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5 Customer Retention Strategies for Online Stores That Increase Sales

a couple of years ago
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Happy customers are the lifeblood of any successful ecommerce business (or any business). That’s because happy customers are loyal, which usually leads to repeat business.

Ultimately, it’s more difficult to gain a new customer than to keep one you already have. How much? It’s five times more costly to attract new business than to retain customers.

If your sole focus is on acquiring new customers, you’re doing it wrong.

If you put a customer retention strategy in place to keep your customers coming back for more, even an increase in customer retention of 5% could see your company’s profitability grow by 75%!

Here are five customer retention strategies proven to boost ecommerce sales:

Initiate a Customer Loyalty Program

A whopping three quarters of consumers claim they prefer companies that offer rewards, according to Virtual Incentives.

Happy customers quickly become brand evangelists. This is key, because word of mouth is one of the most effective forms of marketing to new customers. People trust their friends or family more than anything, if they’re sharing their good experiences, others will be lining up soon.

You can get your loyal customers to promote your business by creating a customer loyalty program.

It’s simple. All you need to do is give your customers a benefit in exchange for their loyalty.

This can be in the form of coupons, early looks at new products or services, a points system or even a referral program.

It makes your customers feel valued.

It also kills two birds with one stone for you. A customer loyalty program fosters repeat business and word of mouth referrals.

Send Customers a Happy Birthday Email and a Gift

It makes all of us feel good when we receive birthday well wishes. Even when it comes in an email marketing campaign from company you’re subscribed to … as long as there’s a nice surprise.

After all, we all love to feel special on our birthdays.

As the owner of an ecommerce business, you have an opportunity to do something nice for your customers that will keep them coming back for birthdays and other special occasions to come.

So what should you do?

  • Create a personalized email campaign to wish your customers a happy birthday. Make sure to include a special gift. If you own a restaurant, it could be dessert. A movie theater? A free ticket on your birthday. You get the picture.
  • Be sure to send it enough in advance to ensure you’re a part of their birthday celebrations. A week should do.
  • When it comes to promotional emails versus birthday emails, the latter has a 481 percent higher transaction rate.

Create an Omnichannel Experience

This is the “Age of Consumers.”

In our digital world, smartphones, tablets and social media all keep constant information at our fingertips.

This requires you to create an omnichannel marketing strategy.

So what does omnichannel mean?It means creating a unified user experience across every device or digital channel that your customers may be using. It’s imperative to create an integrated experience on any smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop that will allow them to easily move from channel to channel in a given situation.

90% of consumers say they don’t just stick to one device when making a purchase. Almost all of us are likely to look on our home computers, and then rethink a purchase via our smartphones when we’re on the couch zoning out during commercials.

It needs to be a seamless experience from an email, to social media, your website, toll-free number or app.

Offering a consistent omnichannel experience will keep your customers coming back from every device and channel.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Handwritten Note

Saying “thank you” is a powerful way to show your customers that they’re appreciated.

Taking the time to write a simple handwritten thank you card for your loyal customers will go a long way. In this digital age, it will feel much more authentic and meaningful that you put in that extra effort. You could even kick it up a notch and offer a small gift like some of the extra company swag laying around the office or a gift card for coffee.

These gestures will make your loyal customers feel valued and they’ll show their appreciation via repeat business and referrals out the wazoo.

Host Meetups and Offline Events

There’s simply no replacement for face-to-face interactions with your customers.

Hosting a meetup or another offline event for your loyal customers or others in the community can help you attract new business as well. It’s also a better way to understand your customer needs.

48 percent of event attendees stated that an in-person interaction was more valuable than it was just two years ago.

These in-person meetups and other local events can help create a strong bond with your community that fosters customer retention.

 Jamie FitzHenry is the founder of Grizzly, a digital agency based in Bristol, UK specialising in Web Design, SEO & PPC.

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