Best Practices for Customer Retention in eCommerce
Every brand wants to be a magnet that attracts more customers. If you own a business, you know that one of the most important factors for success is having many loyal customers. But retaining them, nurturing them, and building up customer loyalty takes a lot of effort and time.
No matter what your business model is, it’s essential to retain your customers. A loyal customer base costs less to sell to and they tend to buy more often from you. If you want your customers to become repeat customers, you have to prioritize their needs and make sure that they are happy with your products and customer service.
A good customer retention strategy is one that reduces customer churn rate and increases customer lifetime value for both the short and the long term.
Here are a few things you can do to retain your customers:
Setting the right expectations
You could lose customers simply because they expected better from your brand. For example, you have offered a 3-day delivery on a product. But the delivery is getting delayed for some reason.
So, what do you do? Don’t wait for your customer to find out for themselves. Tell them first! Send them an email and/or a SMS telling them that the delivery will be delayed. Being confident and communicative is the first step towards building trust in your brand and helping your customer prepare for the delay.
If you want your loyal customers to be excited to hear from you, you need to make sure you’re upfront and honest with them. Most customers appreciate honesty over lack of communication from their favorite brands.
Avoid Hidden Charges
This is a definite no-no. Having hidden charges breaks trust almost irreparably. It is far more beneficial to be upfront with your customers about the various costs they would incur on buying your product or service at the very beginning.
Being transparent and offering detailed billing information at checkout will help them decide if they want to make the purchase or not. Customers appreciate having the option to decide rather than charges being thrust on them without relevant information. And since they know what they are paying for, there won’t be any angry post-purchase customer queries that you need to respond to.
Track Order Fulfilment
Make sure your customers know the status of their order at all times. It could be an automated system, a simple text message or someone on the phone giving them updates on the order.
Knowing the location of the package makes it easier for them to plan for the delivery. You can also use this time to upsell or build a relationship with them by asking for a review of your product/service.
Deliver what you promise. This is the single most important retention strategy. If you say you will deliver in 3 days, make sure your delivery happens in 3 days. If there are unavoidable delays, keep them informed as I mentioned earlier.
Make Your Campaigns Count
Send email campaigns to your customers. Segment them based on the data you have and target each customer with a promotional offer that is of value to them.
Send emails to retrieve abandoned carts. Send them repeatedly on a weekly basis. Reminding your customers that they have items in their cart will move them to complete the purchase.
You can do all of this and more if you are using a good CRM. Look for something that has multiple features such as emails, SMS, Push Notifications, Web Notification, Pop-ups and so on. Only well planned and contextual campaigns deliver. So plan ahead and make sure the messages are relevant to the customer segments.
Provide Great Customer Service
At the core of a good customer retention strategy is a great customer service team that attends to each customer’s queries and redressals.
A good customer service strategy reacts to customer concerns. A great customer service strategy should anticipate customer concerns. And have alternate options ready even before they address it. You can do this by adding an FAQ page on your website or laying out your policies upfront. When customers see that you are quick to provide solutions, they are happy to continue with you.
Providing great customer service includes empathizing with your customer’s problem, offering them a clear roadmap to a solution and returning with concrete actions as specified in your solution.
Ask the Customer For Regular Feedback
If you are not asking your customer for regular feedback, you are not delivering what your customers expect. Your customers’ experience of shopping with you is critical to you retaining them. When you design your customer experience based on customer feedback, you are creating a shopping experience that your customers prefer.
Customer retention is more about ensuring that your customers are satisfied with their engagement with you. And one of the best ways to do this is to ask them if they are satisfied with their current engagement with you or if a few things need to be tweaked.
Your current customers will inform you of things you could do that will help you retain your future customers. And it is a continuous process. You keep sending your customers surveys to learn what adjustments to make to your customer experience.
Have an Easy UX
Your user experience cannot be complicated with clunky screens overloaded with product images and many pages between cart and checkout. Part of a great customer experience is offering them an easy user experience. You can have an easy, intuitive UX by making small adjustments to your current website set up.
Limit the number of products listed in a single page, for both desktop or mobile versions. Space them out. Let your customers scroll for more options. When they click on a product, give them a quick product overview.
Tell them what sizes are available. Have high-resolution images of your products that help them visualize how the product would look in their hands.
Having an easy UX is not an additional feature. It is a fundamental part of your web design. Get it right before everything else. While you are at it, have an easy checkout process. Limit the number of clicks between the cart and checkout. Keep the number of form fields to a minimum.
Give Your Customers Variety
If your products exhibit a lack of variety, your customer could choose a competitor for something new. After a few buys, your customers may run out of interesting options from you. This is one of the most common reasons why a customer might try another brand.
Update your product offering seasonally. Give your customers new reasons to stay with you. Also, keep them excited with promotional campaigns about what is coming up in a fresh seasonal release. This also gives your customers a reason to shop from you again.
Manage a Robust Loyalty Program
Running a loyalty program is the surest way to enforce customer retention. When your customers know that they get store credits or loyalty points for their purchase, they will come back to you to convert them into a purchase. Enroll your customers in an active loyalty program with reward points for every purchase.
Send them notifications on how many points they have accumulated and when they are due for converting them into credits for buying something from your store. Creating a loyalty program also allows you to collect zero-party data that can be used to personalize your upsells and cross-sells to your customers.
Fact: It costs 5 times more to find a new customer than to retain an existing one.
Finally, you need to remember that this is a transactional relationship between you and the customer and you need to always thank them. Appreciate the fact they are spending their hard-earned money on you. Always let them know how they are contributing to your growth and how your business will be that much better because of their trust in you.
These were some of the best practices in customer retention strategy in eCommerce. Have a thought to share? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.