The eCommerce space is in a perpetual state of crowding. Everything from Paid Per Click (PPC) ads to social media campaigns come up against the stiffer competition on a daily basis, and each new lead consequentially comes at a higher cost.
That’s why once you have a customer within your eCommerce space, it’s absolutely critical that you do your best to retain them within your customer base. After all, what’s that old business adage?
It costs significantly less to retain a customer than to get a new one.
If you’ve found that your online site is hemorrhaging existing customers, here are a few tips and suggestions to help boost your return appeal and increase those retention rates.
Your business plan should have long-term goals, and customer retention should be an integral part of them from the start. Even if you neglected to include these considerations in your original plans, though, it’s important that you sit down and organize your retention strategy before you start putting in any significant effort. Ask yourself questions like:
- How much of your current business is from repeat customers?
- What are your growth goals as they relate to repeat business?
- What options do you have to reach those goals?
While you can use the tips below to execute changes, you should always start with an organized plan to ensure that you don’t waste time and resources along the way.
Focus on Your UX
One of the most important elements that lead to repeat customers is creating satisfied customers in the first place, and a huge part of the online customer satisfaction journey comes through their user experience (UX) on your site.
With that said, here are a handful of the most common ways to boost the UX for your website:
- Make sure that your site’s navigation and layout are simple and intuitive.
- Ensure that your site is mobile-friendly optimized.
- Comb over your sales pages to see if each one is easy to understand, and your products and services are presented in an understandable manner.
- Increase your site’s loading speed if possible.
- Strategically place calls to action (CTAs) on every page to help lead the customer through your site.
- Make sure you have a quick and easy checkout.
Personalize Your Customer Experience
One other essential element of good user experience is the concept of personalization. This can be something as simple as an abandoned cart message if they leave your site before completing a sale. However, it can also be quite a bit more complex.
Technology has developed to the point where even small and mid-sized businesses can use analytics and data mining to understand their customers better. Industries as niche as accounting are using business intelligence to not only customize their reports to stakeholders, they are using BI to streamline processes. Take a page from their ledgers and use BI of your own to create streamlined, custom marketing strategies for your customers.
These can take the form of continuous shopping for returned customers, intelligent product page recommendations, integrating user-generated content onto your site, and so on. The point is, if you take the time to personalize your messages, you’ll be more likely to create satisfied patrons to your online establishment.
Crank Up that Customer Service
Your customer service is one of the key avenues to reach repeat customers. As existing and potential customers alike interact with your customer service channels, it provides an opportunity for you to win each one over for the future.
Make sure to set up high-quality customer service channels that can include:
- Live chat on your site.
- Emails with the quick response time.
- Responsive social media profiles.
However, you choose to set up your customer service, make sure to always staff the department with well-informed reps who can genuinely help customers. In fact, you should really train each rep to double as a salesman whose goal is not only to resolve customer concerns but also ensure that they’re well satisfied and as likely as possible to bring repeat business in the future.
In addition, utilize your customer service to gather feedback through active listening to customers’ cares and concerns. When you combine this opinion-based feedback with the data-driven decision-making efforts outlined above, you’ll be able to craft a more holistic approach to your customer retention efforts.
Finally, make sure to protect your customer’s data. Any eCommerce company that is reckless with customer information is setting themselves up for disaster. Make sure you have well-established methods to carefully handle customer data in a responsible manner. This includes:
- Securing your website.
- Collecting as little sensitive data as possible.
- Training your team to handle data in an approved and predictable manner.
- Backing up
If you can provide a safe online space for customers to shop, they’ll be more likely to return in the future.
Retaining Customers for the Long Haul
From security to user experience, personalization, and customer service, there are many ways you can go about boosting your customer retention.
Now that you’ve gone through the list of items, it’s time to analyze your own site, find out where you’re lacking, and then organize yourself and make a plan of action.