It costs businesses tons more to find new customers than it does to keep existing ones – anywhere from five to 25 times as much, depending on which study you believe. In this economic environment, when cost savings can make or break a business, customer retention is more important than ever. Here are five creative methods to keep your customers loyal, with real-life examples of brands putting them into action.
1. Upgrade your email game. Your mailing list contains some of your most engaged customers, but getting them out of the inbox can be hard. Consider offering exclusive product access for subscribers. That's what footwear and apparel designer Salehe Bembury does. For his fashion label Spunge, there are no images on the website or Instagram page. You can access his highly sought-after collabs (with the likes of footwear brands Crocs or New Balance) only if you subscribe to his emails and receive a password.
2. Customize your offering. Putting your customers in the driving seat lets them shape their order to suit their needs. Brooklyn-based custom haircare brand Prose asks its customers to take a four-part consultation quiz, so that it can create a subscription that matches different types of hair and lifestyles with the perfect shampoo, conditioner and pre-shampoo hair mask.
3. Incentivize repeat orders. Upselling customers to sign up for repeat orders just makes sense – you increase customer lifetime value while creating more predictable income for your business. For example, if you want to buy UK-based health brand HUX's sleeping-aid supplement, it'll cost you £45 for a one-off purchase, but just £36 per order if you subscribe to a regular delivery every four weeks.
4. Introduce referral schemes. When you're looking for new customers, the power of word of mouth can't be underestimated. Referral schemes are a good way of harnessing this power while keeping things interesting for your existing customers. Swiss sneaker brand On offers a 10% discount for you and your friends if you share a referral link. French secondhand luxury-fashion marketplace Vestiaire Collective, meanwhile, offers customers a €15 discount for each new referral.
5. Get creative with your loyalty program. Some 60% of people are more likely to spend more on a brand after joining a paid loyalty program. This could take the form of loyalty cards, membership programs or NFT communities. With perfume brand Ffern, the customer journey doesn't start at purchase – first, customers join a ledger. The company makes one bottle of fragrance for each name on the ledger that season, eliminating waste while also creating a sense of exclusivity in exchange for loyalty – once you're on the ledger, you're on for life.