How to create a customer retention strategy when you’re selling on marketplaces

Customer retention is no easy task, but especially so on marketplaces where you are limited in your marketing endeavors and your ability to follow up with customers. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a customer retention strategy when selling on marketplaces. There are multitudes of sellers and offers on marketplaces, and standing out of this crowd is tricky, but remember why it is important to retain customers: it costs significantly more to acquire new customers, returning customers usually purchase more, and they are more likely to refer other customers to your business.

When creating your customer retention strategy think of it as a plan to show your customers that they can trust you and that they can get amazing shopping experience when they purchase anything from you.


Steps you should include in your customer retention strategy:

  1. Put your shop (or brand) name everywhere

Add it to the title of your listing, in the description, use it as a tag or keyword. This helps you with customer retention, because it reminds buyers of you, and that they (hopefully) had a positive experience last time that purchased something from you, and that in turn incentivize them to repeat that experience and buy something from you again.

  1. Provide detailed descriptions and high-quality photos

You are probably reminded about the importance of good description and product photos constantly, so often that you’re sick of it. Because it’s so obvious, isn’t it? But consider, your product description and pictured you provide are the first and in many cases the only point of contact you have with potential and returning customers. So you need to show off your products the best way and be as explicit in the description as possible.

  1. Deliver excellent customer service

Many merchants ignore this one altogether, relying on the marketplace’s customer service. However, you need to pay attention to your account and any customer service issues that crop up. To the extent that the marketplace allows you to do so, make sure that customers know how to get in contact with your brand specifically, create a robust list of FAQs, and respond to any messages quickly.

  1. Follow up with existing customers

First of all, make sure that your customers are happy with their purchase and overall shopping experience (if they are, indeed, happy, then it’s perfect time to ask them for a review). If there are any issues and concerns – address them, show your customers that you care. Some marketplaces are more open than others in how they let you communicate with customers, but almost always, there will be some kind of option available to you. Use it wisely, thank your customers or offer a discount for their next purchase. The goal here is to separate your shop from the marketplace you’re selling on, so the next time customers come back straight to you.

  1. Interact with your customers on social media

Considering how many time we spend on social media nowadays, this is a sure way to get noticed by new customers and keep in touch with existing ones. Share links to your social channels with your customers, monitor your mentions and reply to them, share promo codes that are exclusive to your social media channels. There are multitudes of options, and the social media craze is not going anywhere.

Sprout Social conducted a study to investigate how consumers communicate with brands. The company surveyed at least a thousand respondents on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter about their expectations for reaching out to brands on social media. As it turns out, consumers view social media channels as a way to communicate with brands, while brands themselves primarily use social media as an outlet for their promotional content. And as the numbers show, many brands fall short of customers’ expectations. 90% of the respondents taking part in Sprout Social study have used social media to communicate directly with a brand, and 73% of them reported that they have had an undesirable experience with a brand on social. Also, 75% of respondents said that they are likely to share a good experience when communication with the brand on social on their own profile. To generalize, customers expect more interaction and information from brands through social media.

Incentives you can offer to your existing customers on marketplaces

While marketplaces limit you when it comes to marketing, you still have options, such as promotions, discounts, and offers of free shipping.

You can offer free shipping, create coupons and social media promo codes on Amazon. 

eBay has Promotions manager tool, where you can easily create discounts on orders and shipping or coupons with unique URLs which you can send to your existing customers.

On Etsyyou can run sales or send offers or coupon codes directly to certain customers.

And don’t forget about inserts! You can send personalized messages thanking buyers for their purchase, printed cards with links to your marketplace stores and to your social media channels, coupons with discount offers on customer’s next purchase, product samples or little gifts. You can find ideas for packaging inserts in our post Packaging inserts ideas for e-commerce businesses.

In summary, show your customers that you care and they will reward you by coming back to your shop 🙂