Learn how to find your target audience and match your business goals with their needs: Get the Target Audience Persona Template

Customer Retention Practices for a Small Business

by Uduak-Obong Jackson

September 1, 2021


Customer Retention Practices for a Small Business
Image Credit: Pexels

Every business spends a significant amount of money on customer acquisition to expand the audience and fuel sales. In the meantime, customer retention is frequently more or less neglected, although it is less costly but not less necessary for thriving. If you run a small company or work for it as a marketer, we’d recommend you revise these aspects of your customer success strategy.

Certainly, the balance between customer acquisition and retention depends on the brand’s size, product, marginality, and overall specificity. Put simply, if you sell armchairs and beds, you should allocate more to gaining new buyers because people purchase new furniture quite rarely. But if your focus is apparel, footwear, or accessories, it’s smarter to actively re-engage already existing customers.

Eventually, the more regular clients you have, the better is your customer lifetime value and the more reliable is your future as an entity. Further, we’ll provide you with actionable tactics that help many small brands encourage people to buy again and again.

Optimize Your Website

It might be the basic rule for every online store: make sure it performs well. Because even by following the greatest customer retention strategies, people won’t return to a website that is slow, not mobile-friendly, and replete with bugs.

If the performance metrics are far from perfection, take steps to fix issues. For instance, for stores powered by Magento, it’s vital to make Magento images load faster, optimize databases, rework caching methods, and boost the loading speed. The same applies to other popular platforms.

Remember that nowadays, the lion’s share of purchases in eCommerce are being made via smartphones. That’s why responsive design and flawless UX/UI are of the highest importance.

Offer Bonuses in Exchange for…

Let’s imagine the very first visit of the prospect. Most merchants online use the same method to “provoke” the second purchase: they swap a discount for a newsletter subscription. Basically, users see pop-up screens with more or less similar offerings.

Take a look at the screenshot below, where a clothing brand Mountain Khakis offers a 15% off for the next order in case you’ve signed up for email send-outs. This announcement is aimed to kill two birds with one stone: ensure more shopping and gain access to one’s mailbox for further promotions.


Take a look at the screenshot below, where a clothing brand Mountain Khakis offers a 15% off for the next order in case you’ve signed up for email send-outs. This announcement is aimed to kill two birds with one stone: ensure more shopping and gain access to one’s mailbox for further promotions.

Customer Retention Practices for a Small Business
Mountain Khakis website

One more way to make people return is little bonuses in exchange for reviews on your website. Users will far more willingly leave feedback, and you’ll obtain more social proof on the product pages.


Design a Loyalty Program

Rewards are a massive motivation for customers to order more often: people tend to use their freebies. So, the biggest challenge is to create a program that is attractive to leads and profitable for you simultaneously.

In the screenshot below is a loyalty program by the underwear brand Lara Intimates. There are several ways to get bonuses. When you refer friends, all participants of the “deal” earn a coupon. Furthermore, members gain points for signing up, placing orders, and on birthdays. Points then are converted into X% off coupons.


Design a Loyalty Program
Lara Intimates Website


Send Relevant Follow-up Emails

It can be challenging, but you need to make every letter as personalized as possible. And no, we don’t talk about calling customers by names. It’s more important to provide content that is relevant to each particular person.

We’d suggest sending the following:

Abandoned Cart Emails. These are handy reminders that improve the odds of completing an order.

Discounts. Apart from giving bonuses to newcomers, you can offer pleasant discounts for those who haven’t ordered for some time. If you’ve noticed your regular client hasn’t bought for a while, make a personal offer.

Personalized Product Recommendations. Based on the order history, a wish list, and abandoned carts create a selection that fits one’s taste.

Sales Letters. Announce the start of every seasonal sale to everyone. Arrange secret sales for the most valuable and devoted clients.

New Drop Letters. Again, inform all when the new collection is available (as in the screenshot below from Studio B). But when it comes to a limited issue, come first to your long-time clients.


email newsletter
StudioB Newsletter


Leverage User-Generated Content

Customers’ photos and Stories are a rich source of vibrant content for your social media and online store. Besides this, UGC is a means for building bridges between you and every client.

By utilizing UGC, you become closer to the audience. Since people feel you appreciate their tastes and values, they respect you and opt for your product repeatedly.

In the screenshot below is the example from a pottery manufacture Keeeps. The brand actively shares users’ testimonials in stories and posts. It’s so flattering for authors when their content appears in the official accounts of a beloved brand, isn’t it? The desire to buy from this company henceforth rises naturally.


Users generated content
Keeeps Instagram


Improve Your Customer Service

Finally, let’s discuss how you communicate with buyers and how you solve issues. A customer retention strategy won’t be complete without friendly and supportive service.

Having a live chat on the website or at least a chatbot in Messenger is a must. Those who want more sales have to stay tuned and always be at one’s disposal.

By the way, small labels have at least one advantage over large ones. You have the luxury of knowing your customers almost personally. Use this privilege: for instance, add handwritten cards to orders. Such nice little things show you off as a mindful brand. Impressed with the level of care, people are likely to reciprocate: return and buy from you again.


To Conclude

Even though client acquisition is important, draw much attention to customer retention tactics and practices as well. The recommendations given above will help save the current clients, not lose new ones, and pay off the costs for attracting them. Alongside those methods, try remarketing and push notifications to amplify the effect.

Customer experience largely determines whether people return to your eCommerce website or not. Hence, your ultimate goal is to make each step in the store and each interaction with clients handy and meaningful.



About the Author

Kate Parish

Kate Parish is the CMO at the web development company Onilab. She has more than eight years of experience in eCommerce Digital Marketing. Kate’s strengths are SEO, branding, SMM, Magento PWA development, Magento image optimization, and online retail in general.


Uduak-Obong Jackson

Uduak-Obong Jackson

Related Articles