Modern consumers are fickle, and building customer loyalty can be difficult because their attention gets pulled in many directions. That should come as no surprise when they’re bombarded by thousands of ads every day. 

However, the attention span of many brands isn’t much better. Studies have found that while 44% of companies prioritize acquisition, only 18% focus on retention. Those stats are striking when you consider the fact that current customers are willing to spend up to 67% more than those new to your brand. 

So while consumers are being distracted by other brands, brands are being distracted by other consumers. Unless you’re selling butter, it’s time to stop churning so hard and start working on your customer win-back strategy.

What Is a Customer Win-Back Strategy?

A customer win-back strategy is a marketing program that focuses on re-engaging lapsed customers. As a marketer, your goal is to extend their journey with your brand and increase their overall lifetime value.

In the retail world, it may be tempting to think up strategies solely in terms of offering discounts or new products for purchase, but don’t be too hasty. The first step in your strategy might not result in an immediate sale but will yield big returns down the road.  

Top 4 Customer Win-Back Strategies to Implement in 2024

Check out these four top tactics for giving your customers the value and personalized attention they deserve:

1. Engage Customers through Feedback

Take initiative and engage your active customers rather than waiting for them to become inactive. For example, if your customers are considered inactive at 90 days after purchase, get in touch at 45 days. 

One of the best ways to do this is by requesting feedback. Everyone has opinions, and most people will gladly share their thoughts and feelings if given half a chance. So give them the chance! 

How to engage customers through feedback

1. Know what you want: First, figure out what feedback you’re going to request. Following are a few examples to get you started, but your strategy will vary by use case:

  • “Would you recommend this product to family or friends?”
  • “How would you rate how easy it is to use our [product, website, mobile app, customer support]?”
  • “What other products or services would you like to see from us?” 
  • “Please consider reviewing your purchase and overall experience with us.” (We’ve previously offered advice on how to make the review process seamless.)

2. Pick your channels: Next, plan the channels you’ll use to make the request. Email is the most common and easiest option, but consider using multiple channels. SMS and direct mail can be highly effective if you have that contact information in your CRM. If you’re incentivizing the feedback, mention what you’re offering to sweeten the deal.

Customer Review Satisfaction Feedback Survey on Mobile Phone

3. Finally, always follow up: After you receive feedback, thank your customer via email and give them a much-deserved reward, such as loyalty points, discounts, or new product samples. If for any reason the feedback was negative, address the matter immediately — ignoring it can worsen the relationship, but addressing it can turn a bad experience into an opportunity for your brand to shine. 

2. Win Back Website Visitors with Retargeting Ads

Just as physical stores need foot traffic to survive, websites need web traffic. Retargeting ads play a pivotal role in this process. They help get customers who are already warm to your brand back to your store and shopping once again. 

How to win back customers with retargeting ads

  1. Match the ad to the visitor: You want to get shoppers back to your digital doorstep, but you don’t have to throw them straight back to the checkout. This is especially true if your visitors showed lower levels of activity in your store. Your retargeting ad could lead to a product, but consider directing them to a relevant podcast, upcoming event, or blog post.
  2. Personalize your creative: You can make sure they know the ad is tailored just for them, too. The ad will be extra tempting if it focuses on products and articles that are closely related to their purchase history. Consider offering an exclusive promotion or opportunity just for returning customers. 
  3. Tackle key objections: Did a hot customer visit one of your product pages multiple times, add the item to their cart, then bounce before buying? There are some objections here that need to be addressed. Use the copy and visuals in your retargeting ad to highlight the pain points your product solves, or key selling points you know customers love. 
  4. Offer free shipping? Shout about it: In the age of Amazon, your customers expect your shipping to be fast, and they expect it to be free. In fact, the mere thought of shipping fees is enough to hold some customers back from beginning checkout. If you offer free shipping, mention it in the headline of your ad, and consider adding it below the “Add to Cart” button on your product pages, too. 
  5. Review your landing pages: Before you launch your ad, take a critical look at the web content you’re promoting. Ensure that it’s up-to-date and easy to use. (We put together a list of tips that can help make your website more engaging.)

3. Invite Inactive Customers to Your Loyalty Program

When you host a party but don’t invite your old friend Jill, how likely is it that Jill will attend the party? It’s highly unlikely, right? 

The same is true for your loyalty program.

How to get inactive customers into your loyalty program

  1. Segment your customers: If you can identify a segment of inactive customers who haven’t joined your program, you might just uncover a goldmine for your win-back efforts. These individuals might not be aware of the program, or if they are, might not realize the value they’ll receive in exchange for their loyalty
  2. Market your loyalty program: Send your customers an invitation that’s too good to miss, educating them about the benefits and offering an incentive for signing up. 
  3. Gather feedback and fine-tune: Better marketing will help get more members into your loyalty program, but there might be a segment of customers who are already in the program, but not overly engaged by it. So, if you have inactive members of your customer loyalty program, consider requesting feedback on their experiences. It’s possible the loyalty points may be too difficult to accumulate, the rewards might need updating, or the email cadence may need adjustment. 

Pro tip: If you don’t have a loyalty program in place, you’ll be inspired by these 5 examples of successful programs from brands like Starbucks, Meijer, and more.

4. Woo Customers with Special Offers

As we’ve already shown, you don’t have to start your customer win-back strategy with a discount, but it’s always an option!

An effective option, in fact, especially when you’re near or beyond the point where the customer falls into the inactive category. Your promotion might be the saving grace, that one last enticement that brings customers back to your doorstep or website.

How to win back customers with special offers

  1. Tailor your offers: 2019 called – they want their cookie-cutter discounts back. To win back more customers, try to personalize the incentive to match each customer’s interests and spending habits. Personalized offers are far more tempting, not to mention more effective at increasing revenue
  2. Leverage FOMO: “I want to buy, but why now?” Let’s answer that question for your customer. Nobody likes missing out, and that’s especially true when it comes to saving money. By putting a time limit on your winback offer, you’ll show your customer that you want them back, but that you’re not going to wait forever. This might just be enough to light a fire under your customer’s cold feet. 

To Be a Brand Leader, Make Your Best Moves

If you want to create a journey for your customers and win their loyalty for the long haul, it takes more than a simple, never-ending cycle of Purchase > Promote > Purchase > Promote. That’s basically the equivalent of two inexperienced dancers doing the side-to-side shuffle, and it won’t compare well against modern brands that are leading their customers through an elegant tango of engagement

Your customer win-back strategy is a valuable, revenue-generating engine, and it should include all the choreography necessary to make a real impact on your bottom line.

For great stories about how top brands are serving up campaigns that keep customers hungry for more, don’t miss the customer loyalty category of our on-demand Retail Revival.

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