The internet has changed the way we shop, making it possible to buy almost anything online. Products ranging from groceries to clothes are now delivered right to our front door. Yet, despite this convenience, many people are reluctant to make purchases online for fear of not receiving what they ordered or being scammed by a dishonest seller.
As a result, eCommerce companies struggle with low customer retention rates that can lead them into bankruptcy if they aren’t able to turn things around quickly enough. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies you can use that will help your business retain more customers and grow stronger every day.
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In the following article, I’ll outline 8 ways you can improve online customer retention for your eCommerce company so that you don’t find yourself in the red.
#1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
Mobile devices are the most popular way to access the internet today. If you’re looking for your next big customer acquisition channel, focusing on mobile should be a top priority.
So how do you attract new customers on mobile? First and foremost, ensure that your website is designed for mobile devices. Your visitors will appreciate it, and it will also increase the likelihood that they’ll purchase on your site.
Also, consider SEO for mobile as well. Google is becoming increasingly mobile-friendly, and this will give your site a boost in rankings: you’ll be found more easily by customers searching for products on their mobile devices.
If you haven’t done so already, focus on designing a mobile-first website to attract new customers and improve customer retention rates.
#2. Provide customer service that exceeds expectations
Customer service is so important that it’s been said that 90% of your customers will quit if faced with one major problem while on a website.
Remember, too, that many shoppers are using their mobile devices to browse the internet while they’re in stores or strolling around town. So if you haven’t already, invest in tools or services to help them easily contact you for customer service issues on the go.
You might also consider creating a live chat function on your website as well: studies show live chat has proven especially effective at reducing shopping cart abandonment and improving customer satisfaction.
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Give your team members good training, give them the right resources (such as video conferencing software designed to make it easy to solve common customer problems), and make sure they know you mean business about providing superior customer service.
#3. Offer free shipping on orders over a specific dollar amount
One of the biggest reasons customers hesitate to make purchases online is because they’re accustomed to free shipping offers at brick-and-mortar stores.
These days, consumers are very savvy, and they’re all looking for a bargain: offering free shipping on orders over a specific dollar amount will convince them that your site is worth it.
Keep in mind that you should still calculate shipping fees and/or order minimums in your pricing. After all, you’ll want to make a profit too. Otherwise, your company will struggle, and so will your customers.
The reality is that sometimes, perception will go a long way.
#4. Sell products in the right quantities
Sell products in quantities customers want, like 3 or 6 items per package rather than 1 item at a time. This allows you to offer discounts for buying more at one time and gives customers a healthy discount that makes them feel good about their purchase.
Some customers will want to grab one item, but others will be happy to buy in bulk. It’s a win-win for everyone – especially resellers selling products in the eCommerce industry.
#5. Offer trial periods and free-to-paid conversions
Some customers are hesitant to make purchases online because they’re afraid of buying the wrong thing.
Don’t make it any harder for them: offer a trial period or free-to-play conversions, where customers can test your product or service before forking over their money. This allows you to increase sales while also increasing customer retention rates.
It’s easier than you think to set this up once you have good software on your side: Shopify offers free trials, as does BigCommerce. If you already own a Magento powered eCommerce store then there is an open-source module available that will log the time when the customer requested a free sample, during which he can freely pick up the product, keep it for a limited amount of time, and if he decided not to buy it, then he can return it without any charge.
#6. Use email marketing
Email marketing can be used to announce new products. People are more likely to buy from brands they already know and trust via email marketing than from unknown brands online – so make sure you’re doing a good job of marketing your email subscribers.
If these customers trust you enough to be on your mailing list, they may just contact you when they want to buy something or have a problem with what they bought.
Studies also show that repeat customers are more valuable than new ones. Not only will email marketing help you keep repeat customers coming back for more, but some might even recommend your company to friends and family members.
#7. Give special perks and discounts to customers
This is especially important when it comes to customers who use social media to publicize your business, talk about their experience with your products or recommend you to others.
Giving out special discounts or perks to customers who follow your business on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites encourage more people to talk about you, which leads to more customers. The ones who get the most benefits (discounts) will be the cheerleaders for your company.
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Encourage these customers to share their positive experiences with others via social media using software that allows you to automatically tweet customer service-related conversations or comments from your site – this makes it easy for others to spread the word about how easy it was for them to buy from you.
Improve online customer retention for eCommerce – FAQ
How can I improve customer retention rates?
It is possible to improve the retention rate by using various strategies.
The most effective ones to look into include:
A/B testing, targeted email campaigns, personalization, social media integration, and gamification of a loyalty program.
What exactly does A/B testing do?
A/B testing allows online businesses to make crucial decisions based on user feedback and results. It serves as an effective strategy for determining what marketing methods work best and it provides you with actionable insights that will contribute significantly to improving online customer retention rates through techniques such as personalization.
Personalization refers to showing different content depending on who we are talking to in the sales process and can also change based on the sales funnel stage the person is at.
How is personalization different from market segmentation?
While you can achieve both of them through a variety of methods, such as social media integration and retargeting, personalization allows you to determine the needs and interests of individuals to better connect with them.
This method has seen significant success mainly because it makes things more unique for your customers while encouraging them to engage more often with your brand online.
How can I recover my lost sales?
If you are seeing losses in customer retention rates, there are a few strategies that could help: upselling, retargeting, and re-engagement campaigns can all be used to reignite interest in your brand.
How can I measure customer retention?
Measuring customer retention means determining what factors contribute to loyal customers or those with a high propensity to purchase your personal brand products again. A few of the most effective ways for doing so is through tracking information such as:
Web traffic, engagement rates and time on site, email open rates, bounce rates, social media shares, and retweets.
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These metrics give you a better understanding of both new and existing customers. Tracking data helps you identify commonalities among your best-performing customers which in turn allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Is there any way I can keep costs low?
Using various methods such as free themes/plugins, tools, and out-of-the-box solutions will allow you to save a considerable amount of money.
This is especially helpful if your company is just starting and you are still working on establishing its brand identity online.
However, keep in mind that free themes/plugins have an expiry date so make sure to check their terms and conditions before using them.
Final thoughts on improving online customer retention for eCommerce
In conclusion, it is possible to improve online customer retention rates. By using solutions like A/B testing, social media integration, and gamification you can reach a loyal client base that will positively affect your business in the long run.
When it comes to your bottom line, this means that you will be able to reduce operating expenses by reducing the number of customer service requests that you receive daily.
What is important is that you remember that not every solution works for every brand.
Always keep in mind how you can present yourself and engage with both existing and new customers to ensure that you reach your goals.
Guest author: Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their business and become financially independent. You can connect with him here.