3 Proven Methods To Improve Your Business's Online Customer Retention

Entrepreneur engaging with customers via different inbound marketing methods to help improve their online customer retention for their e-commerce business.

Customer retention is a fundamental part of developing and growing a B2C online retail business, as you’ll struggle to grow if each of your customers makes just a single purchase before you never see them again. Most digital marketing initiatives focus on gaining new customers and this is, of course, the foundation of online retail, but retaining your customers and encouraging repeat purchases will, long term, yield higher profits and a more sustainable business model. 

In this article, we’ll look at three proven methods to help improve your online customer retention rate, bringing customers back time and again, and encouraging social shares and referrals.


1. Personalise Your User Experience

The popularity of online retail is based on convenience – why go to a high street when you can order your goods immediately from the comfort of your home?  But increasingly, customers are demanding the same level of personalisation that they traditionally expected from high street outlets. So how do you inject this ‘are you being served?’ ethos into the inherently self-serve interface of e-commerce?

  • Customer data analysis: modern e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, enable you to track customer interactions, purchases, and preferences to create a more tailored experience, and when linked to an email marketing strategy, will encourage repeat purchases, up-sells, and cross sells.

  • Machine learning algorithms: developments in ‘smart’ software, including machine learning, can be used to help predict and analyse customer preferences, allowing for better-targeted product recommendations on-site (if the customer has enabled cookies), and letting you suggest more relevant and enticing products by email and social media.

  • On-site personalisation: Taylor the look and feel of your website and mobile e-commerce apps based on user behaviour and preferences, giving your customers the option to prioritise the types of content and information they desire most, and to adjust their customer interface to match their browsing requirements.

2. Incentivise Your Customers To Make More Purchases

The best way to encourage your customers to purchase from you again? Just ask. Actively encouraging customers to come back for repeat purchases through a loyalty programme, email marketing, social media adverts, discount scheme, or other incentives is a great way of attracting business back to your shop, and can also strengthen your customer relationships long term.

There are plenty of ways that you can create a loyalty or retention programme to suit your customer base, including:

  • Loyalty point system: offer points for each purchase with diverse rewards that can be cashed in such as discounts, exclusive products, early access, same-day shipping, and so on. Find out what matters most to your customers and build an incentive scheme around bonuses they genuinely care about.

  • Tiered loyalty: encourage more purchases by offering higher tiers with better rewards and discounts as customers continue to shop – e.g. spend £X, get £X off, spend £XX get £XXX off!

  • Partnerships with other businesses: if you can, collaborate with complementary businesses to offer shared rewards, further increasing the value of your retention strategy and boosting up-sells for yourself and your partner.

3. Invest In Customer Service

Ultimately, the reason that a customer will keep coming back to you is the service you offer, not simply your prices and stock availability. So invest in customer service, making sure that your customer support team is accessible, knowledgeable, and prompt in addressing concerns and enquiries.

For small businesses, in particular, this can be a challenge due to resource scarcity, so consider strengthening your customer support infrastructure by:

  • Implementing online chat bots: Live website text chats (either AI-enabled or scripted), automated email support, and even phone chat programs can help you responsively answer customer questions without having to engage your human customer service team.

  • Self-service options: empower your customers to find the information they need through a comprehensive FAQs section on your website, and informative content on each of your product and category pages. A YouTube channel populated with helpful instructional videos, and a regularly updated blog, will also help address common questions and reduce the burden on your customer service team.

  • Be active on social media: social media enables you to offer real-time ad hoc customer service and develop a brand community with your existing customers. Respond promptly to comments, complaints, and likes on social media, share customer-created content across your platforms to showcase appreciation and build trust, and post engaging content to reward and entertain your customer base.

Next Steps

Investing in customer retention can help lower your churn rate and increase the customer lifetime value of each new business sale. To find out more about B2C e-commerce retention strategies and how we can support your business, please contact JDR today and get in touch with one of sales specialists.

Click here to claim your free inbound marketing assessment by JDR Group to help your attract more website visitors, generate more leaders, and increase your sales. Image Source: Canva