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How to Improve eCommerce Customer Retention

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How to Improve eCommerce Customer Retention

For years, my grandparents have done their grocery shopping in the same way. They'll buy their meat at one store, but their vegetables and seafood will be purchased at a different store. It's not as if they're any less expensive than what you'd find in a large supermarket. All that's happened is that they've built up a rapport and trust with the store owners. The store owners greet them, give them the best produce and they might even have some small talk before going about their day. Advertising and marketing strategies can't match this kind of customer relationship, and it’s a big factor in keeping most small businesses stay afloat.

Nowadays, it's no secret that many of us enjoy doing our shopping online because it's convenient and convenient. This is not to say, however, that customer loyalty has decreased. It has always been and will continue to be a critical part of any business.

Increasing client retention rates by 5%, according to Harvard Business School research, can boost profitability by 25%-95%. Furthermore, it is less expensive than attempting to acquire new customers.

Though many small businesses now tend to focus their marketing efforts on acquiring new consumers, there are others who prefer to nurture the relationships they currently have with existing customers. It’s really up to you to decide by checking your business objectives and going for the best strategy.

So, how do you go about increasing customer retention? Why are these essential for eCommerce business owners?

Read on to learn more.

What is customer retention?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself has remarked that customers tend to stay loyal, “right up until the second somebody provides them a better service.” This is why it’s your duty to give customers lots of reasons to stay with you.

Customer retention refers to a set of processes and strategies used by a business to improve the number of repeat customers and the profitability of each existing customer.

It is essentially about retaining acquired customers, providing a positive customer experience, and ensuring that your products continue to provide value.

While customer acquisition generates a pool of customers, your customer retention plan should focus on how to develop connections with those customers and maximize revenue from each one. 

To monitor results for your own store, you’ll have to keep track of your customer retention rate. This is the percentage of existing customers who remain with you at the end of a specified time period. You can select the time interval or intervals that are most appropriate for your products or services. Monthly tracking is preferred by some eCommerce companies. Others require longer or shorter time periods for measurement.

Let’s delve in a little deeper into what you can do as a brand to retain your customers:

Make the unboxing experience magical

We don’t mean adding in glitter and fairy dust, though that certainly could help some brands. When it comes to the customer experience, the only part that gets a 100% open rate is the package that brands send them.

Today, unboxing packages is an experience in and of itself. As a result, it is able to establish a relationship between brands and their customers. For your customers, it demonstrates that you care about the brand and the products. It creates an unforgettable experience although a short one. A positive unboxing experience for your customers would undoubtedly help you increase your ratings.

Here are a few ideas to impress your customer once they receive their package:

Photo taken from SquareUp

  • If your products may be new or unfamiliar to most customers, include an instructional card or pamphlet that briefly but clearly explains what they need to do with each of the things they ordered and how to make it work
  • You could also include a nice business card with your tagline that they may want to keep
  • Make the box feel unique by including brand features such as some small freebies or even a handwritten note from the CEO. This comes across as genuine, particularly in a society where everything appears to be excessively commercialized and brands appear to lack heart. It’s an effective approach to express appreciation and may make a good first impression to potential customers.
  • Simple details such as a beautiful branded box or wrapping things in nice tissue paper can go a long way toward elevating the experience.

Here are some ways you can upgrade the impact your packaging makes:

  • The box - This creates the first impression, therefore, provides an excellent opportunity for branding and really upping the wow factor.
  • Tissue paper - This is necessary for cushioning and safeguarding items especially fragile ones. It can also be used to make the package a little more fancy than usual. Go the extra mile by matching the colors to your branding or special occasions. You can even customize your own.
  • Tape - The typical clear tape has no place here. We recommend using branded tape to make your packaging more attractive. If there’s no budget, even some nice stickers will do.
  • Samples - Providing these creates cross-selling opportunities with relevant and complementary products.

If you execute your packaging and unboxing effectively, the customer will have an incredibly good experience with your brand. It will make them want to take a photo or film the unboxing experience to share with their friends or followers online.

Subsequently, they should have an equally good response to any upsells or cross-sales you send via email.

Provide exceptional customer service

A business that can provide consistent customer service quality across numerous channels has a higher probability of keeping customers. On the other side, customers who didn’t deliver continuous customer service quality wouldn't be able to retain as much.

Customer loyalty is built on excellent customer service at all times. A single bad customer service experience can ruin a long-term customer connection and erase all past good ones. Don't forget that trust is hard to earn but easy to lose online. Errors will occur. No system is perfect. A speedy and polite customer service experience ensures a positive customer experience.

To deliver great customer service, you should build a customer service guidebook or playbook that educates your personnel through many scenarios and the ways to manage them. This playbook can include commonly asked questions and recurring requests like refunds and exchanges.

Perfect customer service is required at all times, but especially when correcting errors or resolving customer issues. How your customer care team handles this issue will impact the consumer's perception of your company. Customer satisfaction can be increased by increasing customer service KPIs like response time. 

Offering live chat on your website may streamline the buying experience and increase conversion rates. This is why it’s also crucial to make it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch with you. This can involve being available by email, social media, and even by phone if needed.

Display your contact information across all your social network profiles, your website, and your product pages plainly. Keep these in crucial spots so they’re available at a glance.

Offer exciting loyalty and referral programs

The best kind of customer? A satisfied customer who recommends you to others. There are two ways to build up these kinds of customers, through ambassador and loyalty programs.

Though not new, loyalty and ambassador programs are a tried-and-true strategy. Loyalty programs encourage customers for returning to the same store by offering discounts and other perks while ambassador programs is a strategy that not only pays customers for spreading the word about your company and products, but also empowers them to do so.

These programs generally offer points that can be used for discounts, awards, or other items. Like Sephora, Starbucks and Amazon Prime have shown, loyalty programs may significantly increase customer retention.

Loyalty programs may surely improve one’s business because nothing beats a genuine recommendation from a prior customer.

When designing a program, consider empowering your ambassadors. Create an incentive system for referring new customers.

Engage and stay in touch

After your customers have already spent their money on your brand, and you’ve shipped out their order, you might think that the work is done and just hope for the best.

But the best course of action is really to actively engage with your customers after the sale. You might want to engage them via social media or targeted email marketing. This is to remind customers of your existence and stay connected to you. A post-purchase marketing message can build up a customer's excitement about their incoming package.

Sending over a simple thank you email or a message after a successful order can show your customer you care. You might even ask for feedback, or simply giving them a nice experience might entice them to do so without you needing to ask. Small actions like these can definitely strengthen their confidence in you and be a returning customer.

We recommend that the first post-purchase email should enter a customer's inbox as soon as they place their order. This gives the customer assurance that their order was completed successfully.

Most brands send an order confirmation and leave it at that. Sending a branded or personalized greeting can help bring personality to your brand, making it more memorable.

Make arduous tasks like returns and refunds a pleasant experience

Every part of the customer experience should be top tier. To do so, you’ll have to make sure that even your store's return policy is flexible to make customers feel at ease. The more options, the better. For shoppers, online shopping is risky because they cannot see or touch the items they are purchasing. They want to be confident they can return unwanted items for a refund.

It would also be best to make these policies easily accessible so customers can check it before buying. You might want to place it around your store as its own page or you might want to include it in your automated email once they check out.

Remember, unfair return policies can destroy customer loyalty. 

No business wants to deal with returns but you’ll need to resist the temptation to implement a stringent or inconvenient return policy. Why? Any loyalty you've built up will vanish the moment a shopper encounters it. It makes you seem untrustworthy and maybe even deceptive. It will increase the chances of them never purchasing from your store again, and worse, they might even post about the terrible experience online.

Our advise? Make returns simple, convenient, and unrestricted.


Customer retention is an important factor to consider while expanding your business. Retaining customers is definitely easier and less expensive than recruiting new potential customers. Customer retention strategies can deliver more bang for your buck for businesses as the costs are much less than for acquisition.

Increasing customer retention doesn’t have to be too hard to do. It’s really about building great customer experiences that are easy and pleasurable enough to persuade customers to return and continue to do so over time. By focussing on exceptional customer service, excellent customer support, fast and regular communication, and employing the right tools to do so, you may be well on your way to increasing your customer retention and growing your business.

Today, Shopify is one of the easiest ways to make your goal of owning an online business a reality. The awesome platform has amazing capabilities and enough flexibility that allows businesses to really build and improve the customer experience.

If you need assistance or are seeking for the best agency to apply these marketing techniques, as well as create and design your Shopify store, look no further than Webinopoly.

Webinopoly is a multi-award-winning digital agency specializing in design, setup, development, and marketing. Our services include everything from creating your Shopify store to theme customization, website development, Shopify migration, SEO, and marketing.

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