Many people ask how to start a business – not so much about how to maintain and expand one. But if you’re a business owner who‘s been plagued by the latter, one solution is to keep your customers coming back.
You might be thinking: “Wouldn’t it be better to have new customers instead?” Sure, it’s great to have new customers. But research has shown that return customers spend an average of three times as much as new customers and account for about 15% of revenue.
As much as it is important to attract new customers, you should also make an effort to keep your old ones coming back. Else, you may face revenue loss and a decline in growth, which is what you do not want.
Calculating customer retention
Follow this step by step instruction on how to calculate customer retention (CCR):
- Choose a period like a month or a year
- Subtract the number of new customers (N) acquired in that time frame from the total number of customers (E).
- Divide this number by the number of customers at the start of the period (S).
- Multiply this by 100 to get a percentage.
CCR = ((E-N/S) x 100)
Generally speaking, the higher your customer retention rate, the better your company’s position is in the marketplace.
Why you should be concerned about customer retention
There are several reasons why customer retention is important – the first being that it is cheaper than acquiring new customers. Not only that, but they tend to spend 33% more than new customers, which translates into more profits for you.
Retained customers are also more likely to refer more customers to you. Word-of-mouth advertising is said to drive five times more sales than paid advertising. This means more business and less expense for you since word-of-mouth is free.
Not only do get more money with more happy customers, but also a decrease in advertising costs.
Benefits of building returning customers
Besides an increase in referrals, there are several reasons why customer retention is considered beneficial.
As mentioned earlier, it is cheaper to focus on customer retention than acquisition. To acquire new customers, you will have to invest time, money and energy into attracting them to your business. You won’t have to employ these tactics with existing customers as they are already familiar with your brand.
Furthermore, existing customers send clearer messages about how they feel about your products. This can be seen through purchase behaviours. You can analyse which are the popular items that are repurchased versus those that are not while conducting product analysis.
Regular customers can also give you genuine feedback and suggestions due to their interest in your store.
How to increase customer retention
In today’s saturated marketplace, it can be hard to set yourself apart from other well-known brands and e-commerce stores. But one of how you can do it is to develop strong customer retention strategies. Here are just some methods that you can use:
Create referral and loyalty programme
A loyalty programme issues points to customers for every purchase that they make. These points can be exchanged for discounts, products or free samples. This can encourage customers to use your service in the future and drive up the average order value.
Referral programmes award existing customers for every new customer they introduce to your business. This is known to be one of the top motivations for people to promote their favourite brand online.
Both referrals and loyalty programmes are a win-win for both the business owner and the consumer. Not only do you get a boost in sales and increase in consumer base, but your customers also get discounts and rewards.
Choose a global value or cause to stand behind
These days, selling a niche or popular product is not enough – people are looking for brand values instead. Some popular values that people stand behind include eco-friendliness, social responsibility and supporting charities.
For example, if you want to support environmental causes, you can use eco-friendly products that can reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Or you can donate or share a portion of your profits to organisations that are working towards the same value.
Cultivate relationships after the sale
Though you may not have a personal relationship with your customers, you can still show your care by communicating with them regularly. Some methods to do so include using push notifications to deliver order status and delivery tracking updates to your customer’s phone and inform them about new products that you might have.
You can also send post-purchase emails to make use of your email marketing. This allows you to keep communication up even after a purchase is made. Not only can you send out information about your new products, but you can also send out informative newsletters about your brand. It’s a great way to show your consumers things that they may like based on their purchase behaviour.
Provide seamless online to offline shopping
If your product or service is catered to millennials or younger, you need to have an online presence to stay relevant. If you offer a buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) service, this allows customers to pay for items online and pick up their purchase from your store. Not only does this allow them to quickly return items, but it also avoids long delivery times.
Selling your stuff on social media can increase retention rates too. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok allow companies to sell directly through their platforms. This increased exposure will allow customers to access your products easily through their feed or promoted posts, especially if they already follow your social media pages.
Provide streamlined customer service
Given the current pandemic, people are spending more time online. E-commerce sites have also seen an increase in business due to the popularity of online shopping. However, this also means that people have more expectations.
This includes regular customer support across all platforms. Customer support is concerned with forming long-lasting relationships with your customers. This means delivering steady customer service on all channels such as social media, email, phone etc.
Different platforms offer different methods for you to communicate with your customers. For example, social media allows you to respond directly to a question posed in the comments of your posts directly. On your website, you can use live chat to engage with site visitors.
Live chats improve the customer experience by providing a personal, human touch to it. Their queries can be solved on the spot or they can be guided around the site by one of your staff.
By employing these strategies, you boost brand loyalty, bring in repeat customers and increase customer loyalty.
Offer other services together with your products
Another way to strengthen the relationship between consumer and brand is to create value-added services to make your customers’ lives easier. Some of these include:
- Personal shopping
- Subscription boxes
- Gift with purchase
Create a shopping experience
You can get more brand loyalty and customer retention when you create a shopping experience for your customers. Merely than selling a product, you should brainstorm creative ideas to create unique experiences for your customers.
For example, you can offer home visit services if you own a business that is involved in styling or facial care. Think about how you can make your customer’s lives easier or provide a unique experience and implement this in your strategy.
Use new technology
There are many different technologies and apps that you can leverage to get your brand name out there and retain customers. You can create a consistent brand experience between online shopping and physical stores by using apps.
Keep customers coming back
Even if you don’t own an e-commerce business, these tips will help you retain old customers and get new ones coming in too. If you’ve been bogged down by accounting and need help, we can get that sorted out for you. This way, you can focus on your business, which is what matters.