5 Retention Marketing Strategies That Show Shoppers You Care

Proven CX marketing ideas that keep shoppers happy

For brands focused on hanging on to more customers, hope lies in the huge gap between the CX people expect, and the reality of most ecommerce experiences. As it turns out, most brands don’t put in enough effort.

Shifts in online behavior have been studied thoroughly (see below). The gap is real! Now more than ever, brands that can deliver online experiences that show empathy will stand out and gain customer loyalty.

What is customer retention?

Good customer retention strategies focus on increasing two things:

  • Your repeat customers
  • Your profitability on existing customers

The 5 strategies we’ll discuss below improve CX so shoppers are more likely to return and more likely to buy more than they originally intended.

Key customer retention metrics

There are three main data points to follow for customer retention:

  • Repeat customer rate
  • Purchase frequency
  • Average order value

These metrics are easy to access if you have the right tools and when your individual preference profiles begin to come together you can use the use the insights anticipate customer intent and personalize onsite CX.

And as it turns out, onsite personalization has become even more important for retaining online customers online than in years past.

That Salesforce study from 2020

During the summer of 2020, Salesforce surveyed over 15000 mostly B2C consumers for their 4th annual State of the Connected Customer report.

It was an interesting time for a study of online shopping!

People were adjusting to the lockdown blues and spending more time and money online than ever before. Customer expectations rose to heights never seen before and the Salesforce report took note:

Customers demand digital-first convenience and are leaning on brands to innovate like never before. They’re seeking not just more personalized experiences, but empathetic ones.
Simon Mulcahy, Salesforce CIO

Personalization had been a growing for a number of years by then but it rose again last year with 52% of customers expecting offers to always be personalized — up from 49% in 2019.

Source: Salesforce

The majority of customers now expect companies to understand them and treat them as individuals.

So what can you do to meet customer expectations in 2022?

Read on for customer retention strategies that improve your brand’s CX and engage customers emotionally.

Customer retention strategies table of contents

1) Individualize relationships with personalized marketing
2) Authenticate your brand with UGC (user generated content)
3) Offer irresistible rewards via customer loyalty programs
4) Create online convenience that meets today’s standards
5) Stand and deliver on values that your customers appreciate
6) Conclusion: customer retention depends heavily on CX

Individualize relationships with personalized marketing

True personalized marketing differs from the everyday kind we often see nowadays. Most personalization engines offer products that are “recommended just for you” but really the offer is for a large segment of people.

While this kind of recommendation is often marketed as “personalized,” the products shown are only vaguely related to what individuals are actually looking for.

Newer systems combine real-time customer data and preferred attributes. With this data in hand, machine learning figures out what individual shoppers are looking for and provide items that area truly “recommended just for you.”

You can put recommendation components on any page, but many successful brands get the greatest ROI from personalized recommender boxes on their product details page.

Seeing products that customers actually intend to buy is a nice surprise, and that emotional connection reduces bounce rate, increases click throughs and makes more conversions.

Offering personalized discount pop-ups has also proven to be extremely lucrative cosmetics sites, namely L’Oréal Luxe Division brand, Shu Uemura.

Shu Uemura has used personalized discount pop-ups to see extraordinary ecommerce gains.

The bottom line is that in the moment personalized marketing creates emotional connections with shoppers and in turn ensures a much higher number of cross-sells and up sells.

Authenticate your brand with UGC (user generated content)

The popularity of UGC in the last year is another clear response to the changing expectations of online consumers.

Brands can do well to treat customers as individuals but another way to connect is to align content with users that your customers already have connections with on social media.

In the fashion industry especially, brands are using it to improve their customer engagement.

Some brands have seen a 5x conversion rate increase over branded content.

Barts uses UGC to promote their brand and has seen AOV rise by 21.49%.

Users trust UGC over branded content. This trust is key to building online experiences that that convert sales and develop customer loyalty over the long term.

Offer irresistible rewards via customer loyalty programs

When you reward customers who use your brand it makes a big impact. The more rewards they get from your brand the happier they are and the more they continue to support your brand.

It’s another emotional form of engagement that gets remembered and serves to retain customers long term.

The Blind Barber offers “exclusive rewards, every time you shop:”

The points reward system from Blind Barber

Types of loyalty programs include the points for perks system shown above, charitable donations (where engagement benefits a third party), paid membership (think Costco), and tiered systems (think gold card).

The thing is that all competitive brands have loyalty programs so it can be hard to stand out. It’s best to do a thorough audit of your competitors programs and see how you can offer something better.

Create online convenience that meets today’s standards

Salesforce found shoppers from all generations believe convenience is king, prioritizing it over brand.

Source: Salesforce

So convenience should be high on the list of things to optimize if you want customers to stick around, add more items to their carts and not abandon ship before purchasing.

The first rule of ecommerce convenience is getting product discovery streamlined and quick.

The most basic one is your category list on your landing page. It sounds simple enough but making a long list of products easy to read at a glance can be challenging. Big brands do it well:

Faceted search and filtering can also greatly improve product discovery and make your CX that much easier.

The second thing to consider is post-checkout and beyond: payment, shipping and returns.

These practices have also evolved in recent years so it’s important that your website is in touch with the latest methods.

Long gone are the days of entering your credit card number into a website. Processing fees are high and PayPal ushered in a new era in alternative payment options that shoppers are already expecting to see, including: digital and mobile wallets, ACH and bank transfers, and even cryptocurrency.

Free shipping is truly loved and flexible shipping options are expected. Buy online and pick up in store is a thing now, as is curb-side pick up.

Returns are an enduring problem for ecommerce, especially in the apparel industry where the fit is always in question. Many successful brands bake the cost of returns into the price so they can offer an attractive “free returns shipping” policy.

Without these basics for streamlining the shopping experience, customers will think your website is a hassle and be less likely to return.

Stand and deliver on values that your customers appreciate

Customers now demand that brands take more social responsibility than ever before. Brands that walk the walk instead of merely talking the talk will stand out.

Salesforce found that 71% of consumers pay more attention to companies’ values than a year ago. And even more significantly, 61% of consumers have stopped buying from a company whose values don’t align with their own!

And when it comes to expectations:

Eighty-nine percent of customers expect companies to clearly state their values, and 90% expect them to clearly demonstrate those values.
Salesforce, 2020.

Body positive bra brand, Thirdlove, has seen explosive growth recently doesn’t shy away from wearing its values front and center.

They offer a 15% discount for “everyday heroes” including the military, teachers, first responders and medical workers.

Conclusion: customer retention depends heavily on CX

Everything in ecommerce rides on customer experience these days, especially customer retention. 80% of consumers think the online experience a company delivers is just as important at the products it creates.

CX has become a key competitive differentiator because it’s the thing that builds the relationship between the person and the website. Fashion and beauty websites in particular have taken CX to the extreme.

A website that can engage a visitor and reach out to start (and nurture) a relationship is making an emotional connection, the thing that influences what we buy more than anything.

Once your brand has made that emotional connection and built that relationship, it’s much more likely that customers will remember you and return to shop again.

About Rosetta.ai

Rosetta.ai offers image-based personalization for more engaging shopping experiences, detailed shopper data for email marketing/SMS campaigns, and preference analysis insights for better business decisions.

On average, our clients double their order value and triple their conversion rate because shoppers on their websites are more engaged by the industry-leading accuracy of our personalized recommendations.

Rosetta.ai has been featured in Forbes Top 25 ML startups and Analytics Insights Top 10 companies.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial today and start growing your business on day one!

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Our mission is to empower merchants. Our technology lets merchants understand fashion-savvy customers and create unique shopping experiences that grow their businesses. 1000+ ecommerce shops using Rosetta.ai saw a 2x increase in AOV and 3.3x increase in conversion rate.

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Ian Mckinnon

Ian Mckinnon

Content Strategist @Rosetta.ai

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