Customer Retention: The Key to Longterm Retail Success


With a million ways to buy today, you already know how hard it is for your brand’s products to stand out. 

That’s why so much of your marketing efforts go towards attracting new customers and getting them to make their first purchase. And while there’s no disputing how important the first purchase is in the ecommerce lifecycle, driving repeat purchases is even more critical

Customer retention is the lifeblood of an ecommerce business. It’s what drives longterm success for your brand. Consider the below statistics:

  • 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers (Source)
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20% (source)
  • 20% of customers of a given company are the source of 80 percent of the company’s profits (source)

It’s clear that customer retention can make or break an ecommerce company, but figuring out how to keep them coming back is where it gets tricky. Ecommerce marketers need to focus their efforts around understanding what drives repeat purchases and implementing strategies designed to promote customer loyalty.


Customer retention starts with earning that all-important second purchase. And the repeat purchase almost always comes from offering your buyers a fantastic overall customer experience

In fact, the modern-day consumer demands a personalized buying experience. Thanks to world-class brands like Amazon and Nordstrom, consumers expect you to know them and treat them as individuals. The more tailored the experience, the better. 

Here are some ways you can personalize your customer experience:

Dynamic Segmentation: Using real-time data, make sure your customers receive the right messages at the right time that influence purchase behavior. As buyers take action on your site right now, dynamic segmentation automatically adds them to a targeted list based on the user’s actions.

Triggered Campaigns: Complimentary to dynamic segmentation is triggered campaigns across multiple channels. As a new customer is dynamically segmented, you can trigger an automated campaign, whether an email or an ad. These are based off a mix of the customer’s profile and behavioral information such as a birthday discount email or a loyal customer email.

Product Recommendations: Offer customers helpful and data-powered product suggestions based on their previous purchases or current behavior on your site is a great way to personalize the experience. You can do this directly on-site, via email, or through retargeting ads.

Having the right tools in place is crucial to executing personalized marketing campaigns that drive customer retention. The best platforms can connect customer data to marketing campaigns making the path to success clear and actionable.


In order to have a laser focus on customer retention, you need to set benchmarks and measure your progress over time. One of the best benchmarks for customer retention is Repeat Purchase Rate:

This simple yet revealing KPI will give you the gut check you need to see if your retention campaigns are having an impact. While the target percentage really depends on your unique business and the types of products you sell, if you are within the range of 20-40%, consider it a job well done.  

Use the repeat purchase rate to understand how far off you are from your desired retention target and where you should focus your efforts to improve.


One way to increase your customer retention is by speeding up the time to next purchase through strategic marketing. Today, AI and machine learning have made it possible to understand your customer’s likely time to next purchase. How? By taking a look at patterns across your customer behavior based on similar actions to understand buyer intent. 

For example, if a customer adds a product to their cart but doesn’t purchase it, we know that shows strong buying intent. But what about if a customer reads a blog on a new product or clicked on an Instagram post recently?

With data science, you can actually understand the patterns in every interaction your customer base has with your unique brand across all relevant platforms — website, app, social media, etc. With an algorithm that learns from each new customer data point, you can understand which actions are most likely to lead to a purchase and how quickly. It also takes into account the timing of those actions (for example; 2 actions closer together signal better intent).

Cart abandonment campaigns can range from a simple email to the shopper after they end a session with an item in-cart, to a coordinated, cross-channel campaign over an extended period of time. Either way, your goal is to nudge the shopper into buying the products they showed interest in but abandoned. 

Regardless of whether or not the campaign is successful, the best marketers know how to leverage what they learn about the shopper’s behavior during an interrupted purchase to better market to them in the future.

Using the insights from the purchase intent model, you can take the necessary actions to improve a customer’s time to purchase by tweaking your marketing strategy. For example, you can create an automated, trigger upsell email to a segment of customers who is extremely likely to purchase, or a discount message to a segment of buyers who are very likely to purchase in the next week. 


Customer retention is really driving growth for every successful ecommerce company. That’s exactly why Dominic Coryell, Growth Advisor at Glambot believes it’s the most important metric. But moving the needle at any cost isn’t worth it. Too often, ecommerce brands rely heavily on discounts to trigger conversion. That can set you up to fail over time.

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In the past historically, if people were buying again, we would say: ‘Let’s just give them more discounts’ or ‘Let’s show them the products that they’ve seen before.’ Those make sense, but it’s also training your customers to click on your website, wait four days, and then get a discount for the thing they want. People are amazingly intelligent when it comes to seeing patterns and things like this happen at every ecommerce store.

Dominic Coryell, Growth Advisor at Glambot Tweet

The Glambot team wanted to move beyond simple discounts to inspire repeat purchases, so they focused on collecting customer data to understand purchasing behavior. They implemented personalized messaging campaigns around product recommendations, replenishment needs, and new arrivals and coupled them with beauty influencers to drive up repeat purchases — a strategy that’s seriously paying off. 

Glambot is focused on CRM-driven marketing and using deep customer insights to guide their entire marketing strategy. They want to make it easy to purchase through having a seamless cross-channel experience and hitting their customers with the right products recommendations at the right time. 

In other words, they want to make the path to customer loyalty (through retention) as easy as possible.


A B2C CRM provides the foundation to help you to inspire repeat purchases, improve customer retention, and build long-term customer loyalty. This technology can help you with your customer retention programs by:

Collect and integrate customer data from different channels and platforms so you have a 360-degree view of their behavior and interests

Automatically add and remove shoppers from segments based on their actions

Filter and report data so you can identify your most valuable customer segments and optimize accordingly

Use a Purchase Intent model to improve time to purchase and inspire repeat purchases