New vs old. Which do you choose?
In the ecommerce world, old customers come with benefits that outweigh new ones (well, the cost of acquiring new ones).
As we all know, inflation and an impending recession are threatening high-growth brands. In this year of uncertainty, merchants need to focus on retention and customer loyalty to keep revenue high.
Knowing how customers interact with your Shopify store can help you make smarter business decisions. Understanding your key performance metrics, sales data, site performance, and channel efficiency will guide you to improved customer retention.
Understand your data
To set a foundation for understanding your data, we recommend focusing on four ecommerce metric collections. Consider these stats your new best friends and visit them often! These metrics will help you understand how your business is performing as a whole.
1. Key performance metrics
Key performance metrics illustrate a high-level overview of the basics, with predictable trends. Daily spikes can signal that your marketing efforts are working, while dips can flag any issues or gaps.
Keep an eye on:
- Total Sales
- Total Spend
- Average Order Value (AOV)
2. Sales Data
Monitor your sales reports to get an idea of where revenue is coming from. Remember to:
- Compare your current sales to previous sales periods (look at specific time frames to draw correlations)
- Map your highest-performing products to your sales (by units or by dollars) to discover your bestsellers
- Understand the percentage of first-time and repeat orders driving sales
3. Site Performance
Discover who is coming to your site and if they are converting to customers. Low checkout conversions could signal that you’re not driving qualified traffic to your site. In order to optimize store conversions, keep an eye on:
Another key insight you can gain from evaluating site performance is whether or not there are any glaring discrepancies in your store. For example, if you see a big dip in orders or conversion rate, part of your tech stack might be broken. It happens — more than we like to admit!
4. Channel Efficiency
Then there’s channel efficiency, or what we like to call the “prove it” point. This is where you get to prove that your paid efforts are making an impact! In order to show which sales channels are driving the highest ROI, zero in on:
- Ad spend (total and per channel)
- Conversion by medium
- Channel performance: ROAS, CPA, and attributed sales
Understand customer behaviour
One of the best ways to understand customer behaviour and plan out your retention strategy? Cohort analysis.
A cohort is a collection of customers grouped together based on specific criteria (typically the month they made their first purchase).
Cohorts help you answer key questions about your business. For example:
- Once a customer buys, do they continue to buy, or do they churn?
- Is there a cohort that’s buying more often? If so, why?
- Are there products or campaigns that outperform others? Should you double down on those?
- Is there a cohort that’s frequently dropping off? Why, and how can you reduce churn?
- How can you refine your retention strategies to increase LTV?
Diving into cohorts is one way to see where you should focus your efforts—acquisition or retention. Look to see if the number of new customers (and sales) are increasing over time. If these numbers aren’t on the rise, it might be time to double down on acquisition efforts.
Using filters, cohort analysis can illuminate your best-performing products. Determine which products bring in the most customers, drive the most repurchases, and increase your average order value.
You might find that one product is most effective at getting people in the door (acquisition) and another is better at keeping your customers around (retention).
One question to ask yourself at the beginning of the year: Did your holiday sales bring in loyal customers? Cohort analysis can show you if these new customers are turning into repeat ones—and the best time for remarketing efforts.
4 data-backed strategies to improve retention
1. Encourage repeat orders and offer subscriptions
Let’s say you make a new friend, and they immediately ask you to join their club. Tough sell, right? You’d probably want to hang out a few times, before making a long-term commitment.
We have a similar perspective on subscriptions. You probably want your customer to get to know your brand, and experience your product before committing to a subscription upsell.
One “light touch” way to secure a repeat customer? Encourage them to simply repeat their order.
After a customer’s first purchase, it’s all about convenience. They’ve already researched and picked their product — it’s up to your brand to save their order and personalize a repeat order experience.
You could also include a scan-to-reorder QR code on your packaging and direct mail, and into shipments as inserts. Customers can scan and reorder in seconds, without creating an account.
Bonus? Scan-to-reorder QR codes are rich with data! You’ll get product-level insights and repeat purchase behavior, so you can make better decisions on how to build your marketing campaigns in the future.
Ready to pull the next growth lever?
Once you’ve secured a repeat customer, offering a subscription can be a power source of locking recurring revenue and loyalty.
2. Implement a loyalty program
Loyalty programs serve two key functions.
- To attract new customers (acquisition)
- To re-engage existing customers (retention)
Each customer has the potential to turn into a loyalty program member. A few ways to attract and enroll new customers:
- Create a smooth checkout experience
- Make the signup process frictionless
- Use perks as an incentive to engage with the program
- Keep in touch—even after the sale
- Put the spotlight on your brand values and set yourself apart from competition
- Incentivize referrals—word of mouth recommendations are a powerful way to attract new people to your program and grow your existing customer base.
Loyalty programs function in two parts:
- To re-engage existing customers (retention)
- To attract new customers (acquisition)
3. Invest in building community
Strong brand communities don’t just appear. You have to invest if you want to feel the impact.
But, what is community, when is the right time to get started, and how do you activate it?
Before diving headfirst into community, your brand should answer the following questions:
- What does community mean to us?
- Why do we want to build a community?
- What is the purpose of the community?
- What does the ultimate golden state of community look like to you?
- What does success look like?
- What resources do we have to apply to community building and management?
Most people think community is a Slack or Facebook group, but in reality, community looks different for every brand. The need for community should stem from your customers and drive your motivations.
Business owners have a lot to manage! You might be asking, when’s the best time to get started? Answer: When you can commit to it.
“Community takes a long time, requires deep investment, and often doesn’t show a direct ROI on your data sheet. You gotta know it’s a long-term play,” says the Head of Community at Repeat.
Note that the day-to-day management of a community isn’t limited to community managers. You need all your internal teams to be involved and listening to your customers.
Great examples of DTC brands building community? We’re fans of Peloton, Obvi, and Immi.
7 tips for building community:
- Pick a space where your community will live. This is your content hub, and could be a social media platform. For immi, Facebook was homebase. “Once we figured that out, we would take people on our email list and we had a drip sequence and all the calls to action were to join our Facebook group,” says Lee
- Start conversations, and let the community take over the dialogue.
- Build in public and give your community insight into your process.
- Use all of your marketing channels to drive your audience to community pages.
- Encourage (and amplify) user generated content.
- Ask for feedback. Use polls, focus groups, 1:1’s, and observe conversations.
- Be authentic and quick to respond.
4. Personalization product recommendations in emails
Take a look at your email flows. Are you presenting customers with relevant products that serve their needs?
Your team probably sends a host of transactional emails (confirmations, password resets, welcomes, shipping updates, etc). Customers tend to read these emails because each one has a functional value. Be strategic with your messaging!
Try making product recommendations—without detracting from the email’s functional nature.
Consider sending curated emails for seasonal features and special holidays. Share relevant product recommendations and unique collections as gift ideas—from Mother’s day to Christmas and anniversaries.
Another essential email? Abandoned cart reminders. Digital shoppers are likely to check emails with reminders of abandoned carts, and this is an opportunity to also plug in additional product recommendations, based on what they are already looking for.
For instance, if a consumer has left vegan chocolates in their cart, businesses can plug in additional collections of vegan chocolates. This offers a wide choice and also the potential to purchase more products
Use analytics to power your retention strategy
How many apps are in your tech stack? Shopify estimates that the average merchant uses six apps to power their store. Tydo consolidates your data, across apps and integrations, giving you a single source of insight.
When it comes to using Shopify analytics to boost customer loyalty, start with the basics and monitor key performance metrics, sales data, site performance, and channel efficiency. Then, use your analytics to set measurable, actionable goals and campaigns. Then implement, and iterate.
Try Tydo and join brands like Disco, Not Pot, Cadence, Sharma Brands, Dose, and Birthdate Co., in receiving comprehensive reports, data visualizations, and insights.
About the Author:
Kate calls Philadelphia home and has a passion for building educational marketing content for DTC brands and relationships with Shopify partners. She currently works at Tydo, a Shopify app that connects your brand’s data, marketing sources and tools to solve your biggest problems and uncover your biggest opportunities.
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