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This post is about: Inbound Marketing, Personalization, E-Commerce, SME, Digital Marketing

2017's Best Customer Retention Tactics For All Local F&B And Retail E-commerce

Posted by Meryl Ann Oh on March 10, 2017

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We’ve heard this time and time again- the easiest way to grow our customers is not to lose them.

Are we then largely neglecting Retention Marketing in our e commerce business, where the competition crowd is getting increasingly larger by the day, with ad, clicks and conversions rising exorbitantly in cost?

Honestly, when was the last time you tried to re-engage your clients for an upsell?

The average business loses around 20% of its customers per year by neglecting customer relationships. In some industries, this oversight can reportedly reach as high as 80%.

This is irrefutably a staggering cost.

Retention should be at the heart of any digital strategy. However, few ecommerce businesses are truly understanding this implication.

Let’s take a look at some stats.

  • Attracting a new customer costs five times as much as keeping an existing one. (Lee Resources, 2010)
  • Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. (Bain & Company, 2016)
  • Conversely, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new one is 5-20%. (Marketing metrics)

Improving customer retention is not as easy as it seems, especially in the e-commerce world where thousands of similar businesses are targeting the same customers we’ve worked so hard to win.

In today’s post, we will be looking at 5 actionable Digital Marketing tactics you can deploy to target your existing e commerce customer base; with the clear objective of maintaining and growing them to be loyal purchasers of your product or service.

Are you ready to find out how?


5 Best Digital Marketing Tactics To Build A Successful Customer Retention Strategy


What Is Customer Retention?

Before we delve into the tactics and best practices of retention strategies for customers, let us first get a better understanding of what it actually means.

“Customer retention rate is the metric of how well a company is able to keep the lifespan of an existing customer over a period of time.”

Now, getting on…


Tactic 1: Personalise The Customer Experience To Beat Expectations

Examples of personalisation initiatives are relevant, insightful offers, recommendations, advice and service actions.

Delivering personalization to the customer drives brand loyalty, and how they respond to it is vital information a business can tap into for further sales opportunities.

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Personalisation is no longer a luxury reserved for the big players in e-commerce.”

-Smart insights



Know Your Audience

Like any other marketing strategy, understanding your audience is the first requirement to get anywhere. Ensuring your chosen retention tactics are perfectly in line with your target prospects, by collating sufficient research on your customer base is of utmost importance.

  • Build up a profile of the type of customers that interact with your brand. Incorporate inbound methodology to every digital marketing effort.

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  • Analyse all existing insights and data on your current customers, every interaction they’ve had with your business.

  • Study your customers' purchase patterns.

Focus On The Customer Experience 

One of the best ways to keep your customers coming back is to ensure that every aspect of their experience doing business with you is of highest standard and a pleasurable one.

It is indeed a shocker that many businesses still continue to neglect the ‘Customer Experience’ (CX).

Customers of the Year 2017 are only likely to respond to highly personalised offers and messages targeted specifically at them. Content should be tailored in suitability of different device and user motivations. Your customers want a hassle free navigation through all information they are looking for.

A modern e commerce marketer should look to individual customers with unique preferences and demographic information to offer them individually personalised marketing messages.

Platforms and channels that encourage customers to engage deeply with the brand will be highly rewarding for retention marketing.

Easy Repeat Purchasing

In 2017, a strong focus of F&B and Retail e commerce businesses would be to improve their online purchase process and speed.

eg. Amazon’s one click payment makes purchases extremely convenient, much favourable to shoppers online; attributing its large e commerce success online.

E commerce sites that have the advanced functionality of being able to save customers profile, payment card details and delivery address authenticated by an easy login on any device will triumph in retaining customers in the longer haul. 

Tactic 2. Digitize Your Loyalty Programs

A loyalty program is a fantastic way to boost customer retention.

Giving your shopper additional value to patronise your business decreases the success rate of other competitor brands roping them over.

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Other than developing a loyalty membership which has the obvious aim to increase conversions from your current customers by rewarding their repeated purchase; incorporating the right digital marketing expertise for an e commerce loyalty program rewards a business more than just their customers’ loyalty.

A retention marketing strategy accrues other profitable customer action eg. getting a review, referral, social sharing.

The major benefit of digitizing a loyalty program for your e commerce is being able to gain valuable customer insights and using these data to improve the overall customer experience.

Start a frequent shopper program, customise promo codes for individual customers’ birthdays, make rewards easy to obtain and hassle-free to redeem.

If you claim to be too busy or have too huge a customer list, you can always automate these processes.

In the digital sphere, the sky’s your limit. Deploying technology programs for loyalty is taking over, overriding the traditional paper-based loyalty programs that lean on the issue of a membership paper or punch card.


Tactic 3. Use Drips For Client Retention

Before we go on, take a look at these email marketing stats:


  • 42% of marketers do not send targeted email messages; only 4% use layered targeting. (MarketingProfs, 2016)

  • 6% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15% would like to get them daily.
    (Statista, 2015)

  • 51% of marketers say enriching contact data quality is their most significant barrier to achieving email marketing success. (Ascend2, 2016)

  • 78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails. (HubSpot, 2016)


What is an effective way to revive a dormant relationship with an old customer?

Time and time again, email has proven itself by maintaining as the top converting channels for ecommerce.

3-1.jpgTime and time again, email has proven itself by maintaining as the top converting channels for ecommerce. 
An email marketing campaign is still as necessary (if not more), to increase conversion in a customer retention strategy. It is quick to implement but yielding enormous sales and marketing gains for an online business.

Building an email list is highly critical and useful for maintaining and building customer relationships; to disseminate product/service information at the right place at the right time through the right emails.

In the delight stage of the inbound methodology, the emphasis on continually sending regular customer newsletter emails for ‘close-loop reporting’. 

It serves as a customer engagement tactic for the explicit purpose of maintaining high customer retention rate; hauling increasingly high sales conversion rates in an extended period of time.


Tactic 4. Using Big Data For Big Business

“We are collecting data, but not analysing it !”

Why track, measure and monitor customer value?

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Customer lifetime value assigns a score to customers based on recency, frequency, and monetary value of their purchases.


The higher the lifetime value, the more you invest in retention efforts with that customer, since they are considered a good customer for your company.


Invest Well In A CRM System: Why?


  • A CRM tool is used in tandem with other digital systems to provide a total customer retention strategy.

  • It allows you to track, monitor and communicate with customers using an automated platform.

  • You can customize messages to focus on items, issues, products or information of interest to specific customers, which helps build retention into your communications mix.

  • .When all customer information and interaction are stored in once place, it becomes easier to provide a continuously improved customer experience (the foundation of any successful retention marketing strategy). 

  • A CRM works favourably for e-commerce retailers who seek to accurately calculate customer lifetime value, and have numerous interactions with each individual customer.

Recommended: Hubspot CRM

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Tactic 5. Work Social Media To Reach & Connect 

“Business is social.” -Beth Comstock, CMO of General Electrics.

We can't agree more.

GettyImages-533253984.jpgSocial media is all about connecting and building relationships.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if a business smartly utilizes it to cultivate relationships with existing customers?
These channels can be leveraged to connect with people and drive them time and time again back to your store.


Here’s how.

Ways To Utilise Social Media To Improve Customer Loyalty


  • Interact on social media: Listen, analyze and engage with your customers on a one to one basis. Share, comment and thank people when they share your posts, be a frequent, courteous social media presence.

  • Create content specific to your customers’ needs (different from your prospects’) and timely disseminate them through various social media channels: Use a handful of social media platforms really well rather than trying to be everywhere at once. It’s better to focus on a few platforms and work them really well.

  • Turn complaints into opportunities: Remember that in a retention-driven business, customer service is everything. Complaints are an opportunity to engage with your customers, use the opportunity to resolve the problem with a great attitude.
    Customers are using social media increasingly these days to contact a company when they encounter a problem. By responding quickly (prefably 24hrs or less), you not only remedy your customer’s problem but have publicly showcased the quality and reliability of your service and brand.


An improved customer retention strategy for 2017’s adaptation will course through your F&B or retail ecommerce system and multiply abundantly over time.

 If you already have a strong customer retention strategy, there are plenty of tiny tweaks you can do to optimise it with what this post addressed for an even higher customer retention rate. 

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We really hope we helped!


Inbound Marketing, Personalization, E-Commerce, SME, Digital Marketing