Customer retention is one of the easiest ways to boost your profitability. Despite this, many eCommerce stores focus almost exclusively on acquisition. Sure, getting new customers is fun (and necessary), but your current customers are often your greatest asset.
The thing is, lots of marketers know they should invest more into their eCommerce retention efforts. But it’s not always easy to know where to begin. So, let’s explore 6 of the most straightforward email retention strategies to keep customers coming back for more.
By the end, you’ll have a handful of proven retention strategies you can implement to boost customer satisfaction and boost your bottom line.
Ready to jump in? Let’s not waste any time.
6 Actionable Email-based Customer Retention Strategies to Try
Here are our top tactics to transform one-time buyers into lifelong customers:
1. Send a Birthday Gift
Everyone loves getting a treat on their birthday, right?
So why not send your customers a personalized gift to make their day extra special and move them closer to your brand?
Here’s a great example from Nike:
Nike offers their customers 25% off during their birthday month. You could also think about offering customers a cash discount (e.g., $10 off) or another perk like free shipping.
To send these emails, you’ll need to collect customer birthdays. And one of the best places to do that? Your Thank You page.
According to the psychological principle of consistency, customers who land on your Thank You page are highly likely to comply with other requests you have.
So that means you’ll be able to easily snap up a large number of customer birthdays and automatically enter them into your email automation—retention on auto-pilot, anyone?
If your store runs on Shopify, ReConvert is an app that allows you to customize your Thank You page with an awesome birthday collector widget.
2. Get Your Customer’s Opinion
Happy customers come back and shop more often than unhappy ones.
But how do you know if your customers are happy? Moreover, how do you know what areas they’re not happy with?
Enter one of the crucial ingredients of email-based retention strategies—customer surveys.
Customer surveys give you the feedback you need to deliver a better customer experience.
But collecting quality feedback isn’t always easy. Too often, your surveys will suffer from dismally low response rates and unreliable data.
Two of the best ways to keep tabs on your customer’s sentiments is by offering post-purchase surveys on your:
- Order Confirmation Page
- Post-purchase emails
Running surveys over two separate channels boost your survey’s impressions and give you more responses to work with.
Here’s a simple post-purchase email (in Swedish) from Bulk Nutrition which collects feedback about one of their products:
Bulk can use this information both as social proof on the product page and also as a way to gauge the success of their new product launches.
Plus, notice how they’ve got a couple of cross-sells to the bottom of the email to tempt shoppers back to the store.
But while post-purchase emails are great for getting feedback on your customer’s order, they’re not ideal for collecting feedback on your store’s shopping experience.
That’s because the gap of time between shopping in your store and receiving the email means data provided about your store via email might not be the most accurate.
Instead, stick a ‘shopping experience’ on your Thank You page (again, ReConvert can do this on Shopify stores)
When customer’s answer questions on your Thank You page, you can be sure the data is spot-on as the experience is still fresh in their minds.
3. Celebrate Anniversaries
In a similar vein to birthday gifts, anniversaries can be a great opportunity to lure shoppers back to your store.
Set up an email automation sequence that sends a celebratory email to customers at certain milestones like “You’ve been a customer for one year!” Here’s a great example from WeMo:
Likewise, your company’s anniversary can be a great reason to celebrate too. Plan email campaigns to mark your 1st month, 1st year, 10,000th customer, and so on.
Here’s a great example of a company anniversary email from A Book Apart:
One of the reasons anniversary emails work so well is because they’re unexpected. Plus, because they’ve got a reason attached to them, so they don’t feel quite as salesy as random promotions.
Instead, surprising customers with anniversary emails create a feeling of ‘OMG, they really care about me’ among recipients.
And in today’s age of faceless globo-corp retailers, that feeling is worth its weight in gold.
4. Create a Community
One of the most effective ways to boost customer engagement using retention email strategies is to create a digital community around your brand.
Things like your eCommerce merchandising, packaging, and customer support will play a big role here.
But it can also be as simple as running active social media accounts where customers can stay up to date with your latest products, engage with others and interact with your brand.
For example, MeUndies sends post-purchase retention emails like this to drive new customers to their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts and build brand loyalty (you can also place social links on your Thank You page):
Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of driving social engagement—especially for new shoppers. Customers spend up to 40% more on brands they follow on social media.
Another approach is to create a Facebook group where customers can contribute, and you can share advice and awesome content from your blog.
InstaPot is a shining example of this with their over 3 Million strong Facebook community where their loyal customers share recipes and techniques with each other:
If customers have just bought from you, they’ll likely want to join a community of like-minded shoppers where they can learn more about your brand and products.
This not only makes customers feel more connected to your brand, but it also allows you to market to followers for free in a way that doesn’t feel like traditional marketing.
5. Design Personalized Post-Purchase Offers
Selling to existing customers is much easier than selling to cold prospects. And if you can personalize your offers, you’ll make it nearly impossible for happy customers not to shop again.
Take a leaf out of Amazon’s book and add personalized upsells and cross-sells to your Thank You page to entice customers to repurchase a related item immediately:
Data from ReConvert shows that the average eCommerce store sees a boost of 10-15% in net revenue from implementing this simple tactic alone.
But don’t stop there. Back up your Thank You page offers by building a comprehensive post-purchase email marketing sequence and SMS marketing flow.
Use these flows to send specific offers to segments based on customer behavior and purchase history.
Seriously, while front-end revenue is exciting, savvy brands know that the most profit is made by optimizing your back-end offers.
6. Send Win-Back Emails
The win-back email is a last-ditch effort to encourage lapsed customers to come back and re-engage with your brand.
The good news is that they’re surprisingly effective if you do them right. Active Campaign reports that a whopping 45% of people who get a win-back email will open your future emails.
The key is knowing when to time win-back emails – you’ll need to analyze your data and set up triggers that automatically send win-back emails to customers right before you lose them for good.
Also, it’s a good idea to include an incentive – above; you can see how Blue Apron offers unengaged customers’ $30 off’ to boost the odds that they’ll click-through and become active shoppers again.
Think about what enticing offers you can send to customers who might be forgetting about you.
Focus on Customer Retention Today
As competition continues to heat up, focusing on your existing customers is becoming more and more important.
No matter what stage your business is at or what industry you’re in, a basic retention strategy is a route to greater profitability.
Using a combination of email marketing and Thank You page customizations, you can start building brand loyalty, improve your customer experience and encourage customers to come back for more.
So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and start winning those repeat purchases by implementing these email-based retention strategies!
This is a guest post from Fintan Meagher – content marketer at ReConvert. ReConvert is the easiest way to add Thank You page upsells, cross-sells, surveys, and more to your Shopify store.