Your customers are going to wander away for various reasons. Maybe you accidentally irritated them by providing bad service or a less-than-stellar product. More often, they got what they needed and simply moved on. Others may show interest for a while and then forget about your company. When this happens, you have two choices: let them go or win them back.
In the interest of making money and keeping your ecommerce business afloat, we recommend winning them back. Retaining customers costs a lot less than acquiring new ones. Even if you’re bringing in new buyers at the same rate as those who disappear, you’re spending more money to do so.
Reeling them back in isn’t easy. The tactic you use could be the reason for your success or just end up running the customers off for good, so choose wisely. Here are some things to try.
1. Reminder Emails
If you had a few nibbles from users who never quite became customers, there’s a good chance they just forgot about you. A quick email letting them know your ecommerce company is still around and still offering awesome products might be all you need to tip them over the edge.
Your email could be a simple “Hey, remember us?” message, or you may want to send them out with an announcement about new products or services. As a last resort, you can try the next item on the list.
2. Special Offers
Sending emails about special offers can jumpstart a fledgling relationship with customers that might have drifted away. While there are two distinct ways to introduce special offers, one may be preferable to the other.
The first option is to send discount offers only to those who have disappeared as a way of wooing them back. While you’ll probably get quite a few bites, most of those will only return for the stellar deal and then fade away again. If they do stick around, they might just be there for the sales. You’ll have created price sensitivity, which won’t serve you well in the long run.
The next option, and perhaps a better solution, is to let skittish buyers know about a site-wide sale. This should happen only if you’re planning a sale anyway to clear out inventory. If they stop by to see what deals you’re offering, they’ll still see plenty of items sold at full price. The possibility of bias is less likely to occur.
3. Occasion Emails
Everyone likes to be remembered on their birthday. If you’ve had enough interaction with your buyers that you have that information, send them a message wishing them another healthy and happy year. You might include a special discount or gift with the message, but you probably don’t need to. Just reminding them your company is around with something as uplifting as a happy birthday wish will probably be enough.
4. Fix the Problem
Sometimes your customers will let you know exactly why they’re leaving. Maybe they disagree with your return policy. Perhaps a product the received didn’t live up to the promises you made. Whatever the reason, you have the ability to fix the issue.
Let your buyers know their feedback started a revolution. Show them the steps you’ve taken to correct the problem. Not only will they be more likely to come back to you once they see their grievances have been dealt with, but there’s also a good chance you’ll inspire serious loyalty with your humility.
5. Get Personal
If you’ve recently noticed some of your most loyal customers slipping away, maybe you should just pick up the phone and give them a call. Of course, this isn’t the way to go for people who have visited your website a few times without making a purchase. Customers who have made several purchases in the past, however, may have a pretty big reason for falling away. Your concern and personal attention could be all you need to bring them back.
6. Better Content
Take a look at the blogs, landing pages, and emails you’ve created for your products. Is the information helpful? Does it move buyers through the sales process? If you’re only providing fluff or offering discounts as a way to keep buyers hooked, you’ll lose them every time.
Instead of chasing after the customers who never come back, concentrate on creating content that won’t let them leave. If you can create compelling blogs, videos, and emails, they won’t have a choice but to stick around and buy your super-cool products.
7. Retargeting Reminders
Keep in mind that most people don’t like to think about how much you know about them. As long as they’re seeing relevant content, 71% of American consumers are okay with you collecting that data. That means you can bring them back with retargeted ads, but you want to ensure you're using relevant, value-added content to bring them back to the site. Something more than just "You looked at this product, don't you want to look at it again?".
What other ways have you recovered lost customers? Have any of the tactics above worked better than you thought possible? Let us know in the comments.
Originally published May 8, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023