How to win your online customers back

January 19, 2016

Keeping customers coming back to purchase from you time and time again is one of the key challenges to running a successful ecommerce businesses – but what do you do when they start to shop elsewhere?

We take a look at some proven strategies for winning back your online customers, so you can maximise revenues and grow your profits.

Identify who to target 

For most ecommerce businesses, it simply isn’t cost-effective to target every single lapsed customer in the same way. Before we start, it’s important to determine who the best customers were, by working out the value of each lapsed customer.

One of the best ways of doing this is through the RFM method. There’s a lot available online about RFM, but in essence, it stands for:

  • Recency – how recently they made a purchase
  • Frequency – how often they made a purchase
  • Monetary value – how much they spent

By looking through your records, you’ll be able to identify your best customers – so you know who to invest more on when targeting your lapse list.


Sometimes, all it takes for a customer to re-engage with your business is for you to reach out and contact them. Sending a ‘win-back’ e-shot is one of the easiest ways to do this.

When creating your e-shot for lapsed customers, it’s sensible to tailor it as closely as possible to the individual. This might involve providing a special offer on a product they bought or showed an interest in, or giving them some exclusive news about some upcoming products or ranges.

In the short term, integrating a cart-abandonment e-marketing campaign will help to catch site visitors who could have become customers, but fell through the cracks.

Social media advertising 

Using the tailored/custom audience tools on Twitter and Facebook is a great way to target people via email address or phone number – making it ideal for getting in front of your former customers.

It also works on hashed customer data, so you can target customers long after their last purchase from your store.

Targeted PPC 

Google’s new customer match advertising option means that now, you can directly target lapsed customers through your PPC campaign. Obviously, this can get expensive, so it’s best to only target the most important and valuable lapsed customers via this method.

When creating PPC campaigns, follow the same guidelines as with the e-marketing – make your ads as targeted as possible to the individuals, and make them feel special, by offering them a discount offer or something exclusive.

Display re-targeting 

Display re-targeting is another great way of targeting ‘might have been’ customers, who visited your site and browsed through items, but didn’t end up purchasing from you.

Of course, it relies on cookies, so it’s a short-term measure, but view-through conversion rates do tend to be good. To be safe, it’s best to set a control group of customers who you don’t re-target at all, so you can get a reasonably accurate measure of its impact and effectiveness.

Luke Hodgson

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