5 Customer Retention Strategies to Win Back Lost Sales

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As your business grows, you’ll undoubtedly need to bring new customers to your website and get them to make their first purchases. But while every business must focus on acquiring new customers from their target audience, customer retention gradually assumes an even more important role when it comes to marketing and brand identity.

Let’s take a look at five customer retention strategies you can use to win back lost sales and keep loyal customers for years to come.


The problem with acquisition

Many businesses, as they grow their customer bases and stabilize their revenue streams, double down on bringing in new sales at all costs. This isn’t always the best idea for long-term viability.

Why? Simply put, it’s oftentimes more expensive in time and money to focus on new sales compared to retaining the customers you already have. In fact, if you already have satisfied customers, it’s in your best interest to get them coming back for more as opposed to abandoning them in favor of shareholder interests or prioritizing new clients.

Businesses and individuals alike are usually looking for the most cost-effective way to achieve their goals, and for e-commerce business, that means maintaining consistent revenue—especially if your business is relatively new.

This is doubly true if you have almost closed sales with potential customers that abandoned their shopping carts at your online store. It’s cheaper to get those people to complete their purchases than it is to draw completely new individuals to your online brand. Overall, customer retention is just as—if not more—important than growing your existing customer base.

With that understood, let’s take a look at five core customer retention strategies you can use to win back lost sales or keep your customers over the long haul.


Streamline onboarding

Your customer onboarding process must be as smooth and streamlined as possible. “Onboarding” in this sense could mean anything from making a purchase to signing up for an online account or an email newsletter so your teams can leverage email marketing to its maximum effectiveness. It all depends on your business and its CTAs, but the fewer the steps necessary for onboarding, the better. 

Each new step you add to the onboarding process is another opportunity for a customer to jump ship and decide against making a purchase just because they found the process to be too lengthy.

For example, if you have a subscription-based brand, you can make your onboarding process easy by:

  • Requiring just one screen or page to complete sign up
  • Not asking for unnecessary details
  • Only requiring 2-3 button clicks from start to finish

Make it easy to pay

In the digital era, people pay for merchandise or services online with credit and debit cards, cryptocurrencies and tons of other payment methods. For example, according to recent statistics, 7 out of every 10 customers prefer to pay with a credit card for online transactions.

It’s a well-known truth for online businesses that the more ways you offer to pay, the more revenue you’ll get because you’ll draw more customers to your store. By the same token, you’ll also keep existing customers—or prevent people from abandoning their shopping carts—if you make paying flexible and easy. 

You might consider working with PayPal or some other payment platform to allow cryptocurrency transactions, at least for relatively stable digital currency like Bitcoin. It’s also a good idea to reduce the number of steps a customer has to take to make a purchase. Don’t throw up unnecessary buttons or menus they have to navigate through before finalizing a buy. The easier you make it to pay, the less likely it is someone will abandon the purchase funnel before they buy something.


Send reminders

In this day and age, email marketing is one of the biggest tools in your toolkit for retaining customers. Segment your contacts and use email marketing to remind customers of things like:

  • A great offer coming up, particularly if it’s personalized for their unique tastes in products or services.
  • They abandoned a shopping cart recently and should complete their purchase ASAP
  • There’s a sitewide sale going on for just one more day before it’s over

Sometimes even dedicated customers simply forget they have a full shopping cart, or get sidetracked and leave your site before completing a purchase. Sending reminders and deals is a gentle but effective way to bring people back to your brand and get them to complete unfinished purchases.


Offer personalized services/marketing

Personalization is one of the best ways to build lasting relationships with your customers, especially if you rely on a niche group of purchasers to sustain most of your revenue. By leveraging data to personalize services, you can show your target audience that you truly care about them and their needs and don’t look at them as just wallets.

Some examples of personalized services include:

  • Special care packages or products recommended to them
  • Birthday bonuses or sales
  • New product announcements that pertain to their recorded interests
  • Articles with content that might interest them

Try subscription models

Lastly, you can try to implement one or more subscription models with your online site, depending on your industry and products. Subscription models are a well-known way to boost retention rates, as they keep your customers engaged over months or even years.

For example, Amazon allows customers to set up subscription services for the majority of its branded products. You can do the exact same thing if you provide regular shipments of products to your users, like household products, software solutions, gift boxes and so on. It’s much easier to simply keep providing your customers with excellent products and solutions than it is to convince them to make a purchase over and over. 



In the end, all businesses must double down on customer retention if they hope to maintain high revenue streams and stay in business over the long term. Bringing in new customers isn’t everything—once they’re on your site or once they’ve made a purchase, you need to bring them back to make another. Following these five tips could go a long way toward improving your retention rate and maximizing your business’ success.

Kiara Taylor headshot

Kiara Taylor is an expert on the integration of finance and technology. She writes about the impact of both micro and macro trends on global finance.

  • Originally published December 28, 2021