eCommerce businesses are operating in a more complicated time than ever. Though the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the inevitable growth of online shopping over in-person sales, that peak has since slowed. Factors like the cost of living crisis, problems around supplying, and constant economic turbulence have made it hard to incentivise buyers to keep buying.
The kind of glowing customer metrics businesses were seeing in 2020 and 2021 are incredibly difficult to achieve now due to reductions in discretionary spending. So how can eCommerce leaders start not only hitting, but succeeding the same targets they were in recent years? Simply put, by advancing their existing promotional strategies.
Customer retention in particular should be a priority for eCommerce businesses to improve on. Here are some ways enhanced customer retention can benefit you:
Customer retention is enabled by excellent customer service. This in turn results in word of mouth referrals, useful for market affiliates who want to keep their clients happy by growing their affiliate program.
Returning customers are a gold mine of information about your brand. They provide insights from the customer perspective that can make your solutions have greater impact. For example, improvements to your UX are made more sophisticated by well-informed developers.
Loyal customers who trust brands are generally more forgiving and flexible. This allows eCommerce businesses to take risks in order to exceed trading performances of previous years.
Directors can justify cheaper costs of customer retention in comparison to customer acquisition.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through some steps on how to retain customers in eCommerce and share case studies of how our solutions helped businesses improve their customer retention.
1. Leverage special, limited time offers to generate interest and loyalty
Loyalty programs are building blocks of a successful customer retention strategy and, for customers, stepping stones that enhance their journey.
Together, loyalty programs and exclusive access to premium products, lay out a sequence of goals for customers to reach. Behind each of these goals there should be a benefit that fosters loyalty. In return, the customer finally gets their hands on whatever incentivised them to stick with your business. This could be a highly desired and rare product that is almost sold out.
Exclusivity is a major key driver in making customers feel like VIPs. Feeling special generates interest, particularly when there’s potential to access limited-time offers, because it gives customers clearly identified aspirations.
The key thing to look out for when assessing which customers should be targeted for these sorts of promotions is their customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV grants insights into how lucrative your customer is across their journey with your business. This kind of awareness is important to formulating promotional strategies that will actually retain your customers.
How Uniqodo helped BT generate interest and loyalty with a special, gated limited-time offer
Challenge: BT established new partnerships with Sony and Microsoft. The aim was to deliver great customer service by selling next-gen consoles that were in short supply and during extreme demand. This came at a sensitive time as non-essential stores were closed in accordance with pandemic lockdown regulations, leading to a spotlight on eCommerce businesses to follow through with efficient customer journeys. BT needed a partner who knew how to retain customers in eCommerce in order to protect the reputations of the console manufacturers.
Solution: To enable a sophisticated yet seamless journey for BT’s customers, Uniqodo deployed a gate that restricted access to PS5 consoles. The BT customer base was then organised in behavioural segmentation groups. Only existing broadband customers received codes that redirected them to the BT Shop domain, allowing them to purchase a PS5 at the time of release.
Results: Uniqodo recognised that employing exclusivity and personalisation in BT’s promotions was the key to engaging their audience and facilitating greater customer retention for the long term. As a result, BT saw a 77% rise in engagement rate and a 50x increase in their normal demand during the promotion period — all with 10,400% return on investment from Uniqodo.
So it’s important to remember that scarcity is a huge motivator in human psychology. Offering exclusive access to rare products in high demand is an effective method of ensuring customers’ loyalty and one that BT clearly benefited from.
2. Utilise exclusive and early access offers to encourage more customer interactions
We’ve already touched upon the importance of making customers feel like VIPs. Exclusive access to gated content gives customers something to aim for. Particularly when certain criterias are clearly laid out for customers to achieve. For example:
Collecting points in a loyalty program
Making purchases above a certain price threshold
Incentives can quickly become stale for customers who repeatedly meet one or more of these parameters. The benefit of accessing rewards loses its appeal, when customers realise that others – simply by meeting specified criterias – can get the same exclusive content as them.
Giving existing customers early access to new products is an excellent way of enhancing their shopping experience. Where limited-time offers bring about a sense of urgency, early access to premium products conjures an element of surprise. And who doesn’t like surprises?
The beauty of having early access to exclusive content as a means to retain customers in eCommerce is its flexibility. It can be used as a powerful customer acquisition tool and to nurture relationships with existing customers.
How Uniqodo encouraged customer interactions for Beauty Bay through exclusive page access
Challenge: Beauty Bay’s product collaboration with popular makeup artist NikkieTutorials was guaranteed to sell out quickly. Beauty Bay wanted to both capitalise on this anticipation and reward its existing customers and NikkieTutorials’ social media followers by offering them early access to the product before general release. To do so they needed a sequence of touchpoints that played into streamlined, valuable customer experiences.
Solution: Uniqodo initiated a build and deployment process, using a gate to restrict access to the product description page. Customers who signed up for early access received emails containing single-use, unique codes that allowed access to the PDP.
Results: The methods employed by Uniqodo ensured that Beauty Bay’s promotional campaign not only saw great success in outreach to customers, but specifically outreach to the right customers. The use of a gate that exclusively opened to customers who signed up for access meant that only those who would receive and give the most value from the promotion were targeted. Plus, the sophistication and security guaranteed by these codes ensured that there wouldn’t be the risk of code misuse and abuse.
3. Drive engagement by rewarding your loyal customers
Another way to retain customers in eCommerce is to reward customers that have used your service or product for a long time. That’s why we see people in Costa and Starbucks wave their loyalty cards like farmers at a livestock market. They want their points because it means free coffee. But what metrics can eCommerce businesses use to identify loyal customers?
Customer retention is a year-by-year metric. You can apply periods between a customer’s purchases to calculate their loyalty. This is known as identifying the big and little window. The size of the big window depends on the type of product you offer. Luxury products that are purchased less regularly, call for a wider window. As opposed to smaller products bought more frequently that need a narrow window.
Information about purchasing habits grants visibility into the customers that pose the greatest CLV to your business so that you can reward them and keep that value high. You can tailor offers in a way that shows you’ve recognised their loyalty, and have these offers be easy to implement and flexible.
How Uniqodo helped Avis drive engagement for their loyalty program
Challenge: Avis struggled for years to see better customer engagement with their loyalty program. Price comparison sites only exacerbated this. Avis wanted to maximise customer engagement rate with their loyalty program from the get-go. Plus, they needed a secure way to entice new members to make purchases.
Solution: Uniqodo set up a welcome message to drive engagement of new preferred customers. Customers identified as preferred were engaged through email marketing. Unique codes ensured offers remained controlled, accessible only to preferred customers. Discounts were automatically applied in check out to further streamline the purchasing process.
Results: The strategies and solutions applied to Avis meant that over a thousand of their preferred customers were successfully engaged. The most contributive factor to this was through applying control, both in making sure that only the customers who were supposed to receive these promotions did, and that those promotions themselves were secure. This is further proof that customer data is essential to identifying preferred customers i.e. using metrics such as customer lifetime value. This informs you whether the value of your current customer base justifies the cost of retention or acquisition.
4. Prolong customer journeys through personalised incentives
Loyalty programs should keep customers engaged. The most effective way of achieving this is through consistent, exceptional customer experience, using personalised loyalty incentives.
According to Hubspot, studies show that 93% of customers who had a positive experience, are more likely to make another purchase. Personalisation of a customer’s journey makes it seamless and effortless, ensuring great service throughout the entire customer journey and boosting conversions.
Personalisation is an excellent way to retain customers in eCommerce. Nurturing a customer relationship is particularly important for online businesses in fostering improved CLV metrics. Offering personalised incentives makes the customer feel as though you know what they want, who they are, and are valued by you.
How Uniqodo helped TUI prolong customer journeys with second purchase incentives
Challenge: TUI wanted to personalise incentives for customers to stay ahead in the competitive travel market. Customer loyalty is difficult for holiday providers as people will go with whoever offers the best deal.
Solutions: Uniqodo issued post purchase codes on order confirmation pages. Targeting values were based on data layer variables, enabling re-messaging of the offer every time customers logged into their account. Offers were also delivered via email.
Results: In a price-driven sector like travel, customer loyalty and retention are critical to a business’ survival and growth. These personalised offers developed by Uniqodo helped TUI see a 62.22% uplift in redemptions and have now been factored into a business as usual (BAU) strategy due to their success.
Enhance customer journeys for greater growth
Greater customer retention is essential to seeing better ROI and increasing revenue across your business. Exclusive and early access offers enable this by keeping your customers interested and engaged with your business. Paying attention to more customer retention strategies will naturally enhance your customers’ journeys. This is because they promote the use of personalised incentives and better value propositions.
Uniqodo facilitates complex, sophisticated customer retention solutions. To see those growth-enabling solutions for yourself, feel free to book a discovery call with us today.