Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Adapting customer acquisition strategy is key to enhancing customer loyalty

By Nathan Lomax, co-founder of Quickfire Digital

As more retail business moves online, the stark reality is that it’s costing more for brands to attract new customers.

Whether it’s Google Ads, social media or Amazon, prices are rising. These platforms are benefiting from the continuing increase in digital activity and the competition that brings.

Google Ads costs are predicted to increase 20-40 per cent by the end of the year, Facebook’s cost-per-click is up 13 per cent from 2020 and the cost-per-click on Amazon sponsored products has increased by 14 percent year-on-year.

New privacy and ad tracking settings have also resulted in advertisers having significantly reduced visibility of users’ history, making accurate targeting increasingly challenging. Following the release of iOS 14 in 2021 and the large increase in the number of people opting to enhance their privacy settings, the cost of e-commerce conversions rose by 200 per cent in six months.

It’s a tough economy for everyone right now – the good news is there is a way for online businesses to keep costs down – working harder on delighting existing customers.

Adapting primary focus to existing customers 

As business owners or marketers, we’ve all likely read the stats about the cost of winning a new customer compared to retaining and growing one. Depending on which report has caught your eye, the cost can be five, six or even ten times more.

And, of course, attracting new customers is important for growth – particularly when a business is still finding its feet – but why does it continue to trump the retention tactic, thus defying evidence?

Well, maybe science has a part to play. We can all admit to getting a bit of a buzz when we bring in a new customer – and there is a good reason why. Scientists have discovered that novelty is associated with the release of dopamine, a feel-good chemical released by the brain.

So, something new brings a (short-term) high. But growing what you have brings (longer-term) success.

Not convinced? Let’s look at some basic figures.

Let’s say you have 1,000 customers whose average spend is £50 every month. That gives you a monthly revenue of £50,000.

Raise that average customer spend through retention and loyalty tactics to £75 and your revenue goes up to £75,000 per month – an increase of £25,000.

Focus on customer acquisition and to hit that same increase you’re going to need to find 500 new customers spending £50 every month. And that’s going to mean upping your advertising budget.

Biology might point to why we crave something new, but maths points to why we need to reconsider our approach.

The apps to bolster your customer retention

Customer loyalty is gained through many means – the values a business holds, the way customers are dealt with, enticing product development and membership programmes.

And then there’s the ecommerce tech – the apps which have been developed for customer retention and loyalty. On our list, when helping clients, are: 

  • LoyaltyLion – which builds members’ programmes through a range of tactics: points schemes, gamification and personalised offers, to name but a few
  • Gorgias – which provides multi-channel customer service to make it easy to respond to, and deal with, queries from a customer’s chosen source
  • Sendcloud – which speeds up ecommerce fulfilment to allow for quicker delivery times and a better customer experience
  • Yotpo – which encourages a range of reviews and UGC, SMS marketing, and a level of loyalty and subscriptions, keeping customers involved with brands and products.

Many other technical solutions exist to increase loyalty and customer lifetime value: Recharge is a platform for driving subscriptions – one of the fastest-growing areas of e-commerce right now – while Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms can enhance business-to-customer relationships. The good news is the UK Government is providing financial support to businesses looking for a CRM through its Help to Grow digital programme.

‘Make customers your priority’ is an easy statement to make – but it’s so often missed in the hunt for new revenue and profit. Yet shifting the focus onto customer retention will, as highlighted, provide bigger gains.

From working on a first email campaign to developing a membership rewards scheme and automating fulfilment to avoid shipping delays, every business should be investing in customer retention strategies.

Summary

Digital advertising costs are on the rise – and with more competition entering the online business world, that trend is only going to continue. 

It might feel good to get a new customer – but logic dictates a business should nurture what they have, particularly when they reach a certain growth point.

The technology is out there to support a more developed and sustained customer retention strategy – and the business numbers speak for themselves.

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