ecommerce customer retention strategy email

4 Things You Can Do NOW to Improve Your Ecommerce Customer Retention Strategy

by Aleana Bargaoui
January 20, 2016

You may have heard the popular statistic:

“Acquiring a new customer is five to seven times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”

Moreover, those existing, repeat customers are more likely to bring in new business to your store via word-of-mouth referrals, which are less costly and more effective than any marketing campaign your team can craft.

So it’s good news that there are some very simple ways to turn your fіrѕt-time buyers into loyal repeat customers, returning to your business again and again.

What’s the first simple thing you should be doing to encourage rереаt transactions аnd build a solid relationship with your customer?

Get something of value to their inbox.

If you collect your customer’s email address at any point during checkout, you have gained a powerful gateway to improving their experience and increasing profits. Using this power wisely will set you apart in a highly competitive market, and thanks to readily available tools, requires no technical background or considerable additional costs.

1) Strike When Customers are Hot with a Welcome Email

Your retention efforts should begin as soon as your customer makes their very first purchase. Welcome emails are great because they strike when the customer is highly interested in your business: they just opened their wallet for you!

Receiptful welcome email ecommerce marketing

The ideal content of a welcome email depends on what first impression you want to make. Don’t overwhelm them. Start with a simple welcome and warm thank you for the purchase. If there is one thing about your business you would like them to know, this is the perfect time.

What makes you unique, really? What’s an interesting fact about your team? Anything favorable and memorable should do. If you’re bold enough, put your friendly face and name on a thank you note. Humans are hardwired to want to see the faces of those we communicate with, and seeing yours will humanize your business and immediately make it more personable.

2) Follow up!

When you hear the words “follow-up”, you might first think of those stale, robotic we-want-your-feedback emails. No one likes feeling spammed by lifeless follow-up emails, and you definitely don’t want to risk being that brand, making customers regret sharing their email address in the first place!

But the power of an empathetic, well-timed follow-up email is often underestimated in ecommerce customer retention strategy development. Send a follow-up asking about their experience with you so far, around the time you expect their shipment to arrive. Show empathy with a simple “We wanted to make sure you received your product!”, “We want to make sure you are happy with it!”, or “Let us know if you need help!”

follow-up email ecommerce customer retention strategy development

If an empathetic approach feels “off” for your brand, make the email more technical. Send your customer a support email that shows them how to use or care for the product.

Send customer-specific product recommendations, tailored to their tastes based on their previous purchases in your shop.

Send loyal customers discount codes, and be smart about when. If your average repeat customer purchases from your online store once every 2 months, send them a discount coupon around that time to encourage another purchase.

referral email marketing ecommerce customer retention strategy Receiptful

Receiptful data analysis showed that the Average Customer Lifetime Value increases by 17.64% when follow-up emails are used.

Your customers are not loyal by default. They make purchases because at the moment, they are looking to fulfill a need. If you’re connecting with your customers at a healthy frequency, you’ll edge out the competition by being the “need-fulfiller” on your customers’ minds at the right time.

3) Re-activate Idle Customers with a Well-Timed Email

If you’re like most busy business owners, you probably find it impossibly overwhelming to keep a tab on customers falling through the cracks.

That’s why it’s important and worthwhile to implement an automated system to get these customers back and active again. Tools like Receiptful or allow you to create emails that will detect those previously loyal customers who’ve gone idle, and automatically trigger an email crafted by you for the purpose of re-engaging them.

Reengagement idle email ecommerce customer retention strategy Receiptful

Once you’ve implemented a system to detect those dormant customers, you can re-activate them by emailing them with something of value; a discount code or a ‘how was your experience?’. Maybe there was a misunderstanding that was never clarified? This is a chance to open the lines of communication between your brand and the once-loyal customer.

4) Recover Potential Sales with Abandoned Cart Emails

The goal of Abandoned Cart emails is to recover those potential sales from shopping carts left abandoned at checkout. Maybe the customer got distracted and didn’t complete their purchase, or changed their mind, or had a problem with completing their mobile checkout, or thought of checking out what other competitors were offering before making their final decision.

Whatever the reason, your store should be sending – at minimum – one basic Abandoned Cart recovery email. A more complex recovery campaign might contain a series of two or three emails.

For ideas: a few hours post-cart-abandonment, trigger an email offering to help the customer if they had any trouble completing their purchase.

abandoned cart email customer retention strategy Receiptful

A day or two later (if the cart remains abandoned), send a discount coupon off of the specific item in their abandoned cart, but for a very limited time. The previous strong interest (adding to cart) coupled with the sense of urgency (short term discount coupon) is usually an effective combination in driving your customer to complete the transaction.

Beef Up Your Customer Retention Strategy This Year

Customer rеtеntіоn іѕn’t always straightforward, but it’s not as complicated as it may seem. It just takes some serious attention and focus. Give your customers a top-notch experience and implement automated tools thаt incentivize them to make more purchases and bring in referrals.

Polish this off with exceptional rewards for your best (most loyal) customers, and your customer retention strategy will be set in motion.

Now your company will have an element of sustainability, ensuring that you can get back to work successfully scaling your ecommerce company.

From the biggest pitfalls to the billion dollar success stories, we help ecommerce entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Subscribe to get it all.
Aleana Bargaoui Aleana Bargaoui is a branding fanatic who loathes speaking in the third person, but enjoys giving branding and marketing advice to businesses. She joined Receiptful to support and empower users to become better store owners and marketers.