I once ordered a pair of men’s shoes online, but received no further information about delivery and my e-mails were left unanswered. When I was finally able to reach the customer service team by phone, I heard that the shoes had already been sent. However, I didn’t receive any kind of notification or tracking code. Should I become a loyal customer after such an experience?
eCommerce is increasing by 15% – 20% on a global scale. This has helped us to become highly product- and service-aware. With just a few clicks we can easily compare products and prices across several eCommerce sites. In addition to competitive prices and product ranges, customer experience has also become an important part of our decision-making.
The importance of the customer experience particularly affects the likelihood of follow-up purchases. The entire process must be ship-shape: comprehensive product information, a simple ordering process and polished delivery. A dissatisfied customer will rarely return to the same online store to do business. On the other hand, the possible visibility that can result from an outstanding customer experience is one of the more effective forms of advertising.
Marketers looking to acquire new customers should absolutely remember to look after their existing customers. The road to success lies via careful planning and hard work.
5 tips for improving customer retention
Follow these five useful suggestions to improve customer retention on your eCommerce sites:
1. Make analytics your friend
Analytics can help you understand the behavior of your existing customers. It will allow you to understand:
- Your current level of interaction with customers,
- How they behave on your website, and;
- How behavior models predict purchases
Creating a buyer profile, for example, is a good way to concretize your customer base and understand buyer models.
2. Set goals
Without customer retention-related goals you cannot measure the impact of the activities you implement – measurability is king. Goals can be set for certain activities, such as log-ins to customer accounts.
Longer term monitoring can be used to import data about customer-specific activities to the company database. This makes it possible to combine customer identification derived from analytics with the company’s customer database. This helps to identify activity such as when a customer logs in to his account or when he makes a new purchase.
3. Engage your customers
Marketing automation tools are excellent for managing customer relationships. You can effectively benefit from marketing automation by e.g. using personalized message formats to provide customers with relevant content based on their behavior. For example, an incomplete purchase could initiate a chain of emails offering the customer on-the-spot offers related to the item left in the shopping basket.
4. Pay attention
Social media takes on a heightened role in understanding and serving customers. Customers can easily use social media to relate and share their opinions, so there’s reason to listen. Technical problems with a website can cause users to share their experiences – in this kind of situation it’s important to react as quickly as possible. Addressing problematic situations in social media not only resolves the customer’s problems, it also publicly demonstrates the quality of your customer service.
5. Measure and analyze
The key to seeing results lies in measurement and analysis. Regularly check engagement and sales metrics to determine the effectiveness of the measures implemented.
Important KPI metrics include:
- Analytics – conversion development, traffic development, average product-specific return, return users
- Search engine optimization – organic traffic development, key words and search page results
- Email – click-through rates and other targeted micro conversions such as use of discount codes
- Social media – shares and referral traffic to websites
In the quest to attract new customers it’s easy to forget an essential part of creating lasting growth: customer lifecycle value. According to Bain & Co even a 5% growth in customer retention will increase profits by 25% – 95%. If I had been informed how the delivery of my shoes was progressing and if my messages had received responses I would have ordered shoes from the same online store in the future and the store would make a profit over the long term.
Take a moment to examine your own customer base and consider how tools such as marketing automation could be of benefit in increasing your customer retention rates.
Infographic: Retention Science