Improving customer retention sounds simple, but in reality, the eCommerce world is full of sharks


All these predators are hunting to try and get the same customers that you’ve worked so hard to earn. losing these customer si fatal to your business

If you’ve already got a strong customer retention strategy, there are plenty of tiny teaks to improve customer retention.

But sometimes, doing a full overhaul and trying out new tactics is the best way to get big results. As Yotpo’s Optimization Expert, it’s my job to get the absolute best results.

Here is a detailed guide for the 10 best customer retention techniques to keep your shoppers coming back time and time again.

Tactic #1: Understand who is being retained and learn from it to develop smarter retention techniques

Before you consider implementing any new ideas for improving customer retention, it’s a good idea to dive into your data .

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say that you find that customers which spend more than $50 in their first purchase get retained at a much higher rate than customers which purchase less than $50 in their first purchase.

This insight would tell you that if you can increase the size of the first order of customers you will retain them at a higher rate. You could provide a coupon for first time shoppers or improve your upsell offerings.

The “more than $50 in the first purchase” is an example of a cohort but don’t stop there: spend time diving into many different cohorts because every business is different and you never know what you may find.

mix panel and kiss metrics are web analytics tools which give you maximum flexibility in regards to the events that you want to track. Both are great services which you can use to run these types of analyses.

By learning from who is currently being retained, you can develop improved customer retention strategies  that allow you to work smarter, not harder.

Tactic #2: Respond to every communication and mention to cover every chance at engagement

Most online businesses today have a number of channels for communicating with customers. Email, Twitter, Facebook and plain old telephone are the most common but the number of channels are growing all the time.

One of the easiest things that you can do to improve your customer retention is adopt a policy in your company that no customer engagement is ignored and a response is sent in as short a time frame as your resources allow.

If you don’t have a community manager who is actively monitoring social media then make sure the responsibility falls under whoever is responsible for Marketing and PR in your company.

There are great tools out there like Hootsuite which are all great for monitoring social media.

Leverage these tools to increase your customer engagement rates and reach a larger number of fans and existing customers.

Remember the mantra: no engagement left behind.

Tactic #3: Ramp up your content marketing to improve customer retention

in this episode of Moz’s brilliant Whiteboard Friday video series, Rand Fishkin points out that we are biased towards the products and services which we are exposed to.

When it comes to making a choice between different services or products we usually go with the products and services which we have heard about from our friends or stumbled across while browsing on the web.

By ramping up your content marketing you not only reach a wider audience of potential customers but you will also remain in the top of mind of your existing customers who are then more likely to be retained.

content advertising is a massive topic on its own but I want to leave you with 3 actionable items that will help you put out more higher quality and sharable content to improve your customer retention techniques today.

1) Experiment with longer, more actionable posts

The customer marketing landscape isn’t like it use to be.

Simply producing content is no longer enough to cut through all the noise and bring a positive ROI. Adopt the mindset that every piece of content you produce needs to be a homerun.

The best way to do this is produce content which you, yourself would read and share with your friends. This is the best test.

List and how-to posts drive more shares and engagement than thought-leader posts and if you are an expert in your niche then producing longer-form pieces with tons of action items shouldn’t be too difficult.

2) Invest in distribution

It doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one is seeing it.

Use Noah Kagan’s approach to finding marketing changes and spend the time to learn how to leverage the numerous free and paid marketing channels out there.

3) Listen to members of your niche

Spend time on Twitter, Google+ and other communities relevant to your niche to find commonly discussed topics that you can write about. Use the skyscraper technique to propel your entire content marketing efforts and grow your blog and site.

Tactic #4:  Get on the phone or Skype to understand what your customers want

You’ve probably heard you should be doing things that do not scale

One of the many unscalable things you can do to really create an impact with your customers is to get on a call with them.

Not only will you get really useful feedback that you can use to improve your business but you will stand out in that customers mind and make the impression that you really care about their needs. This is powerful stuff which very few companies are doing.

In order to do this in an organized way try sending emails out to a bunch of your customers and include a link to a calendar-synced booking page. Such a page can be set up easily with a service like sechedule once

The main reason I’m a fan of ScheduleOnce is that it provides the customer with all the available slots for the call, and in their timezone so there is no confusions.

Tactic #5: Set up an exclusive VIP club for high-performing customers

People like to feel special and be part of exclusive clubs.

Invite-only services, fraternities and job titles are all part of this psychological game we play with ourselves, and it is something you should consider leveraging in your business.

Setting up an exclusive VIP club takes time and money but will help differentiate you from your competition and if done well, and optimized, will bring you positive returns. To set up your exclusive VIP club, follow these steps:

1. Reach out to a few high performing customers and add them to the program to get it going. Make sure you inform the customers via email and provide them with some kind of giveaway, coupon or something else of significant value. You want to welcome them to the exclusive club and educate them on the future benefits of being in the program.

2. Start adding other customers which have shown potential but aren’t quite among the highest performing.

3. Advertise the club on your site on its own page. The idea is to market it to everyone but only select customers get the benefits of being in the club.

4. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot and invite too many people to the club and spend too much money on building it. The idea is to keep it small but highly engaged.

5. Track customers in the program and see how their buying habits change as a result of the program

6. Once the club is at a nice size you can start sending them customized, personal emails with product updates, company news, special promotions (just for them of course) and other things your top tier customers would like to know.

For examples of companies with their own VIP and loyalty programs check out the two posts listed below:

  1. 5 loyalty program examples from the fashion industry
  2. 7 customer loyalty programs that actually add value


Tactic #6: Make going the extra mile for your customers a mentality

Seth Godin is one of the most well known, influential marketers of his generation. He has written many books including purple cow.

The focal point of Purple Cow is that in order to be remarkable in today’s world with all its distractions and stimulations you need to stand out.

The easiest way for you as a business owner to stand out is by going the extra mile as often as you can. In fact it should become a mantra within your business that every employee adopts and works towards.

Going the extra mile is more of a mentality than a list of things to check off a list but below are some ideas to help you get the ball rolling:

1. Write a letter to thank each of your customers for making their first purchase.

2. Follow your customers on social media (Twitter is the best for this) and engage in their conversations. Your aim should be to provide help in anyway you can

3. Record every feedback, complaint and social media communication and use this information for engagement opportunities. An example of this would be if a customer provided great feedback on a product and you took that feedback and used it to improve the product. After the change is implemented you could reach out to the customer and thank them and show them that their feedback was used to improve a part of the business.

4. If you see cases where customers are referring their friends or mentioning you on social media then go out of your way to thank them. Be personal and thank them in a unique way.

5. Leverage your VIP/loyalty program and thank customers who have impressed you either from a sales  perspective.

6. If you are traveling in a city where you have a lot of customers then invite a few of them out for lunch or for drinks.

7. Follow up with all complaints, even if they are resolved quickly. Showing that you care and want to make sure everything is fine is going the extra mile.

Tactic #7: Segment your customer base and use what you know to send them targeted campaigns

There are some amazing email and marketing services out there which allow you to use the information you know on your customers to target them with personal and optimized marketing campaigns.

Services like mailchimp are great for data-driven email marketing. My favorite from the list is Vero which specializes in event triggered email marketing.

I highly recommend you check out their service if you consider email an important channel for communicating with your customers. Below is a list of some of the cool things you can do with Vero or similar services.

1. Send a specific newsletter to all your customers who haven’t made a purchase in the last 30 days.

2. Send an email to a customer who abandons their shopping cart.

3. Send an email recommending complementary products 5 minutes after someone buys a specific product.

4. Send different newsletters to users in different countries in their own language.

5. Provide coupons and special discounts in your emails to users who are part of your VIP club.

6. Send a drip campaign of useful content and/or instructions on how to maximize the enjoyment a customer can get from your product or service.

Tactic #8: Improve your customer experience

There are many different components of the customer experience from when they land on your site for the first time to when they first experience your product or service. Each of them impact how much customers want to come back to interact with you again.

Below is a comprehensive list of all the different components of your customer experience. You should take one area at a time and spend time to improve it. This should be an ongoing process which never ends.

There is always work you can do to foster apositiva customer experience:

  • Design of your site (color scheme, layout, emphasis of each element, fonts, styles etc)
  • Device compatibility (is your site mobile and tablet friendly)
  • Loading time of your site
  • Navigation options
  • Size and usage of images
  • Copy
  • Purchasing funnel
  • Customer service communication (includes follow-up, professionalism and meeting expectations)
  • Packaging of your product
  • Usability of the product or service (does it do what is advertised and expected from the customer)
  • Shipping time and delivery (does it get to the customer when it should)
  • Quality and relevancy of your marketing communication
  • Use of branding
  • Transparency (are you hiding certain fees or not sharing the entire truth with your customers?)

There is a plethora of resources out there to help you with each of these areas but to get started I highly recommend you check out hack decision for all your UI and design needs.

Tactic #9: Use testimonials and case studies to tell your story

Storytelling has always been a great way to market because people can relate to it, a story isn’t a sales pitch, and people like to re-tell remarkable stories.

Testimonials and case studies will make it easy for you to tell your story in a way which can be easily absorbed by existing and potential customers. I recommend setting up a dedicated testimonials and case studies sections on your site.

Case studies are also great content pieces for your blog. I also recommend not calling this section case studies but rather “customer stories” or some other softer, less B2B phrase.


Once you have your reviews you can leverage them to do many different things from increasing traffic and sales to turning them into fully fledged case studies. Below is a list of some of the things you can do with your reviews:

1. Push them to social media to drive traffic back to your site –

2. Show your reviews on their corresponding product pages or across your entire site in a floating widget –

3. When a customer writes a meaty review then reach out to them personally and ask the customer if he would be willing to answer a few questions for you over email so you could feature their story with your product on their blog.

4. Analyze your reviews on a monthly basis and record trends that you find. This will help you identify pain points in your business and certain insights which can make a massive difference to your business.


Tactic #10: Meetups and offline events

Nothing can replace actually meeting your customers face-to-face.

As a business owner you will take so much from this experience from strengthening bonds to getting useful feedback that would otherwise be lost.

Pinterest is one of the most well known social networks in the world today and boast a massive active user base of over 40 million

As impressive as Pinterest is today, they started out like everyone else, with a small, dedicated fan base that they had to grow, one individual at a time.

One of the most useful tactics which Pinterest used were meet ups. Meetups were set up at local boutiques where fans of the service would meetup and have conversations about the different creative projects they were working on.

Whatever your niche is you should consider setting up a local meetup where both fans of your brand and the niche itself can come together and engage with each other.

Below are some tips on how to turn your meetup into a super fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved:

1. Invite experts in your niche to participate and give short presentations to the participants.

2. Use a service like Meetup for all the registration and invitation based infrastructure.

3. Provide snacks and drinks.

4. Don’t oversell your service at the events. The fact that you are hosting it is enough to get your name out there and if you are providing constant value the event will do wonders for your branding anyway.

5. Make the event a recurring experience so that people can know when the next one will happen and so it will turn into a routine for your hard core fans.

6. Try and find a venue that will host it every time so people don’t have to find out how to get to the new location each time.

7. Make sure all the sound and other logistics are organized way ahead of time.


The ten techniques I covered are only some of the many different things you can do to improve your customer retention.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed from all this information then I recommend picking just one from the list and spend a week working on it.

10 Innovative Techniques to Improve Customer Retentio

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