Reducing lapsed customers isn’t always as easy as we’d like it to be. Those customers stopped shopping with you for a reason. Unfortunately for you, it’s difficult to know exactly what that reason is. All you can do is make the best guess based on your website data and industry averages.
Most eCommerce businesses could be forgiven for putting all their energies into finding new customers instead. It’s not an unreasonable approach but it doesn’t address the problem. A proportion of your customers just aren’t coming back.
It might be they weren’t impressed with your service, or they don’t feel your brand is relevant to them. Whatever the cause, customers who don’t come back is bad for business.
It hurts everything you do. Not to mention the millions in lost revenue.
Reducing lapsed customers should be a priority for any eCommerce business. But to do this effectively you need to give your customers a reason to come back.
Or, more precisely, make them wish they’d never lapsed in the first place.
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make (not just eCommerce) is not bothering to understand their customers.
Usually, it’s both time and cost-prohibitive. Data analysis is important but is often overlooked or done poorly. This is because customer data is spread across your online estate making it hard to get a clear picture.
The result is analysis is intensive from both a time and cost perspective but doesn’t necessarily give you anything concrete to work from.
Consolidating your customer data into one place gives you the insight you need to understand your customers. It will also help you to communicate with them more effectively.
Especially if you’re able to pull in product and transactional data too.
Doing so will give you a Single Customer View; a comprehensive customer profile that will allow you to sell more effectively.
This will help you to reduce lapsed customers by stopping them from becoming lapsed in the first place.
Engage with your Lapsed Customers
Once you’ve got your data together and into some semblance of order, you need to start a conversation. This can be difficult because firstly your lapsed customers may not want to hear from you. Secondly, you don’t know what they’ll respond to.
Except you do, because, if you’ve taken the time, you’ll have your Single Customer View. In other words, you know what products your lapsed customers bought, giving you at least some idea of their interests.
Make your communications light and, if it suits your brand, fun. Don’t be afraid to show some personality and give them a reason to read on.
Remember, you’re trying to reduce lapsed customers. From a psychological standpoint, it’s very similar to repairing a damaged friendship.
So, don’t make it all about you or give it the hard sell. Your audience should feel that you understand them and can offer more than the last time they shopped with you.
Whether you’re using email, SMS or app push, your communications need to be personalised to the lapsed customer.
Use the data you have at your disposal to create campaigns that engage with the reader. Talk to them like a long lost friend. Deliver value through blog articles or videos that may be of interest based on their customer profile.
Use their order history to make product recommendations that are relevant to them. Of course, the longer a lapsed customer has been left, the less accurate these recommendations will be.
It’s so important to act quickly to reduce lapsed customers. The sooner you contact them, the more likely they are to respond to your product suggestions.
They’re also less likely to become emotionally invested in competitors they have changed to.
Making your communications as human as possible, with a highly personalised component will significantly increase your chances of re-engaging with your lapsed customers.
Don’t give up on your Lapsed Customers
A common mistake among eCommerce businesses is they send one communication then, if the customer doesn’t respond, give up.
This is a mistake.
Lack of action doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of interest. There are lots of reasons why someone doesn’t engage with an email or an SMS.
You should approach any lapsed customer campaign with the view that they may need a little encouragement to come back.
Space your communications out so your audience won’t feel bombarded but frequent enough that you stay front of mind.
Keep your focus on adding value and reminding your customers why they shopped with you in the first place.
Make sure you monitor your campaign performance too. If you’re getting little in the way of engagement then you need to change up the campaign. It’s highly unlikely that none of your lapsed customers doesn’t want to hear from you.
Review everything from the wording of your communications to the products you’re offering. There are tools available that can help to automate this process. Regardless the emphasis is on reducing lapsed customers so resist archiving customers as lost unless you have no other choice.
Sweeten the Deal
This is a tactic to consider for lapsed customers and those who are about to lapse. A limited time discount, free shipping or a free gift of orders over X amount are all tried and tested ways of driving engagement.
It’s perfectly acceptable to offer them a site-wide discount. It’s probably one of the safer routes to reduce lapsed customers.
However, if you consider the data available to you, you can tailor any offer you make. Use your customer’s purchase history to give them a discount on products they may buy.
It’s a bolder campaign but tells your customers that you understand them.
Similarly, offering them a promotional gift with their next purchase has the same effect. The only thing to consider here is that the gift needs to be good. Customers are savvy and they will know if you’re trying to ditch old stock on them.
Whatever you give them, make sure it’s of good quality, of a reasonable value and it’s something they can use. Again, you can use your data to determine what promotional gift would likely appeal to each of your customers.
Ask them to do Something
Creating a highly engaging, personalised email, push or SMS campaign is only part of the process.
Even getting the product recommendations and cross-sell opportunities exactly right isn’t enough on its own.
You need them to take some form of action.
There is a balance between encouraging conversion and the hard sell. If you’re building a campaign then you don’t necessarily need to convert off the first email or message.
Remember, you’re trying to win back lapsed customers. They left for a reason so asking for their money isn’t the way to build trust.
Maybe for the first email, you don’t include any products at all. Or they follow a softer main message. The links are all there and your customers know to click or tap on them to take a look.
Rather, try asking them to take a look at your blog, style guides, follow your social media channels or a video of your new product ranges.
This gives lapsed customers the option of finding out if your brand is still relevant to them before buying.
This gives you a lot more room to manoeuvre in terms of how to follow up with customers depending on what they do next.
Analyse and Adjust
Any campaign you create should be carefully monitored. Don’t just look at open rates and clicks but what users are clicking on.
You need to understand if the products are of interest. More specifically, at what stage of the campaign is customers clicking on products. If the majority of your lapsed customers are ignoring products until email three or four then you can reasonably assume they’re more interested in getting to know you.
Bring it back to the relationship component – are you someone they want in their lives again.
Analyse campaign performance and adjust to maximise success. Everything should be up for review from the design of the email to the copy and offers.
Split testing is a useful way of determining what messaging works. Consider doing this for your first couple of lapsed customer campaigns.
It’s more work initially but finding the sweet spot early on will make it easier to reduce lapsed customers in the long run.
Building a successful lapsed customer campaign takes time and planning. It also takes good data.
If you can get a clear picture of who your customers are and what they like then it gives you a lot more to talk about. Rather than ‘hey, buy our stuff’. This is not the way to prove to customers you care about them and their shopping experience.
It’s hard to take things slow when conversions are everything to an eCommerce business. But remember, happy customers, are loyal customers. You don’t need to work as hard to sell to them because they’re already engaged.
So winning back customers in a way that puts them at the heart of the process makes them more profitable in the long run.
To learn more about how you can use your data to drive engagement with your customers, get in touch and request a demo.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.