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Customer Retention: 12 Ways to Get More Sales From Existing Customers

In times of slow growth, looking for new customers isn’t always the most profitable course. It’s sometimes easier to get current customers to make a repeat purchase than it is to find new customers. It’s true for many businesses, especially in the crowded ecommerce arena where clicks and conversions always seem to be increasing in cost.

Customer retention is the ability of a business to retain customers. It is both a measure of customer loyalty and capacity of the business to keep customers satisfied by good service and quality of the product sold.

It costs 7 times more on average to acquire a customer than it does to retain one and yet so many companies focus more on acquisition than customer retention.

Customer Retention

Does Retention Fit Your Business?

What you sell has a huge impact on which strategy you should focus on. A retailer selling luxury furs is going to be categorically different than a store selling phone cases.  A store whose customers purchase high value items frequently will have the highest customer lifetime value (CLV). These are the types of stores that have the most to gain from a solid retention strategy.

Does Retention Fit Your BusinessIn general, as you move to the right across this matrix you should start focusing more and more on retention. But remember, you should never ignore one or the other. It’s about finding a balance that makes the most sense for your business.  

What is Repeat Customer Rate

Repeat customer rate is the backbone of retention marketing. It measures the percentage of customers willing to make a second purchase from you. Measuring your repeat purchase rate is an excellent way of evaluating how well your retention strategy is actually working. The higher this metric is, the more willing customers are to return to your store.

Check Your Retention Rate in Google Analytics

To see how many clients return to your store, go to Google Analytics->Audience->Behavior->Returning VS New

Retention Rate On Google

Check Your Retention Rate in Shopify Analytics

To see your Shopify analytics, go to Analytics->Reports->First->time vs returning customer sales.

Retention Rate on Shopify

Focusing on retention strategy is imperative especially if you know that your repeat customers are responsible for 40% of the average store’s annual revenue.

Customer Retention Strategy

  • Customer Accounts
  • Customer Loyalty Programs
  • Segment Your Customers
  • Rewards Emails

Customer Accounts

On the one hand, customer accounts are often seen as too big of a commitment for new customers, on the other hand accounts can make repurchasing easier by giving customers instant access to previous orders as well as pre-filled shipping information.

Include Facebook Login Into Registration Flow

Make things easier for them and offer to login with Facebook.  The majority of your clients skip this step and prefer to buy as guests because they don’t want to share their data or spend useless time filling in your fields. With Facebook login you can also run Retargeting Ads and create lookalike audiences. And today it’s more than enough for you to return them, sell more, and simply engage during special offers or promotions.


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Facebook Login

Keep the Lead Capturing Flow As Simple As Possible

Do you really need all the information you ask them? It’s a nice idea to send gifts on their Birthdays but let’s be real will you actually fulfill that part of the deal?  More importantly, your goal is to get as many emails as possible so asking them to leave their address is simple and a most non-invasive way of collecting them.

Keep It Simple

Offer VIP Programs for Their Emails

Of course it’s tempting to become a VIP member and receive emails with special rewards. Make sure your VIP program differs from a regular account and make it stand out.

VIP Programs

Include Gamification

Turn it into a game and make them wait for your future emails with special points for purchases.

Double Points

Friends with Benefits

Don’t just ask about their data, don’t explain that you never share their personal data with any third party – instead show the benefits of creating an account with you. Create nice and simple graphics which explains what they are getting in return.

Friends With Benefits

Customer Loyalty Programs

One loyal client is better than 5 new clients. If you have steady sales coming in on a weekly basis (more than 10 sales a week), you must be receiving 40%+ of your revenue from these existing clients. It may not work for all types of products or services (see the table above) but if you belong to this side of market, grab your client and never let him leave you: reward them for their loyalty.

Get Them Involved

Turn them into partners and build the collaboration. If possible ask their opinion in Facebook polls, ask for feedback, address them in their Facebook and Instagram comments and always be online with them.

Get Them Involved

Sephora Beauty Pass as an example

Pick relevant text copy. Think of which copywriting suits them. Sephora created their beauty pass; weekly product baskets could have Free Dinner passes etc. Analyze their obsessions and create 3-5 options to choose within your team. Again, you can create a Facebook poll and ask their opinion!

Sephora Beauty Pass

Exclusive Perks For Shopping

It says FREE, and that’s all you really need! There is no obligation to buy and who doesn’t love to receive something for free. The word PERKS is used which is positive and not like the common and overused terms like bonuses or points. To succeed online, it’s important that you think outside the box.

Perks For Shopping

Segment Your Customers

In order to provide your customers with personalized recommendations and products you’ll need to segment them. 

Pinpoint Your Business Customers

Any quality shopping cart like Shopify or Bigcommerce will allow you to export your customers and purchases into a CSV file.

Pinpoint Your Business Clients

And once you have a CSV file, you can easily allocate your customers into specialized lists.  First off, you need to look for customers who have purchased an unusually high volume of furniture (I’ll use furniture as an example). For example, we flag customers who buy more than 5 similar beds or chairs in either a single purchase or over a period of time.

Pinpoint Your Business Customers

Now we can see that these 2 clients who bought 16 bunk beds and 16 bar chairs are for sure a hostel and/or a bar, or a VERY big family.

If this furniture business isn’t paying attention, they will miss potentially awesome deals with these 2 bulk clients!

Now divide these “special” customers, you can either call or send them an email to understand their furniture needs and establish a personal relationship.  This is an easy way to spot big clients and generate consistent B2B clients for your business.

Pinpoint Your Repeat Customers

After you’ve allocated your large business customers, you also want to find out who your true fans are.  These are the people who don’t necessarily purchase large volumes from your shop but make purchases on a consistent basis.

Once you’ve determined who these customers are, you can run specially targeted promotions, ads and emails to encourage them to buy more based on what they’ve purchased in the past.  In other words, you want to focus your ad dollars on repeat purchasers because it carries an amazing ROI.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Armed with the 2 customer lists above, your next step should be to upload these customer emails to Facebook and have Facebook automatically find customers who match these profiles.  This is called creating a “lookalike audience”.

You need Lookalike Audiences to find:

  • Other consumers with high purchasing power and large furniture needs.
  • Similar people who love your products.

 


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Start Creating Lookalike Audiences

To Start Creating Your Lookalike Audience:

  1. Go to your audience page here: https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/audiences/
  2. Click Create a Lookalike Audience. Choose your source (based on an app, conversion pixel, or Facebook page)
  3. Select the country where you’d like to find a similar set of people. Choose your desired audience size with the slider Click Create Audience

Creating Lookalike Audiences

Once you have these lookalike audiences in place, you can leverage Facebook ads to scale your business dramatically.  In fact, this is how most ecommerce businesses are able to grow exponentially.

Show Related Items

When a customer purchases from you, it means they trust you. And establishing trust is 90% of the battle.  Once they’ve opened up their wallets, you must now encourage them to purchase other items they might have missed the first time around.

For example, if they bought 2 products out of a possible 5  for a specific furniture range, it’s clear that you need to showcase other products in the same range to complete their room.

Send Reward Emails

Deciphering which marketing channel works best for you depends on your type of business. Every ecommerce benefits from: Google Adwords, Facebook Remarketing ads, and Email.

Elite Rewards of The Week

Your goal is to have your customers WANT to receive your emails. So send them on a regular basis. The key to success in this email strategy is personalization. Make every client feel special with their purchase history, account details, or at least {First Name}, hi!

Elite Rewards

My Rewards

They are not that interested in special offers and your hot deals, but personalized emails with their own rewards – this trigger will make them open all your emails to see what they earned or could earn with your help.

My Rewards

Next Purchase Discounts And Coupons

Make their unique codes personal and time limited. “YGH77563” will always work better than “10%ENJOY” with no time frames. Your goods are valuable and so is their time, so stop gifting worthless promo codes. Make them feel special buying these treats from you. And remind them that the only reason they have access to these limited deals is because you treasure their loyalty. And not because you need to make sales to increase your revenue!

Next Purchase Discounts

Summary

As a business owner, your goal is to always attract new customers and leads. And that’s essential if you want to keep growing as a business. But, never ever overlook the existing customers. It is them who are responsible for your recurring revenue. They are the ones who keep you afloat month after month. Go back and scroll through the many strategies we have laid out for you. In the end, Customer Retention is what can make or break your profits and revenues at the end of the year.

  • Lots of great ideas here. Thank you! In my opinion far too many business people neglect retention in favor of acquisition. It does not make business sense though.

    • bIanatiev

      Hey Tadeusz! Thanks for the comment! Retention is a crucial for every business, even for offline businesses.