Last updated on November 6, 2023

Jessica Hulett
Content Manager, Brand @ Yotpo
May 1st, 2023

3 retention experts share their top strategies for eCommerce brands

Table Of Contents

Customer retention: every brand knows how important it is, but it can be complicated and difficult. That’s why we assembled three experts (and AWIE 2023 Honorees) to do a deep dive into the topic at our most recent AWIE Online event: Al Salomon, Director of Retention at DIME Beauty, Emma Richard, Senior Data Analyst at Dr. Squatch, and Abby Carter, Head of eCommerce at ZyroFisher.

In the in-depth panel, they discussed the top five retention challenges eCommerce brands face, and shared their tried-and-true strategies for overcoming them.

1. There’s too much competition

Solution: Get to know your customers on a deeper level and provide them with personalized, relevant experiences.

“The old way of marketing — blast campaigns and turn-and-burn initiatives — no longer works because our space is so saturated. Your customer really wants to feel like you know and understand them. And that’s what’s gonna keep them from walking out the door and going to your competitor.” — Al

“I think it’s really important that you really focus on building proper brand loyalty and understanding. Focus on really building exclusivity campaigns, and looking at your behavioral data and your flow campaigns to make sure that you’re building a message that is specific to your customer and their needs and where they are in their life cycle.” — Abby

2. Measuring retention is complex

Solution: Look beyond simple metrics like repeat purchase rate to get a more holistic view of where you stand.

“The inverse of retention is churn. So what’s the turnover that you’re seeing? If you have a subscription-based offering, churn is the number of customers who are canceling their subscription. There are a few ways you can look at that — how many subscriptions are ending, or how many subscribers are canceling all of their subscriptions. So looking at the customers that you’re losing, and then also average order value — that can tell you how valuable each purchase is, and if you can have a higher order value, then you can worry a little bit less about the number of purchases. That also plays into a customer’s lifetime value. How much are they spending over their time as a customer? How much can you anticipate they’ll spend based on how many purchases you think they’re going to make? Those are big ones for us — churn, AOV, and lifetime value.” — Emma

3. Disconnected solutions means losing sight of the customer journey

Solution: Make sure all of your eCommerce technology is connected so you can get a holistic view of your customers.

“There’s all of these different platforms out there that you can use to analyze data and pinpoint your customer journey. But what it comes down to is having a single tech stack with all of your different platforms in one dashboard, so that you can get that single view of the customer. Thankfully, we’ve been able to accomplish that through Yotpo. So Yotpo does all of our email, SMS, subscriptions, and loyalty, and what we’re able to do is cater to these personalized experiences, because we understand the journey from a more holistic view.” — Al

4. Sometimes customers have bad shopping experiences

Solution: When things go wrong, look at it as an opportunity to improve your communication and overall customer experience.

“We take a human-first approach. Really, we’re all humans at the end of the day. We all know how we want to be treated. We’ve got a really loyal customer base, and they will openly tell us where we’ve got it wrong, which is so important for us. You can contact us in the way that it suits you to contact us, and we will come back to you within a set period of time, and we guarantee that we will come back to you in that time, and if we let you down, give us that feedback. We really want to hear it. We’re not afraid to hear where we got things wrong, because if we don’t hear what we got wrong, we can never get it right.” — Abby

“You’re using a lot of resources to figure out what each customer wants. So if you can say, “okay, here are the main issues that we’re seeing across all customers in the data,” that can get you to a more sustainable place versus going down a rabbit hole in every area of the business. That’s how I like to view it as on the data side — rather than every single customer complaint, how can we look at it aggregated and understand what the big things standing out are?” — Emma

5. Customers need guidance to buy the right product for them

Solution: Ensure that customers have all the info they need to buy a product they’ll be happy with, which makes it more likely that they’ll purchase again.

“The more content on your site, the better. You will see your uplift, your engagement, your time on site will dramatically increase. We really tell the customer everything there is to know about the product, and they can really educate themselves through the tools that we give them. How do we serve you the right product for your needs? That all comes down to just getting that content right? It’s crucial.” — Abby

“This also ties back to putting people first. You know, it’s not about the product. It’s about your run that you’re going out on, and you need to hydrate. It’s not about the shampoo — it’s about, “How do I want to feel when I’m getting ready in the morning?” That’s a similar message that we try to convey at Dr. Squatch with our personal care products. It’s all about feeling good, feeling empowered, feeling confident in your process, and having that be the primary focus, rather than only the product. And I think that’s a big piece of retention, too, having it be something that’s integrated and aligned with your values and what you want for yourself, not just about something that you see on the shelf. It has to speak to that wider value system.” — Emma

“If the content is user generated, it’s even better, because there’s that personal touch with the brand. And again, with DIME being skincare, we want people to feel beautiful in their skin. Then they’re going to stick around for the long run.” — Al

Want to hear more? Watch the recording of AWIE Online. And join our AWIE Slack community to connect with other amazing women in eCommerce.