5 Methods Guaranteed To Improve Your Customer Retention

Technically speaking, customer retention is more important than customer acquisition. Well, you need to have customers first, but you get the picture.

Its reported that the cost of acquiring a new customer is approximately fives times more expensive than retaining one. To be frank, this makes perfect sense – the majority of web traffic sources are sold on a Cost Per Click basis, and unless you are a pro and have optimised accounts, it can end up a pretty pricy exercise.

This begs the question, though, how do I retain customers? If you can, you are likely to experience higher average order values, more repeat custom and ultimately more money in the bank.

This article will run through a few different options that you could consider utilising on your e-commerce site.

1.Set Realistic Expectations

Often overlooked, setting realistic expectations and being truthful with your customers is one of the most important things that you can do.

Let’s assume that a customer has ordered something from you and it takes two weeks to arrive. This particular issue could be dealt with in two ways.

  1. The customer doesn’t know it’s going to be two weeks and in the process becomes increasingly worried and anxious as to where their package is
  2. You have a shipping policy that is prominent on site and it is clear that this is going to be the period of time it takes the item for the item to arrive

Let’s be honest, if you were that shopper, you would prefer that option, wouldn’t you?

For those using Shopify as their eCom platform, there is the ability to ensure that customers are kept up to date with just a few clicks:


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Setting expectations, however, goes beyond just shipping. 

Another critical thing to ensure is that product descriptions are accurate, including the dimensions and weights of items. There’s nothing worse than receiving a product that is different from what you expected (trust me, I recently received a lamp that was ¾’s of my height – not quite the bedside decoration I expected).

2.Pay Attention To Complaints

If your customers are unhappy with your service, there is very little chance that they will return, your competitors will gobble them up, and you need to pay for new ones.

It is always critical to give every complaint, large or small, the utmost attention. What may seem menial or unimportant to you may be extremely important to customers. Better still, if you can find patterns in complaints, it allows you to make significant progressions in service with relatively little effort.

If you don’t have one already, it’s worth considering to make it easy for customers to complain. If your website doesn’t allow customers to contact you, you are likely losing sales before they even have the chance to complain. If you are on social media, make sure you are attentive to this – if not, complaints can become very public quickly.

3. Have a Social Strategy

If your customers forget about you, then there is absolutely no way you will get repeat custom from them.

Social media is one of the most influential and creative channels out there to keep you top of mind, and such needs a specific strategy attached to it.

The first key is to get people to sign up to your social – put it on your e-mails and sites. This is very easy to do on most of the e-commerce platforms:

Better still, make your customers do the hard work for you. If you get a positive review, thank them and share it on your social – it’s one of the most traditional but most effective ways to create positive social buzz.

Be sure to think of a ‘social first’ method to your brands’ story, such as launching your new products on Instagram first or launching competitions on Facebook. The ‘re-tweet to enter’ is another classic idea that is likely to travel a lot further off your site than on it unless you already have strong retention.

4.Use Email & Be Personal

You may think that e-mail is boring, but honestly, it is one of the most critical touchpoints with new and existing customers. Even e-mails that aren’t designed to retain customers (e.g. shipping updates) keep bringing your brand to the top of mind during someone’s day.

Once your customers become e-mail subscribers, you also can further segment. For example, at a fundamental level, you could make segments of people who have bought male or female clothing – from this, you can then individualise messaging moving forward. Beyond this, consider further segmentation by purchase value, whether the customer used a discount code and so on.

Be sure to stick with e-mail – whilst platforms such as Whatsapp may seem more personal, they are more cluttered with non-business related things such as chats with friends, so your message is less likely to stand out. For the most part, Peoples inboxes are full of fewer distractions, so your message is likely to hit harder in that environment.

Consider adding more value to consumers by using Tyviso Mail.

5.Offer Gifts & Discounts

A customer loyalty programme should be an integral part of your customer retention strategy if it isn’t already. These programmes reward your customers by giving them incentives to come back and shop with you.

Once your customers opt into your loyalty program, make them feel special by hooking them up with offers: Give them a sneak peek at new products, and offer exclusive deals. This royal treatment will help your customers feel valued and is the crux of this customer retention strategy.

You can even start giving loyalty-esque benefits to customers before they’ve even opted in. You don’t need to make users sign up for anything. Just give them something straight away.

For example, using the Tyviso widget post-checkout as displayed here by Adidas, you can give customers (for entirely free) exclusive offers on a wide range of brands:

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Customers will be thankful for the additional benefit you have unlocked and will, in return, be more likely to shop with you again.

Pro Tip: Combine this with your own offers during e-mail confirmation to achieve peek retention.

Many e-commerce brands focus all of their attention on customer acquisition, which of course, is very important in growing your brand. However, at the same time, there is a solid case for focusing on retention, particularly given its considerable contribution to your bottom line, with relatively little cost involved.

Be sure to use methodologies that provide ‘benefit’ to customers – this is indeed the way to build brand equity for your company. These customers already know your brand and will appreciate that you are focusing on them, even after they’ve made a purchase.

Published by Adrian Vella

He is the co-founder of Tyviso and COO. With 10 years experience in digital advertising, Adrian honed his skills primarily at online behemoth Yahoo!. Working across a range of specialties including, Search, Display and Native he twice received a CEO commendation and industry rising star at the IPA Media Owners awards. After Yahoo he gained further experience in Director level roles in Lead Generation, Affiliates and Influencer marketing, sitting on the industry steering group for the last. Adrian's goal is to enable all e-commerce brands to achieve risk free sales at a fixed cost.

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