The Holiday Customer Retention Guide

Customer retention has been a big focus for D2C brands in 2021. With so many changes occurring in the eCommerce industry in 2021, getting customers to purchase again from your brand has been a big focus. But with so much competition out there, it's not easy to keep customers from jumping ship. So how do you keep them around? There are dozens of retention strategies and “hacks,” but they're only effective if they're contributing to a bigger picture, building trust in your brand, and increasing customer loyalty. So if you're looking to keep your customers around for a long time, let's explore the best ways to achieve higher customer retention rates in a meaningful way. This ebook will cover actionable strategies you can implement for the holiday shopping season to ensure your customers stick around after the holidays.

Why holiday retention is so important

New customer acquisition is expensive

It’s no secret that customer acquisition costs are rising for D2C brands. Relying heavily on Facebook and Instagram is going to cut into profits hard. And advertising costs on these platforms are only going to be higher during the 2021 holiday season. 

Getting existing customers to make repeat purchases is significantly easier than acquiring new buyers, which is why customer retention campaigns are so valuable. Lay the groundwork for customer retention from the get-go. As your brand grows, your retention efforts should too.

Privacy changes are hitting brands hard

Apple’s recent changes to both email and privacy have hit brands hard. Now that it’s harder for brands to leverage third-party data, tracking the success of advertising and email campaigns has become more difficult.

Due to these changes, brands are investing more into gathering zero-party data to ensure they can personalize their marketing at scale for individuals. While email marketing and ads are still crucial marketing channels, their effectiveness is going to be affected by public perception of your brand.

More focus than ever on building relationships with customers

One of the best reasons to shop in person is because customers enjoy the personal touch they get when shopping for products. It used to be that offering a personalized online shopping experience was unobtainable, but now just about every D2C brand can personalize the shopping in real-time for their customers. With personalization applying to their website, emails, SMS, and other channels, it’s possible for brands to build customer loyalty at scale.

Lots of competition

The ecommerce industry continues to explode with lots of new brands popping up every day. And traditional retailers like Nike and Adidas are making a big push into the D2C business model.

11 Customer retention strategies to keep holiday customers

1. Leverage conversational text marketing

Conversational marketing involves directly interacting with customers in real-time to provide them with personalized experiences and improve their shopping journey. At any point, they can text your company and get help with any questions they might have.

Why does conversational marketing work? Because it helps your customers get the personal shopping experience that other marketing channels can’t deliver. As convenient as online shopping is, sometimes we all miss the personal experience we get when shopping at a brick-and-mortar store.

How this boosts retention: Adding conversational text marketing maintains your customer's interest and guides them through the buyer's journey, increasing customer retention. Customers can contact you at any point during their journey for help and answers to their questions.

2. Create a best-in-class customer support team

No one likes dealing with a company that’s rude or is slow to respond. When creating your customer support team, it’s best to implement policies that are helpful for customers. For example, instead of charging customers for returns, just offer free returns. Customers will be happy about the hassle-free returns process and be more likely to purchase from your brand again.

How this boosts retention: A great customer support team can have an amazing effect on the perception of your brand. Just look at how companies like Chewy and Amazon are always being mentioned for having great customer support teams. 

3. Start an Amazon-like customer loyalty program

Amazon Prime is one of the most renowned loyalty programs available. Excluding the streaming service, Prime offers free and expedited shipping, and access to exclusive deals. Prime has been a key driver in Amazon’s growth, and it could be a driver of retention for your brand as well.

How this boosts retention: An Amazon Prime-like loyalty program boosts retention because customers can reap numerous benefits such as faster shipping and access to exclusive deals. This convinces customers to stay with your brand as their go-to source for any products they might need in the future.

4. Send engaging texts to customers to build relationships

Many D2C brands make the mistake of treating SMS as a promotions-only channel. But SMS is meant for more than promoting your newest deals. Instead of your next text being a promotional blast, use it as an opportunity to engage with customers. You can send them articles from your brand, give recommendations on how to use your products, or something else entirely.

How this boosts retention: Engaging texts are a great way to drive retention because it shows your customers that they’re more than just a number. With engaging texts, you can build relationships with customers to show then your brand is serious about its mission. This also keeps your brand top of mind when customers consider making their next purchase.

5. Offer faster shipping speeds

Customers expect fast shipping these days. 2-day shipping is now considered the standard for shipping options that customers expect to see when shopping online. If you don’t offer fast shipping, then your chances of making a sale go down.

Not every D2C brand can afford to set up a fulfilment network that can offer 2-day shipping. So it’s worth working with ecommerce-focused 3PLs that can help you offer 2-day shipping to your customers. 

How this boosts retention: Fast shipping boosts retention because customers will know that your brand can deliver products safely and quickly. With fast shipping speeds, customers are more likely to shop from your brand again instead of looking for your competitors that offer fast shipping.

6. Offer a discount or credit to return (sparingly)

You know how Bed, Bath & Beyond is famous for its 20% coupons? It was a great strategy that grew their brand quickly, but it led to one major issue: customers stopped buying from them if they didn’t have the 20% discount coupon. Discounts are a great nudge to get customers to purchase from you again, but use them sparingly.

How this boosts retention: Discounts and credits are a great way to win-back customers that haven’t purchased from your brand within a specific period of time. Use a discount as a way to get customers to nudge customers to make another purchase. For example, if your brand sells wellness products, you could nudge a customer into buying a subscription so they’ll save money over time instead of making a new purchase every month.

7. Suggest personalized products

Personalization is one of the best retention strategies available for D2C merchants. And the ease of implementing personalized recommendations for customers is easier than ever before thanks to all the new tools available for D2C merchants.

How this boosts retention: Personalization boosts retention because customers get an online shopping experience that’s unique to them. Think of how your Facebook News Feed is unique to you. Instead of seeing a static website filled with products they’re not interested in, they instead see products that are likely related to the products they already purchased. For example, if they bought shoes from your brand, then they might see socks that pair well with a specific shoe. The sky’s the limit when it comes to personalization and it’s a great way to improve retention.

8. Leverage YouTube videos (if relevant to your products)

YouTube videos are a heavy investment but they can pay dividends in the long run. Depending on the types of products you sell, videos may not be relevant to your niche, but they’re always worth testing out. For example, if you’re selling beauty products, have videos made of influencers using your products. You can then send those videos to customers so they can see how their favorite influencers are using your products.

How this boosts retention: YouTube videos are a great retention tool because they’re engaging and they can be relevant for a long time. Don’t be surprised if you’re getting sales from a video that’s over a year old. YouTube’s algorithm is unique for each individual and as they see more of your videos, they’re likely to subscribe to your YouTube channels and be notified of any new videos your team releases. 

9. Use retargeting ads

Even with Apple’s privacy changes directly affecting advertising, it doesn’t mean ads are dead. Retargeting ads are still a viable way to improve customer retention. Depending on your acquisition strategies for the holiday season, you could use retargeting ads to supplement your acquisition campaigns and drive a higher return on ad spend (ROAS).

How this boosts retention: Retargeting ads boost retention because they focus on targeting people who have already purchased from your brand. By creating segments of customers who have purchased specific products, you can retarget them and get them to purchase the same or similar products from your brand.

10. Create a product quiz & leverage data to recommend products

Product quizzes are a new and fun way to drive engagement with your customers. Product quizzes are exactly what they sound like: customers use them to answer questions and find out which products best suit their needs. 

How this boosts retention: Product quizzes are a great way to boost retention because they help customers find exactly what they’re looking for. One way to use them this holiday season is to send them to customers who haven’t purchased from you in a while. If they didn’t like what they purchased from your brand, then the quiz helps them find the products that are the best fit for them. 

What to avoid doing to improve retention

Relying too much on discounts and promotions

Customers love to save money, and the occasional discount or coupon code helps businesses maintain consumer interest. However, offering discounts too frequently or becoming reliant on them is detrimental to your retention marketing strategy in the long run.

While discounts may attract a larger consumer base, your profit margins shrink too. Moreover, frequent discounts:

  • Reduce the perceived value of your products or services. If customers realize your goods are frequently on sale, they'll wait for the discounts and never pay full price.
  • Reduce consumer confidence. Customers may wonder why your products are always available at reduced rates. They may worry that your brand is in financial trouble, or question the quality of the products.

To improve customer retention, you need to build a loyal customer base. Loyal customers believe in your product or services enough to pay full price - discounts should be a perk, not the sole reason for the purchase.

Sending too many emails & texts

Sending customers personalized, relevant updates and promotions drives customer retention. However, sending too many emails & texts annoys consumers, and they may stop following your brand altogether. Especially if the updates are not relevant to their needs, keep the messages relevant, and send them sparingly.

Offering slow shipping speeds

Customers have come to expect faster shipping times at the checkout in recent years, with 3-7 days being a reasonable window, and express delivery options running as fast as overnight or within 1-2 days. If you fail to offer fast shipping speeds, customers may look to a competitor that does and make the switch.

Having a complicated returns process

Customer retention is a long game, and tedious return policies scare consumers out of the commitment. Unfortunately, some ecommerce stores have cumbersome return policies, either from neglect or to deliberately discourage returns, which discourages customer loyalty.

To build a lasting relationship with customers, you need to remember that they will occasionally dislike a new product they try. At times like this, discouraging a return may seem like the better financial choice in the long run. 

However, you risk losing the customer's loyalty - the average customer lifetime value for a loyal customer is much higher than whatever loss you'd make on the return. So, keep your return policies as smooth as possible to foster lasting relationships.

Why Cartloop is your best customer retention tool

Done for you SMS

Whether you're looking to communicate a time-sensitive promotion or a new product launch, Cartloop's done for you templates kick start the conversation with your customers. 

Fast customer engagement & support

Cartloop's team is available 24/7 to engage your customers and make them feel looked after. Our average response time is a record 7 minutes, so you're not in danger of losing customers to inactivity.

International support

No matter where your customers are, Cartloop's engaging texts will find them. Win your global demographic over with our industry-leading support. 

How Belle Fever saw a 21x ROI in a few weeks with Cartloop

Belle Fever is an Australian jewelry brand that started as a side-project for selling to friends and family on Valentine's Day 2012. They had recently begun SMS marketing but found it to be much more work than expected. At first, they started using SMS, but mainly for transactions. They wanted to leverage it further but didn't know how. That's where Cartloop came in. 

With Cartloop, Belle Fever managed to drive the following results in just a few short weeks:

  • $25,000 Driven Revenue
  • 21x ROI
  • 57% Conversion Rate
  • 30,933 Active SMS Subscribers

Here's what they had to say about working with Cartloop:

"I thought it looked interesting. I didn't have to worry that sometimes customers might feel it's spammy. The thing that I liked about Cartloop - it wasn't just robotic. We don't want our customers to feel as I said, like a number. We don't want just automated messages. Even when we built out the bots for our messenger. We wanted it to still feel like it was human. So some customers didn't even know they were talking to a bot. So when I saw Cartloop, and spoke to Alexandra, who said that there are real people -that really ticked one of the boxes."

Sarah, founder of Belle Fever

What industry experts say

Name: Lauren Ladra
Director of Partnerships

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

First and foremost, be trustworthy. If something about their experience causes a shopper to have doubts about your business or products, they definitely won’t be back after the holidays. 

So be sure to honor your promises, follow good business practices, be transparent, be reachable, and don’t send spam.

Trust badges are a great way to show customers that you are trustworthy. Display them throughout the customer journey on your site, even after the holidays are over. 

Also, collect feedback from your holiday customers and leverage their positive experiences by displaying reviews on your site. 80% of customers think that reviews over 3 months are outdated, so having recent feedback will help to increase customer confidence in the new year.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

Retention should always be on your mind, but how you should approach it depends on the products you sell. For example, if a customer purchases a couch, chances are that they won’t need to purchase another one soon. So if you’re going to continue marketing to that customer, offer complementary products that they would likely need, like throw blankets and pillows. If you sell beauty products, wait to remarket until the time when you know their supply should be running low. 

During the holidays, it can make sense to encourage customers to reorder their last purchase to give to someone else as a gift. This would need to be done in the midst of holiday season shopping before special occasions and gatherings have passed.

What is the best way to improve retention?

First impressions count, so show you’re trustworthy from the get-go. Use a floating trust badge to establish trust with customers from their very first page visit. This way, you can squash any doubts about business legitimacy or security right away. The more confidence customers have in you upfront, the more likely they are to keep coming back for more.

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

Look for trends among your returning customers. What are they purchasing, in what quantities, when are they purchasing, what channels are they coming from? Use that data to inform where you invest your marketing resources. 

Which channels work best for retention?

Email is still one of the most important channels. According to HubSpot, 78% of marketers saw an increase in email engagement from 2018 to 2019.

SMS is another option that’s growing exponentially and is seeing great engagement. Recent data has shown that SMS has a 19% CTR, compared to 4% for emails.

How does your app help with retention?

TrustedSite helps increase customer confidence, which in turn increases retention. When customers see that a site has earned certifications from a trusted third party like TrustedSite, they build trust in the business itself. When customers see your business as one they can trust, they’ll want to continue engaging with you and your content, which gives you the opportunity to present them with more offers.

TrustedSite also helps you collect more contacts for your email list with the Spam-Free certification and trustmark. This certification helps to show customers that you respect their inbox, making them feel more secure about signing up for your email list. With increased email signups, you have more opportunities to build relationships and sell your products.

The security evaluation that TrustedSite provides can also help with retention. Without regular checkups from TrustedSite, it will be harder to know if your site is secure. If you aren’t monitoring your site’s security, you could be at risk of a data breach. If you do suffer a data breach, it can be extremely damaging to your reputation and destroy customer trust, which makes them less likely to make another purchase from you in the future. 

What's an example of how your software helped improve retention?

Holabird Sports tested TrustedSite trust marks on their site from December 2019 to January 2020, right in the midst of the holiday season and for a while afterward. The conversion rate for returning visitors increased 13% during the testing period, helping to bring in 21.3% more revenue.

Name: Richard Ball 


Title: Marketing Manager

What are some of your best  on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays? 

Show you value both their custom, and their opinion, by asking them for feedback on their experience with you. Not only does review collection signify you care, it also offers insight as to how you can nurture new customer relationships. 

For increased retention, reward customers for product reviews. This shows genuine appreciation for their time, and gives them a reason to return to your store post holiday season.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

If you run ads or track marketing costs, you’ll know cost per acquisition is more expensive than ever - and it doesn’t look to be slowing down. So when a new customer does come along, it’s in your best interest to build a lasting connection.

Retention should be a year round strategy - tried, tested and perfected - so when holiday season comes around you’ve got your processes nailed. 

What is the best way to improve retention?

Good customer service. It remains the number one metric for a positive experience, so pull out all the stops to keep customers happy.

If you get a poor review, don’t dismiss it, because you’re dismissing the customer in the process and they won’t come back. Reach out, resolve the issue, and turn a negative into a positive - you’ll see repeat business as a result. 

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

Anyone that has left you a positive review, regardless of cart value, has the potential to become a valuable, lifelong customer. You’ve already established a level of trust by meeting their expectations (or exceeding them) so build on that to turn trust into loyalty. 

Which channels work best for retention?

Email marketing is still the single most effective way to retain your customers. That said, it’s also the easiest way to lose them if you don’t get it right. 

You need to design considered communication flows - sending the right information to the right customer, at precisely the right time. Generic mass emails cause frustration and drive custom away. Retention comes from communicating on a personal level.

How does your app help with retention? allows you to ask for feedback at exactly the right point in the buyer journey. It helps you uncover what a new customer thinks of your products and service - insight you can leverage to build on relationships. 

We integrate with customer management tools, so you can automate after sales care for poor reviews. We also integrate with email marketing solutions, so you can pull relevant review content into wider campaigns based on a recipient's purchase history.  

What’s an example of how our software helped improve retention?

As a case in point, take VAAY Care. This brand uses review content to drive product development and meet the needs of its existing customer base, seeing greater retention as a result. 

It also runs a loyalty points programme to reward customers for submitting product reviews, and manages it all through sophisticated flows - delivering a personalised customer experience that generates increased brand loyalty. 


Full name: Jamilya Ashyrbaeva 

Company name: 

Job Title: Partnerships Manager

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Growing the customer base during the holiday season is great, however retaining seasonal shoppers might not be an easy task. As retaining customers is always more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, it is essential to ensure that new customers will stick around after big sales and return back for the next purchase. There are different strategies to implement that will help to retain those customers:

  • Launch retargeting ads for holiday shoppers to stay on top of customers’ minds past seasonal sales.
  • Ensure outstanding customer support, as 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of a friendly support team, while 78% of customers have backed out of purchase due to poor customer experience. 
  • Start introducing VIP loyalty tiers (if you don’t have them already). Creating a branded loyalty program with customized tiers can be an engaging way to retain holiday shoppers. With an emphasis on exclusivity, they also create an experience that leaves customers wanting to spend more with your brand. 
  • Run email campaigns. Start with a “thank you” email and continue with post-purchase loyalty and rewards emails where customers can see their hard earned points and how close they are to their next tier. This will help to establish a relationship and trust with customers and increase their likelihood of staying loyal to the brand. 

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

Building customer retention requires building customer relationships from day one, but depending on the store’s lifecycle, it might vary on a case by case basis. As it makes more sense to focus on acquiring customers that can be retained in the long term, going that extra mile to show customers caring and appreciation starting from the initial interaction is what really helps build long-term loyalty and retention.  

What is the best way to improve retention?

Customer retention strategies are definitely one of the best and most cost-effective ways of increasing e-commerce store’s sales. Offering loyalty and referral programs, promotional discounts and  free shipping, setting up exit-intent pop ups and crowdfunding campaigns, etc. are a few tactics that can help retain customers. Here are the few examples of customer retention strategies that can help stores in a long term: 

  • Personalization: Understanding customer journey on the website and personalizing the site accordingly will help to improve the overall site experience as users will be more likely to stay and explore the site and it’s product offerings. As customers want to know what they will find when they shop online, it will keep them on the site longer and bring them back more often to look at special offers, or try out products they’ve heard about and new products they’ve never tried before.  
  • Upsells and Cross-sells: Many shoppers will leave the website if they do not see the value they can get by purchasing from that store. Upselling and cross-selling are two ways to provide additional value to the customers by making them happier. Having a high upsell and cross-sell ratio will help to sell more products, increase average order value, and develop more long-lasting ties with current customers, leading to more profits and a loyal customer base for your online store over time.
  • Segmented loyalty program: Segmentation of the customers can help to make product offerings more relevant to user’s preferences leading to higher engagement with the brand. A segmented loyalty program creates a consistent customer base by encouraging repeat shopping through continuous loyalty programs. It creates loyalty opportunities for brands by combining a customer’s preferences with individual attributes to inform advertising and other marketing activities.  

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

In the eCommerce industry, the RFM model is quite popular for identifying high-value customers, with the focus of three main factors: 

  • Recency: How recent was the last order?
  • Frequency: How often does the customer buy?
  • Monetary value: What is the total revenue that the customer generated?

Based on the RFM model, the customer gets a score which will determine whether he/she is a high-value customer or the one with a good potential. Such customers need to be treated with great care as those usually have higher lifetime value (LTV) but those might also have higher expectations from the brand. Offering them special discounts, access to faster delivery and premium services and so on can help to not only retain those customers but also to grow their loyalty. And as we know - a loyal customer is worth five times more than a new customer. 

For instance, Shopify provides a great overview of the store performance, including detailed data on the store’s recent activity, conversions, visitors, etc. This data can be used to identify key trends that could indicate customer traits and their behaviours on the website. The takeaway is, take data seriously. It can be utilized to tweak the customer journey to increase existing users' spending and easily convert them into loyal customers. Without data, it would be all guesswork. So dive into your site data to find customers of great value and identify which customers are to keep and which ones need the effort to win over.

Which channels work best for retention?

Clearly, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to customer retention or marketing in general. Yet, statistics are showing that email marketing remains the number one channel in customer retention. Customer retention is highly dependent on increasing customer engagement and deepening customer relationships with the brand. And while some might argue that email marketing has traditionally been used for customer acquisitions, email marketing offers a high degree of personalisation, which is important for customer engagement, making email marketing an effective method for reaching customer retention goals.

However, another channel that is worth the attention is push notifications. This effective communication tool that can help to recover abandoned carts and that can help increase retention rates and reach target audience in real-time. While personalization is key, it is also important to get the timing right.

How does your app help with retention?

Running a loyalty program is the solution to retain your customers by incentivizing them and increasing the repeat purchase rate. Growave Loyalty & Rewards Program combines Points Program, Referral Program as well as VIP tiers. While the first two help brands to motivate customers to like and promote the brand and drive repeat purchases by offering rewards for engagement with the brand, VIP programs are one of the most effective retention marketing tools out there. With an emphasis on exclusivity, they create an experience that leaves customers wanting to spend more with the brand. This makes them the perfect tool for driving retention and getting higher customer lifetime value from your upper-tier or most loyal customers. 

What's an example of how your software helped improve Retention?

After enabling Growave’s loyalty program on Shopify, by incentivizing their customers with discounts for leaving reviews on the website, Lily Charmed brand has gained a loyal customer base and has managed to achieve a 30-40% increase in repeat customers on their website.

Name: Casey Roeder

Company: Skylab Media

Title: Founder & CEO

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Ensuring customers become part of a brand's loyalty by having exclusive deals + incentives for members only.  Keep in mind to lower the risk of entry by making it incredibly easy to sign up.  Do not overwhelm your first time customers!

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

Always. Retention can help boost your AOV and LTV metrics significantly.  The earlier you start, the faster you will learn what your customers love and hate about your brand. 

What is the best way to improve retention?

Build out retention focused campaigns by utilizing an omnichannel approach.  Cartloop is a great way to incorporate personalized messaging to first time buyers and retain customers year round.  You'll want to include offers such as BOGO or VIP perks to engage your most loyal customers.  An agency favorite is including special perks for those who refer your brand to another customer.  

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

You can incorporate many tools such as the following:  Google Analytics, Hotjar, Unbounce, percentage of customers on a certain landing page, audience segmentation via Klaviyo or Omnisend.  A fun strategy we like to incorporate is how likely a customer can recall your brand compared to competitors.  We do this by outreach via Email and SMS. 

Which channels work best for retention?

For most DTC brands it will be through Email and SMS.  Cartloop is a great way to build your retention campaign as studies show XX amount of users open their phone at any given time.  Let's not forget where our traffic comes from.  Always include an upper funnel campaign via platforms like TikTok and Facebook/Instagram. 

What's an example of how your agency helped improve retention?

We work with a digital music company whose main goal is to sell samples created by labels and producers.  Skylab garnered a 46X return on ad spend in less than one week by implementing our exclusive Skylab modeling structure.  

Name: Claudiu Cioba

Company: VideoWise

Title: CEO

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Merchants should prioritize: 

Loyalty - (offer additional rewards for frequent customers, send more personalized outreach, thank you cards, etc.). These programs develop habits with your customers, and can keep them coming back.

Quality - Deliver the highest quality product/service that you can for each and every customer, listen for pain points and fix them. There's a small window of increased traffic for the holidays, and you need to leave a lasting impression.

Marketing - when you start the new year, you need to re-engage your past customers. Leverage social media, email, and your product pages by promoting new sales, create a newsletter targeting your niche, engage with them directly online. Keep them looking at your brand.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

Retention should always be one of your main priorities, 'new' customers are good, but 'old' customers who stayed loyal to your brand are priceless. As soon as you launch your holiday campaign this year, you should be implementing a retention strategy.

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

Prioritize delivering the highest quality possible during the holiday season, and leverage those satisfied customers through video testimonials you can use to boost your brand into the new year. Nothing impacts a potential customer more than seeing high quality videos associated with your product (especially if they're from other customers).

Which channels work best for retention?

Look at their engagement with your brand. Are they opening your emails? Are they repeat purchasers? Does the product they purchased generally have high retention? Are your customers giving you video testimonials or good written reviews about that product?

These are the sorts of questions you need to ask yourself when trying to understand what aspects of your business are vulnerable to churn. Look at the data for these and you should be able to see clearly

Which channels work best for retention?

Email and SMS are the most powerful forms of direct retention, they provide opportunities to provide important order information, as well as unique marketing opportunities for you to get people back to your store's product pages.

Collecting video testimonials and repurposing them across your social campaigns, email, and store pages helps you to build social proof which is infinitely valuable for retaining new customers, as well as you're more likely to retain the customers who you highlight in your campaigns. 


What's an example of how your software helped improve retention?

VideoWise uses shoppable videos and automated video marketing solutions to help Shopify brands leverage their TikTok, Instagram, YouTube or uploaded videos to drive crazy shopper engagements and increase conversions.

The main focus for VideoWise is to increase your products conversion rates by using your video content and turning it shoppable. We increase session time and provide the most advanced video analytics for your Shopify store.

However, our other features include:

Bulk video embedding - Embed videos on thousands of product pages with automated product-video matching. No code, save hundreds of hours!

Find & use relevant UGC from YouTube - also use A.I. to scrape YouTube for positive videos that mention your brand or products and embed them on your site (as shoppable videos).

Collect video testimonials - Invite customers to leave you a video testimonial for cash, discounts or refunds. Easy video recording on any device without any extra app needed.

All of which are extremely valuable for customer retention. In minutes you can bring life to your store's product pages, and showcase your customer testimonials to build social proof for your brand.

Full name: Dan Sheard

Company/Agency name: Velstar 

Job Title: CEO

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Once Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) is over, many merchants think it’s time to sit back and relax, but they’re wrong. There’s a bunch of new customers that have come their way over the cyber weekend, and it’s imperative that they have a strategy in place to turn those onetime holiday shoppers into lifelong customers. 

But knowing where to start and what to focus on can be tricky. To help, I have outlined some of the best practices that you can use to retain holiday shoppers long after peak. 

1. Build trust with customer reviews 

It’s no secret that reviews are a great way to build customer trust and loyalty. They add a layer of credibility and social proof to your brand and your products, which is essential in order to build a community of loyal fans, and ultimately to keep customers returning to your store. 

During BFCM, leverage the high volume of traffic the weekend brings to boost the number of reviews you collect. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to send your new customers a review request in their welcome email to show them just how much you value their custom. 

2. Reward your customers with an enticing loyalty program

Last year, 52% of shoppers said they would prioritise shopping with brands where they have received points and rewards during BFCM. So reward your customers for shopping with you this holiday season. 

Give customers more opportunities to collect points with you, in addition to purchases, reward your customers for referring friends, social shares, creating an account or signing up to your newsletter. Rewards give shoppers a reason to remain loyal to your brand.

Also, when it comes to rewards, don’t forget to show your customers just how much your brand aligns with their values so you can form a deeper connection with them. Get creative and think more experiential than transactional. For example, when our client Santo Remedio was looking for new ways to retain more customers through their loyalty program. We recommended they leverage the face of the brand, Dr Juan Rivera, whom their customers love. To do this, we incorporated incentives into the brand’s loyalty program that related to Dr Juan, such as in-person meetings and signed copies of his book. This has proved hugely successful because the rewards offer customers a one-of-a-kind experience, which is something Santo Remedio’s competitors can’t do.

 3. Automated personalised email campaigns

Another way to boost retention long after BFCM is by sending your customers emails based on their shopping behaviour. 

Triggered-based events emails have significantly higher open rates, engagement, and click-throughs. When you send customers content that’s tailored to specific audience segments, your emails will resonate with the receiver and generate better results for your business. 

So, be sure to create segments based on customer behaviours, such as ‘viewed product’ or ‘abandoned cart’ to drive customers back to your store and pick up where they left off. 

4. Launch re-targeting ads

Launching re-targeting ads for your BFCM customers is a great way to keep your brand top of mind throughout Q4 and beyond. Just ensure you have effectively set up tracking on your site and that pixels are firing. This will allow you to re-target people who have shown an interest in your brand over BFCM, as well as those who have brought from you. An ad is a gentle reminder a customer needs to re-engage with your brand. If you need assistance with this, speak to our paid social media experts today, we’ll help you create winning ads that your customers can’t ignore. 

5. Create a killer post-BFCM campaign

When BFCM ends, why not prolong the buzz? The best way to do this is to encourage your customers to create and share user-generated content (UGC), including pictures of the products they brought from you during the cyber weekend. 

All you need to do is promote your request for UGC via email and on your social media channels with a short, snappy hashtag to inspire your customers to start sharing. 

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

This year, there are new customer demands to consider and lots more competition in the market. The key to keeping customers around long after BFCM is to implement a retention strategy as soon as possible (way before BFCM starts). Trust me, your competitors will have one in place, and should you too. 

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

To identify which customers are most likely to be retained, you need to focus on engagement metrics that matter to your business such as loyalty program participation, email open rates, response rates and open tickets, as well as repeat purchase rate (RPR), time between purchases (TBP), net promoter score (NPS), customer satisfaction (cSat), average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (CLV). These metrics will help you deep dive into your data and determine whether a customer is likely to stick around for the long haul. 

Which channels work best for retention?

Gone are the days of the linear buyer journey. Today, shoppers zigzag between various channels, both online and offline, so when it comes to customer retention, it’s best to take an omnichannel approach. In fact, companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers.

You need to reach and engage with customers on the channels they use the most. From social media to SMS, find out which channels your customers prefer and leverage them. 

What's an example of how your agency helped improve retention?

In addition to Santo Remedio discussed above, we also helped direct-to-consumer supplement health and wellness brand, Personalised Co boost retention rates through a customer-centric loyalty program. 

Aptly named Personalised Points, the loyalty program allows customers to move across four levels. With every purchase, customers get closer to unlocking exclusive rewards and monetary discounts. For example, customers get 7 Personalised Points for every £1 they spend. The fantastic thing about this loyalty program is that customers know exactly what they’re getting, helping them get one step closer to being a healthier and happier version of themselves. 

By rewarding their customers for their loyalty, and engaging with them through multiple touchpoints, Personalised Co has seen a 35% increase in repeat purchase rate and a 34% increase in member spend. Today, they generate 25% of their overall revenue from their loyal customers.

Name: Deb Mecca

Company: PreOrder Now

Title: Director of Marketing

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Make your customers feel special during the holidays no matter if they are brand new or a VIP customer status. Communicate clearly what your customers should expect and over-deliver at every step in the process. If there are delays, communicate them immediately. If they are getting their shipment earlier, communicate that also. Communication is super key at any time in the customer journey but even more so during the holidays.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

Customers should be thinking about retention at the onset of starting their Shopify store. Retention matters just as much as acquisition. Your best customers are what allows you to scale and therefore must be considered before they hit your funnel. You never want to look in the rearview mirror trying to win back customers. Instead, you want to always be proactively approaching retention from the lens of what will keep them happy, thriving, and raving customers that continue to come back and make new purchases.

What is the best way to improve retention?

The customer experience is what will make or break a loyal fan and a repeat customer. If you have offered them exceptional service, prove that your brand's ethos aligns with theirs, and convince the customers that you are in it for the long haul with them, they will keep coming back for more. You also have to make sure they are getting what they want from your products, how they want it, making it easy to adjust, return, commit or uncommit to a subscription or repeat purchase flow.

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

This can be tricky but some tips could be in the interaction such as reviews, socially interacting with your brand, posting with your products, talking to their friends on social about you, etc.

You can also use heat maps to determine the customers that are moving deep into your product funnels.

Which channels work best for retention?

You have to test channels to figure this out for your brand. Email and SMS have been proven channels by eCommerce brands but if your customer is skewing older or younger, you might have to consider going harder on one or the other. Either way, test both as there is gold to find in both. Conversational commerce is usually a good channel because you’re talking with the customer in a personalized way. Anything you can do to personalize the experience is a win no matter what the channel.

How does your app help with retention?

If a customer comes to a store and the products are out of stock, it presents a real challenge in capturing the sale, whether it's a first-time buyer or a repeat customer. With so many options these days to purchase similar products, if you aren’t giving your customers instant gratification, they might decide to dip out to another brand that can service them quicker. Our app PreOrder Now facilitates the gratification for customers to know that they can still order the products they want with an expectation of when their order will be shipped to them.

What's an example of how your software helped improve retention?

We have a swimwear customer with a unique product that was in high demand. As a result, the product kept going out of stock. This was challenging in general but challenging as they were heading into the summer months. After installing PreOrder Now in May 2021, they were able to increase their sales by 50% the same month because customers were willing to wait so long as they could buy the products with an expectation of shipping dates.

Name: Ben Astin 

Company: Shopping Gives

Title: Director of Partnerships 

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

Loyalty program

Including a charitable element to a loyalty program can create a unique experience for customers that will keep them coming back again and again. Being rewarded with points when creating a donation with their purchase as well as being empowered to turn those points into additional donations for their favorite causes can help keep conscious consumers engaged compared to the traditional offerings of a loyalty program, where discounts and free gifts are all too common.

Omnichannel giving

Enabling customers to create a positive impact with their purchase both online and in-store helps create brand loyalty and trust because they'll know that every purchase with a brand creates a charitable donation, no matter where they shop. To further boost retention, brands can implement giving at the point of sale for their brick and mortar locations to support causes that are in their local community. This will not only attract consumers from the area, but it will turn them into loyal customers because they'll know that by shopping with you, they can help make a positive change where it matters most to them.Featuring a cause (or causes) that aligns with a brand's value and their customer's value. Supporting a cause that needs the most support during the holidays will enable a brand to attract and retain socially conscious consumers.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

As soon as a lead becomes a customer. The customer will start doubting their decision as they're making a purchase. It's important to strategize retention to make sure the customer feels confident about their decision and continue to make regular visits and purchases with your brand. 

What is the best way to improve retention?

Segment your customer pool and personalize marketing messages based on their interest. For example, from a cause marketing perspective, if a customer supports fighting hunger causes, it's better to share upcoming campaigns from Feeding America to support them through your brand's products, not news from 1% for the Planet.

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

  1. Increase in # of visits
  2. # of emails open and click-through
  3. # of purchases
  4. Engagement with our app. The customers that choose to send the brands’ money to charity by making a donation, are more likely to have a larger average order value and come back to buy more a lot sooner.

Which channels work best for retention?

Paid social for personalized, retargeting efforts. Similar to email, you can segment and target consumers based on the causes they've supported previously and encourage them to come back to make another purchase and support that same cause. This is cause marketing that aligns with your customer's value

How does your app help with retention?

We help brands create authentic giving strategies that are tailored to their brand's values and giving goals. Today's consumers are spending more time on a brand's About Us page and are quick to identify inauthentic social impact efforts (i.e. greenwashing). ShoppingGives makes it easy for brands to integrate social impact throughout their customer journey to create more impactful and authentic interactions with their customers, boosting loyalty and retention.

What's an example of how your software helped improve retention?

Read all about it in one of our recent case studies with White + Warren.

Full name: Raul Galera 

Company: ReferralCandy 

Job Title: Chief Advocate

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

There’s a good amount of customers that are going to buy from you for the first time during the holiday season: make sure you have a clear post-purchase plan for all of them. Whether your goal is to enrol them in a referral or loyalty program, gather reviews or user generated content, or simply keep them informed and entertained with educational content, make sure that you’re giving them a reason (or multiple reasons) to not forget about you.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

From day one! Whether you’re a startup or a mature brand, improving your customer retention is going to have a direct impact on your company’s financials. Research shows that a 5% customer retention rate can increase profits anywhere from 25% to 95%. Customers that stick around end up spending more -- which means that if you don’t encourage future purchases from them, you’re missing out on some serious profit gains.

What is the best way to improve retention?

The bottom line when it comes to improving customer retention and brand loyalty is a combination of having a great product and making sure that your customers are happy with it. A loyalty or referral program is not going to fix something that’s not working at a product level. Optimizing your overall customer satisfaction is going to have a direct impact on customer retention. 

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

Research from the American Marketing Association shows that customers acquired through word of mouth add two times the lifetime value of customers acquired through traditional marketing. Therefore, customers that have been referred by other customers are more likely to stick around for future purchases and potentially continue to spread the word about your brand. 

Another way to identify customers that are likely to be retained is through a net promoter score survey. An NPS is an easy exercise that tells you how happy customers are with your product or service and how likely they are to spread the word. 

Which channels work best for retention?

  • Subscription services: If your product is something that your customers have to regularly buy (like food, coffee, personal care, or cleaning supplies) a subscription option might be a great customer retention strategy for you. Even if your customers don’t need to buy from you every month but could potentially have the option to (clothing and accessories, gadgets, etc) consider adding a surprise factor to make it exciting for your customers to receive a box with your products every month.
  • Referral programs: A referral program is a great way to turn loyal customers into your brand ambassadors. Besides acquiring new customers, your existing clients also get a reward, making them more likely to make additional purchases and grow their LTV. We typically trust recommendations when they’re coming from friends and family. The idea is to make your referral program easy to refer so that your customers continue referring their friends (and shopping with you).
  • Communities: There’s probably a reason why you started your online brand. Your company has a reason for existing and selling. This reason can easily be leveraged if it’s shared by those who buy from you. A community is an easy way to improve your value proposition by creating a place where like-minded people (your customers) can share their ideas and experiences. This can help you build a group of loyal customers that will stick around because they now have another reason to do so.

How does your app help with retention?

ReferralCandy helps brands acquire new customers while retaining their existing ones. By running a referral program, you can incentivize customers to refer their friends - friends get a discount as an incentive to try out your brand for the first time - and reward them with coupons that they can use next time they buy from your store.

What's an example of how your agency/software helped improve retention?

Branch Basics is a good example of a company that has been able to run a successful referral program to acquire new customers while retaining existing ones. Being a subscription service, retaining customers is one of the most important aspects of their business. 

Their referral program not only adds an additional 10% in revenue every month from new customers, but, as they put it “Customers who try us turn into raving fans. Giving them $10 makes it easier for them to share about us and get the word out there.”

Name: Mindaugas Juozapaitis

Company: Blazer Agency

Title: CEO

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

New product launches, offers, not simple discounts that could decrease your product's value.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

From the beginning, when they thought about having a business Idea, they should also include a retention model. It would be best to think about retention from the concept stage, no matter what one of a KIND product you have. Those first customers will be those who will bring your first real profit buying another time from your store!

What is the best way to improve retention?

There is a lot of ways because this depends on how much you & your team are creative. If you already missed a train, didn't think about this, and you lack creativity:

  • Talk more with your best customers - if you don't have those, read below. 
  • Listen to different podcasts (there are tons about this) where experts talk on this topic. 
  • Take a look into your competitors, look as well into other products. 
  • Google it
  • Flatter different expert's egos through LinkedIn and get free consultations regarding this topic.

If you are lazy & neither of the above-written works for you - hire experts and let them do the job for you. 

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

 Few elements to identify these customers: 

  • Those who left 5* star review
  • Write personal message to your brand mail/personal mail or somehow even called you. 
  • Those who mainly engage with the brand through different channels.

Which channels work best for retention?

 First goes Email & SMS marketing channels. The second goes paid media. 

How does your agency help with retention?

We have CMO's / Lead Strategists in the team working with clients directly, and they are always giving suggestions and even doing hands-on things to help improve overall results because our client's success is our success!

Full name: Jennifer Caust

Agency name: Underwaterpistol 

Job Title: Head of Marketing

What are some of your best practices on retaining the boost in customers from the holidays?

A top tip is to let visitors subscribe to SMS or email alerts for when any sale period begins. This can be particularly effective with BFCM and Christmas around the corner. These alerts can then be used to boost announcements for the rest of the year. 

In terms of best practice, brands should ensure there’s a post-purchase journey in place to onboard any new customers. And always optimise your transactional emails. 

Think of your own behaviour when shopping at this time of the year. If you’ve just made a purchase, you’re more likely to check in on your emails to ensure everything is in order with delivery. 

Utilise how customers are paying extra attention to any follow-ups and transactional emails. Perhaps build excitement by linking to a guide on how to make the most out of their newly purchased item once it arrives. In that guide, you may recommend any complementary products to consider.

When should merchants begin focusing on retention?

The earlier you think of how to drive customers back to your store, the better. Not only does starting early provide an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, it also means you’re gathering customer data to make smarter, more confident business decisions in the build up to the important holiday season.

What is the best way to improve retention?

Excellence in retention means making your customer feel like a purchase unlocks the door to a larger community. We usually recommend brands to consider starting a loyalty program or subscription offering, and have written a guide on the topic. 

If you opt for the loyalty route, there can be many added benefits to your overall business targets. You can reward points for a number of interactions, such as leaving reviews or engaging on social media, so it's an excellent way to transform customers into brand advocates.  

We’ve also seen brands rewarding loyalty points to customers who download an app or join a Facebook group, to further increase the chance of retention.

How can you identify customers who are most likely to be retained?

Be clever with your segmentation tactics. If a customer has purchased a product which lends itself to mixing and matching with other products, that’s a good place to start. Actions of a customer should also be accounted for. If someone has left a positive review and subscribed to a newsletter, they’re more likely to buy again.

Which channels work best for retention?

If you can only choose one channel, go for email. But a mix of channels is where you’ll have a bigger impact on your metrics. For example, rewarding customers loyalty points for signing up to a subscription, and further points for joining a Facebook group, means you’re encouraging retention across many channels. It’ll just take a bit of tweaking to make sure data can be effectively exchanged between these sources.

What's an example of how your agency helped improve retention?

We helped The Brew Tea Co. build a loyalty program and a subscription service, so their customers can regularly restock on delicious tea whilst also being awarded “Brew Coins” to use for further purchases. We increased their average order value by 12% and conversion metrics by several percentage points. 

We also increased club sign-ups by 58% for The Couture Club by redesigning their loyalty program. We created an optimised strategy, rewarding their customers for social media following, newsletter sign-ups and — most importantly — higher spend.

Ready to improve customer retention for the holidays? Get started with Cartloop for free today to see how our conversational text platform helps retain customers.

Co-founder at Cartloop. Med School graduate turned to tech. 7 years of eCommerce experience. When she's not working on growing Cartloop, you'll probably find Lisa working out or preparing an avocado toast for a late brunch.

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