If you’re running a Shopify Store, you will undoubtedly need customer retention integrations at some point. Here’s why:
1. Understanding Who Are Really Your Customers
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated truths about running an e-commerce business is that a customer’s train of thought during the stages of their experience at your store is likely the factor that will have the greatest influence on whether their visit will end in a sale or a missed opportunity. From the first impression of the ads that brought them to the store, all the way to the checkout process and the fulfillment of the product or service, the outcome of a potential customer’s visit to your store is largely in your hands.
In light of this reality, there are a few key questions you should be seeking to answer as an e-commerce business owner looking to raise conversion rates:
- At which stage of a potential customer’s journey am I losing the greatest portion of potential customers? Why could this be?
- What are the general demographics of the average potential customer? Are my advertisement strategies effectively attracting people from the demographic group(s) I’m targeting?
- How well are my marketing/design/pricing choices catering to my target demographic group(s)? What changes could be made to improve conversion rates?
These questions can all be answered quite easily (and with a great amount of detail, too!) using various customer retention integrations. Using Google Analytics, for instance, it’s easy to create a heat map for your e-commerce store to determine where customers are hesitant. For instance, if only 30% of customers who viewed the shipping options page of your online store actually completed their order(s), it may be time to seek out faster or cheaper shipping options. Alternatively, you could try tactics such as including the price of shipping in the product’s price and offering free shipping.
The key takeaway here is that you want to ensure your analytics can point you towards **actionable goals. While Google Analytics is a powerful tool for this, there are many Shopify apps made by third-party developers (such as Putler, Conversific, and Web-stat) that can organize and analyze data collected by Google Analytics into a series of more concise and actionable reports.
2. Upselling and Cross-Selling Potential
Your greatest advantage when a customer is scrolling through your catalog is not that they’re interested in a product of yours - it’s that they’re at your store. Upselling and cross-selling - bargaining tools that have been around since the dawn of time - are two of the main strategies that can be used to leverage the mere presence of an interested buyer.
Here’s the thing: humans are kind of lazy. They’re also kind of impulsive. So when customers are at your store and see something they might need in a catalog with a few choices, upgrades, and add-ons, the chances that they add that extra item or two to their cart rather than search elsewhere for it is very much in your favour. A screen protector to go with that $30 cell phone case? 3 for 15, you say? Why not? And so it goes!
By using integrations with various Shopify Apps, you can easily offer upselling and cross-selling products to customers who are in search of that very item. Apps like Zoorix and ReConvert Upsell & Cross Sell available on the Shopify App Store are explicitly designed to offer prospective customers these extra choices and to ensure that no customer leaves unsatisfied. While it’s worth noting that this strategy may not be as effective with high-priced items (whose purchase usually involves more deliberation), upselling and cross-selling can widely vary on a case-by-case basis so it’s definitely something to try out regardless.
3. Retaining and Leveraging Repeat Customers
Customers who decide to return to your store to shop again, whether it's to buy a similar product or something else entirely, are extremely valuable. The concept of a Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) metric is based on the idea that buyers who recognize your brand as one they want to return to (and as one they are willing to shop at consistently) are incredibly beneficial to your e-commerce store in the long run. So, it’s worth devoting time and energy in the short-term to ensure that repeat customers stick around for a while.
There are many effective strategies which can be implemented to incentivize repeat customers to remain as such, but two of the most common ones are loyalty programs and discount programs - with the general idea being that customers are rewarded (usually with a discount of some sort) for their purchases with your e-commerce store. Not only does this provide an additional motive for customers to return to your store, it also establishes a sense of relationship and a method of communication between your business and the customer. Having a repeat customer’s email, for instance, is extremely useful as you can send them cart reminders, promotions, deals, and other information which may prompt them to make another purchase.
Again, there are tons of popular third-party apps on the Shopify App Store which can drastically reduce the time and effort required to implement any of these strategies. Popular ones include Zing, Smile.io, and Loyalty, Rewards, and Referrals. Try ‘em out!
4. Establishing Communication with Customers
Tying in with the last point, it’s critically important to establish some method of communication between your e-commerce store and your customers. While the exact medium of communication may depend on branding and on your target demographic, email is usually a safe choice and the minimum which e-commerce stores should use to reach out. Depending on your intended audience and the niche of your product, you might opt for a few social media platforms or for a different medium altogether. What’s important is that the line of communication between the customer and your e-commerce store remains open.
What should you include in communications? There’s no right or wrong answer. Perhaps your store is releasing new products each month and you could advertise these in monthly catalogs with discounts. Or maybe newsletters or updates regarding your services would be more appropriate. Maybe you could start a blog discussing niche-related topics to drive up SEO rankings and increase traffic to your store. Either way, an established method of communication is undoubtedly a powerful tool.
ConvertKit and MailChimp are two Shopify Apps that are very well-suited for this purpose. Aside from being able to communicate to customers seamlessly via email, they can also collect emails from new visitors and can be integrated with customers’ accounts to better recommend products and collect detailed web traffic information. These tools can also be used in collaboration with the analytics apps mentioned above.
5. Improving the Customer's Experience
This should arguably be the overarching goal of the other strategies listed here. At the end of the day, you want to increase your conversion rate and drive up traffic to your store - and there’s nothing wrong with focusing on that aspect as a metric for success. But one could contend that despite all else, if you listen to your customers and provide your target audience with the products/services they need, as well as the design and branding choices they feel at home with, you’re already on the right track!