Best customer retention marketing tactics

Table of contents

Customer retention focuses on marketing to your existing customers. You might not have considered it yet depending on where your business is at in its lifespan. The more customers you have over time the more attractive it becomes, and there’s a good reason why.

It can cost substantially more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. An old business rule states that the difference is 5 times. Another way of looking at it is that the probability of selling to an existing (who has already indicated an interest in your product by purchasing) is far greater than someone who is not. An existing customer is also more likely to spend more money. The stats don’t lie, so it’s easy to see why you should focus on methods of increasing your customer retention. It’s just smart business.

Tactics can be employed for any type of business, but today we are going to focus on e-commerce websites. It’s not about any hacks or tricks to fool your customers into coming back. It’s about the most powerful method you have, offering genuine value. These are some of the things we know work on a lot of sites.

Customer experience

The most significant thing you can do to increase customer retention is to offer an above average experience. That includes:

  • a smooth website experience,
  • easy to understand checkout process,
  • fast and useful customer support and
  • going above and beyond unexpectedly.

If a customer feels negatively or even just indifferent about their purchase, they are unlikely to return. Often a terrible situation like a broken, wrong or later order can be turned around into a life long customer by making an unexpected, above and beyond response.

Follow up emails

I’m always pushing email marketing to clients as one of the best marketing tools. Used intelligently you can nurture your existing customers into coming back again and again. But you don’t need to constantly bombard them with your latest products.

If your product has an average time between purchases, segment your database by last purchase date and set up automated emails to remind your customer at the ideal time. A quick re-order button that automatically adds the item to their cart would take it to the next level.

Mailchimp is pretty good if you can master creating segments, but there’s also Follow Up Emails for WooCommerce.


Nobody wants to be spammed, so adding some personalisation to your marketing can really make a difference in making a customer feel loyalty to your business. Of course adding someone’s name to any correspondence is a great start, but how about only sending them information on products they actually have expressed interest in either by purchases or just browsing habits.

On website stores where there are options for products such as colour or size, why not show products that have the same options. A woman browsing for a small blue top, is unlikely to suddenly want to buy a double XL pink jacket. Give them what they want.

Social media

Creating a community on social media can instil a sense of belonging to your brand and story. Don’t spread yourself too thin on too many channels. It’s important to be pushing out regular content and engaging with your audience promptly.

Make an effort to interact with your customers. It’s a chance to add personality to your relationship. Try and start conversation about your product to get your customers to publicly praise you. Ask how they are using your product. This will backfire if your customer experience isn’t on point, so tread carefully.

Rewards programs

We see rewards programs everywhere these days. From the supermarket to the coffee shop. They work because they create a barrier to switching, with credit sitting on the table. Even a very small reward can have a large impact on customer retention. Some businesses use points instead of dollars to mask the true value of the reward, however don’t underestimate your customer, they will work it out.

Some great actions to reward your customers for are:

  • individual purchase,
  • multiple purchases,
  • total cart value,
  • signing up to a mailing list,
  • referring a friend and
  • sharing on social media.

There’s a great plugin available for WooCommerce called Points and Rewards that makes it a breeze.

Customer retention should get a lot more attention

So don’t just focus on how you can acquire new customers. Think of ways you can market to your existing ones. The beauty is the longer you are around, the bigger the pool of customers to market back to becomes and you will soon find you have a cycle of loyal, repeat business.


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