Unlock success: 50 proven tactics for skyrocketing your customer retention rates

June 12, 2024
Unlock success: 50 proven tactics for skyrocketing your customer retention rates

Did you know that acquiring new customers costs 5-10 times more than retaining existing ones? Did you also know that current customers spend 67% more (on average) than new customers? These stats show that the key to boosting sales may lie more in customer retention than new customer acquisition.

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This article will explore 50 proven customer retention techniques to boost your sales revenue.

1. Offer unique products or services

If your customers cannot find the product or service you offer anywhere else, they’ll always come back to you.
Offering an entirely new product is easier said than done. This is why a lot of businesses invest a lot of money into product development and research. Try to find a unique niche that you can fill.

Another way of standing out from the competition is putting special emphasis on what makes your product different. A great example is how ASUS puts emphasis on the unique ergonomic features of its VG248QE gaming monitor. These include tilt, swivel pivot, and height adjustment possibilities and improve customers’ viewing experience.

2. Offer consistent quality

Customers want to get the best value for every penny they spend. This is why one of the most common reasons customers switch to competitors is dissatisfaction with the quality of the product or service they receive.

Thus, a trusted method to retain customers is to address quality issues promptly and ensure your customers consistently receive products or services that meet or exceed their quality expectations.

3. Continuously innovate and introduce new features

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Customers’ needs and preferences change over time. If you do not keep up with changing preferences, your offering will lose relevance to customers, making them switch to your competitors.

So, one way to retain customers is to innovate and introduce new features continuously. This ensures your products/services stay aligned with changing customer expectations and remain relevant.

An example is how Amazon has continually introduced new features to enhance users’ shopping experience (from introducing Amazon Prime’s fast shipping to one-click ordering and more).

4. Keep offerings interesting

Keeping offerings interesting helps you maintain their novelty. And maintaining a sense of novelty motivates customers to explore, potentially leading to more sales.

A common way to do this is to introduce new products that stand out regularly. Other ways to keep offerings interesting include:

Creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity by offering limited editions.

Providing a sense of uniqueness by offering different customization options.

5. Offer relevant promotions

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book for boosting sales. Offer customers discounts and freebies, and they’ll buy more.

Customers like getting the best value for their money, and promotions make them feel they are receiving more value for their money. So, to boost customer retention, offer relevant promotions regularly.

6. Offer competitive pricing

Price is one of the most important factors determining where people shop. If customers believe they are getting a good deal from you, they are likelier to stick with you. Thus, a good customer retention strategy is offering competitive pricing.

An example is how Walmart ensures the best price possible with its price match guarantee.

7. Leverage product bundling

Product bundling is a great way to increase customer satisfaction and therefore retention. Shoppers are always eager for a deal, so knowing that if they go for a bundle they save money will encourage them to spend more and come back.
Customers will see this as added value, making them more likely to come back to see what other product bundles you have to offer.

A perfect example is Nespresso’s “Build your Bundle” offer, which gives customers 25% off the price of an espresso machine when they par it with coffee blends and an accessory.

8. Offer a seamless online experience

Your past customers are people who bought from you before. What was their experience like?

If they had a frustrating experience, they’re less likely to become repeat customers. Therefore, offering a seamless online customer experience is a simple customer retention strategy. Make the process as quick and easy as possible.

A reference is how Amazon’s one-click ordering enhanced shopping convenience on its platform, boosting both new and repeat sales.

9. Optimize experiences for mobile

Some of the best customer retention strategies are those that make the shopping experience more convenient. That is what mobile optimization does.

Mobile optimization ensures that customers can access your eCommerce store from their phones from anywhere and at any time. This convenience encourages repeat visits and transactions.

So, when looking to increase the number of customers that return for more business, optimize your eCommerce website for mobile users. And, if possible, provide a mobile app.

10. Use customer accounts

Know that quick and easy transactions contribute to customer satisfaction. And satisfied customers are likelier to become loyal customers.

Customer accounts save customer information (such as shipping and payment details), so customers do not have to enter these details for every purchase. This reduces the number of steps in the purchase journey, making it more convenient.

11. Leverage subscriptions

Subscriptions streamline the purchasing process for customers. This is because, unlike one-time purchasers, subscribers don’t need to make individual transactions every time they want to access your product.

This convenience makes customers more likely to stay with you rather than switch to competing services.

An example is how PetCircle incentivizes its subscription model with discounts, making customers go for subscriptions rather than one-time payments, thereby establishing long-term relationships.

12. Use buy now pay later programs

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) programs ease the financial burden for customers. It makes purchases more affordable, as it allows customers to pay for purchases in installments over time.

Satisfied customers who appreciate the increased affordability that your BNPL program provides them are more likely to return for future purchases and gradually become loyal customers.

13. Offer fast delivery

These days, customers want to receive their orders as fast as possible. Thus, offering fast delivery gives you a competitive advantage over your competitors with slower order delivery.

When your customers get their orders fast, they feel better about your brand and are more likely to return for repeat purchases.

14. Make returns easy

Consider this: you are unsatisfied with an online purchase, but the eCommerce store makes it difficult to return it. Are you likely to buy from them again in the future? Probably not.

Easy returns contribute to a positive overall customer experience. When customers see that you have an easy return policy, they’ll have confidence in the purchasing process and are more inclined to stick with you for future purchases.

15. Thank customers for choosing you

Everyone likes to feel valued, especially people who spend their hard-earned money buying your product/service. And one way to show you value your customers is expressly thanking them for their patronage.

That recognition has a strong emotional impact. When customers feel appreciated, they’re more likely to form an emotional connection with your brand, leading to long-term loyalty.

Amazon takes this to new levels by even thanking customers for submitting product reviews.

16. Provide helpful customer support

Despite your best efforts to create a seamless purchasing experience for customers, they might still encounter problems. If they cannot find solutions, they’re less likely to continue with the purchase and more likely to switch to another brand.

So, an effective customer retention strategy is providing helpful support. When customers who encounter problems get quick and helpful assistance, they’ll feel you care. This strengthens the brand-customer relationship.

17. Offer omnichannel support

Customers have different preferences when it comes to how they communicate with brands. While some have no problems with email, others prefer live chat, phone, or communicating via their social media account.

Therefore, offering customer support through multiple channels allows shoppers to choose the most convenient method for them.

Not only do they get the assistance they seek, but they get it via a convenient communication channel. This increases customer satisfaction, as well as the likelihood of them returning to your store.

18. Offer multilingual support

Customers are less likely to stay with your brand if they encounter communication friction at any point during their initial purchase. Multilingual support can prevent this from happening as it allows customers to communicate with your business in their preferred language.

This is likely to improve their shopping experience, and raise the chance of them completing their purchase and come back to the store, knowing that it can cater to them in their preferred language.

19. Respond to customer queries promptly

Having excellent customer service to solve shoppers’ problems is important. However, how quickly you provide solutions is even more important, as customers are 2.4 times more likely to stay when a brand solves their problems quickly. Thus, an effective way to increase customer retention is to provide faster responses to customer inquiries. You can do this by implementing an automated ticketing system or using chatbots to handle routine queries.

20. Personalize support interaction

Personalized interactions make customers feel you care about them as individuals. This can make them feel positive about your brand, leading to stronger brand-customer relationships. This relationship can prevent them from switching to other brands.

When next you’re interacting with customers, use their names. This simple gesture adds a personal touch to the interactions and can make them stick with you.

See how this Hubspot’s personnel addresses the individual by his first name in this prospecting email.

21. Engage your customers on social media

About 5.04 billion people (amounting to 62.3% of the world’s population) use social media today. Those social media users include your existing customers.

So, engaging them on these platforms can show the personality of your brand. This can help you build stronger connections that make them stick with you. You may also hold social media contests that encourage more customer engagement. And more engagement forges stronger relationships, leading to more purchases.

An example is the Pepsi’ X (formerly Twitter) contest, where participants could engage with a post for a chance to win a TV.

22. Offer excellent after-sales service

Excellent after-sales service increases custom satisfaction. And a satisfied customer is more likely to return for more purchases.

For this reason, when retaining customers is a concern, don’t be one of those businesses that are friendly and warm to customers before sales and cold afterward.

Offer excellent after-sales service—provide round-the-clock support to address after-sales issues, offer tutorials to help customers maximize the use of the purchased product, seek feedback, facilitate easy returns and refunds, provide installation and setup assistance (if applicable), offer order tracking so customers can know the status of their purchase, and more.

23. Provide personalized offers and product recommendation

Customers are different. For example, they usually come for different products and are motivated by different promo offers.

Thus, targeting everyone with the same offers will be less effective. Tailoring product suggestions and promotional offers to match customers’ unique preferences and behaviors is usually more effective at getting them to make repeat purchases.

So, to increase customer retention rate, make offers relevant to each customer. A perfect example is how Amazon uses customer data from browsing behavior, purchase history, and reviews to provide personalized product recommendations in its “Products related to this item” section.

24. Celebrate customer milestones

Make customers feel special, and they’ll be loyal to your brand and even become advocates. One way to make customers feel special is to celebrate them during certain milestones.

A common one is celebrating customers on their birthdays. Send them personalized wishes,along with a birthday discount.

However, this customer retention strategy may work better when customers are not expecting it. For example, celebrate the anniversary of customers’ first purchase with your company.

25. Give customers the VIP treatment

Start a VIP customer program. Criteria for becoming VIPs can be total spending, frequency of purchase, longevity as a customer, engagement with your brand, etc.

Importantly, give customers who attain VIP status special treatment. These can include dedicated concierge service, early access to new products or sales, exclusive invitations to events, priority shipping, etc.

Customers you give special treatment will feel appreciated and are less likely to switch to your competitors.

26. Collect feedback from your customers

Customers appreciate being heard. Allowing them to provide feedback can make them feel heard and shows that you value their opinion and want to improve to ensure they’re happy.

This builds trust and establishes positive brand-customer relationships that increase customer loyalty. Collecting feedback can be as simple as having customers give a thumbs up or thumbs down after a process.

An example is how Apple collects customer feedback using a 0 – 10 rating scale.

27. Act on customer feedback

When it comes to trust-building, do you know what is better than collecting customer feedback? Acting on the feedback.

Collecting feedback can backfire when customers feel that you didn’t act on them. So, when you collect customer feedback, make appropriate changes based on them. Keep customers informed of your efforts (through announcements on your website, release notes, etc.).

28. Be proactive in customer communication

Don’t wait for your customers to reach out with feedback. Rather, be proactive in communicating with them—anticipate their needs and reach out to them with relevant information instead of waiting for them to initiate contact.

Proactive communication solves problems early, enhancing customer experience. It also makes customers feel more supported and valued.

For example, if a customer’s subscription is about to expire, shoot them a renewal email. See how Asana informs a customer of the expiration of their free trial and encourages them to switch to a paid plan.

29. Provide incentives discouraging subscription termination

When existing customers decide to terminate their subscriptions with your store, it is not too late to win them back. When they hit the “cancel” button, immediately shoot them a message telling them you hate to see them go and offer an incentive for them to stay longer. This can be an extended free trial, a discounted subscription, etc.

The incentive reminds the customer of the value they receive from being a member. This may discourage them from canceling, increasing customer lifetime value.

30. Surprise and delight customers with gifts

Who doesn’t like good surprises? Surprises create an emotional connection between the giver and the receiver. That connection will make customers feel better about your brand and stay with you.

Therefore, when looking to skyrocket your customer retention rate, cultivate the habit of surprising customers with unexpected gestures and perks.

This could be a free sample/gift, an upgrade to a subscription package, an unexpected discount, etc.

A perfect example is Pret A Manger’s “random acts of kindness” policy, which empowers staff to surprise and delight any random customer with free food.

31. Be transparent

Being transparent about your products, services, pricing, and policies is an excellent way to improve customer retention. This is because transparency builds trust, and when customers trust you, they’ll stick with your brand.

Everlane is one eCommerce store that has taken transparency to another level with its radical price transparency.

The clothing retailer breaks down the true costs of every product it sells, revealing the price of material, labor, and transportation. This has helped Everlane build a loyal customer base that wants to know how much their clothes cost to make.

32. Incentivize customer returns with loyalty programs

All loyalty programs have one thing in common—rewarding loyal customers. When shoppers know they will receive some reward by continuing their business with you, they’ll be less likely to switch to a competitor. So, set up customer loyalty programs to help improve your customer retention rate.

A good example is the Bath & Body Works loyalty program. It lets customers earn points for each purchase, which they can redeem for a free product. This is in addition to birthday gifts and exclusive access to special events, products, and more.

33. Offer a referral program

Referral programs are not only great for attracting new customers, but they are also excellent for retaining existing ones.

The trick? When customers actively participate in your referral program and earn rewards, redeeming the reward is hooked to doing business with you. For example, give them account credits or discounts as rewards, and they must make repeat purchases to claim the reward.

An example is Gousto, which gives customers ₤20 credit for referring their friends, and this must be used for a purchase within 3 months of being credited.

34. Leverage gamification

Adding game elements (such as points, challenges, competitions, etc.) to your processes will make interactions with your brand more engaging and entertaining.

And when customers enjoy their time on your platform, they’re likelier to return for future engagement. Therefore, one way to retain customers is to gamify your eCommerce processes, especially your reward programs. For example, You can introduce a challenge where customers are encouraged to make a purchase every week for a month to earn a sweet reward.

35. Send company newsletters

Don’t assume every one of your past customers will have you in mind when they want to make another purchase. Your brand may just have slipped off their minds.

So, help them remember by sending them your newsletters regularly. This keeps your business at the top of their mind always, increasing the chances of them returning to your brand for future purchases. Newsletters are also a great way to generate excitement and awareness for new product launches or deals.

36. Make how-to videos to educate customers about their purchase

How-to videos will empower your customers with the knowledge and skills to use your product. Customers will fully understand the value of your product/service and use them optimally, leading to a better experience.

A positive experience with your product/service will increase the number of customers that stick with your brand.

A perfect example is the Amazon Echo video introducing the 5th Gen model. The video shows how useful the Echo is and how customers can use it in different creative ways.

37. Host customer events

In-person or virtual customer events bring your customers together to interact with each other and your brand. Such interactions and the memorable experiences you can create for customers in such events can create a deeper emotional bond that contributes to customer loyalty.

Nike has mastered the art of using customer events to boost customer retention. It frequently organizes online events to release limited-edition sneakers or exclusive collaborations.

These events generate significant buzz among sneaker enthusiasts, driving traffic to Nike’s websites and increasing sales. Members of loyalty programs often get special discounts on new releases.

38. Leverage social proof

You probably know that positive customer feedback, reviews, and testimonials can help you attract customers. But do you know they can also help you retain existing customers?

Positive feedback from other customers reassures existing customers that they made the right choice in choosing your brand. It reinforces their confidence in your brand, making them less likely to switch.

An example is how G2 shows snippets of positive customer reviews on its site.

39. Leverage brand stories

Stories evoke emotions. When you share the story behind your brand, customers can see the people and passion behind the products and services. This creates an emotional connection that can make them loyal to your brand.

You can share brand stories during customer onboarding, within post-purchase thank you messages, when celebrating customer milestones, etc.

An example is Cisco using storytelling to promote its IT systems.

40. Maintain a consistent brand image

Using the same branding elements (color, logo, etc.) across all marketing channels can make your brand stand out. This helps your customers to easily distinguish it from others.

Also, branding consistency shows your professionalism. And when customers perceive your business as professional, they are more likely to trust your products and services.

41. Launch a customer appreciation day

Designate a specific day as “customer appreciation day,” where you express gratitude to your customers for their support and loyalty.

Having a customer appreciation day shows customers that you value them. This recognition can strengthen the relationship your brand has with them, leading to improved customer retention rates.

For instance, Birchbox nail customer appreciation day. The business calls its customers to thank them and offer some giveaways (advertised by this nifty sign in front of its location).

42. Proactively solve problems

Anticipating potential issues and addressing them immediately can prevent customer dissatisfaction. For example, if there’s a shipping delay, notify the customer immediately, apologize, and provide an estimated delivery time. This can prevent the annoyance and negative reviews that come with late delivery.

You can conduct customer surveys (specifically, customer satisfaction surveys) to identify issues before they escalate.

43. Apologize when you make mistakes

Despite your business’ best efforts, you may make mistakes. For example, glitches may affect customer experience, you may send a defective or wrong product, etc.

When you make mistakes, apologize sincerely. Apologizing shows you acknowledge and take responsibility for the mistake.

This preserves the brand-customer relationship because when customers see that you admit mistakes and make amends, they’re more likely to forgive and continue doing business with you.

See how EpicBar completely won over a customer by apologizing and making amends for mistakenly sending a customer a bad protein bar.

44. Implement robust security measures

With data breaches and identity theft on the rise, customers are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their personal information.

Implementing robust security measures assures customers of their data security. And when they feel confident that their sensitive information is safe with your business, they’re more likely to continue doing business with you.

When you implement security measures, display the appropriate trust symbol on your eCommerce store so customers know. See how QuickBooks Payroll does this with the “TRUSTe Certified Privacy” badge.

45. Conduct exit surveys for departing customers

Know that, despite all your best efforts, some customers will leave you. But don’t despair because you can use these people to improve your retention rate.

Conduct exit surveys for departing customers to understand why they are leaving. For instance, when customers opt to cancel their subscription, present them with a brief survey form to collect feedback on their reasons for leaving.

Then, address the root cause by making necessary improvements. This will prevent you from losing more customers and improve your retention rates.

46. Leverage brand values

Humans tend to align with people with shared values. So, customers feel a sense of connection and belonging to brands with the same values as them.

For this reason, showcasing how your brand lives its values can help you connect emotionally with customers. This connection will make customers stick with you, boosting retention rates.

See how Patagonia, a brand committed to sustainability, showcases this commitment with its “1% for the planet—pledging 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.

47. Support causes your customers care about

Know that modern consumers expect brands to contribute positively to society. When customers see that you actively support causes they are passionate about, they feel connected to you. This connection can turn one-time customers into some of the most loyal customers you’ll have.

48. Build a strong customer community

A customer community provides a platform where your customers engage with each other and your brand. This fosters a sense of belonging among customers, making them remain loyal even when faced with competing alternatives.

So, one of the most underrated but highly effective customer retention strategies is creating a space, such as a forum or social media group, where customers connect.

An example is LEGO’s online community, where users can share their ideas for LEGO brick construction and vote for awesome models created by fellow community members. The company can adopt and construct popular ideas, and these can end up on shelves around the world.

49. Continuously A/B test retention strategies

A/B testing allows you to experiment with different strategies on a small scale before implementing changes across your entire customer base.

Simply try out two different retention strategies on a small test group of customers. Then, compare the performance to know which is more effective in retaining customers.

50. Optimize based on the most effective strategy

For A/B testing to have any impact, you should use insights gained from the test to improve your customer retention efforts.

You should:

  • Thoroughly analyze the results.
  • Identify factors that could have contributed to the success of the winning strategy.
  • Examine data on customer behavior—look at how customers interacted with the tested strategies to understand their preferences, needs, and pain points.
  • Then, implement the winning strategy across your entire customer base, optimizing factors that contributed to its success.

Implementing the strategy that showed the most positive impact on customer retention will shoot up your customer retention rate.

Takeaway: Skyrocket your customer retention rate with effective techniques

Existing customers spend more than new customers, and acquiring new customers costs more than retaining existing ones. Therefore, customer retention may do more for your bottom line than customer acquisition.

The 50 tactics above are some of the best for skyrocketing customer retention rates.

While thinking of shooting up your customer retention rate, you should also think of scaling up to meet the increased demand that come with a high retention rate. This is where 8fig comes in.

8fig provides eCommerce stores with funding to invest in their business, avoid stockouts, and build long-term growth. Sign up today and create your very own growth plan.

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