Customer Retention: Why the one-size-fits-all approach is crazy

Customer Retention Strategies

Don’t take comfort knowing that most brands still adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to customer retention.

We are all consumers. We witness, daily, the methods of retailers to entice us to shop again. Rarely are those enticements delivered to you, the individual. Instead, there’s a button clicked, somewhere, with the end goal of ‘send to all’.

The problem is always time. Very little time, if any, is dedicated to those that are our most powerful marketing enablers. Our existing customers. We spend so much time working on the granular elements of customer acquisition that we save little time for when the profits really happen – customer retention.

Somebody has to take a stand and raise the opportunity that exists re-shifting focus away from the acquisition. We’re sat with long lists of email addresses associated to actual product purchasers. Not keywords, but actual product purchases – our primary marketing objectives.

It begs the question, why do we market to the first time customer who saved 50% on their first purchase in a similar fashion, ie word for word, with our loyal multiple-purchasing price agreeable customer?

Surely you wouldn’t accept this in the real world? As consumers we desire recognition for our loyalty. This doesn’t come in the form of price promotions or heavy discounting. The reward can be intrinsic. I simple ‘thank you’ from the top or the inclusion in a marketing initiative that is unique to the most loyal of us.

Steven Dennis, retail expert, summarised this perfectly – “all brands need to understand both their marginal customer economics and lifetime value at a detailed level. They need to find more ways to treat different customers differently.

Your job is to treat different customers differently.

And the most ridiculous thing? You have access to the tools, at fractional costs, that make all this possible. Email platforms can operate as complex CRMs. You can extract lifetime value data from your ecommerce platform. The information, with a little guidance, is at your fingertips. Why aren’t you making use of this?


For many retail brands, new or established, growth-hunger is fed through customer acquisition. The numbers we hunt are those that demonstrate our marketing is working. The simplest demonstration is that of our work in paid advertising. We spend x to achieve y. That’s a formula, when results are in the positive, we love to shout about.

And yet there’s another formula, spend x time to achieve y money. It’s a far sexier proposition. The problem being that it’s often easier to relinquish time than it is our marketing budget. How crazy is that?

Your success in retaining customers is governed by your ability to automate acquisition procedures. Far far too much time is spent tweaking keywords or CPC levels on minimal-trafficked search queries that can be saved and spent, for more rewardingly, on customer retention activity.

It’s not difficult. The rewards are there to be grabbed – profitable business growth. You just need to make that mindset shift and release the throttle on acquisition and concentrate a little more on where the real money is made. Helping your customers make that wise next purchase.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Founder of Ecommerce Growth Co. I'm here to help you make better use of data & technology to fuel real ecommerce growth for your brand. I've been building and growing profitable ecommerce brands since 1997.

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