4 MIN READ
Ask any retailer and they’ll tell you that their most profitable customers are the ones who come back time and time again. So why are so many retailers fixated on acquiring new customers rather than looking after their existing ones?
According to research conducted by Bain & Co, increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%.
If that isn’t a statistic to make retention a priority for you, then I don’t know what is!
We’ve put together our top tips on how you can keep your customers happy and increase repeat purchases.
Implement a loyalty scheme
Loyalty schemes are a great part of any customer retention strategy. Give customers more of an incentive to shop with you by offering them a reward every time they do. Not only will these rewards make them feel valued but they can help prevent them from swaying towards your competitors.
The kind of loyalty scheme that’s right for your business will depend on your customers and the products you stock. For frequent low-value purchases, points-based schemes are often preferred but for higher value items, tiered rewards schemes are popular – encouraging customers to spend that little bit extra every time they shop.
If you have both an online and bricks and mortar store, make sure your loyalty scheme is multi-channel so that customers can redeem their rewards both on your website and in-store.
Don’t let customers forget about you
The buying cycle doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase. Make sure that you’re using post-purchase email marketing to keep customers engaged with your brand.
As a starting point make sure transactional emails include brand personality, are engaging and inform the user of any important aftercare information. You can even use these emails to tempt customers back to the site to purchase complimentary items or to read your recent blog posts.
A big no-no when it comes to email marketing is to bombard every customer in your database with every newsletter you produce. If you do this you’ll most likely see low open rates and high un-subscription rates. Instead, send your user’s personalised emails based on their previous purchases and browsing history. If you have the customer’s birthday it’s a nice touch to email them with a discount during their birthday month – a technique that works well for a number of retailers we work with.
If you don’t want customers to forget about you then don’t forget about them! If a customer hasn’t bought anything from you in a while then send them a personalised “We Miss You” email with a discount to encourage them back.
Don’t forget to join up to dots by providing email receipts in-store. This will allow you to merge in-store and online customer data and prevent customer frustration. There’s nothing more annoying than receiving an abandoned basket email with a discount code for something you’ve already bought in-store!
Integrate with a third-party review site
Reviews are not only great for creating trust, but they will also help you to provide better customer service and can be a key part of your overall customer retention strategy.
Third-party impartial review sites give you the opportunity to find out where there are problems within your business and prevent them from happening again.
Not only this, the star ratings that can be pulled from third party reviews are great for improving your click-through-rates from the SERPs.
It goes without saying but where customers do make complaints or leave bad reviews, make sure that issues are resolved quickly and that the customer is left feeling satisfied.
Provide great customer service
A bit of an obvious one but something that a lot of retailers are currently overlooking, and should be one of the most important customer retention strategies you use. With the growing use of the social media spotlight for brands and customers to interact, it’s so important to get this right first time.
Great service starts as soon as someone lands on your website or enters your store. Make sure that every interaction a customer has with your brand is a good one. Don’t neglect your website’s user experience and make sure you’re getting feedback from shoppers on a regular basis.
When the customer is on your website, make sure you’re providing contact telephone numbers on key decision pages and offer the use of a chatbot to help customers find what they’re looking for.
Customers’ delivery expectations are far higher than ever before. Customers expect delivery to be fast, precise, and most of the time, free. With retailers like ASOS and Boohoo offering 1-hour delivery windows and lots of retailers offering next day delivery when you order before 10 pm, the competition is high. Depending on the volumes you are shipping, these offerings may not be realistic for many small independent retailers.
One thing smaller retailers can do is to constantly review their delivery offering and make sure that it is the best they can possibly provide. Couriers are continuously bringing out new services and solutions that may not have been available when you first integrated with them. You can also speak to your eCommerce provider about implementing a hybrid shipping solution that will work out the best service and price for both you and your customer on an order by order basis.
It’s the bane of every retailer’s business but a percentage of returns will always be inevitable – especially when trading online. For those customers who do want to return an item, make it as easy and convenient as possible. If they have a nightmare trying to get their order back to you it’s unlikely they’re going to order from you again.
If you want to have a push on increasing your retention rates this year, speak to us about how our Venditan Commerce platform can help you to track customer behaviour and implement some of the techniques mentioned above.
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5th September 2019