Businesses need to plan for growth, which can be a daunting task, especially if you’re having a hard time acquiring new customers. While gaining new customers is essential, it’s not the only factor that affects growth.
In fact, retaining your existing customers is much more important for revenue growth. According to Invesp, even just a 5% increase in your customer retention rate could result in a 25%-95% increase in profits. That means your main focus should be on keeping your current customers. And when you do acquire new customers, you need to invest in tactics that will get them to make repeat purchases. Here are a few innovative ways to help you keep your customers:
#1: Introduce Subscription Commerce
Subscription commerce is an eCommerce business model where the product or service you sell can be bought on a recurring basis. One of the most popular types of subscription commerce offerings are curated boxes of products around a certain theme. A recent client example is a series of children's books where the customer receives a different book each month.
Another popular area for subscriptions is frequently used consumables such as health and beauty products--soaps, skin care products, healthy drinks etc. Our client, Bragg Live Foods sells their apple cider vinegar products on a subscription basis.
Then there are digital memberships and products such as software-as-a-service. Examples include Shopify, SalesLayer, HubSpot and BigCommerce.
A subscription encourages your customers to think in terms of being in a relationship rather than a one-time exchange. Like all human relationships, you want to have the sense that you are being taken care of, and that the person (or merchant in this case) on the other end of this relationship cares for your well-being.
#2: Be Responsive to Customer Complaints
According to GetFeedback, 33% of customers will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience. Thanks to poor customer service, it’s estimated that U.S. companies lose more than $136 billion a year due to avoidable customer churn.
On the flip side, 77% of customers would recommend a business to a friend after having a positive experience with a company. As retailers, it’s up to you to turn their negative experience into something positive through how you react to their complaints. Don’t view the customer as part of the problem, but instead as part of the solution.
#3: Provide Personalized Product Recommendations
If you have an online store, personalized product recommendations can be an excellent way to retain your customers. When you recommend relevant products to customers, it can persuade them to buy more products, increasing their average order value. It also allows you to be helpful by anticipating what the customer might need with the products they’re currently viewing. This can enhance their experience and may even turn them into loyal advocates of your brand.
In fact, according to Invesp, 56% of online shoppers say that they will return to a store that offers product recommendations. And 53% say that retailers are providing a valuable service when they personalize the shopping experience. This means that personalized product recommendations have a huge impact on customer experience, which in turn impacts their loyalty.
You could recommend products that complement the items currently being viewed. For example, recommend items that would make a stylish outfit with the top a shopper is currently viewing.
It is also a good idea to recommend products that are similar to the item being viewed so shoppers can see their options. Or you could also recommend products that are frequently bought with the item being viewed.
Amazon has always done a great job with their personalized product recommendations. For some products, they display items that are often bought along with the item being viewed or they display items that customers might need along with the item being viewed.
#4: Engage Customers on Social Media
You may think that social media marketing is just for big brands. But the truth is that every business should be on social media to connect with their customers. Even if you’re not launching a social media marketing campaign, you still need it to engage customers and build a relationship with them.
Statista reports that in 2017, 81% of the U.S. population now has a social media profile. So, there’s a good chance that most of your customers are on social media. This makes social media an inexpensive, fast and convenient way to connect with them.
You can use social media to share customer experiences, provide updates about your business and take care of unhappy customers. For effective engagement, try encouraging customers to share photos of their experiences with your business. Then feature those photos on your profile. You can also keep track of customer complaints and respond to them via social media.
A restaurant chain local to Omaha, NE called Block 16 does a fantastic job of posting its featured meal of the day with some beautiful pictures of mouth-watering food. What they have done is take the element that makes them unique and turn that into a dedicated community of supporters on Facebook.
#5: Reward Your Loyal Customers
Loyal customers are extremely valuable to any business. The previously cited Invesp report also stated that existing customers spend 31% more money than new customers. Your regulars deserve a reward for being loyal to your business. Start a loyalty program in which your return customers can enjoy perks that are unavailable to new customers.
You could design a program in which members can accumulate points for their purchases, and then exchange those points for discounts or free products. Or you could have a program with exclusive memberships, where members can enjoy benefits such as free shipping on every purchase, or free access to your resources.
Whatever you decide to do, the goal is to make regulars feel valued by providing them with perks like increased convenience or savings.
Introducing a reward system is a great way for your business to not only create repeat customers, but also increase customer loyalty. Members receive rewards points for every purchase, which they can redeem for savings on future orders with a customer retention loyalty program.
Bonus Tip - Customer Surveys
In addition to the five tips above, you can also conduct customer surveys to find out how your customers really feel about your brand or products. Maybe there’s a certain process that they find particularly annoying or time-consuming. Or maybe there’s an offering that they particularly like and they want you to increase the frequency of that offering.
Either way, customer surveys can help you gather valuable insights. You can use those insights to make improvements that will enhance the customer experience nand help you retain your existing customers.
Got any questions about these tips? Feel free to chat with one of our eCommerce experts.