We’ve all heard that it’s more expensive to find new customers than to keep the ones you have. But how much of a difference does it really make?
According to Bain & Company, an increase as small as 5% in customer retention can lead to up to 25% more in profits. There are many ways to turn new customers into frequent shoppers and brand advocates. Discounts, referrals, and personalization are just some of the common ways businesses can step up their game. Brand-specific loyalty programs can take it to another level —loyalty members admitted to spending 37% with their preferred brand.
For eCommerce sellers on sites like Amazon and Shopify, there are numerous ways to build a retention strategy.
Basic eCommerce Brand Building: Beginner Strategies
1. Special Offers and Discounts
One of the easiest ways for businesses on Amazon and Shopify to get started appealing to a fan base is by providing special offers and deals. This can come in the form of coupons, BOGO (Buy one get one) deals, or general price drops.
On Shopify, sellers can create up to 20,000,000 coupon codes and each individual code can include up to 100 products.
For those selling on Amazon, it may be worth it to get approved for Lightning Deals. A Lightning Deal is a limited-time promotion featured on the Amazon Deals page. If you want to list your promotion for more than a few hours, Amazon also offers a 7-Day Deal offer. You’ll need to meet some criteria first:
- Have a sales history and 3.5-star rating
- The product must be Prime-eligible and in new condition.
- You must be compliant with pricing standards and deal frequencies.
Once you’ve established which deals you’re eligible for, or if you plan to give your own promotions, you need to look at how to distribute your coupons. There are several ways to do this. Shopify runs on plugins, so discount-based add-ons like Discount Ninja and Bold Discounts may work well for you. Additionally, there are other applications to help you easily send out customized discounts, such as Landing Page Promoter (for Amazon sellers), Coupon Carrier, and Voucherify.
2. Personalize Everything
According to a study by Epsilon, a whopping 80% of shoppers admit that they are more likely to buy from a seller who offers a personalized experience than one who doesn’t.
From your product inserts to customer feedback emails, it’s vital to make sure you personalize as much as you can. Using your customer’s name is a start., Offering specialized deals based on their past purchases is also a great way to capture attention and loyalty.
Handwritten thank-you notes or neutral requests for feedback that use the customer’s name are just two ways you can offer some personalization without going too high tech. You can also provide free samples that relate to their recent purchase or coupons for a partnered company that might appeal to them.
3. Impress with Reviews
Strong reviews can both attract new customers and help you keep the ones you have. Each positive review builds the confidence your ongoing customers have in you—and the more they love your product, the more likely they are to leave a positive review. The best part is that the process of requesting reviews can be automated and optimized.
However, it’s important to note that you cannot incentivize reviews by offering free products, discounts, or refunds on Amazon. You also can’t ask your friends or family to review your product. Learn more about the ins and outs of requesting reviews in this article.
Grow Your Base: Intermediate eCommerce Loyalty Strategies
4. Email Campaigns
Once you have your customer’s emails, you can offer them better deals with more personalized messages. But there’s a whole lot more to email marketing than just combining discounts and personalized suggestions. With the right strategy and tools, you can also use email campaigns to increase your positive reviews while building long-term relationships with your customers.
Solutions like Feedbackz, FeedbackExpress, and FeedbackFive offer email templates, advanced analytics, and other tools to help you develop your Amazon sales funnel. These programs also make it easier to tailor your messages to specific consumers, offer discounts, and encourage more reviews.
5. Help Desk
Customer support can make or break your online business. After all, customers are more likely to be loyal if they feel they can trust you. That’s why creating a support network off of Amazon or Shopify can help you establish brand trust with your customers and keep them coming back.
It may be worth it to send buyers a link in their order confirmation email to your help desk and let them know that your customer support is there to help. If by chance your customer has a problem, they don’t have to rely solely on the Amazon contact mechanism—which is fairly impersonal.
Shopify, unlike Amazon, offers the ability to integrate help desk plugins. Some of the most popular options are:
6. Referral Programs
Another way to boost your retention while growing your business is a referral program. Offer your customers freebies or discounts if they refer someone to your shop. You cannot use this program to facilitate reviews, however (against Amazon’s policy).
Some popular plugins for Shopify users are:
Going all out: Advanced eCommerce Retention Strategies
7. Subscription Models
Subscription models are a great way to boost retention and create a new model of cash flow. Simply put, you can create a weekly, monthly, or quarterly offer that combines products into a simple package for your customers to purchase in advance. Not only does this make buying easier for the customers, but you get upfront payments.
Amazon is a different story. The platform allows for sellers to apply to sell subscription boxes directly on the website. In order to be eligible for the program, you must:
- Have a seller account
- Be able to ship to all 50 US states, Guam and Puerto Rico
- Have the ability to curate a subscription box
There are no special fees to join the program, which is good news for Amazon sellers. There are, however, some categories that require approval before you can sell in them. Those include:
- Automotive & Powersports
- CD & Vinyl
- Collectible Coins
- Collectibles—Sports & Entertainment
- Fine Art
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Fine Jewelry
- Sports Collectibles
- Video, DVD & Blu-ray
8. Full-scale Loyalty Programs
A full-scale loyalty program—such as creating a point system or creating exclusive deals is a great way to give back to your customers while facilitating purchases. The key to a successful loyalty program is balancing the rewards with the point system.
These programs can take a lot of work to build up but can be a lifeline during times of crisis. A study by LoyaltyLion found that members of a loyalty program continued to make repeat purchases and use their points during the pandemic.
Some popular plugins for Shopify users are:
Don’t forget to market
The most important thing after having your strategy in place is to keep marketing—whether you are fine-tuning your email sequences or crafting a referral program. Additional tools like Facebook chatbots or product-specific landing pages can help you pull in new customers, while your new loyalty plans will retain them. As your repeat customer base grows, they will become brand advocates and you’ll find your efforts to scale will become less challenging.