When people think of their favorite brands, they likely have a laundry list of reasons they feel so positively about them. From a stellar product to excellent customer service or fast shipping, it’s easy to pinpoint why they keep coming back.

And that’s a good thing, as most businesses can’t survive on one-off purchases alone. Acquiring new customers is great, of course, but the time and effort required to find them is costly. Repeat business from customers who know and love your product or service is inexpensive by comparison.

Achieving such brand loyalty, however, is easier said than done. There’s a substantial amount of competition in the e-commerce space, and many factors can influence a shopper’s decision to complete their purchase or look elsewhere. Luckily, certain approaches can make this more feasible. The most powerful is retention marketing, which is a strategy designed to maintain a positive relationship with existing customers. Here are a few ways to apply this marketing method to your business.

Reward Loyalty

Exclusive offers, the chance to earn a birthday reward, and free shipping can all be great perks of loyalty programs. And they can be an incredibly effective retention marketing tactic because they create a feeling of belonging and bring value. Plus, they’re completely customizable for just about any business.

Think of loyalty programs as the modern-day punch card. Of course, the promise of a free item after 10 purchases may not be enough to make everyone shop. But the people who follow through to gain the incentive have just contributed greatly to your bottom line. And your most loyal customers will love the reward.

It’s not necessary to reinvent the concept, either. Look at competitor loyalty programs for inspiration and create a unique version for your business. Consider rolling it out in small audience segments and asking for direct feedback from your most valued customers. Gathering their input shows them how much their opinions matter and helps create a better end product.

Continue building upon your program once it’s been around for a while, too. Adding exclusive, limited-time offers that have easy-to-understand requirements can be great for business. But remember to align the reward offered and the effort required to make it worthwhile. Once that balance is found, you’ll likely have an even bigger group of repeat shoppers.

Make Shopping Personal

Learning about your audience, how they tend to use your site, and how to best reach them is just the beginning. Even if your business reaches tens of thousands of people, customers like to feel important. Personalization has the power to do that.

With the right data, personalization becomes a powerful marketing tool. It can allow businesses to tailor what customers see online in every platform to ensure it’s relevant and valuable. From suggestions on other things to buy to promotions related to browsing history, every experience is unique. It creates a shopping journey in which no two people have the same experience.

The beauty is that personalization can be as simple or as complex as you want. You can start by addressing customers by name in emails or other communication channels like an app. Then, you can offer the option to customize their experience with unique and editable shopping lists. Even adding a product subscription option for items they buy often can feel like something tailored just for them.

Personalization is all about building trust, creating a feeling of belonging, and humanizing the digital experience. Of course, creating that kind of environment is no small feat. But even minor personalized adjustments can make a big impact on repeat and new customers alike.

Optimize Your Feedback Channels

An unhappy customer is unlikely to return. If they don’t have a place to express their dissatisfaction, they may even take to social media. That can be detrimental to brand perception and render any other retention strategies null and void. So making your feedback channels easy to use and understand is vital.

Think about pain points you’ve personally experienced or heard about to help inform your approach. Unanswered emails, long phone wait times, or a chatbot that had you going in circles are all things to avoid. Instead, invest in your communications channels and request firsthand feedback from customers. A quick survey or questionnaire can do the trick. These small interactions allow customers to expand on their experience and highlight potential adjustments to make.

After this feedback loop is in place, the focus turns to action. Take the feedback you receive on your website, the purchasing experience, and customer service reps seriously. You’re seeking to build trust with your most valued customers, and genuinely caring about their input is a great place to start. You demonstrate that by implementing positive changes based on it.

Keep Them Wanting More

Retaining customers is crucial to strong business performance, especially given the immense amount of competition e-commerce retailers face. But remember that marketing is ever-changing, and your business should be, too. Keep a close eye on the results of your retention marketing efforts and incorporate enhancements on a regular cadence to keep the momentum going. 

This shows customers that you genuinely care and want to improve so they have a better experience. The time and effort you’re willing to invest become yet another reason they’ll love to support your brand.


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