Successful eCommerce Startups All Have This One Thing In Common

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The eCommerce industry is currently booming. This is in no small part down to disruptive technologies like Shopify completely removing the barriers to entry.

You no longer need coding experience to build a website. Apps like Oberlo and Printful mean you don’t even need to create your own products or even store inventory. It is even possible to start an eCommerce store in 2 weeks for less than €100!

This is fantastic for any budding entrepreneur out there. However, it also presents an increased risk of failure with people jumping in head first without considering how to make their new business a success.

There are a lot of reasons why these stores aren’t working. One glaringly obvious one that many new store owners seem to miss is customer retention. In this article, I will show you the simple trick to beat out your competition and create an excellent customer retention strategy that will dramatically increase your sales.

The Benefits Of Customer Retention

Customer retention is the process of getting people to return to your store to buy more. While most eCommerce stores are focusing on spending money on paid advertising to get new customers, the successful stores are reaping the rewards of better retention that increases their customer lifetime value. They are achieving this by building quality relationships.

How Not To Build Relationships Online

It’s not always obvious how to create relationships online. Your first thought always jumps to social media as this is the popular medium that everyone is using.

It definitely makes logical sense but when you actually look at the numbers, sites like Facebook are not very helpful at connecting you with your customers. Your average post on your Facebook Fan Page will only reach around 2% of your followers. This is not good for relationship building.

Then consider that top brand’s Tweets are only receiving an average engagement rate of around 0.7%. Social media is not providing you with a good platform to engage your customers.

If you can’t engage your followers, how can you build a relationship with them?

The Correct Way To Build Relationships Online

The solution is actually a lot simpler than you might realize. It goes back to a marketing channel that has been around for over 40 years…


The average open rates for an eCommerce marketing emails are 16.75%. That’s a pretty stark contrast compared to your social media posts.

This often overlooked marketing tactic still gets the greatest returns out of any marketing channel at 4400%. That means for every €1 you invest you receive a €44 return. It is even 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook and Twitter.

Email is a time-hardened marketing channel that, quite simply, gets results.

How To Build Relationships Through Email

Email automation allows you to create meaningful marketing campaigns that connect with your audience on an individual level. You can trigger email campaigns to be sent based on consumers actions and behaviors.

Building campaigns around people’s interests and other information that you have collected on them will help you to build better relationships with your customers.

If someone from London is interested in t-shirts, you can send them a promotion for your new London inspired t-shirts. Maybe their birthday is coming up, so send them a special offer to show you are thinking about them.

It’s these micro-interactions that build relationships and create loyal customers.

What To Focus On With Your Email Strategy

There are certain moments in your customer’s journey where they are more open to engaging with your emails. In some cases, they even expect to receive an email.

Welcome New Subscribers

The highest open rate out of any marketing email is when someone signs up to receive your newsletter. 74.4% of people expect to receive a welcome email which equates to an 86.6% higher open rate than other emails.

This is a perfect moment to capitalize on that high engagement and build the trust of your brand. Take the opportunity to tell them what your business stands for. Help them understand why they should be shopping with you and not your competitors. This is the start of building a quality relationship.

Thank New Customers

Another key moment in the journey is after their first purchase. These emails receive an average open rate of over 42%.

Take this opportunity to thank customers for purchasing. Let them know how they can get in touch with you if there are any issues with their products. You can even show your gratitude by giving them a welcome gift like a discount coupon. Instead of asking them to buy more you are providing extra value to their shopping experience.

This is going to help build trust which is essential for creating a lasting relationship.

Find Your Best Customers

There is a rule in business that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers. This means that identifying these 20% and providing them with an extra special service is going to really help your startup grow.

You can do this by monitoring the number of purchases customers make on your store. Once they get to a certain amount, use email to show them your appreciation. This appreciation might be in the form of a special discount reserved for your very best customers. Let them know they are VIPs and from now on will receive your very best offers.

By creating a special group of VIPs you will increase the number of loyal customers that choose only to shop with you and not your competitors.

These were just 3 examples of how to build relationships with your customers but there is no need to stop there. With the amount of data you can collect from people visiting your site, email automation presents endless opportunities to create meaningful interactions with your customers and prospects.

Creating A Better Customer Journey

Email marketing can be used across the entire customer journey to build and maintain relationships.

Other forms of marketing have their place in eCommerce but email is where you can really set yourself up for long-term success by increasing your customer retention.

When creating your eCommerce startup, make sure you create your customer retention strategy with email at its core. This will set you up for long-term success.



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