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Does Customer Retention Exist in an eCommerce Marketplace?

eCommerce marketplaces are an incredible opportunity for online merchants to diversify their market reach, but while sellers may have access to a wide audience of buyers who shop in high volume, the hard part is retaining those customers and getting them to purchase again.

Unlike a physical retail store with a website, online merchants have fewer opportunities to control the purchase experience and follow up with customers.

For example, online merchants cannot immediately solicit an email address or publish icons for social media profiles to capture interest. Sellers must develop a marketing strategy specifically for eCommerce marketplaces.

Is it possible to develop a single, unified strategy for acquiring and retaining customers that works across all eCommerce marketplaces?

Yes! There is more than one marketing strategy that will work in eCommerce.

Let's take a closer look at these top eCommerce customer retention strategies:



Craft a Unique Shipping Experience

Receiving your product is an integral part of your customer's shopping experience. You can go above and beyond by crafting a unique shipping experience that uses your logo or your art in the packaging, rather than sending your goods in a plain shipping box.

Inside the package, provide a thank-you note or a coupon for their next purchase that will encourage them to shop with you again.

Here are other ways to craft a shipping experience that distinguishes you from other online merchants:

  • Packaging. The main shipping container is the most important part of the package. Depending on your product, this might be a box, bag, or poly mailer. Look into options that not only get the job done, but leave a great first impression. Keep in mind that sustainable/eco-friendly options might be more expensive, but they can be a great way to build customer rapport.
  • Tissue paper. Customers typically don't like too many boxes within boxes, or having to rip open three layers of plastic. Tissue paper, however, can add a great element of anticipation to your packaging. Make sure it's recyclable, and use your own art and branding for an extra touch of personality
  • Crinkle paper. Bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts are cheap but have a bad rep for being environmentally unsustainable. Brown crinkle paper, on the other hand, does the trick and looks nice.
  • Sample. Include a sample of another product you sell - whether that's a particular blend of seasonings or a face wash - as an incentive for customers to visit your seller page and explore more of your product catalog.

Of course, you'll want to check with each marketplace you sell on to learn about any regulations they might have for packaging.


Edit Your Product Images

You may not give much thought to the thumbnail images of your products. As long as they accurately depict your products and get customers to click or tap, all seems OK, right?

No way!

Savvy online merchants edit their product images so that they all have the same look and feel. Tiny edits in colors or fonts will help you stand out in the crowd.

Buyers will connect the dots and realize that disparate products - if they all have a unique background color, font, emoji, or character - must come from the same trusted merchant. It's tiny way to carry your brand across different product categories.


Insider Tip: Be sure that images render beautifully on mobile as well as desktop. Some eCommerce platforms, such as Tophatter, see 80 percent of their transactions happen on mobile.



Encourage Reviews

Thanks to Amazon, online reviews are generally a common feature on most eCommerce platforms. More importantly, buyers expect to see them.

Several years ago, researchers at Harvard Business School found that a restaurant that boosts its Yelp score by one full star can see revenues increase up to 9 percent.

This may not be the case for all reviews posted on every eCommerce marketplace, but even a tiny bump can help - especially for some sellers who process more than 100 transactions per day.

Insider Tip: Incentivize customers to leave reviews with one-time discount codes, particularly for new products in your catalog.



Build Your Own Customer Retention Strategy in the eCommerce Marketplace

Nowadays, merchants large and small realize that no single merchant can completely own the customer - and that's OK. No retailer can sell all things to all people all of the time - not even Amazon.

However, by integrating some of these eCommerce strategies to both your shopping and shipping experiences, eCommerce merchants like you can increase their customer acquisition, retention, and profitability in one fell swoop.



Jake Wengroff writes about technology and financial services. A former technology reporter for CBS Radio, Jake covers such topics as security, mobility, eCommerce, and IoT.

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