Insights

10 top UK Shopify Plus agencies reveal their retention tips for 2022

We asked 10 top Shopify Plus agencies to lift the lid on what 2022 holds for eCommerce retention. From SMS and email to loyalty programs and subscriptions, is shaping up to be a crucial year for retention strategies.

Harry Willis
Partnerships Lead - Blueprint

ECommerce retention in 2022 for Shopify Plus

2022 is set to be a big year for eCommerce retention. Online acquisition costs have jumped 60% in the last 5 years, meaning many brands are now winning new buyers at low margins, or even at a loss. 

Faced with this challenge, Shopify merchants are now looking to existing customers as a key source of revenue. And with good reason. Returning buyers are 6x cheaper to convert onsite and spend 3x more at checkout than first timers.

In practice, however, many stores still struggle to move customers from first to second orders, or keep subscription churn low. To find out how brands can unlock their LTV next year, we asked 10 top UK Shopify Plus agencies for their top retention tips for 2022. 

Matt Abbott - Head of Growth, Swanky 

When it comes to retention in 2022, I expect to see more DTC businesses trying to turn customers into loyal brand advocates by using ever more innovative tactics. 

Brands will focus on creating conversations with their customers, engaging them at every opportunity with personalised messaging. This is essential for establishing trust and building long-term brand-advocate relationships.

In addition, implementing a referral strategy is a tried-and-tested method of encouraging satisfied customers to spread the word about your brand and help acquire new shoppers. User-generated content is also a powerful tool for encouraging advocacy as well. 

Matt Abbott - Head of Growth, Swanky 
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Showcasing shopper's reviews demonstrates that a brand cares about its CX and values the time customers take to give product feedback. Not only does this make customers feel heard and respected, but it gives brands a useful insight into their customers which can help them better understand how to grown their advocates.

Swanky is a leading end-to-end Shopify Plus Partner Agency based in the UK and Australia.

Jason Stokes - CEO & Founder, Eastside Co

If your business can utilise a subscription model, it’s a great way to improve customer retention. Subscription increases recurring revenue and, managed intelligently, can free up time that can be spent building the brand in other areas - such as generating new sales or developing your services.

Jason Stokes - CEO & Founder, Eastside Co
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Whether you use a subscription model or not, analysing the data around purchase history allows you to pre-empt when customers might need more products and get in touch with them to help them either buy a product again, or up-sell and cross-sell to other products. Automated emails and SMS are perfect channels for these reminders and can let customers buy with ease.

Finally, don’t forget the basics - always do at least what you promised, and do more when possible. Going above and beyond makes an impression that lasts, and turns customers into repeat customers and evangelists for your business - helping convert others into customers.

A combination of these tactics mean that more of your customers won’t consider moving to a competitor. Not only is staying with you easier, but it’s the best choice for them.

Eastside Co is a full-service Shopify Plus agency based in New York, London and Dubai.


Paul Rogers - Managing Director and Founder, Vervaunt  

Next year I think we’ll see a lot more of the same when it comes to building out more engaging content and sophisticated usage of automated flows (via different integrations, broader usage of triggers etc). The iOS changes will also likely lead to people putting more time into getting content right for different segments, with less room for measurement of open rates, in particular. Things like re-engagement activity will also be harder and will need to rely on other actions.

Paul Rogers - Managing Director and Founder, Vervaunt  
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I also think brands will invest more time into capturing data to counter some of the iOS impact on the paid channels, we’ve also seen this trend.

Beyond the privacy changes and their various impacts - SMS is getting more mainstream in the UK for retention, which is interesting. A number of our clients, who had previously only used for broadcast activity on sales, are starting to see good results here.

Lastly, vendors will continue to broaden out of just email and SMS - most of the providers are starting to release some level of on-site personalisation, as well as other functionality to capture more of the marketing stack. I think this will continue next year and we’ll start to see other new entrants to push Klaviyo a bit harder too.

Vervaunt is a London-based eCommerce and paid media consultancy.


Katy Ray - Head of Growth, Reload Digital

As advertising costs continue to soar, customer acquisition has never been more expensive. We’re currently seeing no sign of these costs declining anytime soon.

Which is all the more reason for brands to step-up their retention strategy. Smart marketers are looking to drive up their customer lifetime value (CLV) in 2022 to counteract the rising customer acquisition cost (CAC). Brands will need to ensure they are keeping a healthy CAC to CLV ratio, determined based on their unique growth targets and cash flow requirements. 

Without considering this metric, brands may fail to scale by limiting investment into new customer acquisition due to thinking it’s not immediately profitable.  And in turn have less new customers who return to buy again or shout to their networks about how great their experience was.

Katy Ray - Head of Growth, Reload Digital
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The other side to rising ad costs are the impact on retention campaigns across Facebook and Google, meaning brands will need to consider tactics that fall outside of these channels to drive retention.

Elevating the brand experience, personalised communication through SMS and email, as well as creating a community through content are all examples that should be feeding into brands' 2022 retention strategies. For more tactics, you can check-out the third chapter of The Perfect eCommerce Customer Journey eBook we put together this year.

Reload Digital is an omnichannel digital marketing agency for eCommerce and retail brands.


Nathan Lomax - Co-Founder, Quickfire Digital 

Once you have the technical fundamentals in place - such as a fast website, a simple, short path to conversion, and rich product pages - it’s time to think about wowing customers to entice them back. Answer questions quickly - customer service is as important as ever so use a platform like Gorgias for super-quick responses.

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Engaging in conversations is also key. Avoid the curse of the unopened, deleted email by talking to customers on conversational platforms like SMS and WhatsApp. Let them know when products are back in stock or you have something new which they might like. 

Not everything has to be digital. A nice little physical gift always brings a smile and will generate positive conversations about your brand. Brands should also go beyond shopping - think QR codes for product demos, live Q&As with your experts, a virtual beer with the founder.

Quickfire Digital is a specialist Shopify & D2C development agency working with clients globally.

Pete Robertshaw - eCommerce Specialist, Space 48 

The subscription economy is booming, in the last nine years, it has grown nearly 6x (more than 435%). By offering the convenience of a subscription you provide customers with the opportunity to regularly experience your brand. It gives you predictable revenue, reduced churn, and higher average order values. You turn one-time purchases into long-term customer relationships.

Are you selling products that require the customer to purchase regular refills? Offer the opportunity for customers to subscribe and save for these additional products. This not only retains the customer on a steady payment stream but allows you to foster ongoing relationships with your customers that keep them coming back.

Pete Robertshaw - eCommerce Specialist, Space 48 
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And if you’re thinking your products don’t require regular refills, well look down one of the many other avenues of subscription categories. Most households now have a paid media streaming subscription, or they subscribe to a paid next-day delivery service. Don’t forget the fast-growing trend of brands offering subscription boxes as well as subscription gifting. There are also subscription memberships for technology and app solutions.

The opportunities really are endless, making subscriptions an eCommerce tactic that is perfect for increasing your retention in 2022.

Space 48 is a leading eCommerce agency based in the UK.


Nathan Abbott - Head of Growth, Underwaterpistol 

Brands need their eCommerce ducks in a row to compete in 2022. The consumer market has adapted to online shopping and it’s now a preferred option for many customers. To retain them, there are 3 key areas to get right: brand authenticity, community and experience.

Whilst working from home, we’ve been brought closer to the people behind our favourite brands through more authentic content. Defining and nurturing your niche, as well as associating with collaborators who share your values, will be rewarded. This is also a great way of building a sense of community around your brand.

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And make sure your tech integrates to deliver an exceptional online experience. We’ve seen brands like Asos and Interflora offering free delivery after paying a one-time sign-up fee. Using loyalty program tools like Yotpo and LoyaltyLion means you can further reward registered customers for shopping with you, or for subscribing to a regular delivery.

Underwaterpistol is a Shopify Plus partner agency helping eCommerce brands to build and grow.

Leighanne Phillips - Head of Commercial, Full Fat Commerce 

One of the biggest challenges with any growing brand is retaining your hard-earned customer base. There are many ways to retain customers, and one of the key areas we are focusing on in 2022 is strategic loyalty schemes.

Leighanne Phillips - Head of Commercial, Full Fat Commerce 
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Loyalty schemes should absolutely form part of your wider ecommerce strategy as customers want to feel valued by the brands they buy from. Successful loyalty schemes require both time and cost investment, but the dividends are worth it.

A well-designed loyalty scheme reflects your brand and values, strengthens authentic relationships with your customers, and helps build your community. Empowering your customers with a strong loyalty scheme not only grows your LTV, but by creating brand advocates who shout your brand name from the rooftops, it brings new customers in at a fraction of traditional acquisition costs.

Full Fat Commerce is a Shopify design and development agency specialising in luxury and ethical brands.


Nic Dunn - CEO, Charle Agency

With eCommerce technologies rapidly evolving, it is paramount for businesses to adapt to trends and stay ahead of the competition with their retention strategies. We at Charle expect customer interaction with brands to be a large part of retention in 2022.

Nic Dunn - CEO, Charle Agency
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Direct conversations between the business and the end customer really strengthen the relationship between the two. A positive experience with regards to support inquiries, personalised product recommendations or a guided shopping experience can be key to building customer loyalty. 

Humans love familiarity and so ensuring these conversations are done well from the get go can really be the difference between customers choosing your brand over others in the future, creating lifetime value which is essential to business success.

Charle Agency is an eCommerce web design agency based in London.


Adam Pearce - CEO, Blend Commerce 

With all the changes to data privacy, 2022 is the time for brands to start collecting more data from new and existing clients. For example, rather than a standard pop up, could you use 2 step pop-ups, conversational pop-ups or quizzes? One of our clients used an onsite quiz by Octane AI that resulted in a 63% completion rate and impressively, a 42% conversion rate.

Adam Pearce - CEO, Blend Commerce 
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From a retention perspective, they now have a whole range of data points (tastes, preferences, lifestyle) that can now be used to create more personalised email and SMS marketing content. By using Klaviyo, custom profile properties can now be used to give more personalised copy and product recommendations, and give the brand a much stronger opportunity to retain customers.

Blend Commerce is Shopify and Shopify Plus store marketing agency based in the UK.


Blueprint is the world’s first SMS & WhatsApp platform powering retention for DTC eCommerce stores.

We help Shopify brands scale LTV with flexible subscription management, intelligent cross-sell and replenishment flows and seamless customer feedback prompts via text. Book a demo to start monetising your existing customers today.

Are you all CAC and no win back?

Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
Senior Customer Experience Manager
,
daring
Are you all CAC and no win back?

Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
Senior Customer Experience Manager
,
daring
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