[Guest post by Sharon Paul]
If your business is successful, then you’re sure to have many happy customers.
To put it another way: Happy customers make successful business.
And when we say happy customers, we mean the ones who love to keep coming back to you each time they want to shop. This concept rightly goes with what Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, said on Inc, “If you take care of your existing customers, they will take care of your new customers”.
But the fact is that most businesses start with the uphill struggle of getting customers to make their first purchase and then shift their focus to acquiring new customers. In the process, businesses neglect the customer journey and neglect making current customers happy.
Eventually, these businesses notice a strong dip in their customer retention rates. While customer acquisition strategies are necessary to be sustainable in the online market, how can you satisfy your new customers when your existing ones aren’t happy?
According to the Harvard Business School, by increasing your customer retention rates by 5% you can increase your profits by 25-95%. This is because your existing customers spend 67% more than new customers. Ironically, it’s cheaper and easier to convince your existing customers to keep buying from you. This is exactly why your customer’s lifetime value is a key metric to measure your business success.
With this in mind, here are five customer retention strategies to help you boost your eCommerce sales in 2016.
1. Implement Attractive, Engaging Customer Loyalty Programs
Running a customer loyalty program is old fashioned, yet it’s one of the most effective ways to retain your customers. Loyalty programs like free merchandise, discount coupons, exclusive lifetime membership offers, cash back offers, redeemable points, rewards and special deals are surefire ways to keep your customers coming back to your online store.
Never overlook the benefits of loyalty programs, as their results have surprised and favored many businesses. Incentivizing customers to stick around will boost your reputation, as your customers feel valued and important.
Build unique loyalty programs that help your brand stand out from the crowd and influence buyer behavior. Here are some ways to implement attractive and engaging customer loyalty programs that might work for your business:
- Use tools to study your customers’ shopping habits.
- This helps you to design loyalty programs, which parallel your customer’s interests, and assists in connecting and engaging with them.
- Create your customer loyalty goals
- Determine your expenses – You need to determine your financial status before creating any loyalty programs.
- Focus on building a dedicated team to handle all programs
- Implement personalized loyalty programs
- Ensure you try something new at regular intervals and enhance your loyalty programs
2. Send Personalized Retention Emails
The best way to enter your customer’s mind is through their inbox. Email marketing is a critical tool in retaining or creating new customers. Personalization retention emails work like magic because customers feel more connected to your brand, as your emails are addressing their specific needs and providing solutions based on their interests. This can highly influence your customer retention rates.
According to a study, only 32% are likely to place their second order from the same store. However, the good news is that personalized emails can increase sales by 50%. Constructing targeted emails to re-engage with your customers helps you understand their expectations and learn how you can work to meet them.
Pro tips for sending personalized emails:
- Your first and foremost responsibility is to have a strong database of your prospects.
- Secondly, have them segmented based on their behavior on your eCommerce store.
Having a strong and accurate email database gives you a wider outreach and helps you create more focused emails.
Remember the 3 golden rules while composing retention emails:
- Follow up
Keeping these golden rules in mind, the following categories of retention emails are most effective:
- Activation – Helping users to get started
- Transactional – Include attractive deals and offers in a customer’s digital receipts
- Educational – Educate them about your products by including fresh deals
- Notification – Notify them about the products that are waiting in their cart
- Thank You – Understanding various ways to send thank you notes
3. Set Up A Strong Customer Support
Providing exceptional customer service is an art which, when done right, can greatly improve both customer acquisition and retention. This is because customer service is nothing but listening to your customers and providing them the necessary support during and after a purchase.
Today, we have smart customers who judge your brands based on how you respond to them. And most often, poor customer service is the definite reason for customers not return to your store.
You need to constantly look out for opportunities to strengthen the bond with your customers so that they become comfortable shopping from your store. Not convinced? According to a Kissmetric report, companies lose 71% of consumers due to poor customer service.
The best way to serve your online customers better is by setting up a strong multichannel support.
- Centralized help desk with ticketing features
- Customer service software like Zendesk
- Live chat features
- Social media
4. Optimize Your Online Store
When customers visit your website, you have less than 4 seconds to impress them. These few seconds are critical because during this time you either lose or gain a potential customer. There are three aspects of optimizing your eCommerce store, especially when you are working to retain your customers.
1. Website design
- Improving the look and feel
- Featuring dynamic content
2. User Experience
- Speed optimization
- Easy navigation
- Simple check out process
3. Building Innovative Cross Selling Techniques
5. Implement Continuous Improvement Strategies
Unless you try new things, you will never know what works and what does not for your eCommerce site. Continuous improvement strategies are imperative to get sustained success. It’s a long term goal which you can achieve by continually looking out for ways to improve every aspect of your business, irrespective of how trivial they are.
As buyer behavior is evolving with the changing economy and technology, you need to create an effective plan, one that does not compromise or affect your business goals. It’s important you analyze, track, monitor and measure your current market conditions and keep repeating the process.
Continuous improvement strategies help to build faster and more consistent customer relationship. When you’re constantly on the lookout for room to improve customer satisfaction, you succeed in retaining your customers for the long run.
The Bottom Line
The eCommerce industry is growing fast and smart. In order to sustain in such a cutthroat and competitive online marketplace, many businesses end up investing too much on acquiring new customers. While it’s one of the important marketing strategies, you will definitely notice the steady decline of your growth rate when you ignore your existing customers.
Find out why your existing customers aren’t making repeated purchases and you’ll be surprised to know how effortlessly you can improve your revenue with these tips.
By implementing these simple strategies, you’ll end up creating happy customers – Customers who will likely give you repeat business for a long time.