5 marketing tactics to retain your online customers

It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one”. Of course all businesses need to keep a certain focus on customer acquisition if they want to keep growing. But there is a stage in the business development where customer retention becomes at least as important – if not more – than acquisition.

A retention marketing strategy is one that is focused on creating and offering value to existing customers. A good customer retention strategy does not only help you to secure your market shares. It can also drive horizontal growth as happy customers will have a higher purchase frequency or bigger average purchase basket.

Here are a few customer retention tactics for your online business:

1. An absolutely delightful customer experience

It should be the very first focus for every business willing to retain its customers! If a customer has a bad first shopping experience, all the best loyalty programs and later emails may remain unconsidered. Conversely an enjoyable shopping experience (clear information, user-friendly interface, easy and smooth checkout, etc.) maximizes the chances of your customers to coming back.

2. Helpful online assistance

As part of the shopping experience, let’s mention the online assistance tools that can help convert and retain long-term buyers. Helpdesks and live chats can help and reassure buyers when they need to take a purchase decision. Live chats give the missing human touch to online shopping – usually very appreciated by customers.

3. Segmented email campaigns

Emails can be used for a lot of communication purposes. When you do an email campaign with retention in mind – calling your past customers back to your online store – your email will have a more powerful impact if you carefully segment your database. A good tip is to find out what is your average time between purchases and send targeted emails to those who have exceeded this time period without making a new purchase.

4. Personal, personal, personal

No one likes to be treated like a number. The lack of human interactions involved in online shopping should be compensated by personalization tactics. For example, use your customers name in email communications (more than their customer ID!). Or send out personalized product recommendations based on their past purchases. Be creative in the way you treat your customers to show them that you care even if you don’t see them.

5. Earn and redeem online loyalty programs

This is an extremely effective tactic to encourage existing customers to stay with you, and discourage them to look for alternatives. These programs typically reward customers with virtual points for performing an action that benefit your business (a purchase, a social share, a subscription, etc.) and allow them to redeem for a coupon code or a product. This tactic encourages to come back and creates switching barriers (opportunity cost to go to a competitor).

There are many more retention tactics for long-term conscious marketers – these are only a few. It is always advised to combine retention tactics for greater effectiveness. For example, keep your customers informed by email about their loyalty points balance and personalize your suggestions for redeem products.

Finally, a customer retention strategy is only the logical continuation of a customer-centric marketing!