Tips for Building Better Customer Relationships

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In an increasingly crowded ecommerce market, customer retention is becoming more vital than ever. Did you know that it costs less to retain customers than to acquire new ones? If you’ve yet to market specifically to your existing customers, now is the perfect time to start. We’ve put together some top tips for building relationships with your best customers.

Ensure customers have a great experience 

The key to customer retention is to ensure your customers want to make a repeat purchase by making sure they’re satisfied with your company’s service and products and not tempted away to shop with competitors.

You need to ensure that the customer you worked to acquire remains with you and has a great customer experience from beginning to end. By building strong relationships with customers, you can maximise your revenue from each one.

When to focus on retaining customers

Knowing when to focus on customer retention versus acquisition depends largely on the maturity of your ecommerce store. A brand new company is very different to one that is established and has been for years. As a rule of thumb, the older the store, the more focus should be on retaining customers.

  • New business: Getting those first customers is the main thing you should be focusing on as a new business and you’ll need a solid strategy in place to grow your initial customer base.
  • Growing business: Once you start gaining traction with new customers and are getting sales, you can start to think about retention. A good starting point would be simple email campaigns with incentives for customers to return to you.
  • Consistent business: Once your sales are growing steadily, you should start to equally mix your retention efforts with acquisition strategies. This is the perfect time to introduce loyalty programmes before looking toward automated marketing.
  • Established business: A common issue for many ecommerce retailers is finding new ways to continue growth. While your acquisition may be delivering one-off purchases, a retention strategy will help to get more customers to buy more often, therefore increasing their lifetime value. This is the stage where retention should start to become at the forefront of your marketing.
  • Well-established business: As your business becomes more successful and well established in your market, you’ll likely have many processes and automated marketing in place that are working hard to gain new customers. This is absolutely the stage where retention should take centre stage.
Is retention marketing right for my ecommerce store?

The type of products you sell will dictate how much you should focus on retention marketing. For example, a retailer selling high-end homeware that customers will purchase perhaps every few years will vastly differ from a store selling consumables.

While it’s true that both infrequent, more expensive purchases and frequent consumable purchases need both a strong retention and acquisition strategy, how many and the types of resources you put into each will vary.

For higher-priced, infrequent items, retention is great as the customer lifetime value will be impressive should the return time and again. For consumables or frequently bought products, retention works as your customers return to you frequently rather than shopping elsewhere, therefore increasing their CLV.

 

How to build relationships with your best customers

Once you’ve worked out when the time is right to put retention strategies in place, you need to look at tangible processes you can put into place to keep your best customers coming back for more.

Improve your customer service systems

Customer service systems help to effectively communicate with your valued customers and provide them with excellent support. From pre-sale to aftersales, having a clear go-to point will help customers to feel well looked after.

Simply offering a live chat or help desk app can quickly and effectively turn a customer query into a sale or a complaint into a resolution. A well-handled complaint or issue can be rectified easily and turn an unhappy customer into a repeat customer. It can also rescue you from negative feedback which could impact your business.

Introduce customer loyalty schemes

Loyalty schemes are a proven, effective way to increase repeat custom as they motivate customers to make future purchases with you rather than a competitor in order to earn rewards. This is a positive exchange for both you and your customer as they’re gaining value every time they shop, and you get their repeat custom.

A great way to encourage customers to invest in a loyalty scheme is by offering a welcome bonus if they sign up and create an account. They’ll see how easy it is to earn rewards and become inspired to come back to your ecommerce store.

A loyalty scheme can be anything from rewarding customers when they make a second purchase or when they spend a certain amount. You could install automated loyalty apps in your Shopify or Shopify Plus store to simplify the process even more.

Send engaging emails to previous customers

Email marketing is often considered to be the backbone of customer engagement and retention. The right email can give you an opportunity to build relationships with your customers; however, it’s vital that each email you send offers value to your customers and their experience; if not, you risk losing them.

Perhaps the best and easiest way to start is with follow-up emails after purchase, not immediately, but around a week later is perfect. A simple email that thanks them for purchasing from you is enough acknowledgement to help customers feel that their decision to buy from you was the right one and makes your brand appear more approachable.

To give an initial email even more impact you can recommend other products which complement their initial purchase or include some customer reviews to really strengthen their trust.

After initial contact via email is made, you should then be sure to send a “personalised” email regularly, offering new products or recommendations as well as promotions and offers. You could include a discount code just for them to encourage a further sale.

Conclusion

Your established customer base is the best asset your store could have. These customers already know your brand and your products and have trust in your customer service. By prioritising your marketing efforts on your existing customers, you can supercharge your revenue and grow your ecommerce business.

Related Insights

Need an answer to a problem? Take a look at our insights section to find advice, guidance and recommendations across a range of e-commerce topics – from conversion to retention and loyalty, from systems integration to remarketing.

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