shopify app storeShopify is an e-commerce hosted platform that allows you to easily set up an online store. From custom templates to a secure and reliable online store, everything you need to run an online store is available on Shopify.

They recently made Fast Company’s 50 most innovative companies list in the retail category and are growing fast with more than 20,000 online stores today.

If you can’t find a functionality on the Shopify e-commerce platform, you will sure find it on the Shopify App Store. The app store provides an easy way for retailers to add functionality to their shopping cart to improve business and operations. You will find apps for shipping, marketing, customer service, inventory, reporting, social, and other business needs.

Now Shopify online retailers will be able to add Mineful as a Shopify app to send targeted emails based on customer behavior.

Timing is Everything
Consumers are bombarded with email offers. It is estimated that 15-20% of consumers opt out of email lists mainly due to email frequency. Retailers need to use email as way to engage consumers rather than a channel to send coupons. As any marketer knows, timing of the communication is key. Big retailers like Target understand this and use their own analytical tools to segment their customers and send the offers at the right time. Mineful provides smaller retailers with predictive analytics and segmentation tools that compare with those of the bigger companies.

Content is Still King
Once you know when is the best time to send an email campaign, content is what matters most. Most retailers do not have time to test whether subject line “30% off new t-shirts” or “free shipping on new t-shirts” is more successful. The difference can mean thousands of dollars. Varying the sentences, images, and products offered inside the email is a nightmare if not impossible for any retailer. Mineful allows you to easily create different variations of emails to A|B|C test all your communications.

Advanced Marketing Tools for the Small Retailer
Mineful is a powerful tool to segment customers and optimize your email marketing campaigns. It will sync your Shopify store data and help you leverage your own data to gain a competitive edge.

As with any Mineful account, it is free to try for 14-days. Once set up, Mineful goes on auto-pilot to trigger your campaigns and once it starts measuring responses, it adjusts to deliver the best message to each individual customer.

Quick Example of Email Segmentation
You’re sending an email 30-days after a purchase of a custom t-shirt. Which subject line is best?
A: “25% off your next order”
B: “Free shipping on custom t-shirts”

Mineful triggers these emails 30-days after every purchase of your custom t-shirt. By tracking which shoppers click on each email, our algorithm automatically adjusts to send the best email to each shopper based on their characteristics.

More Benefits for Online Retailers

  • Measure, learn, and improve marketing efforts
  • Repeat what works, dump what doesn’t; clear visibility of email marketing efforts
  • No IT involvement needed; Mineful is in the cloud
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Analytical power to the small business
  • Easily segment your customers based on purchase and customer information
  • Mineful marketers and statisticians at your service

Mineful will continue to share best practices and training and educational materials with Shopify users of Mineful, to help them increase customer retention and repeat sales.

Analytics is a competitive advantage in online marketing. We are happy to partner with such an innovative company like Shopify and make Mineful available in the Shopify App Store.

10 Customer Retention Facts

customer retention studyWhile searching on the internet for a few facts and studies regarding customer retention, I found a list of studies with some interesting stats.

These relate to understanding why customers churn and the monetary benefits of retention. I found others studies specific to e-commerce and how reviews, site performance, and customer service all affect sales and retention. Here are just a few customer retention studies, I’d be interested to know if you find others and post it on the comments below.

10 Interesting Customer Retention Stats

1. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 125% – Bain & Company

2. On average, a company loses between 10% – 30% of its customers every year – McKinsey

3. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20% – Marketing Metrics

4. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% – Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet Murphy & Mark Murphy

5. It costs 6 – 7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one – Bain & Company

6. Customer profitability tends to increase over the life of a retained customer – Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet Murphy & Mark Murphy

7. A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-1 5people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20people – White House Office of Consumer Affairs

8. 68% of customers leave because they think that you do not care about them – Rockefeller Corporation

9. eCommerce spending for new customers is on average $24.50, compared to $52.50 for repeat customers – McKinsey

10. 63% of executives are seeing higher churn rates – CMO Council and Satmetrix

The Science Behind Consumer Habits

A retailer’s best asset are its own customers. Large retailers know this and apply scientific reasoning to convince shoppers to buy from them again. They understand that it is hard to change shoppers’ habits but with the right timing, product offer, and discount they can win shoppers’ loyalty.

Most online shoppers are used to searching for a product, compare prices, and purchase. Although many online retailers can replenish beauty, health, clothing, and office supplies, very few can convert the majority of their buyers to purchase more than once.

It is tough to convince a shopper to buy using email marketing. Consumers’ shopping habits and the way they check email is ingrained in them. The amount of email we receive daily is astonishing, very few get our attention. It is therefore very difficult for any marketer to change what someone is doing and convince them it is time to shop.

As many marketers know, timing is everything. There are some brief periods of time when routines fall apart and a creative and enticing offer for a much needed product can be very successful. Any successful customer retention program to entice customers back into the store needs to understand timing and when the consumer is most vulnerable to purchase your product.

Large retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart are known for their analytical advantage. They collect vasts amount of data for each consumer and have teams of analysts predicting when that ideal time comes when the consumer is ready for their next purchase. Linked to each consumer if not only demographic information like gender, age, marital status, and salary but also purchase information (what type of soap they use, how often they purchase) and interests (political, religious, reading habits, and hobbies).

Scientists and even corporations for many years have been studying habits. Many say that habits work in three phases. First there is a trigger that starts the habit (like “You have new mail”). Secondly, you go through your habit of checking email as you always do. Finally, you may find one message that builds curiosity and provides some kind of pleasure or reward. Data analysts at many corporations (including myself at one point) are paid to find patterns in shopping data and exploit it.

In my experience, at first it started simple. Find out which products are purchased in consecutive order, how long it takes to buy product B after product A is purchase and then provide a list of people who have bought product A so we can market them product B. Other things I worked on was studying coupon redemption by customer segments. If we found out that seniors responded well to this buy one get one free offer, then we looked for all zip codes with high percentage of seniors in them (we even found a nursing home that had its own zip code). By the end of my consulting career, we were predicting with 80% accuracy which customers were likely to disconnect a service and what promotions had the highest success by segment.

Many times retailers do not know what works and what doesn’t. The first figure out the who. Then they will send dozens of variations and understand what sticks and what fails. This process sometimes takes time and creativity to really understand what drives the shopper to click or respond. If you over do it, you will be annoying and disengage the consumer. But when done at the right time (“Aha a coupon for something I’m running out of”), the benefits go beyond that one click. Now that shopper is on your site or store and there you have other ways to entice that shopper to get other things they need.

The art of customer retention is in prediction. Prediction comes when you can send coupons or even content for things you want before you even know you want them. That’s the secret behind consumer habits: timing, prediction, and

Customer Lifetime Value Calculator

At most, how much should you spend to acquire new customers? The answer to that question is the metric called customer lifetime value. customer lifetime value chartCustomer lifetime value is a function of how much on average customers spend a year, the attrition rate, and customer acquisition cost.

Lifetime value is basically how much profit should you expect from a customer during its lifetime. Although you can segment your customers and get more accurate results of lifetime value by location, products purchase, and duration of the relationship, the overall average can give you a good perspective on how much to spend in advertising and marketing for each new lead.

Our research team here at Mineful has developed a useful and free customer lifetime value calculator for you to compute your company’s customer lifetime value. It is very simple to use. Plug in a few numbers and see how the value of your customers change with each variation of the inputs.

The calculator also gives you a perspective on how many customers you are losing per year and how much is that costing your company. It also computes potential improvement; how much benefit you will gain if you improve customer attrition rate by a few percentage points.

Go ahead try it out, regardless of the business you manage, this calculator will be very useful. We’re also interested in hearing your thoughts about it on the comment section below. Isn’t this a nice romantic Valentine’s gift from the Mineful team?

Customer Retention and Lifetime Value Calculator

When to send emails and what words to use

Do you receive 147 emails a day? Do you spend two and a half hours on email every day? According to Boomerang (more about them later), this is the amount of email on average people deal with every day. Their article is very interesting and has a nice info-graphic regarding email usage, read it here:

For me the interesting stats were:
- people recommend sending emails between 5am-7am
- people want to read emails early in the morning or around noon
- words to use: opportunity, demo, connect. words not to use: confirm, join, social,…

I started using Boomerang recently and although the send later is a nifty feature, the one I like the most is the “Remind you if you don’t hear back” feature. This feature has helped reminded me of important follow ups and win new business.

Oh, and thanks for the useful tips on becoming more efficient with email. We’ll need to add a scheduling feature to Mineful and see if customer retention improves more early in the morning than later in the afternoon. I do my online shopping at night, how about you?

Last week I went on a business trip that required renting a car and staying at a hotel. After my trip, I received 3 requests for feedback. As a provider of survey software for e-commerce businesses, I decided to take a look at them. Not surprisingly, these surveys were long, boring, and gave me no incentive to fill them up. But there was one page that had all the information these companies needed from me. This page should have been the whole survey.

best customer satisfaction survey template

The best customer satisfaction survey should have the following characteristics:

  • Short, not more than 5 questions
  • Avoid matrix questions, if you can’t, use only 3 to 4 rows
  • Survey should be mobile friendly
  • Include the likelihood to recommend 7 point scale question
  • Encourage open comments
  • Provide an incentive to be truthful and fill up the survey (e.g. discount on next purchase)
  • Do not ask questions that you know the answer to (e.g. where did you stay, what did you buy)

Given this list of characteristics for a customer satisfaction survey, I’ve created a Mineful survey with two questions. The survey is sent integrated with customer ID so all transaction data is automatically integrated with the feedback. This means that I don’t have to ask them redundant questions therefore shortening the survey and increasing the response and completion rates. It is short, simple, and mobile friendly. Click here to see the example.

Notice a few other things on the example survey. First, it has only the two questions I need: likelihood to buy again and the open comments section. Notice that if you are “Very Likely” to buy from me again, I’ve skipped the “how we can improve” comments question. Also notice that my company’s logo is there, the text is big and bold, and it is easy to take on a mobile device.

If on my next trip I see companies respecting my time and sincerely wanting my feedback and not making me feel like a guinea pig in a research project, I’ll definitely open up and say how I feel and how I think my experience could have been better. Online retailers can use this similar template and automatically send it to their customers a few days after a purchase. This will encourage shoppers to give honest feedback, help you improve any process issues, and increase customer satisfaction and retention.

customer metricsWe’ve written a lot on customer retention, as have many other marketing companies. However, the approach until now has been more strategic rather than hands-on. As an analytical company, we like to roll up our sleeves and share with you a few practical rules to consider when using email marketing for customer retention.

Needless to say, there are a few “rules” that are obvious like controlling email frequency, sending targeted content, and providing valuable content. In this post, will discuss rules in the context of an email marketing rules engine and how it can be used for customer retention and engagement.

Customer retention is any activity that a company does to reduce churn. Any effort made, regardless of the channel of communication and the type of customer, to bring customers back to your online store is called customer retention. From the first communication through the entire lifetime of the relationship, companies must deal with this in a delicate manner. It is not only about the products you sell, but how you manage the relationship with each customer. Especially now in online commerce and online retail, where finding an alternative is relatively easy.

Here are a few points of engagement that you might want to consider when triggering a communication piece with each of your customers. With all the technology around us, it is very easy to measure the success of each communication piece in order to continually improve. As you’ll read, becoming proactive, solving any issues quickly, and surprising your customers will prove to increase sales and retention.

Rewarding customers after $x spent
Most online retailers provide free shipping if you spend say $50, airlines give a free flight after miles accumulate, and sandwich places give you a free sub after you eat 10. The customer then tracks this spending and eagerly waits for their free share. Very few companies reward customer without this tracking behavior. Imagine if you receive a coupon for a free t-shirt on your next purchase of $50 or more. Or if you randomly receive a package for being a loyal customer. This surprise factor can work wonders and increase someone’s chances of referring you and buying more from you.

Targeted offerings for best customers who are not so best anymore
When was the last time that one of your best customers made a purchase? Are they on track to hit their usual sales cycle. If not, they are probably looking at that other website. What if you could detect this and send them an offer they can resist just at the right time? Our research indicates that 60%, that customer goes back to your site and hits that sales goal.

Email offer after 3 days of site visit
One of your customers logs into your site and starts looking at your products. They see your prices and remembered that they might want to compare shipping prices with other providers. You know they were looking for their favorite shampoo. How could you increase your chances that they’ll buy it from you? Convince them. It may be 3, 7, 14, or 30 days depending on your product category, but by giving them a compelling reason at a time when they are ready for a purchase, again, you will see some improvements in customer retention.

React after bad feedback
When you buy something online and something goes really bad like not receiving the product or the product being damaged, most online retailers react quickly. But what if it is something “small” that might be big enough to entice that customer to shop elsewhere? For example, the order took longer than expected, the customer service was not too nice, or the product received was not exactly what I intended but whatever I’ll just stick with it. Now if you trigger a quick survey say 3 days after purchase and react to a not so good feedback provided, the customer will feel heard and might forgive you for his lack of dissatisfaction in that order. That feedback is invaluable since now you can not only make that customer happier, but fix your internal processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

First time buyers sensitiveness
How many people in your shopping cart have only purchased one time? My guess is that it is the majority or at least close to it. These first time purchasers are tricky. First, you don’t know who could potentially become a great customer. Secondly, they might react with an opt out after your third string of mass emails. Customer retention starts here and you need to understand how to treat this customers and personalize the communications you have based on any information you have about them. By testing various message approaches, you can decrease that number easily by 5%, and that tiny percentage means huge increases in sales and the average lifetime value of a customer.

Customer churn is an old business problem. Many online commerce sites focus on lead generation as their companies grow and do not look at customer retention until growth charts start to level off. The sooner you start your customer retention strategy the longer the impact it will have on your sales, cost of acquisition, and time spent on finding new customers.

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