Commerce in the digital age is full of fierce rivalry. Consumers are constantly bombarded with clever adverts where everyone tries to convince them to buy the best products in the blink of an eye. Customer acquisition techniques are nowadays applied by almost every eCommerce business, so it is easy to figure out that the acquisition of the customer and giving incentives to them to convince them to purchase in your shop is of significant importance, but that is not all. Customers must become convinced of your shop to buy from it more than once. Customer retention is necessary, but what actually is customer retention? This article will answer this question! Moreover, it will give you six strategies to keep customer retention thriving.
Customer retention is quite simple to understand. It is the act of repelling the customers to go to another company or the actions which will encourage customers to stay with your business. Customers who become loyal to your brand will buy more from you and spread the good word about your company, improving your reputation. The best customer retention strategies are formed around business goals and insights. For example, one goal may be increasing customer loyalty; in this case, you’d want to pick strategies that focus on this. You may want to signal that your service is consistent and reliable with solid brand awareness.
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Customers appreciate your shop when they feel appreciated. As a business owner, you must show them they are important to you. A very effective way of showing appreciation to the customer is to offer them a personalized discount or a surprise gift. A little personalized non-expensive present, access to additional content, or just a personalized message can radically change how customers perceive the business. You need to apply the gifts and discounts to your target audience and your branch of business—discount for additional clothes, an additional piece of furniture – a month of a better subscription plan for free. Possibilities are limitless. You can go beyond your imagination, but at the same time, you need to remember one thing, which is universal to surprise gifts or discounts – The customer needs to know that he gets the bonus for his loyalty. Customers will feel appreciated and will come back to your business because there is a greater chance that they will start to identify themselves as “members” of a brand. As loyal members, they will come back, and your customer retention will grow along with your business.
- Offer personalized surprises for loyal clients which suit your business
- Reward the loyalty of the customers
The task of customer service, not just in eCommerce, is seemingly simple – customer service. Behind these two words, however, lies a completely different story and challenges associated with meeting the demands and needs of the consumer without physical interaction with him.
Just as in stationery stores, not only the product range but also the team and the atmosphere of the place itself play a huge role, so in the case of an online store, user experience, interface and content play key roles. The product is important, after all, as it is a natural impulse buy – but the likelihood that your offer is the only one of its kind is slim. That’s why customer service, so ignored for years, can influence a customer’s final purchase decision and return – but if it doesn’t deliver the right shopping experience, it won’t result in the conversion you dream of. Building trust in the online store-customer line is a long-term process. That is why building a coherent chain of customer service is a must. Your customer should always feel like they’re getting the same care and attention regardless of the channel chosen for communication. Provide multi-channel support because you can encounter clients of various preferences and styles of communication. Do not neglect any of the channels. Successful customer service will skyrocket the retention rate of customers. Everyone wants to stay in a business that treats the customer well – customer service is a wheel that does not need to be reinvented and innovative but needs to work flawlessly.
- Provide multi-channel Customer service
- Build trust with your customers.
This heading seems to be misleading at first glance, but it makes sense as a long-time strategy. Nowadays, your customers are constantly active on social media platforms observing the world through the social lens. Social media creates another level of social consciousness. You, as a business owner, should be socially conscious too. Customers pay attention to extracurricular activities: they see if your organization gives to charity, participates in community improvement schemes, and partners with whom you engage and partner. You don’t necessarily need to have an elaborate Corporate Social Responsibility plan or donate to charity. Businesses must show their engagement in important matters both locally and globally to maintain their own sense of identity, which your customers actively observe. Be creative. There are numerous ways to do it, depending on which branch of business you are working in. Charities for poor children, who cannot afford clothes, voluntary programming courses from an it-sec company etc. In this case, the possibilities are limitless. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re dealing with a cold corporate entity. They want the companies they buy from to feel honest and sincere, unlike the soulless robotic being concentrated only on making money. This strategy will be beneficial in terms of customer retention because the customers will be loyal not only because of the quality of your products but also because of your actions. Identifying with the
values of your business will astonishingly help you to convince the customers to come back and buy again.
- Organize activities that will have a social impact
- Help the causes that you are identifying your business with
Most of the big eCommerce players offer several communication channels. Some of them differentiate the method of contact based on the category of the matter – only after entering the subject, e.g., checking the status of an order, return, product information, the appropriate data appear, e.g., phone number, form or e-mail address. Following customers’ expectations, e-stores, apart from standard channels, increasingly rely on solutions enabling real-time online communication. Hence the growing popularity of social media channels and chat and, more and more often, video calls. Also, chatbots are developing dynamically, and in the coming years, they are likely to play a significant role in the customer service process. Overall communication has to be top-notch, and it has to function without any malfunction – like a top-tier machine that will never fail you, your customers will be coming back because they know that their questions will be answered and their needs satisfied:
- Ensure that the customers have easy methods of contact with your business
- Invest in social media agents or a chatbot. Make your communication multi-channel
In the process of customer service, it’s worth betting not only on a personalized form of addressing the recipient but, above all, on basing it on all available data that the e-shop possesses about a particular user: how many times has he contacted Customer Service, when was the last time, what communication channel and contact hours do he prefer, which products has he bought and which are of interest to him, when is his birthday. Thanks to the appropriate use of such information, the customer will feel important and appreciated, which, in turn, will influence his/her evaluation of the e-shop. A message tailored to the needs and expectations of the recipient is one of the hottest trends in eCommerce. It is one of the most effective tools for increasing conversions. Personalization applies to every stage of customer service – from acquisition, through the purchase process, to loyalty. Individual approach in contact with the buyer builds his positive experience, which translates into purchase decisions. Providing eCommerce customers with consistent, complete, and personalized information requires integrating data from different sources. Big Data solutions, ERP systems, CRM or data warehouses providing access to information in real-time will be useful for this purpose. E-commerce websites that do not use these technologies should focus on streamlining the information flow process. Personalizing your communication is the key to maintaining customer acquisition and customer retention on a high level.
- Use ERP or CRM systems where applicable
- Personalize the customer experience – tailor the message to the customers’ needs
Gamification is a strategy that is based on motivating people to take certain actions in exchange for a reward and additional benefits. It refers to our natural need for competition and gratification. And that is why it can be so effective. This strategy is used in many eCommerce as gamification can enrich the shopping experience and make the customer stay with a given brand for longer. And these better shopping experiences allow us to limit the phenomenon that keeps marketers up at night – abandoned shopping carts. Also – it increases customer retention. You can offer customers a referral discount or award them redeemable points for each purchase to keep them coming back for more and convince them to buy from you again.
A gamification strategy in an eCommerce marketing or sales plan must have four steps that retain the user. You must implement the motivating trigger and make them invest their time in your game. Then the action needs to be taken to obtain the reward. Analyze what works best with your target audience and implement it. There can be points systems for most loyal users to complete during the checkout. Games in which the customer will need to refer his friend, competitions, where a giveaway will be a reward etc. All these strategies will make your shop more attractive and your customers more eager to return.
- Implement various gaming strategies to your website (referrals, competitions with rewards etc.)
- Motivate your customers to key actions in your shop (choosing the product, checkout etc.)