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Mastering Customer Retention Strategies for eCommerce Growth

vijay

Vijay Kumar

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

March 15, 2024

8 min read

Some customers keep coming back to an eCommerce site to make more purchases, whereas some never come back after buying once or twice from the website. This customer behaviour is the result of their experience shopping on an online site. Retaining customers is vital for the generation of sales and gaining profits. Making customers stay with your brand for a longer time increases your customer base. This will in turn help you create a brand identity and get established in the business sector.  

Customer retention determines the success of a brand in today’s competitive eCommerce business culture. A 5% increase in client retention rates can result in a 25–95% increase in profits. Compared to new consumers, repeat customers spend 67% more.

It is very important to retain customers nowadays when there is high competition among several brands.  Retaining customers is easier than making new ones. This article explores the importance of customer retention and various customer retention strategies that are followed by businesses.

What Exactly is Customer Retention?

 Customer retention is the ability of a brand to retain customers interested in and satisfied with the brand’s products or services for long periods. The customer retention rate of an online business directly impacts its sales. It also shows the business’s loyal customer base and the demand for its products.

Nowadays, customer retention is very important for eCommerce businesses because of the multiple competitors in the market. The need for a customer retention programme is greater than ever, as a well-planned and executed strategy has the potential to retain customers and encourage them to make more purchases. There is a simple formula used by businesses to identify their customer retention rate, which is:

(Number of customers at the end of the period – the number of new customers acquired during the same period) / number of customers at the start of the period x 100

The average customer retention rate generally ranges between 30% to 40% for eCommerce businesses.

Significance of Customer Retention for a Business

Customer retention is significant for eCommerce businesses for various reasons. It impacts several aspects of the business directly. Some of these are explained below to showcase the significance of customer retention in a business:

  1. Customer retention will help you get numerous repeat customers who want to try new products because they already trust your brand.
  2. Businesses can save on budget if they convert existing customers into repeat buyers. This is because approaching new customers, spending on ads, and marketing are more expensive.
  3. Customer retention makes existing customers talk about your brand and products in front of their friends and family. This mouth-to-mouth publicity is the most efficient and best way to do marketing for free.
  4. The recurring customers also help you build your business better, as they provide loyal feedback. you can use this to construct your business better.

Top 10 Business Techniques to Retain Customers

For eCommerce businesses, customer retention is crucial since it impacts their efficiency. Businesses implement a variety of strategies to retain clients. Here are a few of the most efficient techniques:

1. Customer accounts: The best approach to keep customers coming back to your eCommerce platform is through the individual accounts they have made. Clients with accounts get access to customised online shopping, order tracking, notifications on sales and promotions, and the ability to review their orders at any time. This will provide them with a great experience, compelling them to come back to your website.

2. Customer support: The customer support team of your business matters a lot in retaining customers. Make sure the customer support representatives are helping customers with their problems on time through various means of communication.

3. Email marketing: The email marketing method is old yet an effective way to communicate with customers. Brands can send personalised emails or newsletters to customers with exclusive product recommendations, sales, discounts, etc.

4. WhatsApp updates: WhatsApp is being used by a lot of businesses to communicate with their clients. It makes it simpler to communicate with consumers and brands worldwide. Customers can receive real-time help and replies and order updates through WhatsApp communication. Customers will be more satisfied and trusting because of this accessibility, which increases client retention.

5. Subscriptions: Businesses can provide subscription services to recurring customers for their convenience. The subscription option ensures that the customer is buying regularly, resulting in higher retention rates.

6. Feedback from the customers: To identify the areas for improvement and enhance your products or services, it is crucial to consider the views and input of your customers. Companies should regularly carry out surveys, social media polls, reviews, and other forms of consumer feedback to learn about their experiences. This will help you provide a better customer experience, which will encourage customers to come back again and again to your shopping site.

7. Customer programmes: Companies tend to offer customer loyalty programmes and other similar incentives to customers who regularly shop with them and are brand loyal. These kinds of initiatives can show consumers that the brand values them. Programmes for rewarding loyal customers include special deals, discounts, first access to new releases, and more.

8. Follow-up: It is important to make your first impression. After the order is delivered to the customer, businesses can request a follow-up so they can get their reviews. This phase strengthens the bond between the brand and its clients and helps in client retention.

9. Discounts: Businesses or brands can provide credits or discounts to current clients who haven’t made any purchases in a while. Customers get a reminder of you by this action, which encourages them to return for additional discounts and offers and make a purchase.

10.  Social media: These days, having a social media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc is crucial for attracting and keeping clients. Through your social media platforms, customers can interact with you, share their experiences, find offers and sales, and remain connected.

Perfect Examples: Successful Customer Retention Strategies by Famous Brands

Customer retention is important for every business to survive. Multiple strategies and activities are followed by businesses to engage customers, satisfy their needs, and make them loyal to the brand. Here are some examples of successful customer retention strategies used by some famous brands.

  1. Amazon: Amazon provides subscription services known as ‘Amazon Prime’ to their customers. Amazon Prime helps the business retain its customer base, and it also benefits the customers by providing them with free two-day delivery services, special deals, offers, streaming services, etc.
  2. Nike: Nike is a perfect example of how brands should build customer relationships and communities over a longer period. Nike has an app named ‘Nike Run Club.” This app provides training plans, tracking features, special offers, entry to Nike events, etc. Nike has created a community with their app, which retains customers for the long term.
  3. Starbucks: Starbucks has a loyalty programme for its customers who purchase frequently. This encourages customers to purchase frequently using Starbucks rewards, deals, and offers provided by their loyalty ram. Starbucks also adds a point to the customer’s account for every purchase they make, then further offers to redeem them for free food and drinks.

The Right Time to Act to Retain Customers

There is no one right time for a business to act and retain customers, as every business and customer is different. However, there are  certain points in the entire customer lifecycle when businesses can act rightly and retain their customers for life. Such as-

  • First purchase: It’s a good time to start acting when a customer just purchased their first product from you. The relationship is fresh, and businesses can make their first impression by sending a thank-you email or message, asking for their feedback, or offering a discount. 
  • Marketing: When businesses do not want to spend much on marketing to attract new customers, they can at least use some strategies to engage and retain existing customers.
  • Holiday season: During the holiday season, businesses can have special discounts, offers, or sales for their customers to explore, purchase, and re-engage with their brand.
  • Recurring orders: When brands notice recurring orders from customers, they can offer loyalty programmes, special offers, or discounts to retain them.
  • New launch: When businesses launch new products, their existing customers are the best audience they can use to examine their new product and its benefits, as they already trust the brand.

Conclusion

In conclusion, customer retention is important to survive in the eCommerce business world. Strong brand and customer relationships help businesses grow in the long term. Brands planning for their successful future are prioritising customer happiness and satisfaction first by providing them with great experiences. They use various strategies to create bonds and retain customers. Many famous brands are using client retention strategies to elevate the efficiency of their brand and the loyalty of their customers. 

Is 20% a good customer retention rate?

The ideal customer retention rate for your business depends on the industry you are working in. However, customer retention rates ranging from 30% to 85% are considered good.

Which company has the highest customer retention rate in India?

Different companies in different categories have high retention rates, but brands like Amazon, Apple, and Netflix have the highest of all.

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