Repeat customers are vital to the success of your eCommerce business. In fact they’re the very foundation upon which a profitable eCommerce company is built.

Studies show that it costs less to retain existing customers than it does to attract new customers. Think about it. It makes perfect sense because you don’t have to spend money on advertising, media, marketing and anything else necessary to bring in a new client.

Here are some statistics to show you what I mean.

  • It costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than retain a current customer, (Bain & Company).
  • The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5%-20%. The probability of selling to an existing customer, however, is 60%-70% (“Marketing Metrics”).
  • On average eCommerce spending by a new customer is $24.50, compared to $52.50 for a repeat customer (McKinsey & Company).
  • A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as cuttings costs by 10% (“Leading on the Edge of Chaos”).
  • A 5% reduction in the customer defection rate can increase profits by 5%-95% (Bain & Company).


Here are eight things you can do to keep your existing customers coming back to your eCommerce store and buying from you again and again and again:

  • Learn about your customers, then when they log in to your website offer them products based on their preferences and buying histories.
  • Offer customers discounts on their next purchases. When you think about the money you’d have to spend to acquire just one new customer, offering customers a 10% discount toward future sales is a pretty good deal. After a customer makes a purchase, you could send a follow-up email offering 10% of his next order, good for 30 days. Or offer $10 off a $40 purchase. Get creative. You could also include a discount code with each product that you ship.
  • Keep in contact with your customers. Don’t let them forget about your company. Send them emails regularly – but don’t go overboard. Send them special offers, e.g., 25% off sitewide; buy 2 get 1 free. Be sure to send them your newsletter, noting all the great deals you’re offering, as well as your new products. Educate them on why your products are the best around. Reassure them that they’ve made the right decision to buy from you. Offer customers tips on the best ways to use the products they’ve purchased.
  • Make it easy for your customers to log in to your site. Let them sign in with Facebook and Twitter or with their Google accounts – most of them are probably logged in to those sites 24/7
  • Let customers earn cash back on purchases. For example, a customer gets 10 points for every $1 he spends. Then once he’s accumulated 100 points, he can redeem them at checkout for $1 off his next order.
  • Ask your customers for feedback. Ask your customers if your eCommerce lived up to their expectations. Maybe they all won’t respond to a request to fill out a survey but they’ll at least know you care what they think about your products.
  • Thank your customers. Send emails or place thank you notes in with your customers’ shipments. Customers like to feel that their business is important – so let them know that it is.
  • Offer free shipping for items over a certain dollar amount. According to comScore, free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions. Fifty-eight percent of 5,800 U.S. online shoppers say they have abandoned their shopping carts because shipping costs made their total purchases cost more than they expected. And 50% have abandoned their shopping carts because the value of their orders didn’t qualify for free shipping. Additionally, 58% have added items to their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping and 83% are willing to wait an additional two days for delivery if shipping is free.

It bears repeating: It costs less to retain existing customers than it does to attract new customers. So it’s crucial that your eCommerce business does everything it can to ensure that existing customers keep coming back.

mike
Author       
Mike Arsenault
Mike Arsenault is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rejoiner. He works with 350+ online retail & eCommerce companies like Hallmark, eTix, Liftopia, and Vtech Electronics to help them grow faster using lifecycle email. He once lived aboard a 36' sailboat in Boston.