Retain Your eCommerce Store
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How to Retain your eCommerce Store Customers?

9 min read

Your best customer is the one you already have. In today’s competitive market, it's more cost effective to get repeat business from current customers than to find new customers. It’s true for both offline and online businesses, especially in the crowded eCommerce arena, where clicks and conversions always seem to be increasing in cost. Businesses are losing $1.6 trillion every year because they are losing their customers to their competitors.

Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.

Retaining your existing customers is one of the best ways to increase your recurring revenue and average cart value. On an average, ​65% of sales​ come from previous customers and it means spending time retaining these customers is a much more cost effective strategy than chasing new customers. Consistent communication is the key to retaining customers.

When was the last time you made an effort to retain your customers? If you haven’t, then don’t worry, you can start applying some of the many ways to improve customer retention. A successful business is one that continuously works towards building a happy customer base. Let’s get started.

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention is a skill of retaining customers. It is the collection of activities a business uses to increase the number of repeat customers and to increase the profitability of each existing customer.

You want to ensure that your hard acquired customers stay with you, have a great customer experience, and continue to get value from your products.

Why is Customer Retention important?

Apart from the fact that keeping existing customers is much cheaper than acquiring new customers, there are other reasons which make customer retention important. You need strategies, publish ads and promote your products endlessly to get leads to turn into customers. Whereas, with existing customers, you don’t need much effort as they know what your brand does.

As we mentioned earlier, you’ll have to spend five times more than to keep the existing customers. Still, there’s only a 5-20% chance of making a sale with new customers. And this sale percentage goes upto 60-70% when you’re selling to your existing customers. This will help you generate more revenue and grow your business.

One more benefit is retained customers are more likely to do mouth-to-mouth marketing for your brand. They tell their friends and family and will leave a positive impression. Which will help in acquiring new customers in return. It has been seen that word-of-mouth advertising drives five times more sales than paid advertising.

How to Retain Customers?

We’ve explained what customer retention is and why developing a strategy to retain our current customers can be just as valuable as finding ways to acquire new ones. But in today’s marketplace, how can you set yourself apart from other eCommerce stores? This can be achieved by creating a loyal customer base that will help you grow your business. Here are some ways that can help you to develop strong customer retention strategies.

    1. Adopt email marketing

      Email is the best way to connect with customers. Email marketing is a form of marketing to develop relationships with them, which can make the customers on your email list aware of new products, discounts, offers and other services. An effective email marketing strategy converts prospects into customers, and turns first time buyers into recurring customers which leads to higher sales.

      Facebook, Twitter or Instagram are only useful if you’re trying to target certain demographics. Google traffic is heavily loaded on SEO and if you don’t understand how it works, then you certainly don’t get benefits from it. Whereas, emails are forever. The great thing about having a strong email list is that once you’ve got one, you can message people anytime you want for existing products, new products, or for offers. But your content should be good enough to grab the attention of whoever is going to read your emails. Otherwise there is no use of Email Marketing.

      For example, a great way to get started is with follow-up emails. A week after a customer’s first purchase, send them an email that acknowledges and thanks them for buying. This helps them feel good about the decision to buy from you. You can send a simple "We miss you!" email with a discount code to encourage customers who haven’t purchased anything in recent. Surprise them on their birthdays/anniversaries (if you’ve their details) by email or give some discounts for a specific period of time.

    2. Implement push notifications strategy

      Customers receive many emails per day, but there is no guarantee that emails will be noticed and opened by customers. That’s when exactly Push Notifications will help you retain your customers.

      Push notifications appear on a user’s mobile device just like a simple text message, the chances of them reading it and opening it are much higher. Research says push notifications beat emails in every category. But your customers just need to download your app.

      Let’s go through some of the most effective push notifications strategies for retention.

      • Give your customer a warm welcome. As soon as a user has opted-in on your app, send them a welcome message.

      • Send product recommendations via push notifications.

      • Notify your customers when their rewards are about to expire.

      • Remind your customers to re-order for subscription-based products and purchases

      • Notify your customers about abandoned carts or incomplete transactions

      • Engage your customers with real-time order updates.

    3. Create customer loyalty and referral program

      With so much competition around, you will have to prompt your customers to keep using your services repeatedly. This can be done by creating a loyalty program or referral program.

      Loyalty Programs:

      Loyalty programs usually issue points to customers for every purchase they make. You can encourage them to continue investing in the program by giving them welcome points when they create an account. Once they know it’s pretty simple to earn points, they’ll be excited to come back to your store in future. This becomes a profitable exchange for both you and your customers: they get more value each time they shop, and you benefit from their repeat business.

      Some of the most effective loyalty programs that you should try and include in your customer retention strategy are:

      • Discount coupons
      • Lifetime membership
      • Cashback offers
      • Gifts, credit points to the first-time shopper
      • Reward points

      Referral Programs:

      For ecommerce marketers, referral marketing is a great way to raise awareness about your product or service. Study shows that 92% of people trust recommendations from peers over advertisers. The point of a referral program is to reach more people and convert them into customers quickly. When the new customer makes a purchase, you reward the referrer with a discount, credit, small gift, or whatever they find valuable.

    4. Ask engaged customers for reviews

      Asking for reviews from customers is one of today’s most powerful customer acquisition and retention strategies. That’s because online reviews can do wonders for your company. They bring a lot of brand credibility and build your online reputation.

      When you have engaged customers that are buying from your store and clicking on your emails, you should feel confident to reach out to them and ask for a review. When you get reviews, show customers that your business appreciates and values their feedback. And remember to always say thank you when you respond to reviews (even the bad ones) you have received.

    5. Provide value added services

      People don’t only look for products, but look for an experience that makes their shopping easier. Your goal should always be to constantly create a value proposition that will help convert visitors into long-term customers. For that, you can provide value-added services along with your products. This also strengthens the bond between your customers and your brand.

      Some value-added services include:

      • By sending product recommendations to your customers based on their shopping behavior or offering virtual appointments, personal shopping can be done.
      • An excellent way to minimize customer dissatisfaction is to accurately showcase your products and all of their features via high definition product video.
      • Offer your customers small freebies with the purchase and make them familiar with new products that they will want to buy again.
      • You can offer free shipping and returns, this has become a perk for many eCommerce businesses.
    6. Have a strong social media presence

      Almost 90% of businesses in the U.S are using social media to market their products and services. Millions of potential customers, especially if your targeted audience is Millennials or Generation Z, spend their leisure time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Thus it makes sense to have a robust online presence.

      Have a powerful social media presence so that you can engage with your customers over social media. It gives you a platform to connect with your customers in real-time. Start by using hashtags, mentions and direct comments to monitor your social media. Respond to all the queries and questions/comments that customers post on your social media platforms to make customers feel recognised.

    7. Optimize your Content

      Content Marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. It’s essential for you to know the value of content. ​As the ROI of content marketing has been found 8 times higher than that of traditional marketing​.

      Content is king, but as an e-commerce business, there are a few core types you should focus on. Specifically, video content, image content, product description, reviews and recommendations, etc.

    8. Come up with more delivery options

      Customers want to be satisfied with your product or service. They want their online experience to be easier. That’s why they’re choosing online shopping rather than in-store. That means you should make the shopping experience very easy for the customers. Offer quick deliveries and exclusive return options for customers.

      Make their experience as simple as possible by offering more delivery and return options. Such as, for the patient customer, give standard shipping. And for the customers who want their products shipped on-time, offer one-day shipping. Offer free delivery with a certain minimum order value to grab customers’ attention.

    9. Offer excellent customer support

      This is the most important way to retain customers, you must give them support they need by effective communication. When they trust your help desk, they will always want to come back to your store. Many businesses have lost their customers because of poor customer support.

      68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from a brand known to offer good customer service experiences. (HubSpot)

      Having a chatbot or live help desk tool can turn a customer's query into a sale, whether the query comes from a site, through email or via social media. Be quick as most customers will judge the quality of your brand based on how fast you respond to them.

      Here are some tips to improve your customer support:

      • Understand customers' needs.
      • Ensure you have a customer care team who practices active listening.
      • Empathize with the customer so that they can communicate their issues freely with you.
      • Use positive language and natural tone of voice when addressing customers.
      • Be calm when a customer is angry with you.

      Most customers will stop buying from a business if the support team mistreats them. So spend time training your customer support team properly. These considerations go a long way and can potentially create a loyal customer for life.

The Bottom Line

Usually, many businesses focus on acquiring customers rather than focusing on keeping existing ones. Remember, the only way to get more customers is by making your current customers happy.

Now that you have got a reason to retain customers, try to put some effort into building relationships with current as well as past customers. You have many possible ways to retain your eCommerce store customers, you’ve got no reason to wait. All of this pays off. So get up and try a few of them soon, if not all.

These tips should help you retain your customers and take your online business to the next level.

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