Ecommerce marketing is often focused on bringing in new customers than retaining existing customers. A great deal of time and resources are used to reach new customers, through various campaigns. The idea that the more customers discover and purchase from your store is one that is embraced by many e-tailers. Although new customers are great, loyal customers that continue to purchase bring in far more profits. It is also easier to keep customers than it is to acquire customers. That does not mean that there are no challenges in customer retention. A major challenge for ecommerce brands is avoiding customer churn.
Also known as customer attrition, churn applies to the rate that customers reduce shopping and eventually stop shopping altogether. It is not quite the same as customers who make a single purchase or those who leave products in their cart, never to return. In most cases, it is a gradual process that can happen after 5, 10, 20 or even more purchases over time. Churn is typically determined by statistical data along with probability. Understanding shopper patterns is essential to identify customers that are at risk of churn. In terms of ecommerce marketing, this data is incredibly useful to plan campaigns that reach customers before they leave.
Avoiding Customer Churn with Ecommerce Marketing
Having insight into why your customers leave goes hand in hand with ensuring better retention. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your ecommerce marketing around customer churn.
Keep track of purchase patterns
Even if you do not have extensive data that predicts churn rates and provides probability and other specific statistics, you can keep track of customer behaviour patterns. Obviously, purchasing habits are a very important thing to track. When looking at these, you will be able to notice that customers often purchase within regular time ranges. For example, you may have customers who have purchased on average every 30 days or every 100 days. You can also look at other activity, such as log-on or even store visits. When you have better insight into how often customers shop, you will start to notice whether their patterns are changing.
Focus on direct outreach
Using an example, you may notice that a customer has made 12 purchases, with a purchase every 30 days or so on average. This customer starts to purchase every 40 days or they log in to their account and do not purchase within their regular purchase history. Campaigns focused on sales and store highlights will not have the same effect as those focusing on direct outreach. Customer service campaigns, tailored offer campaigns, personalised email campaigns, hand-picked product suggestions based on hyper-personalisation, and more direct outreach will be far more effective. Even an email or call asking if they are still happy can make a huge difference.
Step up your loyalty strategies
Obviously, it is better than prevent churn proactively before you notice that purchases are made longer and longer between regular patterns. Just as loyalty helps customer retention, it can also help to avoid churn. Happy customers are more likely to continue to shop. Keeping customers happy through loyalty campaigns is a win-win for everyone, helping to build trust and let customers know that you care. One thing to consider, however, is that sometimes customers leave for reasons other than the obvious. If your loyalty campaigns are not backed by a solid customer experience, you may start noticing churn. Consistency is also key, as many customers do not suddenly leave but instead slowly decrease their purchase patterns over time.
Ecommerce Marketing and Customer Churn
In some cases, customers may leave for reasons outside of your control. Lockdown has forced customers to change their purchasing habits and there are also other reasons that cannot be predicted. If you put time and effort into ecommerce marketing campaigns geared at reducing customer churn as much as possible, you will have the best chance of keeping customers coming back.