Retention Marketing Insights from Amazing Women in eCommerce

AWIEs from across the industry weigh in on all aspects of retention, from customer experiences to data and everything in between.
INTRO
eCommerce is changing, and retention has never been more important.

Customer retention is top of mind for most eCommerce brands right now, due to skyrocketing acquisition costs, shoppers spending less, and an uncertain economy. But retention is complex, and for many brands, it’s still a puzzle waiting to be solved. And who better to get advice from than experts from other brands and digital agencies?

At Amazing Women in eCommerce, we have tons of opportunities to talk to brilliant, accomplished women from every corner of the industry. Whether it’s our online events, happy hours in major cities around the world, podcasts, or one-on-one interviews, we’ve had more conversations than we can count, all of them inspiring and informative.

Over the past couple of years, those conversations have turned to retention. Our past AWIE Honorees and other amazing women in eCommerce have weighed in on what it takes to keep customers coming back again and again, and offered up a treasure trove of wisdom, strategies, and advice.

Here are some of their amazing insights.

Table of Contents
01
The importance of getting to know your customers
02
How to leverage customer data to improve CX
03
Why you should take a multi-channel approach to retention
04
Connecting with brand values to build customer connections
05
Retention advice for the future
01
The importance of getting to know your customers
02
How to leverage customer data to improve CX
03
Why you should take a multi-channel approach to retention
04
Connecting with brand values to build customer connections
05
Retention advice for the future
The importance of getting to know your customers
Chapter 01
The importance of getting to know your customers

If you want to keep customers coming back, you need to focus on building relationships — and in order to do that, you need to know who your customers are. And that knowledge needs to go beyond the basics. Knowing someone’s purchase history is important, for example, but it doesn’t help you make those deeper connections that lead to repeat purchases.

“Customers’ expectations are probably higher than ever. So I think one of the changes we’ll see is that a lot of retailers will have to start tailoring customer experiences, like personalizing an experience more to service the demand of the customers. You give them exactly what they want and they don’t feel that they need to go elsewhere. So that will be the challenge. Can I capture and retain customers by offering them a best-in-class experience on-site?”

– Laura Bradbury, eCommerce Manager, DOMU Brands

“I think consumers are no longer responsive to random recommendations, and are looking for meaningful and relevant engagement with brands.”

Criney Insalata, Co-Founder, BOBOU BEAUTY

“I push to think like the customer and make it easier for her to express, connect, and celebrate.”

Jenna Messer, Vice President, Loyalty Marketing, 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.

“It’s important to really gauge what your customer is interested in throughout the year, because that’s going to be what they’re interested in during peak times like Black Friday / Cyber Monday. If your customer is not interested in a promotion during a time where they’re not being marketed to by other brands, they’re definitely not going to be interested during BFCM. I think just knowing who your customer is, knowing what they’re looking for, and figuring out ways to be able to offer that is really important.”

– Brittany Bentley, Co-Founder, Parker Clay

How to leverage customer data to improve CX
Chapter 02
How to leverage customer data to improve CX

It’s no secret that customers want personalized experiences. In fact, research from McKinsey showed that 76% of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing from brands that personalize. But you have to get that personalization right, and to do that, you need data.

“I think the next 12-18 months will be around loyalty, but a part of loyalty is to understand your customer, and you’re going to understand your customer through various data points. Those data points can be through email, SMS, or an Instagram poll. Think about all of the data points you’re capturing then build a loyalty program that is right for your brand and right for your customer. Because there’s no point in going gung-ho at something if you don’t have that validation that it’s going to work.”
– Hannah Udina, Head of Partnerships, Shopify

“The first thing for us, it starts with the product. Our ethos is making beautiful products for everyone. Then we need to understand our core customer base — since 76% of revenues come from existing customers, it’s all about understanding their behavior or their perspective, then optimizing the website, web development roadmaps, optimizing UX / UI, and investing in the checkout experience.”
Ntola Obazee, Trading Director, Emma Bridgewater

“Personalization isn’t new, but I’m seeing an uptick of brands shift content and marketing to cater to a customer’s history and preferences. Due to this, more eCommerce sites have also gone headless to improve on content delivery and speed.”

Jerry Wang, eCommerce Director, Americas, RIMOWA

“Find the balance when it comes to data and empathy. You often see marketers that are either very data-driven or just very feeling-driven. But in this new kind of eCommerce world, you need to have both. You need to be able to look at the data and make smart decisions based on the knowledge that you have.”

Benish Shah, Strategy & Growth Expert and former VP of Marketing, Raised Real

Why you should take a multi-channel approach to retention
Chapter 03
Why you should take a multi-channel approach to retention

For many brands, retention is reactive, rather than proactive. A customer has just made their first purchase — now, how do you get them to come back? Retention should encompass the entire customer journey, and should be baked into the experience at every touchpoint.

“We really want to make sure we’re taking care of what people are saying across every single channel, because she might comment on a TikTok video and that’s the start of a whole story — how do we make her an advocate? You just have to be everywhere.”

– Sarah Timmerman, Owner and CEO, Beginning Boutique

“I think a combination of high attention to personalization and creating a strong omnichannel experience for customers is important. Maintaining personal connection with your true fans (we call them Rockstars) and providing them with an opportunity to have a first-person physical experience with your product will be super important.”

Megan Pedersen, Founder, steep & mellow

 

“Our main focus to drive customer retention is really working on our owned marketing channels, as well as meeting the consumer where they are, as our mobile marketing continues to outperform all other strategies that we’re using. We’re working to really customize that experience for the consumer and we’re able to do so through a variety of synergies, our main one being Yotpo SMSBump and Yotpo Loyalty. With this, we’re able to engage our customers in ways that don’t always feel so sales-focused.”

– Peyton Jones, Marketing Manager, Savannah Sevens

“When you’re working on your brand, it’s really easy to kind of forget or get lost in all the different touchpoints. So I would create a brand new email address, go to your website with as fresh eyes as you can, place an order, and go through all the flows. What email are you getting? What SMS are you getting? Is it at the right time? What’s the delivery experience like? Look at all the different touchpoints so that you can see what your customers are experiencing and what you can improve.”

– Daniella Cohen, eCommerce Manager, WelleCo

 

Connecting with brand values to build customer connections
Chapter 04
Connecting with brand values to build customer connections

Consumers are increasingly paying attention to what brands stand for. According to a Yotpo survey, over 84% of global respondents said they are more inclined to buy from a brand whose values align with their own. And that number is even higher for Gen Z — over 90%. If brands want to foster loyalty and repeat purchases, they need to communicate their values, and back their commitments with action.

“Consumers are becoming more astute at identifying whether a company is genuinely eco-friendly vs. what is surface-level marketing. Brands will need to work harder at demonstrating their sustainability in order to differentiate and win the hearts and minds of these consumers.”

Roxanne Goldfinch, Global Chief of Staff, Astound Commerce

“We’ve managed to reduce ‘sustainability’ to such a simple notion: produce something once and get endless refills from it. That really is our entire goal in a nutshell — to get our components back so they can be washed and refilled up to 10,000 times, lasting up to 2,500 years.”

Shannon Goldberg, Chief Zero Waste Officer, Izzy Zero Waste Beauty

 

“I learned very quickly the power of the right message to compel people to do something and it’s especially nice to be able to compel somebody to do something that’s greater for the world, beyond their own needs. That’s where my passion comes from, and why I ultimately ended up at Leesa. The brand was founded with a mission to give back, and has donated over forty thousand mattresses to date working with partner shelters.”

Jen Pressley, CMO, Leesa Sleep

“Flora & Fauna has been a proud B Corp for four years now. That certification really, really addresses everything in your business, from who you bank with through to what your supply chain is, and how much you pay your team. So when we are looking at a sustainable, ethical business, it has to be beyond a marketing campaign, it must be deep into the core of that business.”

Julie Mathers, CEO, Snuggle Hunny and former Founder/CEO of Flora & Fauna

Retention advice for the future
Chapter 05
Retention advice for the future

Retention strategies will continue to evolve as the market does. Some things will stay the same — like delivering top-notch customer experiences — but others will ebb and flow, like the demand for in-store experiences and what consumers prioritize. Here are the macro and micro trends that the amazing women we’ve spoken to believe will shape eCommerce in the near and distant future.

“Connecting  with your customers and with the community at a more authentic level is going to be so important. Customers today, they want to support small brands. They want to support local brands, they want to support brands that have an origin story that fits into their worldview and beliefs.”

Aisha Chottani, Founder & CEO, Moment

“Paid acquisition costs for social have gone through the roof. And especially for a product line that doesn’t have a super high AOV, it’s not always worth it to invest in acquiring customers when you’re not making it back.”

Maya Juchtman, Brand Marketing Director, Stix

 

“The customer journey has diversified and is more complex than ever. And you have to get so creative about how you’re marketing to potential buyers. Brands really need to lean into value adds — no longer can you just serve up a really great, really relevant product into a person’s feed and expect them to buy from you. You have to earn their trust and their confidence.”

Hailey Branham, Account Director, adQuadrant

“I think customers want a seamless experience between their online and physical shopping so retailers are going to start looking at the weaknesses of online and the weaknesses of physical shopping and saying, “How do we fill in the gap?” I already see business models where eCommerce brands are popping up in physical spaces in order to give their customers the opportunity to touch the product and of course physical stores are growing their digital footprint everyday. I think a seamless integration of the two worlds is the future.”

LaToya Tucciarone, CEO and Founder, SustainAble Home Goods

For more retention predictions, check out Yotpo’s 2023 eCommerce Trends Report.

Want to hear from more amazing women? Visit Amazing Women in eCommerce to learn about past honorees, connect with women across the industry in our AWIE Slack community, and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and upcoming events.

 

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