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4 simple Customer Retention strategies for e-commerce SMEs

Back in the days of old, customer retention strategies weren't needed as much as today. People were more loyal. They'd stick with businesses nearby, unaware of any competition. They weren't empowered by technology to help them be more informed about the product they were purchasing, or the retailer that sold it. But the modern consumer has never been more powerful. This, coupled with increased competition online, means that it's considerably harder for a retailer to hold onto the customers they spend so much to acquire. That's why customer retention strategies for retailers can no longer be overlooked.

4 customer retention strategies for your e-commerce business

We've pulled together a list of customer retention strategies you can try out on your retail business. Take a look and let us know what you think.

1. Ensure you market your promotions correctly

Offering your customers discounts and promo offers is a great way of generating repeat business, making customers feel rewarded and giving yourself a reason to communicate with them. However, it is important to market such customer incentives in the right way. Posting a promotion via a social network can ensure that it is seen by a large volume of people, but it may not have the desired impact if you don’t have any knowledge about your audience. To counteract this, a business should have a segmentation tool in place to help ensure that any promotions or giveaways are targeted towards the correct group. This minimises the loss in margins you get by subsidising customers who'd have bought at a lower discounted rate. Why offer 30% off when you can offer 10% off to one group, 20% off to another and 30% to a third?

2. Make life easier for your customers

Ensuring that customers can find everything they need without having to spend time looking for it will help keep visitors on your website. This means that all links and search bars should be clearly identifiable as soon as the visitor reaches the website. Remembering your customer’s orders can also help ensure that customers come back to you rather than a competitor. Viovet is a business that does this pretty well, within the pet industry. For certain retail business models - easy re-ordering is a great way to simplify the buying process and drive retention. Respectfully interjecting at the right time with a message that suggests it's time to replenish their stocks can be really powerful given the convenience for the customer. For other retail businesses, like apparel or homewares, using a knowledge of what has been bought previously allows you to suggest complementary products. It's all about timing, and use of data to be able to interject with relevance.

3. Use churn-prevention e-mails

If a frequent customer suddenly stops transacting, then this can affect the overall turnover of the company. Some customers may just be busy, others may be tempted to shop around. In either event, employing the use of churn-prevention e-mails will allow a business to touch base with past customers, and promote any new services or products that may have been introduced since the customer’s last visit. If a business has data about a customer, then it should use this to tailor the e-mail so it is more personal. Retailers can use predictive analytics to anticipate when churn might occur, particularly in subscription-based business models. Alongside a value placed on each individual customer, such retailers can provide individual incentives to keep those customers from churning.

4. Let your customers know how much they are valued

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and like any relationship, they need to be charmed once in a while. If you have customers that order frequently, regardless of how small or large the order is, then why not come up with a programme that allows specific customers to receive messages or gifts in their delivery box that tell them how valued they really are. Showing you appreciation will ensure that a customer thinks twice before going to a competitor. And we're not talking about throwing in some leaflets that a partner has paid you to insert into the box! It needs to be something more genuine and personal. Even with a little investment, good customers are cheaper to keep than acquiring new, potentially unprofitable ones.