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9 Ways to Improve Customer Retention for E-Commerce Businesses

It’s no secret that retaining customers is great for your bottom line.

On the flip side, failing to keep your customers happy can crush your bottom line. Businesses lose over $75 billion each year due to poor customer service.

Obviously, a solid customer retention strategy is important to the success of your e-commerce business, so even a few small tweaks to your current processes can make a big difference.

In this guide, we’ll cover customer retention strategies that online retailers can implement to keep customers coming’ back for more, including:

How to Use Customer Data to Improve Customer Retention

This is not the time to guess. Dive into data. Ask what is your average churn rate? Or, why are customers leaving?

If you’re not sure of the answers to these questions, it’s time to put a system in place. Good customer relationship management (CRM) software will allow you to track and analyze this information. It will also support your sales and marketing efforts–among many other benefits.

If you don’t already have a CRM, top CRMs for e-commerce businesses include:

Once you know why customers leave, you can make informed decisions regarding your customer support operations, product offerings, and order fulfillment process–or whatever else is causing customer churn.

While data from your CRM is critical, it won’t tell the whole story. Talking to your customers and finding out what they love–or don’t love–about your business will further inform what actions your business should take to improve churn rates.

How to Gather and Share Customer Feedback

If you don’t have a process for gathering and sharing customer feedback, it’s time to put one in place. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Use the Net Promoter Score.

The Net Promoter Score is a one-question survey: “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” The response ranges from 0, for not at all likely, to 10, for extremely likely. Responses provide a quick snapshot of how well you’re doing.

Tip: For any response that’s seven or lower, reach out and find out what happened to earn you a low rating.

Text or email a brief survey.

Immediately after a customer completes an online transaction or interacts with customer service, send a brief survey via text or email. This allows you to gather and respond to feedback quickly.

Try live chat on your website.

Live chat is a great way to help customers resolve an issue, answer a question, or find what they need. The bonus is that live chat can increase sales and minimize cart abandonment.

Create a check-in schedule.

If you offer subscription boxes, automate the process. Send surveys every month or two asking customers how their experience has been: What have they liked, and what can be improved?

No matter what option you choose, be sure the feedback is distributed to the right people: your product team, customer service team, fulfillment team, etc.

9 Customer Retention Strategies for E-Commerce Businesses

1. Provide support where your customers are.

If a customer needs help, be sure they can get in touch with you the way they prefer. Some people love online chat, while others want to talk on the phone to a human, send a quick email, or reach out via social media. The easier it is for your customers to get a hold of you, the faster you can resolve their issue and the happier they’ll be.

2. Delight your customers.

An unexpected but thoughtful gesture can go a long way to ensuring your customers feel loved and appreciated. A free gift, hand-written thank you note or generous discount on their next purchase are easy to implement. Be sure to include thoughtful marketing materials in every shipment that show customers that you value and appreciate their business.

3. Apologize when you make a mistake.

We are all human, and we all make mistakes. Is it fun to admit you messed up? Of course not. But when you do, apologize. Take ownership of what happened, and communicate how you will make it right (or change things going forward to prevent it from happening again).

4. Use personalization.

Personalized marketing and recommendations help customers cut through the noise and find the products that are right for them. Go beyond past purchases and integrate customers’ mindsets, expectations and preferences into your communications.

  • Mindset: Are they gathering information, or ready to make a purchase?
  • Expectations: How do your customers want to be communicated with? What level of quality and service do they expect?
  • Preferences: What colors and styles, categories of products, and types of services do they prefer?

5. Offer subscription boxes.

Customer retention is built into the subscription box model. Once someone signs up for a recurring purchase, whether it’s a curated box or replenishment, you have a highly engaged customer. As long as you deliver what’s expected on time every month, your retention rates will be high.

6. Encourage user-generated content.

People love to share their experiences online. Encourage customers to share photos of your products on social media–and remind them to tag you. You can then share their posts on your social channels, website, and email newsletter, and give them a big shout-out in the process.

7. Create customer resources.

A library of resources for your customers is an unusual but mighty retention strategy. For example, a beauty e-commerce business could house a library of videos that explain the best ways to use/apply their makeup. A food-related e-commerce business could offer newsletters with healthy recipes and cooking tips. This will establish your business as an industry expert and keep customers coming back to learn more.

8. Say thank you.

We mentioned hand-written thank you notes above, but even a simple “thank you, we appreciate you!” email goes a long way to making your customers feel valued. They can spend their money anywhere. Knowing that you appreciate them can be the deciding factor when it comes to their next purchase.

9. Launch a customer loyalty program.

Because customer loyalty programs sometimes treat everyone the same, the key is letting your customers “choose their adventure.” Let them decide which free gift they want or how/when they redeem their points. Or, offer every customer an automatic discount every time they reach a threshold (money spent or purchases made).

You don’t need to implement every strategy listed above to see results. Pick one or two that make the most sense for your business and customers, and start there.

Improve Customer Retention with GLF E-Commerce Fulfillment

With more than 20 years of experience in e-commerce fulfillment, GLF takes pride in offering unmatched reliability, personalized customer service and transparent pricing.

As an all-in-one e-commerce fulfillment partner, we can handle every aspect of the order fulfillment process and proactively provide recommendations and strategies that keep customers coming back for more.

We’re here to answer your questions and tailor our e-commerce fulfillment services to meet the needs of your business. Contact us today to learn more.

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