Your Retention Please (How You Motivate Existing Customers To Shop Again)

The ways and means by which we motivate our existing customers to stick around and shop again do not get enough attention in the ecommerce world.

It’s where I’ll be dedicated my time and energies over the coming months. Sharing ideas on how you can drive sales through your existing customer base.

Acquisition, there’s no question about it, is perceived as the sexier end of ecommerce marketing. It’s where your attention is honed when you consider growth channels. Reaching new audience. Which is fine. Let’s not neglect our existing customers though.

By neglect I mean to work on assumptions that they’re ‘in the bag’ or ‘job done’. They’re not. They’re the people that spread the word and often, when we deliver the greater buying experience, come back to us again and again.

There is a big problem I want to address. It’s three fold.

Firstly, your post-sale communications. How you welcome new customers to your brand. You can easily make the assumption that new customers explore your product range and have a full understanding of the depth of products you offer. It’s a misnomer. They came in with a single intention. They may have looked at one single product from one single category. The objective of a welcome sequence is to fully open your doors. Let your new customers know what you’re all about – call it a proper introduction to your brand.

Secondly, the bundling of your existing customers into your overall marketing communications. Take your email newsletters as one example. Are you sending the same message to non-purchasing subscribers to your existing customers? On the trust scale your customers are further down the line compared with your subscribers. They’re experienced the shop. They’ve bought. They should be rewarded with more appropriate messaging.

Thirdly, the over reliance on ‘best practice’ customer retention methods. Your customers deserve far better than out-of-the-box marketing techniques. Let’s review each and every customer touchpoint to consider whether your own identify has been stamped on your customer communications. It’s key you don’t sound like just another merchant.

Here’s something I want you to remember:

Your loyalty drive begins the moment your customer clicked ‘Buy Now’.

Over the coming months I’ll be sharing my learnings diving deeper into ecommerce customer loyalty.

  • how to build and manage your VIP programme
  • how to improve all post-sales communications to drive loyalty
  • how to better personalise existing customer communications
  • how to understand and maximise your efforts growing customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • how to make better use of marketing technology that caters to existing customers
  • how to reward your ideal customers, your best customers (without throwing discounts their way)

Don’t feel that retention is a strategy reserved for established brands. It isn’t. No matter where your ecommerce business is, even at start-up stage, in, retention planning and data modelling is key. The earlier you focus upon retention the better the outcome measured by real revenue success.

There are two differing forms of customer loyalty. Behavioural and attitudinal. Lincoln Murphy offers a great introduction to the difference between the two here.

You need your customers to feel attitudinal loyalty. Customers motivated not only to repeat purchase, but to preach your gospel. Advocates. People with an emotive connection to your brand.

It’s our job, as marketers to help build that emotive connection. It won’t be done actioning best-practice marketing. This is personal.

I’ve created a step-by-step guide to help you build, improve or action your customer retention strategy. Rather than condensing into some downloadable guide, I’m sharing everything I learn through my blog and email newsletter each week.

Next week we’ll be looking at the basics of understanding how to measure customer lifetime value and what this means to your ecommerce growth strategy.


Written By:

Ian Rhodes

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Founder of Retention. I help ecommerce brands sell more to their existing customers. I write weekly articles to share with you what I learn.


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