This post is part of our Magento Data series. Check out the first two entries here, and here.

When was the last time you switched brands? Whether it was your broadband provider, your usual supermarket or just your toothpaste, chances are you swap one company for another fairly often.

With so many options available, changing brands is easier than ever for today’s consumers and is almost second-nature. It makes sense then that customer churn is a significant concern for so many businesses.

So what can marketers do to prevent customers (especially high-value ones) from leaving?
 

Spot them before it’s too late

In the first post of this series, we talked about using your Magento data to pinpoint where your customers are in the lifecycle. To re-engage customers before they lapse, you’ll need to know they’re moving that direction in the lifecycle so you can intervene at the right time.

Yet for many businesses this is a challenge. Data is often hard to access and segmenting it into lifecycle stages can take several weeks – at which point it could be too late.

With Magento, you have the benefit of being able to access your data quite easily. The key then, is to have a platform that can use this data in real-time to segment your customers by their last purchase date and other online behaviour.

Here are a couple of things to look for that might indicate a customer is about to lapse:

  • Their most recent purchase is not within the timeframe you’d expect based on your customers’ typical buying habits
  • They haven’t added anything to their wishlist for some time

If you can supplement your Magento data with other sources, you might also consider whether:

  • Their engagement with your marketing communications has slowed or stopped
  • Their activity within your loyalty programme has dropped off

This step is important, as it not only shows you which specific customers need to be re-engaged, but can also indicate larger issues within your strategy / approach. For example, if the majority of a brand’s customers who are in the “about-to-lapse” stage have the same persona, this suggests that the approach to engaging this persona is missing the mark and needs to be re-evaluated.
 

Reach out with relevant content

Once you’ve identified which customers are about to lapse, you’ll want to act quickly to re-engage them before they’re too far gone. But to really draw them back in, you’ll need more than generic marketing messages – personalisation will be essential.

In the second post of this series, we looked at a few ways your Magento data can be used for personalisation, but here’s a quick recap:

  • Average order value or other purchase history data can be used to identify and engage valuable customers
  • Products on their wishlist can be used to send targeted offers and rewards
  • Products they’ve purchased before can be used to send tailored recommendations

So in the case of an “about-to-lapse” customer, what might this look like? Let’s say a pet supplies retailer is attempting to re-engage their at-risk customers. The majority of these customers last purchased an item from the Cat Supplies department, while the others purchased from Dog Supplies or Aquatics.

Sending a re-engagement email promoting a new range of treats for man’s best friend may re-engage the dog owners in the group, but it’s likely to drive the other customers further away.

Targeting content based on the type of pet each customer owns, though, has a better chance of encouraging them to re-engage and makes them feel that the brand knows who they are.
 

Go the extra mile (if they’re worth it)

Generally, you should attempt to re-engage all of your about-to-lapse customers at least once before you let them go. But some customers will be worth a little extra effort to retain. Those who were particularly valuable to your business or were once loyal advocates might deserve a more personal touch, or an extra incentive to give your brand another shot.

Using your Magento data, you should be able to identify these customers fairly easily. Average order value is a simple but useful indicator of a customer’s value to your business. Choose average order value over total spend, as it will give you a more consistent picture of what a customer’s worth – if they spent £1000 on their first purchase but only £10 on every order since, they’re not as valuable as someone who spends £150 every time they shop.

Past loyalty can be harder to quantify, but the frequency with which at-risk customers used to purchase is a good starting point. If you have a loyalty programme, customers’ past activity there can also be a useful indicator.

Once you’ve identified these “VIP” customers (and your initial re-engagement attempt has been unsuccessful), you might try:

  • Having a customer service rep reach out personally to see what went wrong
  • Offering an exclusive reward – for example, tickets to a private event, a free upgrade on their next service, etc.
  • Inviting them to join your loyalty programme as a VIP member, or with a certain number of points already credited to their account

 

Automate to re-engage customers at exactly the right time

The most important part of re-engaging at-risk or lapsed customers is reaching out at the right time. Too soon and you might come off a bit pushy or overly attached. Too late and… well, it will be too late – they’ll already be gone. That’s why automating your retention campaigns is essential. You’ll need software that can pinpoint when customers move into the “about-to-lapse” stage of the lifecycle and reach out with the relevant content at just the right time.

You’ll also need a platform that can cut data in real- or near real-time – to build accurate segments for sending tailored content to, and for identifying “VIP” at-risk customers.

With powerful segmentation tools and lifecycle stages built in, our Horizon platform is built for insight-driven customer retention. Our unique ELVIS Insight makes it easy to identify and engage your most valuable, loyal and influential customers. Find out more →