blogpost.)
So, are you ready to dive in?
Classical approaches of customer retention
When a customer contacts you through your site, a frail relationship forms between you. To strengthen it to a level where it won’t break apart, you have to build a straight line of communication with customers.
Here are some typical ways to achieve this:
#1. Welcome message
Make a positive first impression. If customers are welcomed properly and if you tell them how you and your product(s) can help them, they will trust you from the very first time they visit your webstore.
Tip: On Ometria, you can find a complete guide on writing a brilliant welcome message for your customers.
#2. Transactional message
Show that you care about your customers. Keep customers updated about their order histories, shipped items, product upgrades, etc. You can also include coupon codes, special offers, or personalized recommendations in these emails to increase sales. Why does this work? Customers appreciate if you share items or events they are really interested in.
Tip: On Shopify’s blog, you can read about the four most important transactional messages and best practices for using these messages.
#3. Live help desk
Offering live help is convenient for customers who have an urgent problem. No one likes to wait a couple of hours or days for a response, especially when their money at stake. It also increases sales by turning visitors into customers.
Tip: If you have never used live chat, try Tawk. It’s a completely free, easy-to-set-up solution.
Coupons offer a great way to find out how price-sensitive your customers are. In addition, customers expect to see this evergreen promotional tactic. You can even send out coupon codes with different discounts to different groups to create customer segments that can help you with additional personalization.
Customers can be easily distracted during their shopping journeys. They may not complete desired actions in your online store, such as finalizing their orders or filling out the registration form. In this case, you can follow up with them with emails and with ads.
Tips: When remarketing, try to segment as much as possible. For example, try to target customers who left their carts with a reminder or offer a discount (e.g., free shipping) to make them come back to your store. AdWords and Facebook remarketing pixels are good for this purpose.
Contemporary approaches to customer retention
Compared to the previous category, here you will find tactics that not only create space for positive impressions but also help you profile your customers by collecting more details about them. After all, defined information can give you unbeatable power.
This toolset includes the following strategies:
#1. Loyalty program
Customers are facing with a massive amount of digital offers. They can’t keep up with the latest discounts, so they more likely to join a loyalty program that guarantees special care. They can collect points by completing specific actions in your online store and then redeem their points for rewards.
Tip: A loyalty program helps increase customer interactions and can motivate them to stay logged into your online store. Loyalty software, such as Antavo, can provide examples that work in your industry to ease your job.
#2. Personalized offers
What do customers hate the most? Offers that they don’t care about. Relevancy is key here. How can you ensure relevancy? Send offers based on your customers’ demographics, previous orders, or browsing histories. Doing so improves conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
Tip: Every detail you obtain about your customers should be saved in a customer relationship management (CRM) program. Based on the collected data, you can personalize communications with your customers.
#3. Heat mapping
Track your customers’ journeys. Where do they click on your site? Where don’t they clicked? Which parts of your site get the most traffic, and which parts are deserted, like an uninhabited island? This information can help you decide which sections of your site need to be improved and where you can convert customers more effectively.
Tip: Software such as Crazy Egg can help you determine which parts of your site get the most clicks. They can also segment all the clicks based on where they came from, e.g.: from referrals, search terms, and more.
#4. Customer survey
Getting customer feedback is easier if customers get something in exchange for their answers. By including a survey in your loyalty program, you can collect information about their preferences, habits, and opinions on new products while allowing them to increase their points.
Sweepstakes and contests are great buzz tools. People can enter for a chance to win free stuff, and if you run an essay or a photo contest, you can collect user-generated content that you can reuse later for marketing purposes.
Tip: Loyalty software programs like Antavo have built-in sweepstakes extensions that not only excite customers but also motivate them to spend their points and collect even more. In the end, you only need to give prizes to the top entrants, and customers can increase their chances of winning by entering multiple times. You can determine how many winners you will have and how they will be picked.
See? You don’t have to come up with out-of-the-box approaches when it comes to customer retention.
Just make sure that you take the following steps:
- Take every opportunity to communicate with customers.
- Create a positive impression by rewarding and surprising them during this process.
- Collect as much information as you can about your customers so you can talk in a more personalized way with them.
The practical methods you use to achieve this depends on you. Test all of the classical and contemporary ways to see what works best.
I also wrote an e-book about customer retention that provides more details on these approaches. If you would like to learn more, you can download it for free.