Adding the personal touch can increase customer retention.
Personalizing communication and showing appreciation are two ways to increase retention and make customers feel valued. — svetikd/Getty Images

Customer retention happens when brands maintain relationships with their customers that build trust, instill positivity about the brand and keep them purchasing.

This means that efforts you make with your customers — starting from their very first purchase — can lead to a happy, long-term relationship with your business. Because it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one, customer retention is also critical for business growth.

If yours is an e-commerce business, you have some advantages. There are many attributes of e-commerce that can support your customer retention efforts, from your website to your digital campaigns. Here are some ways to personalize your business approach to attract and retain more customers.

Show appreciation

From the very first purchase, be sure your customers know you are grateful for their business. When they complete a purchase on your site, a “thank you” message should appear. An email should also be automatically generated, expressing your appreciation and offering them an incentive to make another purchase, join a loyalty program or sign up to receive future emails.

[Read: Welcome Back! How to Boost Customer Retention and Drive Repeat Business]

Personalize communication

A big benefit to e-commerce sales is that your customers’ behaviors can be tracked. Understanding metrics like which products your customers are viewing, the information they’ve downloaded and how often they visit your site provide information that can help you personalize your communications. You can then segment and personalize emails with messages targeted appropriately to each group.

Because it's easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one, customer retention is critical for business growth.

Present special offers

Little else will motivate a buyer’s return like a limited-time discount or other financial incentive. On the “thank you” page that follows a purchase or in your email campaigns, provide customers with promotional codes for discounts on future purchases.

Ask for reviews

If a customer has purchased from you more than once, they were likely happy with their initial purchase. Asking them to review your company or product helps your business and it signals to your customer that their opinion matters. This can strengthen their bond with your brand.

[Read: 3 Expert Strategies to Encourage Positive Customer Reviews]

Create a loyalty club or rewards program

One way to encourage your customers to buy from you again is to reward those who show brand loyalty. Consider creating a program that tracks purchases — whether by quantity or dollar value — to enable customers to earn rewards. Some companies even provide loyalty levels to recognize various ways that customers support the brand, e.g., purchases, reviews, participation in forums, referrals and more.

Motivate account creation

Hubspot suggests that prompting customers to create an account on your site connects the customer to your brand. So, while you may still offer the option to purchase as a guest, Hubspot explained that if it is easy and beneficial for customers to create an account at their time of purchase, they are more likely to do so. Having an account can enable them to save payment information, accrue reward points, sign up for your emails, track orders and more.

Ensure good customer care

The quality of your product or service is only one part of your relationship with your customer. Even with a great product offering, customer care can make or break that relationship. The value you place on your customers and their business will be reflected in your approach to customer service. Ensure that they can easily get questions answered and concerns addressed. Provide multiple channels — online chat, phone, email — where they can contact you for support. Even your delivery and return policies should demonstrate your appreciation for the customer by offering them convenience and options.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published November 20, 2019