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6 Personalization Strategies To Improve Your Retention Rate


Why do we love the brands that we love? What is it about them that makes us go back time and time again? The products are a big factor, for sure. But more often than not, we become loyal to a brand because of their recognition of us as valued customers.

And where exactly does that start? With personalization.

Using personalization strategies on your Shopify store is the unparalleled way to increase retention rates.

Here’s a few reasons why you might want to do that:

Personalizing experiences around your customers has a direct and powerful effect on your store’s retention rates.

Check out these 6 personalization techniques and what they can do to turn one-time customers into repeat customers.

Personalization on a Shopify store starts the second a return customer heads to your homepage.

If you use cookies, your store can already guess what a returning customer wants immediately after arriving. Greeting those customers with recommended products, based on their last purchase and browsing history, is going to earn you huge loyalty points.

A simple ‘recommended for you’ section takes no time to set up, but could give your customer a giant shortcut to the checkout page. We probably don’t need to mention that that’s a huge benefit to both you and your customer.

Personalization strategy recommended shoe products

If you want to dive more into the nitty gritty of personalized product recommendations, Mailchimp have a great article to explain it.

2. Live chat greetings

All it takes sometimes is a friendly, personal “hi”.

If you’ve ever had an experience where a member of staff at a shop, restaurant or cafe has remembered your name, you’ll know the instant bond it creates with that establishment.

You can recreate this with an opening message on your store’s live chat. It’s possible to tailor the message to address your customer by name, ask them how they are, or whatever else you want to use to create familiarity.

If you have no way to record personal data, you should still be able to respond to a returning customer through cookies. In this case, a simple ‘welcome back’ message can be effective in registering the value of the customer.

Personalization strategy, live personalized demo offer by Helpcrunch

A great example of personability by Helpcrunch.

Protip: Depending on your chosen live chat app’s geolocation capabilities, you may even be able to greet returning customers in their local language!

3. Rewards Program

Once you know what kinds of products a specific customer is into, you can build an entire rewards program around it.

According to a Wirecard study, customers are 75% more likely to purchase again from a company with a rewards program. Programs like this are easy to set up and can spell huge success for your Shopify store.

Not only that, but as far as retention-boosting personalization strategies go, they’ve got serious longevity. Over time they can turn one-timers into repeat buyers, then into brand ambassadors once the loyalty has been well and truly cultivated.

Check out these highly personal rewards program ideas:

  • A discount code for your next visit.
  • Percentage off your recommended buys after 5 visits.
  • Free shipping to your location if you buy again before this date.
  • Big discount for you and your friends with this referral offer.

Once they’re into the rewards program, and your brand community, treasure these brand advocates. Shopify store Run Gum does this with a great, exclusive-feeling rewards system for their customer base:

Personalization strategy Run Gum Loyalty program

4. Email Retention

Where’s the best place to communicate to your customers about rewards programs? The answer is, and always has been, email.

In fact, 80% of business professionals who use email say that it’s an effective method to increase retention rates. They’re simply one of the best ways to pull back customers after a purchase.

As most companies’ preferred way of contacting their customers, it’s vital that they employ at least one of these personalization strategies for their email retention campaigns:

  1. A ‘thank you for your purchase’ email after the first buy.
  2. A personalized gift guide for the holidays.
  3. A heartfelt greeting for a holiday or birthday, with no push for a purchase!
  4. A ‘we miss you’ email after the customer hasn’t returned for a while.

If you can, use all of these emails across your customer’s journey. It will be a super effective, super personal retention strategy that keeps your customers close throughout.

Check out this example by Zales. The customer who received this email showed interest in buying jewellery for girls, so their personalized gift guide shows them exactly that.

Protip: Even a ‘what can we do better?’ email survey can increase retention rates. In addition to giving you valuable information about what your customers want, it makes them feel valued, which is one of the biggest parts of the loyalty package.

For many customers, it doesn’t get much more personal than their social media channels.

It’s becoming ever clearer that social media is crucial to e-commerce success. There’s so much you can do across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more to retain your customers.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Reply personally – An active social channel includes direct messages, posts and comments from your customers. Reply to each of these in a personal and meaningful way.
  • Create a community feel – Along with your general page, you could have a community group for loyal users. Community groups are places where people can discuss and get access to exclusive updates and offers, rather than simply ‘following’ a page.
  • Stay active – The occasional token post probably isn’t going to cut it if you want your followers to stay in touch with your brand. Make posts often and make them interesting with a variety of multimedia.

Want an example? Check out the Instagram account of Shopify store Notebook Therapy. They’ve amassed 1.3 million followers (many of which will be returning customers) off the back of an active, interesting, communal and personal social media presence.

Personalization strategy - Notebook therapy social media

6. Personalize Yourself

So we’ve talked a lot about how to personalize experiences for your customers, but what about personalizing from yourself?

When it comes to contacting customers, anything you can do to sound more like a human and less like a business is great for customer experience. And what’s great for customer experience is great for retention rates. It’s the reason why storytelling is such a powerful player in e-commerce. Here’s a few ways you can retain customers with your own story:

  • A compelling about us section.
  • Plenty of pictures of you and/or your staff.
  • Tie your story in with your customer’s needs.

You can see an example of this in Ember, one of Shopify’s most successful coffee stores. Their ‘about us’ section is short and sweet, contains pictures (with video) and ties in the customer’s pain point (cold coffee) with their own mission statement.

Personalization strategy - Ember personalized smart mug

Customer’s really respond to authentic stories like these. Having a strong, personal one can passively encourage customers to connect with and return to your brand.

So we’ve talked about 6 personalization strategies to improve your retention rate, but where exactly can you start?

With retention rate becoming an ever-more primary focus for Shopify stores, the number of tools to help you rocket your rate is rapidly increasing…


Like we mentioned above, there has to be a stellar rewards program when cultivating long-term repeat buying.

That’s where Smile comes in. Smile helps you build an entire system of points, exclusive access and referrals to give your customers a meaningful incentive to return.


There’s no shortage of email marketing platforms out there, but Sendinblue takes the crown for us.

The reason? Its ability to segment your customers depending on their purchases, subscriptions or locations, so that you can create a personalized email for each one.

With Sendinblue you can run different campaigns at the same time to try and retain customers at different stages of the buyer’s journey.


Gorgias is a helpdesk, meaning that it pools together all of your store’s messages onsite, from email and from social media into one manageable interface.

The best part is that it helps you set up automated live chat responses that are personal to returning customers on your site.

As a side bonus, it helps you stay on the ball with your social media replies!


PageFly lets you customise everything about your store, giving you a hand in making the most personal product recommendation section or ‘about us’ page.

Not only that, but PageFly can help you create a no-hassle customer form, meaning that you can collect important data after a customer’s purchase.

With over 70 templates and an intuitive drag-and-drop system, PageFly is easy to use, very affordable and a real asset to your retention app roster.

See how PageFly can soar your retention rate and customer lifetime value.  

This is a guest post by Lawrence Haywood. Lawrence writes for PageFly, where he documents the daily thrills of the e-commerce business. Above all he's passionate about growth; the challenge of getting a store from A to B and the rewards of watching it happen.

Special thanks to our friends at Smile.io for their insights on this topic.

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