We recently discussed the best retention strategies for Shopify stores, and although the ROI on these investments are likely to pay off in the long run, it’s not always feasible for an online store to place all of their capital in their current customers.
You may be thinking of branching out, extending your reach to a new audience and the funds just aren’t there to look after your current flock.
So how can you build loyalty on the cheap without cutting back on the customer experience?
And since 74% of customers find their loyalty links to a brand’s customer experience you probably won’t want to skimp on your OGs.
I’ll show you exactly how to implement cost-efficient retention strategies in your business, but first I’ll give you a quick overview of retention costs.
What are retention costs?
Retention costs are the expenses that come about from striving to increase your number of repeat customers. And these vary wildly.
Choosing the right combination of techniques is crucial as increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increase profits by 25% to 95%. So consistently retaining as many customers as you can provide not only stability, but growth.
Cutting down on retention costs
Monitoring retention rates help you to assess when you are losing customers and take action quicker. Minor edits to your retention strategy will save more money than having to do an annual overhaul of neglected retention stats.
Step #1: Improve the customer experience
The Coffee House Method
Coffee shops pivot around customer retention, which means we’ve got a lot to learn from them in the eCommerce world.
They rely so heavily on retaining customers and word-of-mouth. How would a coffee shop survive without its regulars?
So how do we replicate the culinary act of customer retention?
I’ve researched what the big cheeses (sorry) in the industry have to say and condensed it down to these four crucial points.
None of these is going to suck the profits back into your store.
- Communicate - just like in those hipster cafes, the success of any online brand comes from building a community. And to do that you need to communicate with your customers. Creating conversations on social media and responding to posts builds a space for likeminded people to network. A community vibe gives your brand authenticity and converts your customers into ambassadors.
- Give them a reason to come back - think loyalty cards for their favourite coffee.
- Customer service - the most understanding, thoughtful waiters get the most tips. Likewise, online businesses with ace customer service allow themselves to fix errors before a customer decides they no longer wish to shop at your store.
- Consistency - top institutions bring their A-Game to the floor consistently. As in, Every Single. Day. When thinking about the equivalent strategy in your Shopify store, you’re already on the right platform. Shopify is always live, so customers won’t be disappointed when visiting your site to find that it has crashed.
Also, think about how your business can provide a more frictionless customer journey. From the wise, wise words of Neil Patel:
“79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again and around 44% of them would tell a friend if they had a poor experience shopping online.”
Step #2: Convert customers into brand ambassadors
Also known as advocacy-based retention, in this strategy you want to focus on getting your current customers talking about your product.
If you have an endearing brand with good quality products, this will happen organically. However, why not give it a boost?
Here are the tips to make customers sing your praises:
- Keep customer in the loop- let them know about the exciting directions your business is set to take. Give them exclusive access. And be passionate, they’ll only get excited about your brand if you are!
- Value your customer’s feedback. Let them know how much your input means to you. Now, they feel as though they’re on the inside track. The more valued a customer feels, the more likely they are to encourage others to check out your brand.
- Early-bird shopping opportunities - because I’m discussing affordable methods of retaining customers I haven’t included loyalty programmes, exclusive discounts or freebies as these can be costly expenses to maintain. This option, however, is free. Simply give your loyal customers a head start on your next product launch or seasonal sale. Here, you develop an exclusive branding tone while spreading the love to your loyal customers.
- A branded hashtag on Instagram with spot prizes for best post showcasing your product
- Find your customers on social media - discover the platforms they love and create engaging content and develop a community. Reaching out to an individual on social media, whether it’s sharing their post or sending a DM, places your business in the best light.
Like your mama taught you, those “please” and “thank you”’s are still a valuable commodity in the grown-up world. Customers appreciate appreciation.
So, send them a thank you. This is effective when it takes the form of a designated note slipped into their delivery. By separating it from the invoice and the transactional side of the order, it somehow becomes a more thoughtful gesture.
Make it unique and consistent with your brand’s voice. If you can organise for it to be handwritten all the better!
Want more ideas on how to retain customers through appreciation?
We recommend this article, which includes out-of-the-box ideas on how to show customers that you care,
If you’re short on money but have a bit of time instead to work on customer retention, then adjusting your email campaigns is a great step to take.
Use A/B testing, which costs zero dollars, to learn which messages, graphics and timings work for your customers to hook them back into your store. Experimenting with different ideas allows you to stumble across success rather than waiting for it to come to you!
We have a masterclass series on email strategies if you want to learn more about utilising the free marketing tool that is emailing. There’s a section here that I want to point you to which is known as re’engagement emails.
This is a great way to check back into your customers if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
By dropping into their inbox with a friendly hello, you make them feel that they are valued and helps to encourage them back to your site, especially if you combine this technique with personalised content by way of product recommendations.
As you can see, you don’t have to pour money into a customer retention strategy for it to be effective. There are many ways to cut costs on running an eCommerce store and still make traction with your customers.
If you’d like to know how to create an efficient Shopify store business plan, don’t be shy. There are loads of ways you can get in touch here.
Well, that’s all folks. Be sure to check out our blogs whenever you feel lost in the eCommerce world. We’ll point you in the right direction.