- Regardless of the size of your Shopify brand, you should prioritize customer retention. Here’s why: Acquisition is getting costly (CAC is surpassing LTV), so building a loyal customer base means you can generate thousands (or millions!) in profitable repeat revenue.
- Your customers use your products to make their lives easier, so always look for small ways to build brand loyalty through a personalized customer experience. Ask yourself: How can you make every interaction the customer has with your brand one that will stand out?
- Proactive tracking updates are a marketing win! Consider this: Compared to typical marketing emails with open rates of 10% to 20%, tracking notifications can get open rates between 50% to 80%.
Your post-purchase experience is a golden goose of opportunity to drive engagement, repeat purchases, brand loyalty and much more.
However, one big hurdle merchants, especially Shopify merchants, face is a lack of control over the delivery aspect of the customer experience.
That’s where my shipment marketing platform Malomo comes in — rather than be at the mercy of carriers, we make it possible to work with them to help you maximize the profitability of each customer.
Malomo proactively helps you notify customers of their delivery, then when they look at the tracking information, we use that engagement to drive additional outcomes for your brand.
I had the opportunity to break this down on the eCommerce Fastlane podcast, where I also shared this: No matter the stage you’re at in your business, you can tap into the long-term benefits of a seamless delivery experience for your Shopify brand.
Here’s how you can use data and engagement to push it forward.
Turn shipment tracking into shipment marketing
Typically, merchants tend to have little to no visibility into the shipping process, which makes it difficult to answer the, “Where’s my order?” support tickets when they come in.
That’s why prioritizing touch points throughout the order delivery process is essential — it opens the doors for instant remarketing and if you do it right, we’ve seen it become a growth engine for ecommerce businesses at every size and scale. Not to mention that you can reduce your support volume by more than 50% — results we’ve helped our merchants attain.
The key? 🔑 Don’t just focus on the buying experience leading up to a sale — put as much thought into the customer journey after a purchase has taken place.
On average, we’ve seen that consumers look at tracking information four or five times per order. That’s major.
Think about it: They’re excited, anxious and ready to receive their order, so you have 100% of their attention and the chance to drive tons of engagement. But it’s up to you whether you amplify a positive or negative experience at that time.
After two years of working with brands, most of the time brands are amplifying a negative one.
At a time where ecommerce competition is increasing, leading Shopify brands are turning their generic shipment tracking experience into a marketing channel to:
- Increase retention
- Decrease the amount of “where is my order?” support tickets from customers and,
- Build a world class branded experience
In summary, the fastest growing brands are no longer ignoring shipment tracking. They are turning it into a retention marketing channel to win customer loyalty for the long term.
Acquisition + retention — a balancing act
Retention is an afterthought for many Shopify merchants until it becomes an issue, which is too late.
When sellers try to introduce retention platforms like loyalty rewards or referral programs, they quickly learn it isn’t the silver bullet they hoped for to drive retention (heads up: there are no silver bullets!).
Apps like these help capitalize on excited customers, but when it comes to creating loyal and excited customers there is nothing more effective than creating an experience that stands out among any other store.
At Malomo, there are two things we look at to help merchants maximize the post-purchase experience and stand out:
- How can the platform help merchants protect purchases from inevitable delivery issues and communicate with consumers at each step of the customer journey?
- As consumers check delivery information, how can we use that engagement to spur additional interaction with the brand?
Especially with COVID-19, we’ve seen package losses, countless fulfillment issues and delays.
As an ecommerce brand, if you fail to communicate throughout the buyer’s journey, you risk letting your customers think that you lack control over your business. If they get that impression, no amount of marketing will get them to come back.
So how do you avoid this completely undesirable situation?
You have to bake retention into the entire DNA of your company from day one. Realize this: You’re competing with brands across the web for the same consumer wallet — which is why mediocre experiences are deadly in ecommerce.
Plus, increasing customer acquisition costs on platforms like Facebook have become unsustainable, so retailers need to go on the offensive with retention… and it has to be done quickly.
Start by making each customer interaction mind-blowing, no matter how big or small they are. That way, when you remarket them through email, SMS and rewards campaigns,— your customers are likely to be receptive to your messages through these channels.
Acquisition is only part of the game. When you overlook other pivotal elements of the customer journey, you miss out on the opportunity to win with your base (the people you’ve already sold to!).
💡 If you’re up for the challenge, try this: Buy your product and go through your post-purchase experience to see what you deliver. (When we do this with our merchants, many are shocked to see how little value they provide customers!)
How to use data to create moments of joy
Your customers want to hear from you about their purchase, so how can you personalize the tracking experience and create moments of joy through interactive touch points? Data.
Shipping carriers are notorious for providing limited communication about the tracking journey — that’s why we help customers use data to get more intelligent about the post-purchase experience to drive more engagement.
For instance, when a new order comes into a merchant’s Shopify store, Malomo’s platform collects about 150 pieces of data: customer and order information, fulfillment data, the tracking number and more.
We then leverage our direct connections into carriers, like USPS or UPS, to get a real-time stream of scan events on package movements. After the data is combined within our platform, it’s sent to the brand's email marketing platform, and it can then be segmented and personalized for the customer. That data is then surfaced in areas like our branded tracking pages to give the customer’s the information they need in a branded and compelling way.
Email is the most effective channel of customer retention. The issue is most brands don’t control their most important and opened emails that they send to customers - shipment tracking emails. Ecommerce brands can use these emails to share educational material on their product or promote their rewards program, but here’s why they’re so critical: The open rates are astronomical.
Whereas typical marketing emails see open rates of 10% to 20%, tracking notifications are between 50% to 80%.
These transactional touch points are an excellent opportunity to use data to create moments of joy that will prime customers for the next step of your brand’s journey:
- Be proactive: Packages stall, shipping time varies based on the carrier, or the process differs for international versus domestic — always provide detailed tracking updates along the way that includes unique messaging. If your customers reach out first, you’ve already lost.
- Showcase who you are: On your tracking page, display hype reels of new and upcoming products. Or feature your live social media feed, which is often a goldmine of interactivity.
- Delivery prompts. Even if you’re unsure, include an estimate of when your customer can expect to receive their order to put their mind at ease.
- Live chat. This is a great way to enhance your tracking experience, because you can troubleshoot problems in real-time and avoid disgruntled customers
There’s tons of information you want to communicate to your customer through the steps of your buyer’s journey — since they’re locked in and waiting for their order, keep them cocooned in your brand experience.
Supporting engagement growth + the post-purchase experience
Besides driving engagement, there are several key elements required to scale your business and improve your customer experience.
Like this one: When you launch an ecommerce brand, one of your first hires should be a retention manager whose sole focus is on how to drive repeat revenue from your customer base.
Assess the metrics
You’ll decide the key performance indicators (KPI) and metrics you consider necessary to your business, plus the benchmarks of success. They might differ from other brands, but here’s a look into what the best brands we work with measure:
- Repeat purchase rate – This is the percentage of your customers who click through to make an additional purchase from your delivery experience — it’s crucial to your long-term growth trajectory, so always aim to drive it up.
- Per shipment revenue– How much revenue does a merchant drive per each shipment they track through Malomo? Our average revenue per shipment is $0.97. That means a merchant that ships 10,000 orders can drive nearly $10,000 in repeat revenue each month.
That’s a post-purchase experience we can get behind.
Win big with the little things
Your customers aren’t just a transaction — they’re genuine people who spend their hard-earned money on your products, so how can you make their experience with your brand even better?
Merchants get overwhelmed with unattainable tactics, like promising every customer a large discount, which can result in lost revenue. But less is often more when it comes to winning over customers:
👉 Include a free sample product in an order with a random set of customers.
👉 Tuck a handwritten note into your packages.
👉 Send a personal email, or automate one from the founder with a thank you for their order.
👉 Publish online guides, articles and other content that helps solve a problem in their daily lives.
When you prioritize customer retention, you get to learn more about what your consumers find most useful about your offerings. Then, you’ll know exactly how to make your brand a renewable resource of value.
Catch the full episode with Yaw Aning here!