By ranking high in Google search results, your website might be exposed to thousands of daily visitors. However, it doesn’t really matter how much traffic you get, if your visitors don’t revisit your website. What matters is the number of users who stay and convert into loyal customers.
In fact, research shows that only 1% of an eCommerce website users generate up to 40% of its total revenue. That is why the ability to retain the existing customers should be the number one priority for any online business.
What is customer retention rate?
Customer retention is affected by the number of users you acquire and the number of customers that churn out. Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers the brand has retained over a given period of time. Website retention rate and churn rate are inversely related to each other.
Once you acquire a customer, retaining them is what makes all the different. If there is a leak in your funnel, you end us where you initially started; trying to acquire more users. Retaining users lets you build loyal users who will choose you over the rest. and that is when the bucks you spend on acquiring them will be shown justice.
How to improve retention rate like never before
So, here are some valuable tips on what you can do to increase customer retention rate and increase your profit.
1. Exceptional customer support
Customers leave when they are poorly treated and when their problems are not solved in a timely manner. Accenture finds that 52% of consumers have switched their provider last year due to poor customer service, resulting in roughly $1.6 trillion losses in the U.S. only. The only way to prevent such a churn is to provide an exceptional customer service.
There are plenty of tools out there that can help you keep in touch with your clients at all times. Tools - web forms, feedback surveys, online chats, email and phone support. Providing your customers with a convenient way to voice their complaints is a great way to retain your users.
Moreover, your customers are more likely to stay with you if you listen to them, ask for their feedback, encourage constant communication and, most importantly, implement what they asked for. This will contribute to an increase in brand loyalty and can also help you improve your website and win more customers in the long run leading to a boost in customer retention rate.
Social Annex has recently released a whitepaper which focuses on some of the most important customer retention trends for 2017. According to their research, personalization plays an important role in purchasing decisions of 86% consumers. Moreover, 45% of them are more likely to buy from a website that offers personalized recommendations.
Indeed, personalization proves to be an effective tool for customer retention and revenue growth. It is hard to find an e-commerce website that does not offer tailored suggestions, based on your previous purchasing history or items similar to those you has shown interest in.
There are many ways to turn on-site personalization to your advantage, from tailoring your online experience to the needs of a definite user demographics or geography, to introducing activity and behavior-based suggestions and offers. Decide who you are targeting with your personalization initiative and then write relevant content to appeal the given audience.
3. Loyalty programs and rewards
Creating a loyalty membership program is another way to retain your customers and increase conversions. Based on Bond Brand Loyalty report, 81% of consumers are more likely to continue doing business with brands that offer loyalty programs. At the same time, 73% of them are more likely to recommend brands offering good loyalty programs.
Thus, rewarding your loyal customers with premium offers and bonuses helps you kill two birds with one stone; you grow your customer retention and grow your customer base due to referrals.
A great way to build loyalty is to offer points for any activity on your website, for creating an account, making a purchase, subscribing to your service, sharing something to social networks or leaving a feedback. This gamified approach keeps your customers engaged and motivated to continue using your website leading to higher customer retention rate.
4. Referral bonuses and discounts
32% of executives surveyed by Forbes and Sailthru state that referrals and recommendations from existing customers are the most important benefit of customer retention. It has proven to reduce marketing costs, increase revenue per customer and lead to predictable revenue over time.
Indeed, people are 4 times more likely to buy from a company if it is referred by a friend. The best way to ask for a referral is to offer something like a one-time bonus or discount, free upgrade or additional loyalty points. Referrals might be shared through social networks, sent by email or SMS.
There is a practice when social media influencers or other businesses can help you cross-promote your business by sharing personal invite codes. Providing such an opportunity to your customers helps you reward them by giving additional bonuses and discounts, which keeps them loyal to your business.
5. Web push notifications: your go-to tool for customer retention and engagement
Being widely used in mobile applications, push notification capabilities were missing from the web until quite recently. Back in April 2015, with Google Chrome version 42 release, this function became available for everyone.
Web push notifications are clickable messages sent by a website to its subscribers in real time. Due to their multi-channel approach, notifications are pushed on desktop, mobile and on the tab, thus reaching out to all the users.
It is a permission-based service, which means that your users need to opt in for updates when they visit a website. As soon as they click “allow” in a small dialog box, asking for permission to send them notifications, they are added to the list of your subscribers. From that moment on you can reach out to them at any time with updates or special offers and re-engage them, prompting to visit your website one more time and make a purchase.
Yet, if you fail to meet your subscribers’ expectations or abuse their confidence sending thousands of irrelevant messages daily, your customers have the right to unsubscribe at any time.
For example, you can significantly reduce the cart abandonment rate with the help of web push notifications by simply triggering a message 15 minutes after the interrupted checkout. Another great way to use this tool is to deliver more personalized experience by segregating the users and customizing the offers and notification content. Local time-based notifications can be sent to users living in a different timezone, user’s location and on-site behavior can also be taken into account.
The tool offers a number of benefits.
- Direct engagement in real time
- Cross-browser support
- Straightforward call to action
- No personal info or contact details required
- Higher conversions
A study conducted by BEHAVE.org found that push notifications have average clickthrough rates of 331%, as opposed to email updates. This, in its turn, leads to conversion growth and higher revenue for your business.
You can check out few examples of retention marketing here.
How to calculate customer retention rate?
You can calculate customer retention rate with this simple formula-
Website retention rate= ((Customers at End of Period - # Customers Acquired During Period) / Customers at Start of Period) *100
Lets say you are a brand that sells shoes and start off with 50 customers and acquire 10 new customers in in 4 months and 5 customers churn. This is how you can how to measure customer retention rate for your brand
( (55 - 10) / 50 ) ) x 100 = 90% retention
You need to keep this formula handy to zero down on the reasons for customers churning. For all you know you might find similar patterns that you can further work on to increase customer retention rate.
What is a good customer retention rate?
The ideal customer retention rate is of course 100%. In this scenario, all the customers you acquire are retained. This also points out that you have nurtured you customers well, that has made them stick to your brand.
Average customer retention rate
On a average, the retention rate benchmark for ecommerce and retail is 35%-37% for more than 30 days. The average customer retention rate by industry for 8 week, the retention rate is below 20%. Keep these in mind, strive to achieve these numbers first and then double down for a better benchmark.
According to a recent survey, 92 percent of first-time website visitors do not intend to make a purchase. However, there is no guarantee that those remaining 8% will convert. Your primary task as a website owner is to make sure you engage and convert as many visitors as possible. Use all available tools and strategies to increase customer retention rate.
In this case, the above-listed approaches prove to be a powerful means for turning your visitors into paying customers. Therefore building recurring revenue streams. Yet, the list is far from being complete.
Regardless of your strategy, make your customer your number one priority, both on-site and offline. This will always give you an undeniable advantage over your competition and all your hard work will eventually pay off.
Note: This is a guest post by Alexandra Titova of Eastern Peak.