Ecommerce: 3 Ways to Boost Retention

Retail sales will lose €260 billion in the EU-5 (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy) in 2020, a drop of 10.4% compared to 2019. Forrester even predicts that it will take 4 years for retail sales to return to pre-pandemic numbers.

But it’s not all doom and gloom; these companies have accelerated their digital transformation and opened up new channels to cater to evolving consumer buying habits post-Covid. In fact, we’re seeing a +10-35% increase in digital purchasing.

Customer retention is the key.

Whilst companies should be stepping up their efforts to cater to these new customers, keeping your existing customers happy is essential. The success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%; for a new customer this number is just 5-20%. 

That - and the unshakeable thought that we’re staring down the barrel of a recession - means keeping your current customers loyal and happy is the number one business priority for the rest of 2020 (and perhaps beyond).

That said, here are 3 musts for ensuring high customer retention: 

  1. Get close to your customers despite social distancing

  2. Adapt to changing buying habits in a volatile world economy

  3. Provide excellent support - focus on quality. 

Get close to your customers despite social distancing

For many e-commerce brands, customer service is the only touchpoint they have with their customers. If not, it is certainly the most common. Here are the 3 ways that companies delight customers:

- Personalize

73% percent of consumers will choose a human over a digital capability when seeking advice or looking to resolve a service issue or complaint

Accenture (Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement) 

Customers don’t want to be treated like a just number. They want to be heard and they want personalized interactions. When you give each customer a personalized experience - human to human - they are more likely to buy from your brand. 

In fact, 40% of U.S. consumers say they have purchased something more expensive than they planned to because of personalized service.

Stand out from the competition; personalize.   

- Be Proactive

Offer support before customers search for it. Creating opportunities for likely-buyers to interact with you to help them wherever they are on their buying journey is invaluable. This turns a support channel into a sales channel as well as a chance for customers to interact with your brand.  

If you have live chat, create a pop-up message that draws your visitor's attention to the chat widget. This will encourage visitors to use your support features which creates opportunities to engage and delight customers.

- Build relationships

Customer support will be the differentiating factor for the majority of customers, so deflect at your own peril. 

Deflection can cut costs - but you sacrifice an invaluable opportunity to speak to your customers. When you create more touch points, you also create “more opportunities to foster ongoing dialogues and relationships with [your] customers that strengthen loyalty and retention”.

Adapt to changing buying habits in a volatile world economy

Whilst the future is always hard to predict, the coming months are even more uncertain. Buying habits have been completely changed by the effects of Covid-19 - but there’s a philosophy you can follow to make sure you always keep close to your customers’ behaviour.   

- Analyze

This is where you have to do your best to anticipate your customers’ buying behaviours to prepare accordingly. 

Dig into your data from the previous months during the crisis and compare that with pre-Covid demand. 

  • Have contact reasons evolved? 

  • Have certain channels become less/more popular? 

  • What has happened to Customer Satisfaction (and how do you plan to keep it high)? 

Actually ask your customers about their lives, how they’ve been affected - then try and cater to their new needs. It could also be worth leveraging your professional network in each territory you operate in. This will help you understand what’s happening in each country/geography of operation - it may not be the same everywhere. 

- Iterate Quickly 

In the current context, there’s only so much you can anticipate. The real challenge is being highly reactive to the changes in behaviour that you didn’t predict

We don’t mean take snap decisions. The answers are in your data.

Being very reactive to changing consumer behaviour is the way to gain a competitive advantage. Devise ways that you can get actionable insights into the hands of your customer service strategists faster. Consider the following: 

  • Do you rely on data teams to run your data through BI tools to get insights? 

  • How long does it take you to conduct analysis on real-time data?

Miuros Insights Illustration

Streamlining these processes could be a crucial factor in your customer retention efforts.

Customer experience is a journey, not a destination. Even with a clear vision and strategy, you still have to experiment, measure, and learn from what worked and what didn’t to continuously adapt to customers’ evolving expectations.


Measure and improve

Today, customers need even more attention. We’re at a time where they want to know that you will care about them. They want their time to be valued and they want best-in-class care. 

- Deliver faster replies

Zendesk finds that, “89% say a quick response to an initial inquiry is important when deciding which company to buy from”. 

Ecommerce SLAs

These are the average SLAs in e-commerce, but delighting customers means driving them down (as much as it makes sense to, for your business).

Naturally, cutting the time they wait for a reply will significantly improve their experience.  Customer service automation can help you do this - whether this be agent-facing or customer facing. But, be aware, customers largely rely on humans to give them great experiences.

- Emphasize Quality

A quality control and feedback loop is essential to ensure that your process is evolving with customers’ expectations. How else can you check to see if you’re going the extra mile to delight customers? 

A great quality assurance process will help you: 

Remember: You can’t buy loyalty

But by listening to your customers and investing in the right processes and people internally, you can maximize customer retention. There’s no doubt that the most customer-centric brands - the ones that deliver the most value in every touch point with each customer - will come out on top in this socially-distanced world. 

Want to have similar content delivered right to your inbox? Sign up to our monthly newsletter