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Driving eCommerce customer loyalty

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Leveraging personalisation for nuanced experiences and eCommerce customer loyalty

Loyal customers are crucial for any eCommerce business. They’re more likely to make repeat purchases, sing your praises to people they know, and defend your brand if that’s ever needed. 

The eCommerce sector has seen rapid growth in the past decade. This growth gives customers more options than ever. But it also creates a bigger challenge for brands to stand out from the competition and turn first-time customers into repeat customers. That’s why eCommerce customer loyalty is high on the agenda.

Your eCommerce business strategy can be optimised for maximum conversions throughout the customer lifecycle, from acquisition to retention.

Personalisation is an excellent tactic to create a better experience for your customers at every step of their purchase journey, and keep them coming back for more and supporting your brand long-term.

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You’re unique (so are your customers)

Every business is different. We’ll make it our mission to deeply understand your business needs and your audience’s needs.

We’ll tailor our solutions to create even better experiences for your customers and more conversions for you.

Ready to eCommerce growth? Let’s start with an audit.

eCommerce customer acquisition

The first step in creating a loyal customer base is attracting new customers. Your customer acquisition strategy should do three things: 

  1. Attract leads
  2. Nurture these leads until they’re ready to make a purchase
  3. Convert them into customers

An eCommerce customer acquisition strategy can involve a variety of channels, such as organic and paid searches, social media, email newsletters, abandoned cart emails, and more traditional methods such as advertising and promotional events. 

To maximise effectiveness, you should strive to:

Shopify case study

Social commerce for The Merchant Fox 

A key part of customer acquisition is meeting your customers where they are.

Integrating social commerce into your brand’s acquisition strategy is an excellent way to reach new audiences. It’s also a tap on the shoulder for your existing customer base.

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have enormous reach, and shoppers can make a purchase without leaving the platform they’re browsing on. Integrate your inventory for more efficiency and reduced overheads.

When our client, luxury menswear brand, The Merchant Fox, was looking to expand their online presence, we helped them connect their Shopify site to Facebook Business Manager, enabling them to sell their products on both Facebook and Instagram.

Screenshot of The Merchant Fox's Facebook store, linked to their Shopify store

This fully integrated social commerce solution gives customers a more intuitive way to browse and shop with The Merchant Fox, and brings the business even more conversion opportunities. 

How to leverage online marketplaces

Online marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy and Amazon are another excellent route to exposing new customers to your brand.

Although decreasing in popularity with some demographics, marketplaces still make up a sizeable proportion of the eCommerce market. In 2022, 47% of digital purchases worldwide happened on online marketplaces.

When displaying products on marketplaces:

Don’t forget to keep one main source of truth. Integrating marketplaces with your eCommerce inventory will centralise all your orders in one place, eliminating the need to migrate customer details to your website manually.

Automating this part of the process means you have more time to focus on growing your business. WooCommerce offers a range of plugins that can integrate your website with most popular online marketplaces.

WooCommerce case study

Touch points with existing Longreads customers

Longreads, an online publication dedicated to longform writing and journalism, already had a loyal following when they launched their WooCommerce store dedicated to merchandise themed around their work. 

In order to capitalise on this following, the developers who worked on the online store made sure to create a visual design that was consistent with the brand’s existing themes. This created a seamless eCommerce experience that matched the brand’s values and the expectations of its customers. 

Screenshot of Longread's eCommerce store

Longreads reconnects with existing customers through touch points like their email newsletters to promote their new products, along with a weekly curated list of longform reads, daily editor’s picks, and monthly book reviews.

Every time we send a weekly email we get purchases right away. It’s really helpful that we already had the audience!

Kjell Reigstad, Art Director at Longreads

Encouraging more eCommerce conversions

So you’ve attracted a lead, then nurtured their interest in your brand through targeted messaging and personalised content. What happens next?

Conversion is the process of turning a lead into a paying customer. What makes a potential customer want to go ahead with a purchase will vary depending on many factors such as demographics, their needs or mood at the specific time when they’re browsing online, and the type of product or service that you’re selling. 

One element of the eCommerce process that often gets overlooked in conversations about loyalty is delivery. Many businesses focus on order numbers as a key metric of success, but when they neglect the customer experience during shipping and delivery processes, this could prevent future orders.

According to research conducted by ShipEngine, nearly 80% of customers are less likely to shop with a brand again after a bad delivery experience.

Taking the time to implement fast, reliable and affordable shipping — and optimising your delivery processes in line with changing market trends and consumer expectations — helps build trust in your brand, a key component in fostering loyalty.

Cart abandonment strategies

Delivery options have a significant impact on cart abandonment. ShipEngine’s study found that over 84% of consumers would abandon their cart due to a lack of delivery options, and 22% regularly abandon carts at the checkout stage if their preferred option isn’t available.

Diversifying your shipping gives customers more flexibility, and this will most likely be reflected in your bottom line as conversions increase. Things to consider are:

eCommerce customer loyalty and retention

Keeping customers coming back is a top priority for retailers, and for good reason. It’s much more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones. 

The growth of eCommerce and advances in technology have led to higher expectations for retailers to provide a seamless, fast, and transparent customer experience. An experience where an appropriate amount of details are retained, whilst still respecting privacy. And an experience that gives them reasons to return.  

The term ‘customer loyalty’ is often associated with rewards and loyalty programmes. However, studies show that loyalty programmes actually have very little effect on customer loyalty. Instead, online retailers must take the time to find out what matters to their customers, and deliver it in the form of improved products and processes.

So what are the key factors that drive eCommerce customer loyalty and retention?

  1. Delivery quality
  2. Affordability
  3. Customer service
  4. Personalisation
  5. Localisation and cultural differences
  6. eCommerce user journeys

Delivery quality

It only takes one bad delivery experience to turn a customer off shopping with your brand again. Nearly half (48%) of consumers surveyed by ShipEngine ranked delivery quality as one of their top reasons to shop regularly with the same brand.


This is the number one consideration for customers who make repeat purchases from a brand. You should always be looking for ways to optimise your product design and your internal workflows to deliver the best possible value for the consumer.

Interestingly, the ShipEngine study also highlighted a discrepancy between merchants and consumers when it comes to driving loyalty. Although affordable prices rank high for consumers, the merchants surveyed did not place the same importance on it. 

Customer service

No matter how much a customer loves your products, a negative customer service experience can send a previously loyal customer to your competitors.

People are also more likely to talk about bad experiences than good ones, and this may result in damage to brand reputation. You can avoid this by being responsive to customer inquiries, resolving issues quickly and efficiently, and going the extra mile to make sure customers are satisfied.


No two customers are the same, and personalising your interactions shows that you value each individual and pay attention to their needs. According to Evergage, 99% of marketers say personalisation advances customer relationships. 

Use customers names, remember their preferences, and send them special offers on products they’re likely to want, based on their purchase history.

This also means avoiding one-size-fits-all solutions for customers with different needs and circumstances. Keep your communications relevant to each customer.

Localisation and cultural differences

Balance treating customers as individuals with the acknowledgement that they are part of wider communities, each with its own unique culture. Understanding these cultural differences and adapting your offering accordingly builds trust.

As well as cultural differences, it’s important to consider behavioural differences. Different countries have different values when it comes to loyalty. What works in one market may not translate effectively to another.

In order to create a fully optimised sales funnel that encourages eCommerce customer loyalty, you need to deeply understand the market, or markets, that you operate in.

For example, Australia’s relatively remote geographical location and large size means higher shipping costs, both domestically and internationally. In Australia, 90.2% of customers will consider abandoning their cart due to a lack of delivery options.

This means that global brands offering affordable international shipping have the edge over other companies operating in that market, regardless of the quality of their products or user-friendliness of their website.

eCommerce user journeys

The importance of having a functional and user-friendly eCommerce site with multiple payment options cannot be underestimated.

Even if a customer has found a product that perfectly meets their needs, they will only have so much patience when dealing with a website that is slow to load, hard to navigate or keeps crashing. 

You should also make sure your website is responsive to mobile devices. If a website isn’t mobile-friendly, 50% of customers will stop visiting, even if they’re fans of your business. A further 57% of customers say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site to others.

Shopify case study

Auditing the checkout process for SS Great Britain

When our client, Bristol-based tourist attraction SS Great Britain, wanted to boost their national awareness, eCommerce was a key part of their strategy. 

We conducted a UX audit on their Shopify site in order to identify points of frustration, and used the insights gained to evolve and improve their checkout process.

Screenshot of SS Great Britain Shopify store

We looked at accessibility, UX, design and compliance and made recommendations around how they could improve their conversions and eCommerce customer loyalty. 


To recap…

At Atomic Smash, we’re all about the journey. We don’t see the website launch as the end of a client relationship, your site is Always Evolving, so we continue our partnership to help your eCommerce store grow over time

We’ll work with you to understand your needs and goals. And help you optimise your customer journey, from acquisition to retention.

Atomic Smash colleagues looking at print outs and strategising using analysis of conversion data

Let’s take the first step together 

We’ll be right there with you, every step of the way. Check out our services to learn more about how we can help your business grow.

Piers looking at camera in front of an industrial backdrop

Piers Tincknell Co-founder & Managing Director

Monday 7th August 2023