If you were to rank the Top 10 ecommerce positions, we bet nowhere on that list would you find a Retention Manager. And that means you are losing opportunities to significantly increase revenues.


Every company we’ve dealt with has been obsessed about getting new customers. But many forget about the ones they have. Even though the cost to acquire a customer is much higher than to get a repeat purchase. So when a company tells us that they need to drive more traffic to increase sales, we start by looking at their existing customer base.

Retention Equals Results

Let’s say you sell cars. While most of your customers won’t buy a new car each year, you could be selling them car seats, floor mats, winter tires, wiper blades or service packages if you knew them better. That’s retention. And it’s probably the biggest thing your company is missing.

A Retention Manager determines who your customers are and how to segment them. We call it RFM Analysis: Reach, Frequency and Monetary. After breaking it into these 3 buckets it can be refined further by dividing them into quarters to identify your top 25%, then your 2nd, 3rd and 4th best. When done, you’re list will typically look something like this:


These are the people who buy most frequently and spend the most money. How are you rewarding them? How do you market directly to your MVPs?

Loyal Joes

They may not spend a lot of money, but they always buy. When are you talking to them?

Discount Hunters

These people only buy when there’s a discount. What are you sending them?

Never Mores

These are people who used to be awesome but never buy anymore. Or they might be people who used to be awesome who are moving to never buy. How do you stop them before they never buy again?

Take the example of the guy who goes to the gym all January, then begins to fade off in February, and by March isn’t showing up at all. You could talk to him at the end of January and give him an incentive to continue through February. Then check up on him at the end of February. You can preempt the move to never buy again by knowing his particular habits and addressing them in a creative, proactive way.

A Retention Manager will determine who your customers are, what segment they occupy and can help your creative team build specific campaigns to address each segment. They would develop strategies to address how often that segment is hit and the time of year they get hit.

But what can you do in the meantime if your tightfisted CFO won’t approve the new hire? Plenty. Begin by communicating to your existing audience. Say thank you. Ask them how they enjoyed your product. Ask for referrals. Invite them to check out all of the people who bought what they bought and see what they’ve been doing. Encourage them to share their product experience with you.

Something is Better Than Nothing

Obviously, for improved ROI it’s important to segment your list and devise specific strategies attuned to the wants and desires of your customers. But it’s still better to send some emails, rather than none, even if it’s simply one email to the whole list. Because something will bite. You’re not going to have super high conversions. But you are guaranteed to miss 100% of shots you don’t take.

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Written by Rik Klingle-Watt

About the author

Rik Klingle-Watt is a soulpepper and the writer of Not Business as Usual, an award-winning documentary about disrupting the business quo.

soulpepper is a digital marketing agency on a mission. We help companies that are up to something good, increase leads, attract more customers and drive more dollars to their bottom line. Check out our newsletter for more great ideas on how to build your ecommerce empire.