We’ve already talked in great detail about customer retention in our previous articles, so today we’re focusing on one niche in particular – the eCommerce field. 

There are some different factors when it comes to eCommerce, so in this article, we look at some specific methods dedicated to retention marketing for this area – that will surely help you increase your customer retention rate. 

The Importance of eCommerce Customer Retention

It’s easier to sell to existing customers

It’s already common knowledge – selling to existing customers is much more profitable than doing it to new ones. More precisely, the chance of selling your product or service to a new customer is between 5 and 20%, whilst for already existing customers it’s between 60 and 70%.

Moreover, Harvard Business Review discovered that companies that increase their retention rates by as little as 5% have noticed profit growth of 25-95%. 

Simply put, it’s easier to sell to existing customers than it is to acquire new ones – therefore, increasing your average eCommerce retention rate. 

We’ve talked about customer retention, how to calculate customer retention rate and its benefits in more detail in our previous articles, that you can find here.

You increase the customer lifetime value

Customer lifetime value (LTV) is a tool that helps you assess how much a single customer is worth to your business, for the entirety of their lifetime as your client. This means calculating how much value they bring to your business in the time they continue to purchase products or services from your company. 

For instance, if one customer continues to make purchases from your company’s products and services for the upcoming 5 years, the LTV is the amount of money you can expect to earn from them in that amount of time. The longer the time spent as a customer of your business, the more income they will yield. 

LTV does not only help you estimate the amount of money you can expect to earn – but it is also an indicator of your customer’s satisfaction with the business. A higher LTV rate means your clients enjoy your products and services and will happily continue to support your business.

If you’d like to learn how to calculate customer LTV, click here

Customer loyalty can become brand advocacy – and so, bring in new clients

One of the greatest online customer retention strategies is to create a brand identity that your audience can relate to on a personal level. It’s no longer just a matter of quality, speed of delivery or looks. Although they are all very important, people are looking more and more towards new values – ecological and social impact, sustainability and fairness. 

Therefore, when you position your brand in a positive, self-aware and conscious way, you are bound to gather some loyal followers, ones that will start to trust your brand and recommend it to everyone they know – known as referral marketing. 

A study from Motista confirmed that audiences that formed an emotional connection with a company had a 305% higher lifetime value. Those people ended up purchasing from the company for a longer period of time (an average of 5,1 years, as opposed to 3,4 normally). They also promoted the business at a rate of 71%, as opposed to the normal 45%. 

How do you retain customers in eCommerce?

Let’s take a look at some popular customer retention strategies in eCommerce – like we’ve always said, it’s great to innovate, but most of the time, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel of marketing. These are a few methods that have been proven to work in order to increase your business’ eCommerce retention rate.

Embrace e-mail marketing

E-mail is truly the most efficient way to connect to e-commerce customers. The moment someone makes a purchase from your website, they should be greeted, thanked and made to feel welcome in your brand’s community of existing customers.

Some of them will slowly drift away as time passes and they don’t make any new purchases – you can attract them back to your business with holiday/birthday coupons and messages, as well as spontaneous offers and incentives to come back to your website. This improves customer retention over time. 

Go the extra mile

By only doing one particular nice thing for your customers, you might be suspected to only try to lure them to buy some more. Just like in any relationship, constant, thoughtful and cute acts of kindness are the key to loyalty, trust, and respect – this is the only way to truly increase customer value. 

Some ideas include free samples within the order, coupon codes, free trials and nice messages of thanks. This will not only set you apart from other brands and gain a place in their memory, but it will also help spread the word of mouth about the thoughtfulness of your company.

Invest in your social media presence

This is available for any business, but especially for e-commerce websites – since your exchanges are made online, it’s only natural that you have a strong online presence. Most of your customers, especially if you cater to Millennials and/or Gen Z, will spend most of their time on social media.

Being present on such platforms is a great way to create a human connection to your audience, differentiate yourself from other brands and make sure you have a lasting place in the minds of the people following you. Moreover, you can encourage more user-generated content. 

Ways to Improve Online Customer Retention for eCommerce

By introducing loyalty perks and offers

Loyalty programs are one of the most effective methods of not only making sure your customers come back but that they also make bigger purchases – in order to reach their milestones and rewards. When it comes to eCommerce customer retention, you can definitely rely on loyalty-rewarding tools – that will turn one-time buyers into repeat customers.

This is really a win-win situation for both the client and the business. The customer is happy to have gained some extra discount, product or service, whilst the company has to delegate a small amount of money to make sure the online customer retention rate is increasing. 

Here are just some examples of how you can make your customers become more loyal:

  • Points programs – every dollar spent by the customer equals a point, which can – after a period of time – be used to pay partially or in full for other products and services;
  • VIP clubs – loyal customers receive exclusive offers, pre-sales, products, and discounts;
  • Subscription programs – customers who are really interested in your products and services can receive regular updates via e-mail – along with some exclusive offers;
  • Paid loyalty programs – if you have various levels of quality for your products and services, customers may choose to pay for the best ones;

If you want to check out a great loyalty program, look no further than your local shopping mall. Sephora, the cosmetics retail giant, offers one of the best incentives to their customers, through their points programs. It’s one of the most successful ones from online retailers, motivating customers to buy frequently and substantially. 

By using replenishment reminders

In the case of products that need regular re-orders, such as consumable goods, you can opt to use dedicated e-mails, aimed to remind the customer to reorder – called replenishment reminder e-mails. This retention marketing strategy is a kind reminder for the consumer, as well as an incentive for them to order more products from you.

These types of e-mails are the ones with the highest opening rates, as well as click-through rates – making them one of the best ways to increase your online customer retention rate.

The success behind this kind of reminders is that they’re not just selling-oriented, they’re also very valuable to the customer. In today’s day and age, it’s fairly easy to forget some of the most common items we constantly need in our house – cat food, toilet paper or printer ink. 

Having a helpful reminder every once in a while can help you, the customer, avoid some uncomfortable situations of having to go out shopping early on a weekend morning or late on a weekday night. Plus, they make it easier for you to purchase – just a few clicks and the product is being delivered directly to your home. 

By cross-selling

If you want to retain customers in eCommerce, cross-selling is one of your best bets. The idea is to analyze what your clients are buying and customize e-mails with recommendations to complementary products. For instance, if a person bought a mop, you could recommend a bucket; if a person bought dog food, you might recommend some bowls or some treats. 

This is also helpful for the customers, anticipating what they might need and meeting them halfway in the buying process. It’s a pretty straight forward but very powerful tool through which you can transform a one-time buyer into a loyal customer.


Today we talked about customer retention in eCommerce – why it’s so important, how to increase your eCommerce retention rate and stand out from the (online) crowd. We’ve talked in-depth about customer retention in general, as well as ways to understand and improve it in our previous articles.

E-commerce is no different from other businesses when it comes to customer retention – you need to invest in your clients’ happiness, make sure you pay attention to detail and maintain quality consistency. 

Put into practice the tips and tricks written above and you’ll be sure to boost retention rate for your eCommerce business in no time!