Customer retention strategies are defined as the ideas that businesses should implement to keep their customer’s stay with their brand. Most businesses focus on having new customers than customer retention. In fact, around 45% of businesses have more focus on customer acquisition, around 19% focus more on customer retention, and around 40% focus equally on both. However, customer retention is actually a much cheaper strategy for companies than customer acquisition.
What is customer retention?
Customer retention is the collection of activities a business uses to enhance the number of repeat customers and to boost the profitability of each existing customer.
Customer retention strategies allow you to both offers and extract more value from your existing customer base. You want to make sure the customers you worked so hard to acquire stay with you, have a great customer experience, and continue to get value from your products.
When to focus on customer retention
Whether you should focus the attention more on customer acquisition or retention is heavily influenced by where your store is in its lifecycle. Have a look at the timeline below for common guidance on your store’s potential investment levels.
1. Just starting: When you’ve just started your business there is one thing you should be focused on: getting customers. At this stage, your acquisition efforts should absolutely trump retention. Focus on strategies and tactics that will you grow up your customer base.
2. Having traction: You now gain customers and you are getting sporadic sales. At this stage, you can begin to introduce retention elements to encourage each customer to purchase more. You can start with retention email campaigns that focus on encouraging a past customer to purchase from you again.
3. Consistent: Now your sales are growing. This is the point where you should begin to think about mixing in more retention with your acquisition efforts. You can start a referral and/or a loyalty program as well as getting more serious with marketing automation.
Customer retention strategies examples
1. Offer ACTUAL personalization (Amazon)
Amazon is an excellent customer retention example by using their customer insights to create a list of product recommendations that they might be interested in. This tactic’s mechanism is based on the consumers’ past shopping activity (bought products, clicks, etc.). With 37% of Amazon’s revenue comes from its recommendation engine. Things we can learn from Amazon’s product recommendation engine:
- Personalize product suggestions based on customers’ browsing habits and web behavior
- Show the item that has been bought together in the past to boost the average order value through up-sells and cross-sells
- Make the name of your suggestion widget most efficiently as it is a clue to customers the reason to show and inspire them to click on
- Using real-time recommendations to provide the most convenience and satisfaction when users are browsing
- Usse personalized recommendation email to recommend your current customers about the new item list that they might be interested in
- Show your recommended items with its reviews on your promotional emails as social proof to boost your sales
2. Corporate social responsibility ( TOMS)
A brand also can inspire loyalty not through tactics and system, but through what they stand for. For example, TOMS put a new wave on how modern businesses can corporate social responsibility. The methodTOMS incorporate social responsibility into their business are:
- Do the “One for One” policy. Give one pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair of shoes they sell
- Cooperate with several non-governmental and other non-profit organizations to demonstrate ethical behavior
- Stand out and fights for human rights, combat bullying, and so forth
What this business did is build their entire business model around turning the world into a better place. As modern consumers, we have more cared about our purchasing habits’ altruistic and environmental effects beyond consumption. Things we can learn from TOMS:
- Find out something that your consumers concerned about and positioning your brand to it.
- Attach a significant message to your brand mission and communicate your values clearly for the customer to understand and able to love it
3. Educate and Help Customers (Canva)
For consumers to form a deep bond with a brand, they need more than just good products and services. They need to see that the brand truly concerned about helping them. A customer retention strategy that a brand can provide this type of support is by generating and sharing evergreen content that educates customers and supports them grow up
Canva’s Design School is a great example of this. The school offers resources, guides, and step-by-step videos that support their users to use their product as well as hone their graphic design skills.
4. Make a divide between you and competitors (Apple )
Do you want your customers to see you as the obvious choice over your competitors? Make note of Apple’s customer retention strategies, demonstrated by their “Mac vs. PC” ad campaign. The “Mac vs. PC” campaign was very tongue-in-cheek — and it created a lot of dispute. Not only that, but it divided the market and set Apple apart from its competitors by identifying the kind of consumers who should purchase Apple products.
5. Reward referrals (Evernote)
Look at how Evernote’s customer retention strategies do their referral program to boost more sales. They draw the attention of their referrals with a compelling reward – the free trial of Premium for inviting a required number of friends. We can learn from Evernote’s referral program:
- Your rewards worth your their time and effort
- Create a noticeable presence so that consumers can find your referral program
- Integrate your referral program with popular social media networks and make the sharing process of your brand as easier as possible
6. Build a strong brand community (Shopify )
Building a community will provide your customers the chance to discuss important topics and ask questions about your products and services. When customers feel connected to your business, they tend to show it through repeat purchases and word-of-mouth marketing which support you to create and grow a loyal customer base. Shopify is one of the effective customer retention strategies. Shopify’s community is a hub for information exchange on a global scale. The Shopify store owners can utilize it to engage with other store owners. We can learn from Shopify’ customer retention strategy
- Having a community is a crucial tool for customer education but is it essential to moderate the conversations in order to avoid irrelevant discussions that would dent your brand.
- The community develops a sense of belonging in customers to your brand. They decide to stick to your business for a lifetime.
7. Share Mission and Brand Story (Bombas)
One of the customer retention strategies is making them fall in love with your brand. When customers feel a connection with your brand, vision, and mission, that contributes to a deeper sense of loyalty. You can share your brand story and clearly communicate your values so consumers can get to know and love you.
Bombas shared their story to build brand loyalty successfully. They openly share their philanthropic mission, which comes with donating a pair of socks for every pair they sell.
8. Thank and Reward The Most Loyal Customers
If consumers forget about the loyalty program, DSW keeps them engaged with the program and reminds them where they stood and what they could earn by spending more at DSW website. We can learn from DSW’ customer retention strategy
- You should determine your brand goals clearly and make the right actions to handle customers.
- Focus more on customers instead of products or services.
- Monitor and learn your customers’ behavior from the data and try to go beyond their expectations.
9. Cater to your specific market if you’re a niche brand
Have a look at an authentic Japanese kimono brand, Kuden. This brand is committed to protecting kimono culture by redesigning traditional Japanese kimonos for everyday wear and doing so through ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes.
As a business that has a distinguishing cultural audience, they’ve branded themselves as being responsible for “The Birth of brand new mode”. This appeals to consumers who are looking to still celebrate their traditional Japanese culture with a new modern twist. As a brand that’s fulfilling a very specific niche need, they’ve been able to nurture a group of loyal customers.
10. Leverage employee engagement
The best example for customer retention strategies with employee engagement is Southwest Airlines. This brand grabbed the top rank in build excellent work ambiance and culture to make their staffs happy and comfortable. They created a healthy work environment for employees comprising teamwork, work values, and motivation. We can learn from Southwest Airlines’ customer retention strategy
- When you value your employees, they are ready to go the extra mile for you and deliver the best customer service experience.
- It is crucial to make employee training an integral part of your company culture to make them aware of your business’s vision
Focusing your time and energy on improving customer retention can be a powerful way to supercharge revenues for your store. It’s time for you to come up with your own! If you want to understand more about eCommerce tips you can read our articles for more detail.