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5 Tips for Customer Retention in E-Commerce

Jacob Brain


Creating customer retention in E-commerce is one of the most difficult issues in running an online store. Despite being engaged in a global market with sometimes equal competitors offering similar products, creating value for your listing of the product over any other very difficult. If you are lucky enough to offer a unique set of products, then your task is a bit easier, but not simple by any means.

In most cases, a lot of attention and money was spent when you created the store to attract sales. Typically the number one initiative once you launch a store is to make enough money to cover the cost of implementation. But once you reach that first plateau you realize you are in for a much longer and difficult journey. You can spend more and more money to drive new leads to your store in the high cost field of lead generation, or you can keep that same customer returning to your cart creating more “lifetime value”, at times for a much lower cost. Let’s look at five tips for keeping your customers engaged into your cart to raise your “lifetime value”.

1. Remind Them Of Their Purchase

Many E-commerce experiences we see are not following up with customers after the purchase. You buy a product and that might be the last time you ever hear from them. More successful shopping experiences are using email and traditional media to bring customers back to the shopping experience. They know what the customer purchased, and make suggestions, offers, and other enticing appeals to bring them back related to that initial purchase. If the customer is happy with the purchase and the cart is simple, they will be back.

2. Make Creating Accounts Simple

Most E-commerce systems do require users to make an account, but many of us think the one time checkout option is better because it allows the user to define their experience with us. Making customers create accounts allows you the ability to create detailed demographic information about your customer to supplement your retention efforts. Further more, once a user has an account, making it simple to login and complete purchases from stored credit cards make the next purchase that much simpler. We are all familiar with “One-click checkout” from Amazon. The are the first company to make a multistep process of buying a product online, as simple as one click, and it comes from successful customer accounts.

3. Share Your Growth

Along side of your email efforts for customized information in tip number 1, your customers need to know that you are growing. When a customer visits your site and makes a purchase, they gather an understanding of your brand and offering. This understanding of your brand and offering becomes your own obstacle to recapture your customer’s attention down the road. Update your customers on new product offerings, features, and even updates to your cart technology that make it easier and more relevant to purchase from you.

4. Enhance Customer Service

Following up with a customer 4-5 days after their product arrives is a great way to engage them in the satisfaction with their purchase as well as the shopping experience overall. A post-shipping survey is a nice way to gather feedback and is another touch point to develop your customer service and brand message with the customer. This lets them know you are focused on their satisfaction and also want them to know you are there for them outside of your purchase.

5. Offers, not Discounts

We always advocate to our customers that you should give offers, not discounts. Never sacrifice the margin on a product to drive its sales. There are expectations to this rule, but instead of a discount offer special promotions such as relevant add-ons, or free shipping on their next purchase. For example if you sell CDs and you know your customer love a certain artist. We’d promote a free shipping with purchase over a discount to that CD. This removes the expectation that cost is variable and they will wait until the discount comes along the next time they make a purchase.

These five tips are just the beginning to successful customer retention for an online shopping experience. Once you capture a customer, making them comeback should be a simple, lost cost exercise to drive more sales. All of the tips above require that you take customer data seriously and plan for retention from the beginning. New North is the only digital agency focused on customer retention and we can help any company position their online brand for maximum retention. Good luck with your retention efforts!



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