10 Great Customer Retention Gifts for eCommerce
Here's a question: if you're trying to drive more revenue to your eCommerce business, why would you give away things for free?
The answer is simple. Spending a little extra money to nurture customer relationships will go a long way towards establishing something called customer retention.
Customer retention is the opposite of customer acquisition. Instead of finding new customers, you capitalize on your ability to get current customers to keep purchasing. Because acquisition costs more than retention, nurturing relationships with customers who go on to make repeat purchases increases your profitability over time.
The Value of the Customer Relationship
Now, more than ever before, the relationships you build with your customers are critically important — especially for eCommerce brands. With minimal barriers to entry into the online retail marketplace, it's more competitive than ever, and while having the lowest prices and latest styles will get you sales, it's the relationships you build that will establish your ability to drive customer retention.
So, what's the best way to nurture those customer relationships? Simply add perks, rewards, and gifts into the customer lifecycle at times that will help customers place more value on their relationship with your brand.
Here are 10 examples of the types of gifts that will build customer loyalty, increase customer retention, and keep buyers coming back for more.
1. First-Time Customer Gifts
What's the best way to make a first impression on a new customer? When they make their first purchase, let them know that you noticed and you appreciate it, and to show your support, you're offering them a free gift.
Because this is likely the first time your brand is getting the chance to interact with this individual personally, and you're just beginning to learn about them, it might be a good idea to offer them the choice of two or three options. For example, you might offer a branded coffee mug, a tote bag, or a discount on their next purchase as a way to communicate that you value their business.
2. Relationship Milestone Rewards
79% of consumers report that they're more likely to engage with an offer if it reflects past interactions they've had with the brand. That tells you that your customers are open to a personal relationship with brands able to build trust with them.
With this in mind, why not celebrate the milestones of that relationship? If a customer has been purchasing from your store for a year, reach out and let them know that you've noticed. Make a big deal about it and offer them a bonus gift as a way to communicate that you hope the past year is the first of many for the relationship.
3. Birthday or Holiday Gifts
Extending the theme of personalized communications, a customer will respond positively to a simple message wishing them well on their birthday or a major holiday and a gift to go with it.
4. Customer Support Perks
Not every customer will have a good experience every time they interact with your business — even the largest brands make mistakes or have quality control issues sometimes. What's important is that you show them that you value the relationship and are willing to do more than just correct what went wrong.
If they purchase a faulty product, for example, you may choose to reimburse them and throw in an additional free item or discount on a future purchase to let them know the importance you place on them as a customer of your brand.
5. Customer Loyalty Rewards
Over 92% of consumers say that customer loyalty programs factor into their purchasing decisions. This should tell you that, if you're not offering some sort of loyalty perks, you're probably lagging behind your competition.
Even if you don't have a fully realized, "official" customer loyalty program, you can still offer loyalty rewards. For example, let customers know the milestones — the number of purchases made or total dollars spent — they'll need to hit for certain rewards, and then keep track of them. A consumer is much more likely to follow through with a purchase if they know they're close to earning a free gift.
6. Business Milestone "Thank You" Gifts
Piggybacking on the theme of "milestones," your customers' milestones aren't the only ones you can celebrate with gifts. Customers will appreciate being included in your business anniversaries — and like it even more if there are rewards involved.
7. New Product Announcement Perks
Sometimes, customer retention gifts come with the benefit of publicity for an announcement you're making. Let's say, for example, you're launching a new flavor of coffee in your online bulk coffee retail business. You could send the announcement out to customers with an offer to get a free travel mug to celebrate the occasion.
8. Incentive-Based Rewards
Following along with the coffee store hypothetical, you could also take a different route to kick-start sales of your new blend. You could tie the free travel mug to the purchase of a sample-size package of your newest product.
Between the marketing you use to get customers excited about the release and the limited-time offer encouraging them to buy right now, you'll be able to nurture the customer relationship and increase sales at the same time!
9. Abandoned Cart Gifts
Every eCommerce entrepreneur understands transactional emails like the abandoned cart message — when a shopper leaves items in their cart without checking out, you send them an email reminding them that they left without completing the purchase.
What if that email didn't just remind the customer to finish up, but also gave them their choice of a free gift for doing it? They'll be much more likely to follow through.
10. Free samples
Offering free samples is a tactic used by a wide range of eCommerce business, from retailers to wholesale giants. Some brands like Costco are strongly associated with free samples. In some cases, samples have boosted by as much as 2,000 %.
Free samples enable you to introduce new products, foster relationships and inspire loyalty with existing customers.
It is especially effective in the health, beauty, food, and drink industries.
Customer retention is about figuring out where your customers are most likely to drop off and adding value in that area. With the right placement of gifts and rewards throughout the customer relationship, you'll enjoy a considerable increase in your ability to retain customers.