Let’s start with a question. Do you know the value that customers who stick to your brand bring? Well, according to Edelman, they tend to spend 67% more than your new customers. Simply put, your existing customers are the key to success, and that’s precisely why your Shopify store needs to focus on customer retention.
But that’s not what most marketers believe. Bynder reports that brand awareness and customer acquisition continue to remain the top priority for marketers.
Regardless of whether you fall under the category of these marketers or join our camp of working on customer retention, this post is for you. We’re going to discuss everything from what customer retention is, why it matters and how the right engagement strategies can stop your customers from walking away from your brand.
What is customer retention?
Customer retention is the ability of a brand, company or a product to retain its customers over a defined period. So if your eCommerce business has a high customer retention rate, it means that your customers continue to buy or interact with your online store in one way or the other.
Simply put, instead of going to other stores, they choose to visit your Shopify store first to make a purchase.
Why does customer retention matter?
According to Harvard Business Review, e-loyalty or customer retention is the secret weapon to growing your online business. It also states that a mere 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 95% increase in revenue.
Let’s borrow an example from Shopify. Assume that each of the stores in the graph below has 100 customers. They make purchases worth $10 per month. The light purple store focuses on retaining 5% of those customers each month; while the other keeps 10%. As you can see in the graph below, the 10% increase in retention leads to rapid growth.
But not all Shopify stores are at the same stage in the market. While there are stores that could be driving repeat sales month-on-month, there are some that have just begun acquiring their first 500 customers. When and whether or not should start focusing on customer retention varies on two factors:
- The stage your Shopify store is at (new, growing, consistent, established, well-known)
- The kind of products you sell
- The value of the products you sell
For example, if your Shopify store is selling high-value products like exclusive designer-made luxury bags. Your customers are not going to make such purchases over and over again. So you should be focusing more on acquisition.
Let’s take another example. Your Shopify store sells budget-friendly fashion products. In this case, you should focus on retaining those trend-conscious customers who won’t think twice before moving to another store. For them, all that matters is bagging the trend they saw on Instagram.
So if your store is operating in a niche where the competition is always on the rise and the typical online shopper has at least ten stores to choose from when making a purchase, retention should be your priority.
How to boost customer retention?
While a customer retention strategy typically varies from industry to industry, and store to store, there are a few tactics that always work – be it just keeping the customer hooked or nurturing them to make another purchase.
1. Start a loyalty or rewards program
The one thing that can motivate an online shopper to complete a purchase is a value-added offer. That’s why when stores create loyalty programs, they can increase the purchase frequency of their existing customers. The more you buy, the better offers you get.
This is a win-win situation for you as a merchant. The shopper gets a great deal, and you boost your customer retention rate!
Here’s an example from Evy’s Tree.
2. Try out referral marketing
When about 90% of your target consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, it is time to give your existing customers a nudge.
A customer that continues to purchase from your Shopify store has a great experience with the products. These are the people are the most likely to recommend your brand to others; although they might not remember to do so unless asked.
Referral marketing is the process of acquiring a customer through an existing customer, lowering the acquisition costs across various digital channels. The only thing you need to do is reward these loyal customers for recommending your brand and products in their circle.
Ps. To sweeten the deal, offer discounts to both – your existing customer and the customer who just got referred to your Shopify store. Here’s how Amuze does it.
3. Focus on personalization
The one thing that can indeed stop your shoppers from walking away and boost your customer retention, is how you personalize their experience. Right from the point they visit your site to the next time they stop by to search for products, the interaction you make with them and more.
More than 83% of consumers expect brands to understand their needs, predict the ones to come and personalize their experience. They are even willing to pay more for an experience that caters to them and adds value in every way.
Start with your website. Understand the on-site behavior of your customers, their preferences and recommend products they are more likely to purchase on their next visit. The best example is how Amazon does it.
Instead of sending the ongoing promotions on your Shopify store, the next time revolve your email outreach around the customer. Take into account what they purchased the last time and make recommendations based on that data.
For instance, if they showed interest in packages to Prague, you could recommend other related and popular packages. Don’t try to nudge them to purchase a package to a country they haven’t shown interest in.
Web push notifications
Top Shopify stores have started to use web push notifications to reach out and engage their existing customers more actively. Right from recommending products based on their past purchases to recovering carts with exclusive discounts, personalizing web push notifications has proven to improve customer retention.
Fera.ai is an eCommerce app that makes it easy for you to add personalized upsells, urgency promotions and social proof content to your store. Its integration with PushOwl, also enables you to send push notifications to your customers based on which product they are looking at, where they are from and other parameters. Read all about it, here.
Social media retargeting
You’ll see a lot of Shopify stores running social media ads to acquire more customers. But what about the existing ones. The only way to hook their interest again is to show them products they have previously shown interest in.
For example, if the shopper has ordered boots and slip-on from your store before, you should use the data as an opportunity to promote new stock in both the categories to them.
Today, a lot of stores offer the functionality of creating an account quickly with social logins like Facebook. If your Shopify store has been doing the same, use the data to run Messenger marketing campaigns to keep your customers engaged. For example, sending them a quick reminder about the coupon that is valid for only 24 hours.
Apart from online platforms, it is also crucial for a customer retention strategy to include channels like SMS to engage with their customers. Send sale alerts, promote ongoing contests, new product launches or recommend products to them based on their previous purchases.
4. Leverage gamification
Social status is becoming extremely important to millennial consumers. Being able to keep up with trends or what the market is talking about, has taken priority. The same holds when they’re shopping online.
Tying your rewards and loyalty programs to the number of actions a customer takes on your Shopify store can help boost shopper engagement and customer retention.
Create a scoreboard of sorts which lists down how many in-store credits the shopper can get on completing an action – for instance, writing a set number of product reviews or ratings.
5. Seek and implement customer feedback
Getting feedback from your existing customers is a great way not just to reach out and engage them in a meaningful conversation, but also determine how they feel about your brand. It gives you an opportunity to improve.
When you ask for their feedback, it makes them feel valued. A valued customer stays with a brand longer than the one that feels ignored and not cared for.
So how do you ask your customers for feedback?
Include a short survey in your post-purchase emails or the weekly newsletters you send. Ensure that the message conveys why the customer’s opinion is important to you.
Web push notifications
Send a web push message to a customer a few days after their order is delivered. This will give them the time to experience the product, and you get to reach out to them just in time to improve brand recall and boost your retention rate by asking them for feedback.
Similar to retargeting ads on social media, you can use the platforms to seek feedback as well. You can ask your social followers to participate in a quick giveaway that invites them to share feedback on products.
Offer reward points to customers who are willingly sharing feedback on the products they purchase from your Shopify store. Incentivising improves participation.
6. Improve customer service
About 48% of your customers are willing to pay a lot more if you offer them excellent customer support. You need to set up multiple contact touchpoints for them to be able to interact with your Shopify store.
Adding a live chat option to your store, a live chat, an active Twitter account or providing them an email address and phone number that they can reach you on, are just some ways to say that you’re there for them. When the customer feels valued, they stick around longer.
How to measure customer retention?
While a Shopify store should be implementing all the tactics listed above or start with some of them to re-engage your customers, focus on data. It is the best indicator of how effective each of the strategies has been. Here are the numbers you need to keep a close watch on:
1. Average order value (AOV)
The average order value shows how much a typical shopper is willing to spend on a purchase from your Shopify store.
The number is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the total number of orders placed throughout a year.
Simply put, higher your AOV, lesser you need to spend trying to acquire new customers for solely increasing your revenue.
2. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
The customer lifetime value tells you how valuable each customer you acquired will be to the growth of your Shopify store. The metric shows you the importance of customer relationships, helping you focus more on the experience you offer to them.
To calculate the CLV, you need to calculate your average purchase value and then multiply it by the average purchase frequency rate. This will give you the customer value. You then multiply the customer value by the average customer lifespan to determine the customer lifetime value.
Remember, if this value isn’t increasing over time, you need to strategize for customer retention, or you’ll start losing market to competitors soon.
Still not sure how to calculate the customer lifetime value? Read the guide published by HubSpot here.
3. Customer churn rate (CCR)
The first thing you need to do here is to identify how many customers your Shopify store has lost over a defined period – this includes both one time purchasers and repeat customers. These are shoppers who no longer see value in making purchases from your brand – either they don’t see value in what you offer or they just found another store to make shop from.
The customer churn (customers lost) is calculated by subtracting the number of customers at the end of a defined period from the number of customers at the beginning of it. You then divide the customer churn by the total number of customers at the start, to find the customer churn rate for the defined period.
4. Purchase frequency (PF)
The purchase frequency is a metric that represents how often customers engage with your Shopify store. It looks at how often an average customer makes purchases from your store.
The purchase frequency is calculated by dividing the total number of orders placed by the total number of unique customers in a year.
5. Repeat purchase rate (RPR)
This metric is pretty simple and indicative of the percentage of customers who have made more than one purchases from your Shopify store. These repeat customers are responsible for 40% of your annual revenue.
The repeat purchase rate is calculated by dividing the number of customers who made purchases more than once, by the total number of unique customers in a year.
Focusing on customer retention to grow your Shopify store
As quoted by digital experts, data is your best friend. For eCommerce stores, data refers to all the information it has on its customers. It’s time to put it all in use!
Your existing customers already know your brand, the products you sell and like the service you offer to them. Compared to a new customer you’re trying to acquire, the sales cycle for an existing customer is clearly much shorter.
We’re not saying you should not focus on acquiring your new customers. We’re just saying that you should not lose focus from those who are already yours. This is a customer segment that can be convinced into making more purchases and could even turn into brand advocates for your store. But taking small, well-strategized steps is the trick to success, and we have one tactic that you could get started with right away – web push notifications.
Using web push notifications to boost customer retention
Once you identify and segment your repeat customers, use the data to create web push notification campaigns targeted at re-engaging them.
1. Send product recommendations
Customers love brands that can personalize the shopping experience for them – pretty much similar to their in-store experience. Based on the purchases a customer has made, use web push notifications to reach out with recommendations of what might interest them. This shows how they are always on your mind, and how you want them to have the best of products.
The one way to make sure that your customers are happy is to ensure that they can make the most out of the products they purchase. Send web push messages to share product hacks that will help them see and drive value from their purchases. The more helpful your message is, the higher is your customer engagement and retention rate.
3. Give exclusive sneak peeks
Customers love it when you make them feel special. Using web push notifications, you can reach out to your customer base to give them a sneak peek into an upcoming product range or a limited edition product. Let them know they’re the first ones to get access to them!
4. Send cart reminders
A lot of your shoppers may have added products to their cart and left without completing the purchase. With web push notifications, re-engage these shoppers with quick reminders about what they have left behind and how it is the best deal they will get.
- 10 ways to make your abandoned cart reminders convert better
- 5 free push notification templates to ace your abandoned cart reminders
Ps. With segmentation for targeting, you can also send reminder push notifications to re-engage and retain your previous purchasers.
5. Ask for feedback
Don’t wait for your customers to open that email or come back to your site in their own time to ask for feedback. Use web push notifications to reach out to them even when they’re not on your site, a few days after they purchase from your Shopify store.