15 Tips to Drive Repeat Sales and Boost Ecommerce Customer Retention

» 10 min read

Paul Espino Perspective

By Paul Espino

Director, Commerce

The eCommerce arena is growing increasingly competitive, and the cost of clicks and conversions is rapidly increasing. As a marketer, you probably realize that customer retention is more cost-effective than new customer acquisition. Yet, you find it difficult to re-engage customers and turn them into loyal, repeat buyers. The cost of customer loyalty has increased.

How do you keep your current customers happy to make sure they return? And how do you turn one-time customers into repeat buyers? A cohesive retention marketing strategy is where it all begins. But how do you get started?

Let’s find out.

1. Create a subscription model

Customers want to simplify their lives, and by implementing a subscription model for your e-commerce store – a merchant is removing the friction of having a consumer visit the webstore repeatedly to purchase the same product on an ongoing basis. By not implementing a subscription feature, you are not only giving your customer an opportunity to buy the product from someone else – you are lowering customer satisfaction, increasing churn, and jeopardizing your customer retention rate.

2. Go direct-to-consumer online

If you are a manufacturer of your own product and retailing these via a distributor, you will never get a complete insight into your customers. By implementing a D2C online strategy, not only are you allowing the customer to fully experience your brand, but you are also creating opportunities to increase your AOV while gaining deeper insight into your customers. It would not be wrong to say that the direct-to-consumer approach acts as a loyalty program in itself.

3. Provide outstanding customer service

The 3 pillars of a successful online brand are based on providing a simple shopping experience, enabling a multi-touch-point fulfillment process, and delivering excellent customer service. Most eCommerce businesses tend to invest heavily in the shopping and fulfillment experience yet forget to properly deal with the customer when things go wrong. When a brand invests in providing great customer service and resolving issues, customers will want to continue buying from the merchant regardless of the issue with the order. This increases the brand loyalty too.

4. Implement a pay-over-time payment solution

Customers have tight budgets and at times it makes sense to spread the payment of an order over a period of time.  By providing finance options, a merchant can reduce cart abandonment rates and increase conversion with the addition of an installment-based payment option. A benefit of the pay-over-time payment methods is increased average order value (AOV) as the customers are more likely to buy additional items without feeling guilty at the time of checkout.

5. Retarget best customers with a unique discount

The 80/20 rule (Pareto Principle) can be used to improve sales knowing that 80% of sales come from 20% of customers. By looking into your sales reports, you can easily identify repeat customers. By sending these amazing customers a personalized discount offer via email the merchant reinforces their brand value.

6. Increase speed on page loads

Customers don’t want to wait for a website page to download “heavy” images. As previous research has shown, by increasing page speed by 100-milliseconds, merchants can boost sales by 5%-7%. Users tend to favor sites that load fast, and by improving page loads, brands will retain more traffic and increase the overall satisfaction of your visitors.

7. Provide better fulfillment notifications

No customers want to call customer service to enquire where their order is (WIMO), and those that do call tend to bottleneck your customer service teams. By implementing a service that provides a dynamic logistics notification feature coupled with a simple design a brand will deliver a superior customer experience.

8. Create a mystery box program

Customers want to pay less for products online and some brands – especially those that manufacture their own products – have healthy margins that allow them to sell products with high discounts. By creating a Mystery Box program, brands can easily sell their products with significant discounts without losing product price point. This is a great way to increase customer engagement and brand awareness. Social media and word of mouth play a very important role here.

9. Understand key metrics on your reporting data

Having a deep understanding of products that receive high traffic but aren’t selling and products that are getting little traffic – yet selling well is invaluable to merchants assessing product performance. By leveraging analytics brands can troubleshoot product conversion issues by either reducing the cost of non-selling products, improving the details of the products, to show the “value” of the product, while at the same time surfacing the high-selling products on landing pages.

10. Leverage accurate personalization on the shopping journey

Large e-commerce websites struggle with this concept – when brands create landing pages that are geared towards either a male or female persona without context they are missing a large consumer segment. Some examples are hardware stores that tend to merchandise their landing pages to a “contractor” type of persona and forget that “home decorators” also visit their website. UI personalization solves this issue by properly understanding the actual web visitor and present marketing messaging and imagery that fits their persona.

11. Add live chat with a real human

The live chat feature has been around for many years and lately, it is being driven by artificial intelligence (AI). Customers are savvy and know when an AI agent is behind the scenes trying to solve their problem or answer questions. A badly implemented AI Chatbot creates more irritation for the customer and often will result in abandoned transactions if a real operator that can actually “think” is not available.

12. Use retargeting ads

Retargeting users who have visited your website can be a curse or a blessing depending on the “promotion” that is provided in relation to the content and imagery used. When retargeting customers, it's best to create a custom journey that includes new products, great images, promotion, and a landing page that is relevant.

13. Create custom emails based on customer segments

In your email marketing campaign, you must segment your customers, this will enable you to activate parts of your customer base with custom messaging and promotions that will create revenue. Having a deep understanding of how your customers differ can help a brand better target these demographics with custom messaging that resonates with their interests.

14. Add B2B shopping capabilities

Many times, B2B customers have larger orders, and if the webstore forces the user to shop on the website as a general customer, it can be very frustrating and time-consuming. By implementing a custom B2B shopping flow that allows the user to easily browse inventory levels and add items to the “requisition list” – a brand can increase B2B sales.

15. Simplify the shopper’s journey

Research shows that by simplifying the entire shopping journey – customers are more likely to purchase from your website. By getting rid of “multi-page” checkouts, allowing customers to add items from the Category Landing Page (CLP), and implementing a “quick-purchase” feature – brands can reduce the many steps that exist on conditional shopping journeys.

Implementing a customer retention strategy is not as difficult a task as you may think. More than anything, it’s a shift in focus that prioritizes the right set of prospects with a higher conversion probability and lower cost of conversion.

Your end goal should be to create loyal customers that return to your store again and again. As a marketer, you should focus on building customer relationships that deliver increased lifetime value. Have customer loyalty programs and referral programs, as this will make them repeat purchases and get you more customers. The bottom line is, grow your business by selling more to your existing customer base rather than constantly trying to grow it.

About TA Digital

TA Digital is the only global boutique agency that delivers the “best of both worlds” to clients seeking to achieve organizational success through digital transformation. Unlike smaller, regional agencies that lack the ability to scale or large organizations that succumb to a quantity-over-quality approach, we offer resource diversity while also providing meticulous attention to the details that enable strategic success.

Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity, and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.

Recognized in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States, TA Digital is pleased also to share high-level strategic partnerships with world class digital experience platform companies like Adobe, SAP, AcquiacommercetoolsSitecore, and Elastic Path.

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