Expand your customers’ lifetime value with these customer retention strategies

Customer retention strategy ideas can be limited to surveys, but if you are looking for some new juicy ideas, here are some worth stealing. After 30+ years running loyalty programs with clients like The Good Guys and ANZ, we’ve found most clients are already working on ways to listen to customers. Here are some other neat retention strategies, based on science, that we use in our customer loyalty programs.

customer retention

A loyalty manager’s dream does look a bit like a Valentine… just sayin’


1. Tell your customers they’re important!

Did you know we spend more if we’re told we’re ‘special’?

I don’t mean this to sound patronizing but this is actually a really easy loyalty tip you can apply now, even before you’ve created ways to prove it! Find a way to tell your customers how great they are.

Try it…

Integrate tiers into your loyalty program. People like to feel like they are a part of an ‘elite’ group and those who are labelled as ‘superior’ consumers tend to spend more.1 It’s because of this subconscious behaviour, that giving customers ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ status means they are more likely to up their spend. Too easy!

“…giving customers ‘gold’ or ‘platinum’ status means they are more likely to up their spend.”

NOTE: The research shows this needs to be believable1. For example, if you tell everyone they are special, and they can’t see that they are a ‘tier’ above the rest, it won’t work. I think of it like dating: if my boyfriend was going around telling every girl how special they were to him, I’d have some questions. 😉 

This nifty piece of science can also be applied to:

  • Nonprofits – tell your randomly selected volunteers that they were invited because they were considered more likely to participate in your campaign.
  • Leads – thank your leads for their enquiry by granting access to exclusive VIP resources or courses.
  • HR – reward your sales team for being ‘the best team you’ve ever had’.
  • Social Media – Reddit points are of no literal value but offer a user ‘status’.
  • VotingThose that were told they were ‘politically active’ were 15% more likely to vote.

It’s amazing how offering a feeling of ‘superiority’ can increase participation.

Measure it:

Gauge your results by split-testing offers and tracking engagement.

When we are labelled as a part of a group, with a label we approve of, we are more likely to adapt our behaviour to suit.


2. Create Bundled Offers

Reduce pain points by minimizing the number of purchase points.

You have probably heard that little saying, ‘no pain, no gain’. It might apply to general life or gym environments but in marketing, we’re all about ensuring there’s, ‘no pain for gain‘.  See, neuroscientists have found people tend to ‘spend ‘til it hurts’, so we want to minimize consumer paint points in order to increase average spend. The smoother a purchase experience is, the more likely the customer will repeat it or refer others. A common marketing trick to reduce pain points by creating bundle offers.


“…neuroscientists have found people tend to ‘spend ‘til it hurts’, so we want to minimize consumer paint points in order to increase average spend.”

In the automotive industry – people are more likely to purchase a bundle of add-ons for their new car, than purchase add-ons one at a time. This is not only because the bundle offers less cognitive hassle but it reduces the number of times the customer has to hand over their dollars.

bundling strategies

Fashion ‘collections’ are a form of bundling!

Fashion ‘collections’ are a form of bundling! This is so the consumer doesn’t have to piece everything together, but there’s a range on offer that fits together. Neat.
Some of the most creative bundle packages I’ve seen are product subscriptions. For example, new dog toys and treats delivered monthly like Olly’s box
What are some of the best bundle offers you’ve seen?

Try it…


  • 2 for 1 deals
  • Pillar purchase options
  • New product offer + previous order. Eg. One of our customers might have ordered 2,000 of our custom eftpos cards. For their next order we may offer 2,000 cards AND a branded activation portal for them to try at a bundled price point.
  • Membership or subscription packages
  • Resource bundles! Eg. research paper + template
  • Create a collection Eg. A Christmas collection, ‘Gifts for her’ collection.
  • Personalised bundles – sales teams can make a prospect feel valued by creating a bundle deal especially for them.


Measure it:

Split test your offers, keep a record of resource download numbers or track average order increase!

What bundled offers can you create that reduces repeat-purchase friction?


3. Give Customers A Head Start!

The biggest obstacles to loyalty program participation can be getting started!

customer retention
There’s a coffee shop down the road from me that has loyalty cards. Trouble is, they’ve never offered me one and I’ve been going there for what seems like an age. They do know me by name. Surely that counts for something right? One day I actually noticed another customer using one and I asked for one. They handed it over, clicked the loyalty card once in acknowledgement of my order… but they didn’t even give me a few extra stamps knowing I’ve been going there for forever. C’mon people! There’s been studies that show giving the customer a few extra stamps helps overcome the first obstacle to loyalty program participation, getting started!2

Imagine how their coffee sales could be sliding, and regular customers drifting, all because their program activation process needs some love.

Try it…


  • Instantly enroll the customer into your loyalty program. (That’s right, make it a convenience like Mecca Cosmetica does so well).
  • Where possible, set-up autocomplete for website sign-up forms
  • Incentivise enrollment like Adairs has been doing lately…

Adairs incentivises loyalty program sign-up by offering product discounts.


Measure it:

How active are your customer lists?

How easy is it for your target market to get onboard your loyalty program?


4. Create Instant Gratification With a Post-Purchase Reward

Create positive post-purchase brand association.

customer retention strategies
A customer has just completed a purchase. The money has left their bank account… it’s moving to yours. Here’s where you want to reduce any pain and create a positive post-purchase brand association. How? Using the wonder of instant gratification. What else?

Try it…

  • Surprise your repeat purchaser by upgrading them to ‘overnight shipping’ as a repeat-purchase reward.
  • Offer convenient package tracking!
  • Discount code for their next purchase, or a friend’s.
  • Free gift wrapping! Who doesn’t like that?
  • Offer handy and related information (eg. ‘ways to style your new dress’, ‘warranty information’. We offer ‘Loyalty Program Management Tips You Can Actually Use‘).


Measure it:

Post-purchase rewards can be a neglected loyalty medium simply because it can take longer to gauge the impact. (Note that also means applying this idea can totally give you an edge on the competition). Review Net Promoter Score, customer lifetime value year on year, as well as average spend.

How can you put a smile on the dial of your customer after payment?


Customer Retention Strategies Can Give You The Edge On The Competition

Your competitors might be so focused on stealing your customers, that if you focus on rewarding your’s, you might end up winning theirs.
To sum these retention ideas up for you…

  • Find a way to tell your repeat customers how great they are.
  • Try bundled offers to make the purchase process easier!
  • Give customers a head start on your loyalty program.
  • Create positive post-purchase brand association.

Give these customer retention strategies a go, and let us know the impact it has on your business!
You might also appreciate: Loyalty Program Management Tips You Can Actually Use
The Most Effective Loyalty Programs
2 The Research Behind Giving Your Customers A Head Start


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