The Importance of Customer Retention in Ecommerce

The importance of customer retention in ecommerce is widely talked about, but are you making it the priority you should? If you know that the cost of new customer acquisition is far higher than the cost to retain existing customers, why not implement a concerted retention strategy?

Your ecommerce business’s customer retention is directly impacted by not only your product value, but also your adherence to best practices for experience and satisfaction. Here are three tips for customer retention in ecommerce:

  • Customer Rewards Based on Longevity and Volume: Nothing creates the opportunity for long-term, repeat buying better than offering ongoing rewards (via points earned, volume discounts, status tiers, etc.). Customer retention rewards can be based on past purchases, subscription discounts, amount purchased, buyer “anniversaries,” and existing-customer promotions. By incentivizing purchases from business you’ve already “won” you remove the unpredictability of prospecting and focus on adding value for reliable buyers.
  • Gratitude Perks: The value and importance of ecommerce customer retention you place for your business will be most tangibly demonstrated to customers when you pass it on in acts of gratitude. You can send unique and innovative emailed thanks even to first-time buyers to help gain their loyalty. In addition, depending on your product make up you may want to make it standard practice to extend birthday acknowledgement in email with an offer or discount, first purchase “anniversary” acknowledgement, bonuses for friend referrals, free samples, and other thank you gifts and perks. Even order reminders (e.g., your 30-day supply runs out soon, reorder before it’s too late) can be a welcome service perk for today’s busy consumer. Appreciation and acknowledgment are surefire ways to make buyers feel important and valued and help retain them long term.
  • Online Tools & Services: The better your website experience and the easier you make it for customers to find what they’re looking for, to reach a support representative, or to self-serve for common tasks, the more likely they will be loyal to your brand. What separates poor user experience from great experience are the steps and processes (seamless or difficult) that brands make common tasks like online return requests and processing, finding and reviewing account information, making edits to recurring deliveries, etc. The easier these things are for your users the more likely they will keep coming back and buying. Maintaining a positive image in ecommerce is key.

The 80-20 rule of thumb applies to ecommerce retention just as much as any other industry. If the vast majority of your sales will come from only 20% of buyers, catering to those buyers is essential to retaining them. With the right offers and service, your ecommerce customer retention will increase, which will improve your ROI and allow for greater forecasting accuracy.

6 Top Content Ideas for Ecommerce Websites

When it comes to increasing online sales, you’ve likely heard and read a lot of recommendations about website user experience and how more content can help your website. But what kinds of content will help improve your visitors’ engagement and increase your bottom line? Here are some content ideas for ecommerce websites we’ve seen work for our clients.

1. Video

The number one content idea for your ecommerce websites to increase sales is to demonstrate your products with video. According to data from Think with Google, “more than half of consumers say online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy.” Video can be leveraged for 360-degree views of products or to show how the product works and how to use it. Time lapse videos can show the results from your product over time. No matter what you sell, video is essential for your ecommerce website strategy.

2. Reviews

Just like word of mouth recommendations, product reviews add legitimacy and encouragement to prospective buyers, dispelling concerns and validating they are making a good purchasing decision. Given that there are innumerable review software and platform options, here are some of the top features you should look for:

  • Email reminders to buyers to leave a review after they have received the product
  • Verified buyer designations
  • Options to incentive reviews
  •  Integrations for Google Merchant Center, to show reviews in Google search, and to connect to your other systems (shopping cart, CRM, social media pages, etc.)
  • The ability for reviewers to include not just text, but also images or video

Use these tips to encourage customers to submit more user generated content.

3. Detailed Product Information

Often, content on ecommerce sites is too scant when it comes to basic details like dimensions, materials and ingredients. One of the best content ideas to increase conversions on your ecommerce website is to ensure you feature pertinent product information on your product pages. In addition, for products that have a range of extensions, parts and accessories, be sure to prominently feature those add-on options in close proximity to the product details in order to increase the chance of a cross-sell.

5. Charts and Tools

One very strategic ecommerce content idea is to guide website visitors on how to choose the best product for them with comparisons and tools. Outlines of product features in visual graphics and interactive configuration tools can streamline your sales process by outlining all the options and considerations buyers need to make to select the product that’s right for them, leading them right into a final decision and purchase.

6. Customer Support

As much as customers love the convenience of shopping online, they still have questions and want some of the same kinds of service available in a traditional retail space. That’s why FAQs, Live Chat, Virtual Try-On (or use of Augmented Reality features) and other support offerings are critical ideas for ecommerce website content. Think about your product catalog and what kind of support your visitors are most likely to need to create a friction-free online buying experience. Next time you hear about the importance of content for ecommerce website success, you’ll be prepared with the knowledge of the content types that will compel action and improve your conversion rate.