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5 Techniques to Boost Customer Retention

When it comes to running a business, acquiring more customers is always better, right? More customers means more sales, which means a better bottom line for you. While there is certainly value to gaining new customers, there are even more benefits to keeping the existing ones you have and increasing customer retention.

A repeat customer isn’t just a signal you have a great brand and great products. It’s also a signal that you are generating more sales. Repeat customers are incredibly valuable for companies for two main reasons: It costs less to market to them (it costs 5 times more to attract a new customer!), and they tend to spend more money.

(Image source: BuildFire)

While repeat customers tend to comprise only about 15% of customers at any given business, they typically represent anywhere from 55-70% of sales. Just think about what would happen if you could increase your customer retention by even 1%? Just like you have to work to get new customers, you also have to work to keep them–and you’ll see the effects on your bottom line.

So, what can you do? Instead of sitting around hoping your customers will decide to come back and shop with you again, here are the five best techniques for boosting customer retention. 

1. Set up a reward or referral program 

(Image source: Hubspot)

One of the best ways to ensure your customers come back and shop with you is to set up either a reward or referral program. This encourages repeat purchases because in exchange customers get discounts, free gifts, and other perks. And who doesn’t want that? Referral programs, in particular, are great (like the above example) because they help both with customer retention and customer acquisition. Why not have your existing customers do some of your marketing for you and help bring in new customers?

Recommendations from friends or family still reign as some of the best marketing you can have for your business. Not only are we more likely to believe a recommendation from a friend compared to a traditional advertisement, referred customers also tend to be more qualified and have a 50% chance of making a purchase with you. 

Make sure when you create your referral or digital rewards program that it truly does benefit your customers. If it is too difficult to understand, it takes too long to earn the rewards, or there are major restrictions on how to use them, people will have no desire to sign up and shop with you again. But with the right program, they will gladly enroll and shop with you again in order to earn valuable rewards. 

2. Use gamification 

Quizzes have taken over the Internet and social media. Gamification has become one of the best customer retention strategies. Not only will it help with retention, it also boosts overall customer engagement by up to 150%.

If you aren’t completely familiar with the concept, gamification simply means using gaming principles in your marketing. This could mean quizzes or competitions, spinning a wheel to win a prize, or collecting various trophies or badges for completing certain tasks or reaching various milestones. There are numerous ways you can incorporate gamification into your marketing, and it’s an effective way to keep your customers coming back.

(Image source: Oberlo)

Quizzes are fun for your customers and they give you valuable information you can use to personalize your marketing, as you can see from the Fabletics example above. For the customer, they take a fun lifestyle quiz, and for you, you get insight into the type of products they’re interested in. That information can then be used to personalize other customer touchpoints, like email marketing, web push notifications, or targeted ads. Make it easy for your customers to share your content to really expand your reach– you might even go viral! 

3. Collect and share customer reviews 

(Image source: Casper)

We already mentioned how powerful recommendations are from friends and family. The same logic applies when it comes to customer reviews. Think about the last time you purchased anything online.  Chances are you looked at reviews first. Nearly 80% of consumers say that reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Customer reviews also help with retention as well. Reviews help a brand establish trust with their audience, and that trust is incredibly important. Casper does a great job of this by showcasing people’s tweets about their company and products. Fake reviews are a major concern for online shoppers, but by having the reviewer’s name and social media handle there, the reviews have much more credibility. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review. While you can’t (and shouldn’t want to) ask for only a positive review, asking for a review, in general, is perfectly acceptable. Follow Casper’s strategy and ask people to tag you on social media. Make sure they know your handle (add some follow buttons to your website to make that easy) or your branded hashtag so you can find the reviews, and add them to your website.

4. Improve your customer service

If it isn’t easy for people to contact you, chances are they won’t shop with you. People are going to have questions about your brand or products regardless of how intuitive your website is. That’s okay as long as you have a good system in place for fielding questions.

(Image source: Shopify)

Live chat, in particular, has taken over the customer service world and is the preferred method for a majority of customers. It’s quicker than waiting for an email response but less involved than having to make a phone call. Plus, there are plenty of chatbot automations you can use to help answer common questions about your brand like your return policy, shipping rates, or size guide.

If possible, provide a few options for getting in touch with your brand so people can pick what is best for them. Trust us, the better a system you have, the more likely your customers will come back and shop with you again and again. In fact, 8 out of 10 customers say they would pay more for a product if it involves great customer service. That way, even if something does go wrong, they know they will be taken care of.

5. Re-engage customers via web push notification 

(Image source: Aimtell)

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out directly to a customer and ask them to shop with you again! They may have simply forgotten about your brand and a simple reminder can work wonders to refresh their memory of you and your products. Sending web push notifications is a great way to do so, as you don’t have to worry about your message getting crowded in an email or text message inbox. A user can opt in to your messages with just one click, and your messages deliver to both desktop and mobile devices. However, your customer finds you is how you interact with them.

To increase your chance of getting that repeat purchase, consider including some type of incentive like a discount code that will encourage them to shop with you again. Be sure to target your campaigns accordingly as well, instead of sending a broad message to all of your web push subscribers. Personalize the message if possible for even better results.

Wrapping Up

Treat your customers well and they will be more than happy to buy from you again. By following these customer retention techniques, you are not only benefiting your brand by generating more sales, you’re also doing it in a positive way. Create a stellar referral program, encourage and highlight customer reviews, provide exceptional customer service, engage in gamification, and re-engage customers via web push. If you do these things correctly, chances are, they’ll not only become a repeat customer but a brand advocate!


Ryan Esqueda is a Digital Marketing Manager at Aimtell, a digital marketing platform that enables users to re-engage desktop and mobile website visitors with targeted web push notifications.