Businesses thrive on the wheels of sales. But how can you make sales without customers?
Having customers buy from you for the first time is great, a second purchase is desirable, becoming a repeat buyer is the jackpot.
But how do you tell your repeat and loyal customers from the occasional buyer? Or even those customers who wander into your online store every now and then?
And how can you turn a first-time buyer into a lifelong customer?
What you need to do is understand and calculate your customer retention rate.
Many companies sink or swim based on their ability to retain customers. If you’ve been swimming, these tips will serve as an extra lifebuoy. If you’re sinking, then this post is your life jacket.
In this post, we’ll be exploring what a customer retention rate is and how to increase it for your e-commerce store.
The customer retention rate (CRR) is a metric that indicates the number of customers that keep coming back to your store.
How often you choose to measure your CRR depends on your business and the types of products you sell. You can measure your CRR on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis.
It’s worth mentioning that the customer retention rate is one of the most important metrics of loyalty program success.
Acquiring a new customer seems thrilling and rewarding but having a high percentage of retained existing customers is much more rewarding and cost-efficient.
According to a report by Harvard Business Review, “onboarding a new customer is somewhere between 5x and 25x more expensive than retaining a customer you already have. And with a simple 5% increase in retention rates, you can grow profits by 25 to 95%.”
Meanwhile, Gartner Group reports that “a 5% increase in customer retention can increase business profits by 25% to 125%.” This goes to show how valuable a working customer retention strategy can be to businesses, especially since existing customers have greater lifetime value for the business.
But how do you create a winning customer retention strategy that keeps your current customers coming back and even taking a step further by referring your brand?
It’s not an easy road but it’s certainly doable. However, it does take time, effort, and money to earn a customer’s loyalty.
But the good news is: Once you’re done, you can move from focusing on customer acquisition to building retention and possibly getting referrals.
Happy customers are your brand’s walking billboard and the last thing you want to do is lose them. This is why the customer retention rate is an important key performance indicator (KPI) that all businesses should measure and improve.
Paying customers are the lifeline of businesses and brands. They help you thrive longer. But paying customers don’t simply become lifelong paying customers overnight.
Savvy brands nurture them into becoming loyal customers. And to ensure that these customers remain loyal, brands offer customer loyalty programs and regularly calculate their customer retention rate.
Let’s look at tips that can help e-commerce store owners like you increase their customer retention rates.
Businesses rarely get a second chance to make a good first impression.
When customers experience your product or service for the first time, does it leave a lasting impression of great service? Or does it leave them with a bitter taste or a desire to never return? Are customers left hanging when they need help? Or when there’s friction like having to return a product?
A good onboarding process should look out for possible pitfalls and offer appropriate help where needed. An effective customer onboarding program can include well-timed email triggers, follow-up messaging, celebratory messages, self-service, among other options to attract, impress, and retain these first-time customers.
No retention or marketing strategy beats products meeting customers’ expectations or surpassing them. Getting this right alone can turn customers into brand ambassadors or unpaid marketers (AKA walking billboards).
Transforming customers from every-now-and-then-buyers to loyal customers to brand ambassadors is the ultimate goal for businesses today. This not only guarantees repeat purchases but also translates to referrals and lifelong loyalty.
Sincerity and transparency win any day, any time. Transparency in communication is key. Brands with a high customer retention rate are those that make it a habit to communicate clearly and truthfully.
If your products can achieve “XY” for your customers, your brand messaging shouldn't say “XYZ.” While customers expect a superb product or performance from your product, they give room for human errors and mistakes.
However, they also expect brands to own up to those mistakes and make necessary corrections as soon as those mistakes occur.
Ensuring your communication with customers is clear and frictionless ensures honesty, builds loyalty, and makes your brand trustworthy.
Companies can boost retention by continuously providing a high-quality customer experience through relationship building and engagement.
This could be done via investing time in understanding customers’ concerns about your product or service and following up with necessary corrections or alterations.
Relationships can be tightened through social media content that assures, engages, rewards, answers, and informs customers about your products.
Publishing content consistently on social media enhances loyalty, while also keeping your products top-of-mind.
Many times, customers are willing to be loyal to a brand but sometimes brands become distant or inaccessible, prompting customers to look for alternatives and move on to their competitors.
One of the top ways to increasing your customer retention rate is knowing how your customers feel and genuinely trying to fix it.
When you understand their concerns and pain points, you can take action based on their feedback, refine your approach, and better meet their needs.
You can do this via surveys, social media posts, phone calls, etc.
Always remember to send personalized thank you notes or emails after feedback has been given.
One of the pros of e-commerce is having social proof, which shows your customers that people like them have made similar purchases from you and how they felt about those purchases.
Using social proof in your e-commerce store can go a long way into enticing and converting first-time buyers faster. It can also help reduce your customer acquisition costs and increase retention.
Buyers crave the thoughts of other buyers before making a purchase. Capitalize on the power of social proof in your marketing campaigns and social media content.
Shared causes or values will attract customers to your brand and retain them. By working together with your customers to give back to local communities or important causes, you can build a better and stronger relationship with your customers.
Meanwhile, customers will get emotionally attached to your brand and believe that each of their purchases and referrals is making a difference. Let your customers know what you stand for and incorporate it into your brand.
You can also do this through your loyalty program. Brands like The Body Shop allow customers to use their points to donate to certain charities.
After buying your product, customers' behavior around said product should be collected and analyzed. Many times, customers use these products in ways different from how they were initially designed to be used.
This data can help your business create better products and messaging that integrates your brand and products into your customer’s lifestyle.
Regardless of your industry or the type of products you sell, improving your customer retention rate is your key to success and growth.
However, calculating your CRR can be hard, especially if you’re not sure what to look for. Having a successful customer loyalty program in your e-commerce store begins your journey with attracting and retaining customers. It also gives you numbers and data to work with.
Using Gameball, you can achieve this multi-faceted equation of attracting customers, retaining them, and reviewing your customer retention metrics. It also gives you the opportunity to take the next step and get your current customers to refer you.
After all, customers who trust you help you build trust faster with their friends, family, and other connections.
If you want to begin retaining customers, then check out Gameball’s customer retention and engagement platform. Gameball easily integrates with all e-commerce websites.
If you’re on Shopify, you can get Gameball via the Shopify app store. We also have an always free plan for Shopify store owners.