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How can retention marketing work for DTC brands?

How can retention marketing work for DTC brands?

By ShippingChimp

In the context of DTC brands, it’s a well-known fact that retaining existing customers is more cost effective in the long run than winning new ones.

And let’s be fair – acquiring new customers is always exciting. However, persuading existing customers to return and buy again historically generates more ROI and, on the whole, costs five-25 times less than getting new customers.

Enter retention marketing, the strategy whose core revolves around maintaining existing customers.

But what exactly is retention marketing, and how can it work for DTC brands? In this post, we’ll talk about the fundamentals and best practices to show you how it can help benefit your business.

What is retention marketing and why is it so important?

Let’s start with the basics.

Retention marketing consists of consistent and periodical marketing activities to retain repeat customers and boost ROI.

Like we mentioned above, keeping customers and encouraging them to repeatedly buy from you is largely more profitable than spending money acquiring new customers. This has lead to many (if not most) businesses turning a significant portion of their marketing attention toward developing specific retention marketing strategies.

This is because by rolling out effective customer retention strategies, businesses can not only add more value to the buying journey of their existing customers but turn them into loyal brand evangelists. And having a horde of brand evangelists on your side can have huge positive marketing implications in and of itself.

But let’s go back to the fiscal implications of retaining customers. According to research completed by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by a mere 5% tends to up profits 25-95%. 

This graph by Shopify outlines this concept well:

Retention marketing stats

In the example above, 100 customers are buying a $10 item from each store per month. The store highlighted by the lighter line is retaining 5% of their customers each month, while the darker line retains 10%. That rapid growth illustrated is thanks to just a 5% increase in retention.

And retention marketing isn’t just helpful for increasing profits – it also allows businesses to provide an even better customer experience to loyal customers by offering more value with their products.

Then there’s the flip-side of retention marketing, when businesses ignore their existing customers or focus too heavily on acquiring new ones.

In many instances, this can actually have a negative impact on profits. Because as we’ve established, much of the time the money is in return customers. And according to research performed by marketing platform Super Office, the primary reason customers choose to leave a brand and go elsewhere is because they felt the brand didn’t care about them.

Why do customers leave companies?

This is where the right marketing strategy, one that shows customers they’re valued by a brand, comes into play.

Best practices for successful retention marketing

By now, it should be obvious that retention marketing should be a big focus for brands – but how can it work specifically for DTC businesses?

Here are our top recommendations:

Personalised shipping notifications

Sending timely and personalised shipping notifications is crucial for eCommerce businesses, as it can help strengthen a brand’s connection with its customers. And having a better relationship with customers is fundamental to ensuring they come back to your business.

For example, soon after customers place an order, sending notifications to them confirming the shipping status of their order can help portray your brand as reliable.   

Shipping notifications can also pave the way for increased customer engagement in the future, where you can send more personalised emails.


Educating customers after checkout

Once a customer has purchased from you, they’ve now had an experience with your brand. And even though everything might have gone according to plan, this isn’t always enough to ensure they come back. You need to continue educating them and adding more value to their lives.

Email can be crucial here as, according to a survey by Shopify, email notifications to customers have the highest conversion rate (4.29%). 

Shopify email stats

In an email, you can send product recommendations or tips to existing customers, notify them of new products or convert them into loyal followers of your blog (which will then get them back on your site). This is also where you can show them how your products can help solve their problems, which is one of the most effective marketing strategies brands can employ.

Educating customers


Feedback/review requests 

Asking customers to write reviews is one of the most effective customer retention strategies. It not only gives off the appearance that you’re looking to improve your services, but can be incredibly beneficial to your own credibility as customers are 270% more likely to purchase a product even if it just has as little as five reviews.

And in case that’s not enough reason to ask for reviews, Review Trackers also reported that:

  • 79% of potential customers read reviews to ensure their chosen product or service provides quality
  • 61% of online visitors read reviews to know that a product or service works
  • 53% of customers go through reviews to avoid getting ripped off by a brand
  • 83% of online shoppers find out about new products through reviews every month
Review request


Re-stock messages

Sending push notifications to customers informing them about re-stocked products is another effective retention tactic for fairly obvious reasons – for customers that visited your online store earlier and liked a product but found it out of stock, re-stock messages can bring them back to your website. 

That said, it should be part of your strategy to ensure you actually get the product back in stock fairly quickly, as an organised and timely push notification for re-stocking will show your customers they can rely on you to supply the products they need.

Similarly, getting re-stock notifications means you’ll have a customer’s email details to hand, which will then allow you to employ some of the strategies we’ve talked about earlier. You’ll also have the opportunity to show them similar products or keep them informed about related information and events in the future.

Back in stock email


The bottom line is, effective retention marketing can make customers stay with your brand and help your business sustain and generate consistent revenue. 

The key here is thinking long-term and rolling out practical strategies to keep your customers satisfied, because ultimately, customer loyalty is the foundation of any successful business. 

About Shipping Chimp

ShippingChimp is an eCommerce platform that helps DTC businesses provide customers with accurate, real-time shipping notifications. Featuring dynamic product recommendations, these shipping notifications work to boost the customer experience and increase repeat sales.

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