Ecommerce Growth

19 Customer Retention Strategies that Actually Work (for eCommerce)

Don't leave store visits to mere coincidence. Implement these 19 tested customer retention strategies to nurture relationships & improve repeat sales!

19  Customer Retention Strategies that Actually Work (for eCommerce)

There’s been enough talk about how nurturing existing and old customers can be far more profitable than converting those first-time shoppers. 

In fact, statistics seem to say the same thing much louder:

A 5% increase of customer retention can send a company’s revenue soaring by anywhere between 25% and 95%. 

With that in mind, we’ve created a granular list of eCommerce customer retention strategies that will hold you in good stead and ramp up your repeat sales—all through 2023!

1. Incentivize first & early purchases

2. Reward repeat purchases

3. Incentivize subscriptions

4. Improve average customer wait time

5. Promote members-only pricing

6. Create exclusive discounts for loyalists

7. Identify gaps in your email strategy & close them

8. Make post-purchase emails pack A LOT of value 

9. Make the post-purchase phase an experience 

10. Take SMS marketing seriously

11. Aim to connect with & sell to ONLY interested customers 

12. Make delivery, returns & refunds transparent 

13. Use well-suited messaging for each channel

14. Take surveys for insights on customer preferences

15. Position customers as brand advocates

16. Sync your brand story with customer values 

17. Let your brand be needed through a robust content strategy 

18. Improve the ease of use for mobile customers 

19. Pack your loyalty program with superior benefits

Proven eCommerce Customer Retention Strategies That Work For 8-Figure Stores

1. Incentivize first & early purchases 

This is especially true for first-time buyers. 

(And given that 59% of consumers have been found to search for promo codes online before they actually make a purchase). 

The main goal of customer retention in eCommerce is to transform one-time buyers into long-term, loyal customers.

And one way to achieve this is to incentivize first and early purchases:

Offer a 10%—15% abandoned cart discounts (this can in fact ensure that those first purchases actually happen and the buyers get a taste of engaging with your brand)

Birchbox adds urgency to their abandoned cart discounts


Declare 10%—15% discounts to be applied on the next purchase (this encourages them to stick around and not immediately wander off towards competing brands)

Extend an increasing dollar discount as the order value threshold increases (to make this even more effective, you can declare a timeframe within which the customer can leverage this advantage)

Free shipping & returns offer on the first purchase (the associated ease can make shoppers want to keep coming back to buy from you)

Brilliant Earth declares this offer to first-time shoppers through a pop-up. 

Brilliant Earth incentivizes first time buyers with free shipping & returns as a customer retention strategy

Pro Tipđź’ˇ

Declaring too deep a % discount or even a price slash can be counter-productive. 

It has been seen that when shoppers come across very steep discounts they experience mistrust—they may wonder if your products aren’t doing well or if you’re about to close shop altogether. 

2. Reward repeat purchases

When you’re thinking of notching up repeat sales, you’ll have to consider:

The buying behavior of repeat customers so far (products they’ve repeatedly purchased and what it says about them etc.)

Data that has revealed their interest in products they have & haven’t bought

The above analysis will help you understand what among the following will work to incentivize repeat purchases. 

Offer a reduced price on repeatedly-bought products

Offer free samples of products they’ve been exploring but haven’t bought yet (you can introduce a order value threshold for this to ensure you stay profitable)

Free complementary product with a purchase (let’s say they’ve bought a duvet—you could offer a cover free)

Introduce a point-based reward system (like Sephora’s Beauty Insider program that enables shoppers to earn 1 point every time they checkout with their email address across offline and online channels.)

Sephora's Beauty Insider Program offers point-based rewards to members

Pro Tip đź’ˇ

Develop a personal connection with repeat purchasers by leveraging special days in their lives. 

Tarte Cosmetics, for example, offers special rewards to members of their free-to-join loyalty program during their birthday month. 

Tarte Cosmetics offers special rewards to their loyalty program members during their birthday month

3. Incentivize subscriptions

Even if your products are brilliant, there’s no guarantee that shoppers will keep coming back to buy more. 

Which is why focusing on incentivizing subscriptions becomes so important if you want those repeat sales. 

Here are a few ways to do so:

Offer a tangible benefit that’s applicable beyond one-time orders 

This could be a reduced per time price or an advantage like free shipping over a certain price threshold. 

Here’s what Burt’s Bees does. 

(They offer free shipping on auto-delivery of products over $10)

Burt's Bees uses the customer retention strategy of offering free shipping for auto-delivery orders

Make it easy to gift subscriptions 

The easier it is for buyers to buy a subscription and gift it to someone else, the more they will feel pulled to re-subscribe and suggest the idea of subscription to others. 

Rocksbox, for example, has an elaborate subscription plan for gifting. 

Rocksbox lets customers choose gift subscriptions with price benefits as a customer retention strategy

Make it easy to edit the subscription cadence

It’s great to offer subscribers the freedom to choose their own delivery cadence initially. 

However, ensure to check in (preferably through email) to see if they might like to alter it for any reason (too much stock, unavailability because of a

vacation etc.)

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Leverage product recommendations to promote subscriptions. 

This improves the chances of your shoppers discovering products they’d really want to subscribe to or gift subscriptions of. 

Check out: eCommerce Subscriptions: 15 Amazing Examples (+ Ways to Increase Subscription Sales)

4. Improve average customer wait time

Research proves that 94% of shoppers are looking for quick responses—within 24 hours to be precise. 

In terms of wait time on support calls, the eCommerce average happens to be 81.4 seconds. 

So if you’re working on customer retention strategies for your eCommerce brand, here are key areas:

Initiate the live chat prompt from your end ‍

Personalize based on where the customer is—so if it’s a new shopper, just a “hello! How can we help you today?” may be sufficient but for a seasoned customer multi choice questions may work better.

Offer multi-channel access to your support agents ‍

They need to know how customers have behaved across channels to provide them instant support—and customers shouldn’t have to ideally explain.

Feature search in your live chat (and make sure autosuggest is enabled so that shoppers can view a host of options)

Autosuggestion embedded in live chat can improve customer experience and retention


Make support super easy for international customers ‍

Like Nordstrom does—the moment you step on to their site, they offer international shoppers the ready assistance they’re looking for.

Nordstrom highlights key aspects for international shoppers to add to customer experience and retention

Enhance self-help resources

Whether it’s to do with placing your FAQ and policies across accessible locations in your site (beneath CTAs, on footers), or making sitewide content searchable in your chat feature, make self-help a priority. 

Feature a Q&A section along with reviews

This is one way to support customers in understanding how the brand (and other customers) has responded to product queries by other customers. A comprehensive Q&A section can offer more instant insights. 

Bed Bath & Beyond features a q&a section across each of their product pages—here’s an example. 

Bed Bath & Beyond features a Q&A section alongside reviews

‍Establish live support across channels

If you’ve been relying solely on chat support on your eCommerce website, time to incorporate channels like WhatsApp and FB messenger into that mix.

Since these are channels used by most customers around the day, meeting them across these can make them feel valuable without extra effort from your end. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Offer accessibility adjustments as part of your customer support offerings – this ensures a wider audience is able to navigate through your website and make on-the-spot purchase decisions. 

5. Promote members-only pricing

Most shoppers are looking for a consistent price advantage – over one-time discounts and coupon code.

This is why bringing members-only pricing into your eCommerce customer retention strategy mix is valuable if you want those repeat sales to happen more often. 

Here are a few actions to consider:

Highlight joining benefits

One way to retain eCommerce customers is to have them become part of your loyalty program. 

But many shoppers need that extra push to show interest in your loyalty program in the first place. 

Announce special express shipping rates

Your customers vying for members-only pricing might sit up and take extra notice if you take the advantage up by a notch – enable them to enjoy special shipping rates. 

Wayfair is an eCommerce brand that extends a special pricing plan to businesses—and ensures the latter get inspired to join it for extra benefits. 

Warby Parker gives a special price to businesses as a customer retention strategy

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

To make members-only pricing more attractive, ensure you offer aligned benefits—such as priority access to exclusive launches, invitations to member-only events and curated news from the industry. 

6. Create exclusive discounts for loyalists

This could be your way of getting them to try your new line of products and wanting to return to buy more. 

Exclusive discounts to existing loyalists can be one of your customer retention strategies for eCommerce. 

By acknowledging loyalists this way, you’re basically saying: “thank you for being a part of the brand journey – we’d love to show our appreciation in tangible ways.”

Thinking of announcing some exclusive discounts? 

Here are some ideas you could explore:

Announce a one-day sitewide flash sale (and ensure you drive the point that this is exclusively available ONLY to loyalists)

Unlock select coupons only upon signing up as a member (an easy membership process, which is also free, will inspire shoppers to avail this benefit)

Personalize mystery offers for the highest paying customers

Here’s an example where Kohl’s offers an extra discount to repeatedly returning customers. 


Kohl's offers additional discounts to repeat customers to retain them more successfully

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

To communicate these exclusive discounts, meet your customers on the channels they mostly use—one way to do this is to analyze CTR of emails, SMSs and WhatsApp messages of segmented groups of repeat purchasers. 

7. Identify gaps in your email strategy & close them

With eCommerce customer retention as the end goal, your email strategy will need to relook into the following aspects:

  • What you are communicating through your emails
  • How well your emails are plugged into where the buyer is on their journey
  • Which channels you can combine with email to offer an integrated experience

To ensure the above are met and get aligned with the long-term goals your business has:

Track how contextual your emails are

If they’re talking about too many things at the same time, that’s a bad idea. 

Highlight one course of action in an email and that’s it—because the idea is to have your shoppers totally clear about what action to follow. 

That’s why it’s best to feature a single CTA. 

Align more deeply with the customer’s journey

For example, if they’re just at the top of the funnel, at the awareness stage, you don’t want to bombard them with promotional emails. 

Instead tell them how they will benefit from your products and how your brand will be of support. 

Replicate this approach of alignment with buyers across other stages as well. 

Create an omnichannel experience based on buyer segmentation

Once you know your buyer segments well, it’ll get easier to send out targeted communication through other channels as well. 

Notice CTRs across channels for various segments and position your communication accordingly. 

One eCommerce brand that has gained a lot of valid attention for their email strategy over the years is Warby Parker. 

The first example is an email targeting a cart abandoner, while the second is clearly for buyers who’ve purchased before and are likely to engage more if they got some great offers. 

Warby Parker targets cart abandoners as one of their customer retention strategies
Warby Parker helps repeat customers save more as a retention strategy

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Get your email subscribers to give feedback

Send out a short questionnaire to understand if shoppers are liking:

- The content

- The frequency

- The offers, and 

- The relevance

Check out: Welcome emails: 16 easy changes that generate 10X revenue

8. Make post-purchase emails pack A LOT of value 

When it comes to the end goal of retaining customers in eCommerce and repeat sales, your post purchase email strategy needs to go a step forward. 

Here are some ideas you to act on:

Make your thank you emails impactful 

While showing gratitude is obvious, telling shoppers what a great choice they’ve made, supported by the product value and benefits, is often effective. 

Refine the way you do post-purchase nurturance

Think of the content you send and the suggestions you make. 

In terms of content, sending tips on how the benefits of a product can be best maximized, is a great idea. 

For example, if you run a fashion label, it makes sense to send your customers styling ideas. 

Tie in rewards with special days

This way you’re establishing that if the customer continues to engage with you, they’ll be rewarded for it. 

Here’s an example from Banana Republic, where the brand takes the opportunity to wish a shopper on their birthday and also offer them a discount for their next buy. 

Banana Republic offers birthday discounts as one of their customer retention strategies

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Even if you’re upselling, make the product(s) tie in with what the customer has shopped for before—this increases stickiness and builds conviction. 

9. Make the post-purchase phase an experience

We wish we could say post-purchase is ONLY about great emails—but the truth is different. 

In our experience, clients have seen a difference in customer satisfaction & retention when they’ve turned the whole post-purchase phase into an experience. 

Here are a few suggestions you can implement without hassle:

Make recommendations in line with customer behavior

It’s likely that a customer has bought only 1 of the 15 things they were browsing earlier—run an audit through products they kept checking but didn’t buy—post-purchase is a great time to remind them of these.

Engage customers in non-transactional ways

For example, if you’re publishing an exclusive user’s guide on a particular range of products, send it across to those who’ve expressed an interest in that range. 

Make sure unboxing is memorable

We’re not talking fancy here—just easy and effortless. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Regularly evaluate key customer experience metrics—look at Customer Effort Score, Repeat Customer Rate, Customer Satisfaction Score and aspects like average handling & first response time.

For more insights, check out: Deliver An Amazing Post Purchase Experience: 17 Ideas (& Examples)

10. Take SMS marketing seriously

Going by research, 66% of marketers who hadn’t been using SMS as an eCommerce customer retention strategy say they will.

The fact that SMS doesn’t depend on an internet connection, has high open rates and can convey a message quickly, has a lot to do with it. 

Here are a few considerations you need to make if you’re yet to begin an SMS marketing strategy:

Ask for an opt-in on your website

You can club this as an option along with your email newsletter alerts—positioning it as something shorter and sweeter.

Align messaging times with when your customers are online AND browsing

This way, you’ll find them less distracted and more available to consider your message. 

Create message continuity with other channels

For example, if you’ve sent a customer discounts on particular products, you could consider sending an SMS on a flash deal on the associated categories—this way you’re also adding to overall customer experience.

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Use SMS marketing to push out info on exclusive discounts, flash sale deals and limited access product launches—with an open rate of 98%, SMSs can be great conversion drivers as well.

11. Aim to connect with & sell to ONLY interested customers 

While you would like all kinds of customers to keep engaging with your products, the truth is that ONLY interested buyers continue to do that. 

The most dependable source for this information is customer data that captures shopping behavior. 

Here are a few aspects you’ll need to watch out for:

- Patterns in the kind of products they’re viewing

- Patterns in the way they’re spending time on specific pages 

- What they’re adding to cart & purchasing

- What they’re adding to cart but leaving behind

- How frequently they’re engaging with emails/ acting on emails

- Observe which customers are using wishlisting feature & how frequently

You could use heatmaps to understand how interested shoppers are moving across your site. 

For example, if you find a pattern that many of them are indeed interested in specifically offer-based CTAs, you may want to look into what may be causing friction and distraction around them.

In funnel analytics, visual flow of various customer segments will tell you who is moving to the next step at every stage.

You can even zoom out to play recordings and find out differences between those who proceeded through a step and those who chose not to. 

Consider tapping into a conversion tool like CRO360 that’s built for analyzing through a range of methods. It helps in improving site experience, enhancing search and improving your rate of repeat sales. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Go beyond the transactional with interested and repeat customers—beyond incentivizing purchases, see if you can also incentivize actions like social media shares, writing reviews etc. 

Check out: 26 eCommerce sales strategies that (actually) work

12. Make delivery, returns & refunds transparent 

Research says a not-so-satisfactory delivery process makes 45% of shoppers abandon their carts. 

So, if you’re not able to make your delivery, return and refund processes easy, you’ll have trouble retaining even repeat purchasers. 

Here are a few crucial areas to look into:

Set multiple delivery windows based on shipping rates

‍ Also, consider announcing free shipping for a minimum cart value if your scale doesn’t allow you to naturally offer free domestic shipping. 

Offer a clear delivery window estimate

It’s understandable that you run the risk of disappointing customers if you fix on a number like “2 days”. This is why you could consider offering a window like “2—6 days.”

Offer clear shipment tracking information

Because 98% admit that the quality of shipping experience has a direct bearing on how loyal they continue to feel towards a brand. Enable the shopper to track across channels. 

‍Bring your returns policy upfront

Ensure interested shoppers don’t have to run around to have FAQ answered.

Feature your returns policy in a visible location on your product pages.

Make sure your policy content elaborates on what can be returned, by when and what documentation will be required on the shopper’s part.

Offer multiple refund options

Create choices out of full refunds, partial refund & X amount in store credit, channel the amount into a gift card etc.

Multiple options open up possibilities for shoppers to stay with the order & not walk away. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

For high-rush months and peak shopping events around the year, put up a banner on your website about possible delivery delays—use this banner in your emails too, wherever needed. 

13. Use well-suited messaging for each channel

When eCommerce customer retention and repeat sales are your end-goals, it helps to know which channels can be optimized for which pieces of communication. 

Here’s what we’ve observed repeatedly:

Email to raise product & brand awareness

According to McKinsey, communicating over email is 40 times more effective than over social media. 

This makes email the numero uno medium to get transactions ringing while you also drive brand and product awareness. 

All it takes is for you to segment your buyers properly and really focus on the preferences (constant & changing ones) for these segments at any given point in time. 

SMS for personalized communication

Given that SMS marketing generated 18% more orders in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, it’s clear this is a viable medium as long as you pick and choose what to communicate. 

Welcome messages, order confirmations, communication on reward points being spent or added and information on flash sales & time limited deals have all been seen to be effective. 

Facebook & Instagram for retargeting

Promote new products and show ads for products the shopper left behind without checking out. 

Communication around limited time deals, free samplings of new products, order updates as well as feedback requests can be sent via Messenger. 

WhatsApp for quick reminders & surveys

Quick post-purchase communication, reminders to go back to the cart with products added but not bought and requests for short feedback are all effective through WhatsApp. 

Push notifications for real-time updates

Tell the shopper their order tracking details, draw their attention to a flash sale currently happening or drop the most recent favorable review written for a product they left behind in their cart. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Make it easy for shoppers to complete actions across channels—for example, a shopper might start a purchase on desktop and not finish—in this case, let them finish it on mobile through a pop-up reminder

14. Take surveys for insights on customer preferences

According to a Forrester Research report, it’s clear that 69% of shoppers would rather transact with businesses that promise consistency of experience. 

And consistency is almost always impossible unless as a business you’re keenly tuned into the tastes and 

Here’s a quick checklist of considerations for surveys:

‍Determine your business intent

For example, if you’re trying to track the overall satisfaction of shoppers from time to time to build consistency, your questions will need to revolve around the customer’s experience with various touch points across your brand. 

‍Make certain questions non-negotiable

And by this we mean, these questions NEED to appear, irrespective of the nature of your survey.

Some crucial areas include checkout, customer support, exit intent and website UX. 

‍Seek information about customer satisfaction with competitor brands

This can reveal big gaps in your own strategy and also offer you some ideas about how you can fill those gaps for enhanced CX. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

When you’re asking a customer to take a survey, ensure you’re persuasive about it without being pushy—“if you take this survey today, it’ll help us look at gaps we haven’t closed yet” is way more honest and convincing than “take 5 minutes out to fill this survey.”

15. Position customers as brand advocates

Brands that put their values and vision at the center of their innovation and marketing are at a natural advantage – their customers want to associate with them. 

Here are a few things you can do to make your regular customers ongoing custodians of your brand:

Incentivize writing reviews

‍Increase the incentives if you find loyalists writing reviews for multiple products.

Announce giveaways on social shares ‍

This can prompt your customers to socially share your products more intentionally and less in a one-off way.

Announce contests to highlight the best UGC

To get quality submissions, consider the most active participants on your email list—those who've purchased and taken the time to offer feedback.

Request a chosen list of customers to participate in your product photo shoots

One eCommerce brand that’s been known to use customer custodianship to grow and increase repeat sales is Lululemon. 

Their customer retention strategy revolves around building community pockets in which they do collabs with subject matter experts (like yoga teachers) and plug their products into the business endorsements of these experts. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Ensure the messaging your influencers use is aligned with what your shoppers like to hear–for example, if they’re the kind to want a product because it’s aspirational, they’ll want it to reflected in how you describe your images on social media

Here’s an example from ASOS:

ASOS leverages loyal customers as brand advocates as a customer retention strategy


16. Sync your brand story with customer values 

In a landscape where 56% of shoppers are of the opinion that many brands use a social ploy to land more sales, you’ve got to stay real and honest if you want those repeat sales to happen. 

However, an Accenture study found that 63%of global shoppers prefer to buy from brands that have a clear purpose and also communicate it. 

Get your brand story to connect with customer values by:

Focus on solving the problems that matter to them

Position your value proposition as a tangible benefit

Build a “community” around your story to make it believable

One eCommerce brand that does all of the above is PinkBlush—their story hinges on pregnant women wanting to wear everyday fashion and be stylish. 

They especially highlight their UVP to be “before-during-after”—so that customers don’t perceive their products as only maternity wear. 

Customer retention strategy

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Mine your existing customer base for the values they stand for and what they like to associate with your brand for—work out the gaps and integrate the one or two top values that appear as a pattern into your existing list of core values. 

17. Let your brand be needed through a robust content strategy 

The 2019 pandemic happens to have increased the use of content by 207%. 

This is great news because you can make your content do the heavy lifting for customer retention alongside the other measures explored in this piece. 

Here are a few considerations if you’re eager on content driving eCommerce customer retention:

Leverage topics of interest around the products you create ‍

Awareness for your customer, sales for your business—think of topics that’ll make both happen simultaneously.

Take note of the kind of content competitors are creating ‍

This is a great way of finding out what your audience is looking to solve/needs a helping hand with.

Use awareness-building to drive conversions

One eCommerce brand that adds awareness value through its content is Elvie. 

They offer subject matter expertise through their content so that shoppers can make more discerning buying decisions. 

Elvie creates content that increases awareness amongst buyers and also helps them make purchase decisions

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Identify generic forms of content that you can leverage to feature alongside channel-specific content—these typically include videos, interesting product-related content and trending hashtags. 

18. Improve the ease of use for mobile customers 

Studies are projecting that mobile commerce will come to represent 44% of the total eCommerce sales by 2025. 

Here are a few non-negotiable considerations to think of if you’re optimizing mobile CX:

Simplify form fields

Ask for name and email ID only unless there's a payment involved—use autofill & autosuggestion wherever it makes sense.

Optimize CTAs for easy spotting and touch

Prioritize the "thumb zone" to help shoppers act without delay & frustration.

Make the hamburger menu sticky to reduce scrolling back & forth

Introduce "position:fixed;" as a CSS property to the container element.

Add relevant labels to products you want to draw attention to

Apart from "bestsellers" and "new arrivals", highlight discounts & limited time offers for better conversions.

Make brand & product related benefits super visible 

Snippets work really well—calling out something as simple as "helps burn wounds heal 4X faster" can be timely information for a mobile customer.

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Since images are the way most shoppers discover information on mobile, you’ll have to pay special attention to optimization & resizing of images—tools like TinyJPG and TinyIMG can help. 

19. Pack your loyalty program with superior benefits

According to research, 75% of shoppers automatically prefer a brand that has an ongoing loyalty program. 

But to make retention and repeat sales a reality, you’ll have to pack your loyalty program with benefits you won’t otherwise offer. 

Here are a few considerations you might want to make:

Make the program free & easy to join

Because your business intent is to have purchasers come back again and again for tangible benefits. Keep the sign up process short and simple. 

Offer access to exclusive content & discounts

Set up a separate loyalty program newsletter if you will. If you have a sitewide 10% sale going on, see if you can offer 15% under your loyalty program. 

Introduce tiers to deepen loyalty

And back every superior tier up with more benefits and features. This may seem like pure gamification at the backend, but for your customers it’s a great reason to stay connected with your brand. 

PRO TIP đź’ˇ

Create a no-fee-needed-to-join loyalty program, but highlight other conditions that shoppers have to meet—this will ensure only the most serious of them consider giving the program a shot. For example, some brands make it imperative that to join their loyalty program, shoppers should have bought something in the last 6 months. 

Recommended reading:

14 underutilized strategies for increasing customer lifetime value in eCommerce

22 (really specific) ways to reduce customer acquisition cost in eCommerce

10 scientific hacks to overcome customer objections in eCommerce

eCommerce Customer Segmentation: 10 critical mistakes businesses make

Bonus: Create a Fool-Proof Customer Retention Strategy  

1. Match messaging with timing and intent

Customer retention is not for every type of eCommerce brand.

If you are at the starting stages, it’s alright to put more effort into customer acquisition. 

The need for an eCommerce customer retention strategy increases as your eCommerce store grows. Once you start acquiring steady sales through acquisition strategies, then focus your efforts on converting those sales into repeat customers.     

Furthermore, not every industry requires customer retention. If you are selling pet food, then it makes sense to prompt your existing customers to purchase again at regular intervals. 

Some products are long-term purchases that don’t need an upgrade. However, you can keep customers engaged through services, complementary products, and promotional offers.

For example, a customer purchased a refrigerator. It’s safe to assume they won’t purchase another in a short frame of time.

For such customers, you can recommend storage accessories, services, or warranty extensions to establish brand recall.

Here’s a great example of how BavSound is driving AOV by telling customers what would make the experience better:

BavSound offers recommendations to customers for making upgrades

‍2. Focus on these customer retention metrics

To understand the effectiveness of your customer retention strategies, you need to track certain metrics. 

a. Repeat customer rate

The repeat customer rate shows how many customers are making a second purchase—the higher the rate, the more people are showing interest in coming back to your website. 

b. Purchase frequency 

The purchase frequency rate shows you how often your customers are placing orders from the website. 

c. Average Order Value (AOV)

Calculating AOV can offer insights into your customer’s spending behavior. Build your benchmark by knowing how much your customers are willing to spend on average for an order. 

A high number of repeat sales contributes to improving a customer’s lifetime value, which is a definite win for your eCommerce business.

d. Customer attrition

Customer attrition, also referred to as customer churn, turnover, or defection, occurs when clients or customers end their association with a company. Companies commonly consider a customer as having churned after a specified duration of inactivity or non-purchase.

Customer attrition serves as a key indicator of a business's overall health. In most sectors, the expenses linked to acquiring new customers are higher than those for marketing to existing ones. Thus, regularly tracking customer attrition can help predict future growth or downturns.

Most businesses use customer lifetime value as a reference point while budgeting for acquisition marketing expenses. However, getting this information typically requires an initial analysis of customer attrition rate.

3. Ask for feedback, implement it & inform customers

Customers will tell you upfront what they like or don’t like about your product.

Taking feedback in the stride and working to improve your product/service will take you a long way with the customers.

Make sure you are present everywhere your customers are. Use different communication strategies such as email surveys, in-app messaging, live chats on Instagram and Facebook, and Twitter mentions, to know how customers feel about your product and what you can particularly improve.

Once you have worked on the feedback from customers, make sure to let them know.

Pop up into their inboxes, social media, and other channels to tell them what’s different and why they should pay a visit.

But here's the thing: Customer retention depends on UX

88% of shoppers will never return to an eCommerce site that has given them grief over UX.

Now add to that how 98% visitors who visit an eCommerce site—drop off without buying anything.

Why: user experience issues that cause friction for visitors (yet again!)

And this is the problem Convertcart solves.

We've helped 500+ eCommerce stores (in the US) improve user experience—and 2X their conversions.

How we can help you:

Our conversion experts can audit your site—identify UX issues, and suggest changes to improve conversions.

Customer Retention (FAQ)

How do you calculate customer retention rate?

Here is a simple formula you can use to calculate your customer retention rate:

CRR = ((EC – NC) ÷ SC)) x 100

Simply plug your numbers into each of the variables & know where you stand:

EC: Total number of customers at the end of a period

NC: The number of new customers acquired within the given period

SC: Total number of customers at the beginning of the period

What’s the average eCommerce customer retention rate?

The average eCommerce customer retention rate is around 31%. However, businesses that excel in customer loyalty efforts may achieve even higher retention rates, while those primarily focused on acquiring new customers might experience lower retention rates.

Why customer retention matters in eCommerce?

No one wants to lose customers, but how important is it to keep them around? 

Well, according to Harvard Business Review, getting a new customer can be 5 to 25 times more expensive than keeping the ones you already have. Even a small 5% increase in keeping customers can boost profits by 25% to 95%.

When you keep your customers happy and get them to  come back, you don't have to spend as much on advertising, sales, training, and getting new customers. Plus, happy customers often tell their friends about your product or service.

In the end, having loyal customers makes running your business easier and saves you money – it's a big deal.

How can eCommerce brands improve their customer retention rates?

Here are a few ways to improve customer retention rates in eCommerce:

  • From the initial customer acquisition, it's vital to provide top-quality products, service, and an exceptional customer experience. 
  • Onboarding plays a crucial role in establishing a unique bond between your brand and what customers cherish. 
  • To boost repeat purchases, consider loyalty programs, personalized user experiences, comprehensive customer service, and informative content both before and after acquisition, all aimed at maximizing the value delivered to your customers.
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