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How To Retain Customers In Retail And Sell Better

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How To Retain Customers In Retail And Sell Better

It is almost an endless rat race when it comes to acquiring new customers. An unremitting, exhaustive experience for marketers; as it not only consumes time, but it’s also hard on the wallet. Some marketers are fully engrossed in acquiring new users, that they unknowingly start ignoring their money-making customers. Ultimately, they end up gaining few users, but lose many more. It is one vicious cycle. In fact, Forrester reports that 70% of CMOs did not list retention as a top priority.

My question is: why is acquiring customers more important than nurturing the ones we already have?

“If you don’t genuinely like your customers, chances are they won’t buy” – Thomas Watson

You need to turn the tables around. Two reasons.

  1. Average conversion rate for new buyer is between one to three percent. For repeat customers, the percentage increases 60 - 70 percent. That’s how important your customers are.
  2. 40 percent of an ecommerce store’s revenue is generated by 8 percent of its existing customers. Imagine what would happen if you pampered all your customers!  

Do you think you have it in you to increase ecommerce customer retention? Let's get started.

First, Why Are Your Customers Leaving?



Via Get Satisfaction Blog

On an average, 20 percent of customers are annually lost due to lack of cordial approach. Yes, you are not giving them the attention they deserve. One way to resolve this: let them complain to you!

While some customers leave without any shout outs, there are a few searching for a way to tell you. The best way is to  provide a feedback form. This satisfies disgruntled users, provides you with valuable insights for improvement, and keeps negative criticisms off the table.


If the users are not able to reach out to you with concerns, they will leave. They might do exactly what you feared: become your competitor’s customer. Place contact details on a prominent screen for users to easily communicate to you.

On page chat needs to be available to communicate to them one to one. If your on page chat is not working, find a way to fix it. It is the fastest way for the user to clear doubts if any. You need to be omnipresent. Be available to them on all major devices.


Still sending out mass notifications? Don't be stuck in one-size-fits-all approach. There is nothing as frustrating as receiving updates on something you do not care about.  You need to know your customers to cater them better. Once you have all the information about them, the next step is to personalize your communication.

To increase retention, you need to build relationships. They have cycled through the buyer's journey once, and it is up to you to make them convert again. You are the master key that can turn all the locks to your favour. How to retain customers in ecommerce you ask? Read along to know how you can make your customers happy to increase CLV.

How to retain customers in retail: 7 surefire ways

1. Send Loyal Users Exclusive Offers

For ecommerce customer retentionn the way of showing your loyal customers you love them, is by showering them with exclusive offers. 25-60% of your dormant customers will make a transaction, if you approach them the right way, with the right offer. You could provide them with loyalty points whenever they buy, which once accumulated, the customers can buy something for ‘free’. The idea of getting something for free is always tempting. The customers will therefore send more in order to increase their points, and won’t forge their chances of getting extra points by shopping from your competitor. For example, Lifestyle has its loyalty programme called Landmark Rewards and Myntra has Myntra Points Programme, which is working out splendidly for them.


Send them special coupons to your loyal users on their birthday. Make them feel special, make them feel you genuinely want to gift them on this special occasion. You could also give special coupons for loyal customers, making them shop at your site in the peak season.

personal note

Say thank you and go all the way with it. Thank you notes clubbed with a surprise gift work wonders something that 20dresses always does. Loyal customers need to be thanked personally once in awhile to make them feel wanted. Spend a little on them and they will return the favour. Some ecommerce websites manage to write handwritten notes. Dive into the good days, when you used to send handwritten personal letters. There is still nothing as personal and touching a handwritten note. And just like that, the psychological trigger is pulled, leaving users impressed and inculcates a sudden sense of loyalty towards you.

2. Communicate Efficiently

For customer retention in retail sector, you need to have a good way of sending across any communication without seeming spammy. Web push notifications help to communicate effectively due to its succinct and brief nature. It conveys all the information in just a few words, making it consumable in seconds. It reaches the user on desktop and mobile, even when they are not on your website. Website push segments users easily, making it possible to send out relevant notifications, in the user's local time. Check these 5 must have segments to run effective campaigns and retain customers on long-term.

Personalize your notifications to trigger excitement in the customer's mind and would also make it easy to re-target. It has been successful in increasing loyal customers and boosting sales. See how you can retain your customers with web push notifications by building strong brand recall and loyalty amongst them.

abandoned cart checkout strategy

Mobile apps are another way to increase customer retention in retail sector by keeping your customers in loop. Maximize mobile engagement as most of your users are on their mobile almost all the time. With rapid app downloads, it is evident that in app push is a great way to communicate to your audience.

Emails also drive the whole retention cycle with apt mails sent to the users inbox with detailed information pertaining to a sale, a purchase they have made, transaction details etc. The better you communicate with the users,  the stronger bond you build. Some merge their marketing channels to get optimum results. They start off with app push and then follow up with an email as a gentle reminder. Leanplum is a good example of a mobile marketing platform that helps marketers to make the cut.

“Get Closer to than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves.” - Steve Jobs

Keep a track of their wish list so that you know that offers related to it will encourage purchase. You can also effectively cross-sell and upsell accordingly. This shows that you know the users well enough to give them suggestions.

Check out how SMBs can leverage web push notifications to engage, retarget and retain their customers effectively.

3. Make It About Them

Encourage users to share their stories; what they feel about your brand, your products etc. Users get thrilled when you make their cherished stories live. Remember the “Meri Maggi’ campaign? It is similar to that. This not only makes your existing customers take one step towards loyalty, but also generates interest in the minds of the new users. Patagonia is one example, who have a page dedicated to ‘Story We Wear’.  


Provide your customers an option to talk to you and flaunt it off. Some brands do it by letting users send photos of them wearing their products. You will be surprised how many customers would like to send you their snaps! Many ecommerce websites are delighted with customer modeling and implementing the idea full fledgedly.

retentionWhen users see ‘regular’ users wearing your products combine with a review, they are more likely to convert. Abof and Myntra are some of the websites that use this tactic to attract users as well as to increase customer retention in retail sector.

4. Be A Social Butterfly to increase ecommerce customer retention

Almost everyone is on at least one social media site; a strong reason for your brand to be socially active. Social media helps customers to connect with a brand. A few also think of social media platforms as a place to solve their queries. Hence, giving you an opportunity to shine, with your excellent customer service skills.


Encourage users to write reviews and share your products on socials. Once a customer is in love with your products they will do it for free high - fives. Instagram is ruling the fashion world these days, hence ecommerce websites are jumping into this opportunity to encourage engagement and keep things lively.

retentionSource: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-pictures-customer-created-content/

NastyGal created a hashtag called #nastygal and asked customers to share their photos. This pretty much went viral and they increased their conversion rate.

To boost customer retention in retail sector, create contents that can go live on social media sites and encourage users to participate in them, you could provide them with coupons, increase their reward points etc. Announce the winner on your website, making customers re-visit your site. Once the customer visits your site again, the chances of them transacting from your website increases.

5. Embrace The Philanthropic Approach

Everyone wants to donate to charity; help people in need and contribute to overall goodness. Yet many of us do not know how, where and who to approach which ultimately will leads to an increase in ecommerce customer retention. When ecommerce came up with philanthropic schemes, users saw this a way to donate while they were buying products for themselves (no longer have to be guilty of your shopping spree).

For example, Toms is helping users by giving away more than 10 million pairs of shoes and helping restore sight to more than 200,000 people!

6. Spread The Word

Once the user is impressed with your service, they will willingly refer you to others. You can provide users with brownie points to boost customer retention in retail sector.


Out of the referred customer's, 50% of users are likely to make a purchase. You didn't have to make any tremendous effort to acquire these users; they are cheaper and comparatively convert easily.  

It gives them more dough to spend and increase your chances customer retention in retail sector and making more profit. It’s a win - win situation, and you should not miss out on this one.

7. Make It Easy Peasy With PWA

Customers have been shopping with you for a while, you need to welcome them as a friend rather than asking them to verify themselves every time they visit your site. With Web Sign in API, it has become easier to authenticate users. It also makes it easier for the new user to sign in without wasting time in filling up sign in forms. The lesser the time they spend in doing things they don't want to, better are the chances for them to stick around which leads to increase in ecommerce customer retention.

Once the user is on the transaction page, do not make it cumbersome for them, by making them fill forms that they have already filled once. Provide auto fill options, make it easier to add a payment method, shipping address and shipping option. All that they need to type is the 3 digit CVV number, and they are done. 68% of customers have left the checkout page, as the whole process consumed more time than required!

PWA has also made it convenient to communicate to the users with real time updates. Web push notifications has a mammoth impact on customer retention, making it one of the best channels to reach the audience with apt updates, based on customer behavior.

These 7 ways will definitely help you to increase ecommerce customer retention, delight existing customers and generate profit from them. There are a few other ways you can always be on the customer's mind, by making your product's customizable according to the customer, just like Nutella did, where you could add your beloved's name. Guerilla marketing is another way to stand out of the crowd, where creative ideas will boost brand image and help to impress not only the customers, but also new users. Last but not the least, one can always get traction from word of mouth. Your customers will voluntary publicize you once you have made them happy, and the best part, you don't even have to ask them :)

This article was originally published on LeanPlum.

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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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