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3 eCommerce brands’ favorite customer retention marketing channels

July 7th 2021

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

Online brands' favorite customer retention marketing channels - Feature Image

Retaining your existing customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones. In fact, customer acquisition can cost five times more than retaining existing ones.

And with the pandemic shaking up customer expectations and loyalty as we know it, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure your retention strategy is up to scratch.

At Fresh Fest 2021, we took the stage with three of our clients to learn more about their retention strategies. We heard about their favorite​​​​​​​ customer retention marketing channels, how the pandemic has changed their customer retention strategies and how personalization helps them retain their customers.

If you missed the live discussion, you can catch the replay​​​​​​​ on-demand. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of some of the key takeaways.

Favorite customer retention marketing channels

Triggered emails

Jonathan Broadhurst, eCommerce executive at Cooksongold, said that their most effective channel for retention was email. Having used browse and cart abandonment emails for a long time, they’re now able to focus on optimizing those emails.

“Browse, basket and welcome emails are certainly, in terms of revenue drivers for us, our most successful campaigns,” Jonathan said, adding that, “We’ve introduced​​​​​​​ product recommendations that are very specific to the customer and what they’ve recently browsed.”

The company has also been looking at using personalized recommendations to present the relevant metal type to the customer, based on the alloy they have used to make jewelry before. They have also started to introduce beneficial offers to the customers within their marketing strategy, trying to focus on where they might be geographically, or what type of customer they might be.

Lauren Dougherty, CRM eCommerce manager at Animed Direct, told us that the pandemic had turned their whole marketing strategy upside down.

“We actually had the panic-buying the supermarkets had,” Lauren explained, adding that “for us it was kind of: ‘How do we ensure that we’re delivering as much as possible that we can for these customers?’”

Animed Direct had to shift their retention strategy from their BAU newsletters to triggered emails.

“That’s where Fresh Relevance came in,” Lauren said.

She added that Fresh Relevance saved them time and resources, whilst the emails could go out in a timely manner based on behavioral targeting.

“We really all had to pull together to be able to keep our customers happy and also nurture all these new acquired customers,” Lauren said. She also added that “the pandemic really opened our eyes on how much we could use personalization within our emails.”

Lauren also mentioned that “abandoned browse and abandoned cart emails really helped continue to drive the email channel forward whilst allowing us to spend more time in other places.”

Paid social

Janis Thomas, eCommerce and Marketing Director at Look Fabulous Forever, said they found that paid social is an effective channel for targeting lapsed customers and bringing them back, fostering customer loyalty.

“It is important for us to remain engaged with lapsed customers when they’re not necessarily in that purchase mode,” Janis said, explaining that there is usually a long time between purchases due to the nature of their products.

Moving forward, the company also wants to implement category activation via email to retain customers.

“On average, the customers that buy skincare from us have double the lifetime value than people who only buy makeup from us, so getting that first skincare purchase is really key,” Janis explained.

How personalization factors into retention

Website and email personalization

“Personalization is a crucial element of our retention strategy,” Lauren said, adding that “we have really tapped into that since using Fresh Relevance.”

Animed Direct uses various SmartBlocks in different areas of their email marketing. For example, the company included a dynamic banner in their Christmas newsletter, pulling in the name of the customer’s pet to catch their attention and boost click throughs as part of their customer retention strategy.

Animed Direct personalization customer retention example

Source: Animed Direct email

“We saw some really nice engagement from that and got some really nice feedback,” Lauren reported.

Post-purchase follow-up

Look Fabulous Forever is a content-led company, especially when it comes to video. Their personalization tactics serve relevant content to each customer, particularly in post-purchase emails and on their website, helping to increase the amount of loyal customers.

“You’re much more likely to understand what it is you’ve just bought and how to make the most of it, and you’re much more likely to make another purchase,” Janis explained.

Jonathan explained that the type of customer Cooksongold had to retain during the pandemic was different, and so their strategy for retaining customers had to be adjusted.

“We saw a drop on the B2B side of our business,” Jonathan said, “However, on the plus side, we had lots of people stuck at home willing to try jewelry-making for the first time.”

He then explained that they had to try out different means of retaining those new customers in the hobbyist market, including a specific type of triggered emails.

“Often when you’re selling to businesses in our industry, they’re quite loyal. But the hobbyist market tends to be more transient and willing to shop around,” Jonathan said, “The main tactic we have started trying in the last year is post-purchase emails.”

Final thoughts

A huge thanks to Jonathan, Janis and Lauren for joining us at Fresh Fest and sharing their insights into their retention marketing strategy.

Watch the full panel discussion on-demand.

Watch Fresh Fest on-demand

Danielle Beuker

By Danielle Beuker

Digital Marketing Assistant

As Digital Marketing Assistant at Fresh Relevance, Danielle writes user-centered content that helps marketers in the eCommerce and travel spaces get their jobs done.