Six Customer Retention Strategies for a Changing Retail World

It’s a fact many Canadian retailers are facing — the retail world is changing. With the popularity of e-commerce, competition from international retailers, and the rise of “click-and-collect” systems, there’s a major transformation happening. But even with all this change, one thing remains consistent: customer retention is still key.

A Harvard Business School study found that increasing customer retention by just 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%! In addition, happy customers are more likely to refer your retailer to friends and family.

So, how can you create lasting customer retention and a great customer experience in a world that’s constantly changing? Read on for our six strategies you can try today.

  1. Make customer service the number one priority

Customer retention comes down mainly to the customer experience. Studies show that customers leave for three reasons: 9% leave for a competitor, 14% are unhappy with the product or service, and a whopping 68% leave because they are unhappy with the service they receive. Like it or not, people tend to remember negative experiences more than positive ones. So, what does that mean? You need to make sure your customers have overwhelmingly positive experiences. Having friendly, personable staff. Keeping products in stock. Short line-ups. These can all contribute to the customer experience and, in turn, increase your customer retention regardless of how much the retail industry changes.

  1. Think about a loyalty program

We’ve written before about loyalty programs and how they can benefit your business. Inspiring brand loyalty is a great way to increase customer retention. An amazing loyalty program can make you stand out from the competition and improve the customer experience.

  1. Get your e-commerce site and social media presence up to standard

Although bricks-and-mortar stores are far from dead, e-commerce is on the rise. And if you’re not cashing in on this retail trend, you’re likely falling behind. While it’s not the be all, end all, a great website and social media presence can help your business and customer retention in many ways. Research shows that customers tend to browse products online first before coming into the store, so having a digital space where you can advertise your merchandise, news, and promotions will only help your bottom line.

  1. Surprise and delight

While having a signature, niche product or business response can be great, another way to increase customer loyalty is to introduce novelty. Whether it be switching up your displays, adding in new merchandise, or sending a handwritten thank-you note to your VIP customers, the little touches can really make a big difference.

  1. Create events and experiences

Your retailer can do more than just sell products. Is there a way you can offer value-added events and experiences that also encourage sales? For example, for a hardware retailer, consider perhaps having a ladies’ night where women can come in and learn how to do common home renovation projects. Or for a grocery store, perhaps offer cooking lessons from local chefs. When you can take your retailer from a store to an experience, it can help you reach customers who have never shopped with you before, and keep those who have shopped with you coming back.

  1. Make use of changing retail trends

Some of the emerging retail trends are actually emerging because they help improve customer retention. Take for example click-and-collect. Being able to shop from home and pick up in store is obviously something many customers are demanding. Is it something your customers are looking for, too? Rather than fearing change, embrace it and use these shifts to improve your own customer experience.

A changing retail world doesn’t have to mean less opportunity — in fact, it can mean more! The key is to stay on top of the retail trends and make sure your customer experience is the best it can be.

There’s an even easier way to improve your customer retention: Marketsupport Canada. Our experienced retail team can provide mystery shopping, retail audits, in-store merchandising advice, digital brand management, and more. See all of our retail solutions at or call 1-877-421-5081.

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