For eCommerce companies, your ability to attract new customers and keep them coming back plays the largest role in your company’s success. Acquiring new customers is expensive. On average, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, compared to retaining an existing one. A five percent increase in customer retention can increase profits between 25 and 95 percent.
There is no time more important to your ability to retain a new customer than the hours and days following their first purchase. Your post-sale engagement with your customer should be outlined, tested, and optimized for retention success.
Your most important asset in retaining your customers is data. With new customers, you’ll have a limited amount of this to work with. But, with each new interaction, you gain additional insight into how to successfully interact with them to facilitate additional purchases.
Customer satisfaction is becoming an increasingly important KPI for eCommerce companies. To improve your customer retention rates and build relationships, consider implementing these strategies:
Confirmations and Status Updates
It may seem obvious, but quick and consistent communication is valued by customers. When an order is made, an immediate confirmation of the purchase sent to their email is expected. However, all eCommerce companies should go the extra step and continually update their customers throughout the ordering process.
Letting your customers know when their order was received, shipped, arrives at their local shipping depot, and when the package is delivered makes the order tracking process simple. It’s important to find the balance between providing order updates and emailing a new customer too often. However, when the updates are relevant to their order, you are less likely to find falling satisfaction rates.
Customer Support Outreach
Customers love a personalized service. Letting them know that you appreciate their business and are eager to help them if they need it can go a long way toward laying the foundation for a long-term relationship. After they place their initial order, try scheduling an automated email from one of your customer service reps, offering to help and answer any questions that they might have.
Receiving a personalized email from an actual employee of the company facilitates a feeling of security and creates a more personal relationship between your company and the customer. Additionally, it encourages them to ask questions when they do not want to take the time to go through the support ticket system. Having a customer support rep introduce themselves to new customers can help to facilitate conversations, which play a key role in customer retention.
Quality in-house support also goes a long way. If a customer has a problem (or question about) a product, they don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting on hold, speaking with someone that can’t solve their problem.
Empower your in-house support team. They should be able to provide quick answers and solutions to first-time customers, without referring the complaint up the chain. Great support wins the hearts and minds of customers. They can forgive a mistake. They can’t forgive terrible support.
Get to Know Them Better With Surveys
Want to retain more first-time buyers as long-term customers? Show them that you care about them and are learning from your interactions. As more eCommerce companies find innovative ways to use their data to deliver personalized campaigns, customers’ expectations grow. Consumers have grown to expect online retailers to deliver relevant marketing materials, based on their interactions with the company.
Asking that your customers fill out a short survey and providing something in return — like a coupon code on an item related to their original purchase — can help you to learn more about them while improving survey conversion rates. Keep your surveys short and simple to fill out. Learning something about a wide swath of customers is more helpful than learning a lot about very few.
Nurturing Email Campaigns
How quickly a customer returns depends heavily on your industry and the types of products that you sell. A retailer that specializes in holiday decorations is going to have a completely different sales cycle than someone that specializes in selling household necessities.
For both companies, nurturing is still important. Your sales cycle should inform the frequency and strategies of your nurturing campaigns, providing relevant and interesting content at opportune times during your sales cycle.
Similar to email nurturing, retargeting reminds customers to come back to your site and make another purchase.
Creating lists based on order value and order count per customer can be a highly effective retargeting strategy. In most cases, you would want to bid more for top ad placement for any customers you know have purchased two or more times in the last 60 days. Or you can go even further—and create combination lists with engagement metrics. For example, you could combine “Purchased > 2x” and “Days since last visit > 15″.
Also, in case some of those customers are searching for your competitors’ brand terms, you might like to remind them of your loyalty program. Do this by creating a new ad group that targets a competitor’s search terms with an RLSA list.
Be mindful when engaging in retargeting activities. It’s difficult to prove incrementality in retargeting ads and you don’t want to pay for a customer that was looking for you anyway. We’ll have more on incrementality testing soon, so watch this space!
Relationships Turn First-Time Buyers into Repeat Customers
Once you’ve acquired a new customer your focus should shift toward building long-term relationships. By regularly reaching out through nurturing emails, special offers, and surveys, you put yourself in a position to learn more about them and deliver increasingly relevant materials as your relationship matures.
There is a lot riding on the customer’s experience during and immediately following their first order. Most customers will buy from a company more frequently after a positive initial experience. Taking the time to get to know them and deliver personalized marketing materials can go a long way toward building trust and earning repeat business.