Customer retention is the key to fostering truly loyal customers. These customers make more purchases than one-time shoppers, promote your brand to their networks, and become your best brand advocates. If customer retention wasn’t already on your mind, it needs to be!
Let’s take a look at some tried-and-tested customer retention practices and some brands that are putting these practices into action.
Promote your new product releases
In order to keep customers around, you need to give them a reason to come back and shop with your brand again. One of the best ways to do this is by consistently adding new products to your stock and promoting these product releases. This will keep customers excited and offering your most loyal customers the chance to try them out first is a great way to show them you care about them!
It’s best practice to let customers know about these new products in a variety of ways like adding a “new releases” section on your website, as well as on social media, email campaigns, or giveaways. Take Onyx & Oak for example: they have a dedicated section on their homepage for “New Arrivals” and give customers the chance to sign up to receive brand updates right on that page.
New product releases are a great way to retain customers, but only if they know about them.
Inspire customers with great brand values
When you think about some of your favorite brands, what is it about them that you love? Maybe they have great products or awesome customer service, but in a lot of cases it’s what that brand stands for that draws you to them.
A great way to foster loyal customers is to promote brand values that resonate with them. This is especially important for brands trying to stand out from the crowd of online ecommerce stores. Including some type of corporate social responsibility in your brand’s core is a great customer retention tool.
Hello Wellness Naturals is a skincare store that has centered its entire brand around their value of providing handmade and naturally-sourced products. From their “About Us” page to brand name, their value of being natural is clear and appealing to customers. Their beliefs are emphasized on their website when they say, “All of our needs for optimum health and vitality are provided for us in nature.” This emphasis on clean products that are not only good for their customers but also the environment as well is what sets them apart from their competitors.
Build a strong brand community for customers to join
Customers want to feel like they are a part of an exclusive group when they shop with you and wear, eat, or use your products. This is where building a strong brand community based on your brand values can come in handy. Let’s take a look at Australian men’s clothing brand, Barney Cools. Beyond their trendy beach clothing, this brand has created an entire lifestyle associated with them.
They’ve even added a “Lifestyle” section on their website featuring user-generated content, blog posts, customer events, and more. By marketing themselves as a lifestyle brand they’ve become a men’s fashion staple that provides more than just cool clothing, but it also provides a cool lifestyle.
Lifestyle marketing is a great way to create an online community of like-minded customers that want to interact with each other and with you for a long time.
Specifically cater to your specific market if you’re a niche brand
When you fulfill a specific need for customers in a niche market, you have a high chance of retaining those customers. This is why identifying who exactly your ideal customer is and where you can reach them is so important for niche products.
Let’s take a look at an authentic Japanese kimono brand, Kuden. This brand is committed to protecting kimono culture by redesigning traditional Japanese kimonos for everyday wear and doing so through ethical and sustainable manufacturing processes.
As a brand that has a very specific cultural audience, they’ve branded themselves as being responsible for “The Birth of brand new mode”. This appeals to customers who are looking to still celebrate their traditional Japanese culture with a new modern twist. As a brand that’s fulfilling a very specific niche need, they’ve been able to foster a group of loyal customers.
Incentivize customers with a loyalty program
If you offer a loyalty program to your customers, you’re already one step ahead of your competitors in the customer retention game. Giving shoppers the chance to earn valuable rewards is a great way to motivate them to continue engaging with your brand to rack up points.
While having a loyalty program is great, it’s essential to make sure your customer loyalty experience is just as great! Coffee brand Pirate Nation offers an easily-accessible loyalty program on every page of their website through a launcher and panel. They also make the earning experience fun and on-brand by giving customers the chance to earn “Skulls” to redeem for a percentage off coupons and free shipping.
Pirate Nation also rewards customers for making referrals, which increases their exposure to new customers through the power of peer-to-peer sharing. Giving customers the opportunity to redeem their hard-earned points for a great reward gives them a reason to return to your store, which is why loyalty programs are an essential customer retention tool.
Challenge customers with gamification
If you already have a loyalty program, one of the best ways to retain your customers is to make the loyalty customers experience fun! Using gamification or adding game mechanics to your website or loyalty program increases motivation, engagement, and loyalty, which keeps your customers interested in your brand for longer.
You can gamify your loyalty program with something as simple as progress bars; when customers are able to visually see how close they are to earning their next reward, they'll be more motivated to continue engaging with you to earn enough points to redeem rewards.
Adding VIP tiers to your loyalty program is another great way to do this since customers are challenged to earn enough points to level up to the next tier. Geri G. Beauty has combined two gamification strategies by using a tiered reward system with progress bars, allowing customers to see how close they are to the next level.
Gamification techniques are a great way to motivate customers to continue engaging with your brand long-term.
Lock-in customers with subscriptions
A surefire way to retain your customers is to lock them in with a subscription-based business model. This gives shoppers the chance to pay for a recurring product delivery that occurs weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or whatever you decide. This makes it simple for customers who know they want repeat purchases of your products but don’t want to work on having to order themselves within a specific timeframe.
Enjoy Flowers offers its customers the chance to order bouquets of fresh flowers either for themselves or as a gift to be delivered every two weeks or once a month. This is a great way to keep customers excited and add an element of surprise with every delivery when they see their new bouquet.
It’s important to offer the ability to customers to purchase products on a non-subscription basis as well. For example, offering customers the chance to order a vase or decor with their flower subscription increases the average order value of Enjoy Flower’s customers. Measuring customer retention metrics like this one are important to track your brand’s success.
Don’t give up on dormant customers
One of the best customer retention strategies is to win-back your dormant customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while. While it may seem like these customers are uninterested in your products, they often just need a little reminder of why they shopped with you in the first place.
You can send segmented emails to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while, or to customers who have abandoned an item in their cart. It’s also a great idea to include customers’ points balances in these emails to remind them they can redeem those points for rewards. It’s always worth a shot to win back your dormant customers because repeat customers are much more profitable than one-time shoppers.
Provide value-added content to educate customers
Value-added content gives your customers something to be interested in beyond your great products: it helps them connect more to your brand and brand values. Great content marketing can help your brand succeed and can take place in many different forms. Snuggly Monkey is an arts and crafts brand that uses value-added marketing to educate, entertain, and inspire their customers
This creative brand has a blog to show off customers’ crafts to inspire others, as well as creating their own DIY project posts to entertain them. Plus, they provide step-by-step video tutorials to educate customers on how to create crafts. By providing just as much content as they do products, they’ve given their customers a reason to engage with them beyond their crafty items.
Always say thank-you to your customers
One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to show them how much they really mean to you. While there are many ways to show your customers that you value them, like with loyalty programs or beautiful packaging, sometimes a simple thank-you is all it takes.
Sending personalized thank-you notes after customers make purchases is a great way to enhance the customer experience and stand out in your customer’s mind. You can set this up as an automated email or you can add a personalized touch with a hand-written note in your customer’s actual shipment.
When a customer feels appreciated, they’ll be more willing to make another purchase.
Start retaining your customers for long-term success
There are several ways to begin retaining your customers for the long-term. Whether you offer a niche product to a specific customer segment, or you have a strong value-added content marketing strategy, there are many things you can do to keep your customers around!
Test out a few of these strategies with your own brand and watch your retention rates rise.
Customer retention campaigns can take on many different forms.
Get equipped with everything you need to know in our Ultimate Guide to Customer Retention.
This article originally appeared in the Smile.io blog and has been published here with permission.