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eCommerce Customer Acquisition vs Retention

February 02, 2022
3 Min Read
eCommerce Customer Acquisition vs Retention

What Is Customer Acquisition?

When analyzing customer acquisition vs retention, it’s important to distinguish between the two. First, we have customer acquisition which involves all of the steps that an eCommerce or brick and mortar business takes to attract new customers and convince them to purchase. Customer acquisition involves spending both time and money in figuring out which inbound and outbound strategies work best in attracting customers to your business.

Pro: Growing your business! Customer acquisition is absolutely necessary for businesses of all sizes to expand and cater their products or services to numerous audiences. New customers means there’s an opportunity to sell more!

Con: The cost. Implementation of customer acquisition strategies costs businesses a lot of time and money. This is due to the fact that acquisition efforts require consistent outreach to potential customers through various outlets such as social media, content, email, paid advertising and more. Lead generation efforts can be exhausting especially when businesses don’t see the results they want.

The rate at which merchants acquire new customers varies based on each business and its vertical, so finding the right strategy that works may take some time - and that’s okay. Below, we’ve outlined some strategies to help your eCommerce store attract new customers and accelerate the purchase decision process.

Customer Acquisition Strategies

Content Marketing

Creating valuable content as part of your inbound marketing strategy is one of the best ways to acquire new customers. Determine the buying behaviors of your target audience, and cater your content to meet their needs. Diversify the platforms you share content to, and be sure to create various forms of content such as articles, videos, podcasts and more.

Paid Social Advertising 

Paid media advertising is extremely beneficial for B2C and B2B businesses as there are many advertising formats and options available on social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn are a few social platforms that are proven to increase visibility and help your company convert new customers. Do some testing to see which platforms have the highest conversion rates, and then optimize your strategy to focus on the platforms that are driving results.

Paid Search

Similar to paid media advertising, paid search is a useful customer acquisition strategy. In fact, PPC was ranked as one of the top three best channels for high-volume leads in 2020, according to Formstack. Get your content in front of your target audience and increase brand awareness using paid search.

What Is Customer Retention?

To help you better understand the differences between customer acquisition vs retention, we’ll now be going over what retention means and a few strategies you can implement today. Unlike how customer acquisition focuses on attracting new customers to a business, customer retention involves all the activities that a brand carries out to motivate existing customers to return and purchase again.

Pro: Retention doesn’t cost as much as acquisition. In fact, it costs 5x less to retain existing customers than it does to acquire new customers. On top of that, loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers. Since the customer already exists, it’s much easier to market to and engage with them compared to prospects that have had no experience with your brand.

Con: If you think of a downside, let us know. There aren’t many cons to retaining existing customers. The longer a customer is loyal to your brand, the less the maintenance of that customer-brand relationship will cost.

Customer Retention Strategies

Retargeting Ads

Retargeting advertising began in display advertising, but it’s now prevalent on social platforms, too. Have you ever looked at a product online, didn’t purchase it and then noticed it on other areas of the internet? This is retargeting advertising, and it involves using a cookie to track your website visitors and customers and setting up specific parameters to target people who view a specific product or page but didn’t convert. It’s a great way to win over customers who have a shared interest in purchasing from your brand.

Email Marketing

Did you know that 72% of people prefer to receive branded content through email as opposed to any other channel? Email marketing is one of the highest-converting channels for eCommerce merchants, and it’s vital to include in your customer retention strategy. Use email to send product recommendations based on customer behavior or abandoned cart reminders.

Loyalty Programs 

Last but not least, we have eCommerce loyalty programs. Show your customers that you appreciate their loyalty by creating a program that provides value and rewards them for their purchases. There are various types of rewards programs out there, so get creative and start showing your customers that their loyalty matters.


This blog is not comprehensive as there are a ton of other customer acquisition vs retention strategies to implement. What may work well when it comes to engaging customers for one business will not always work well for another business. That’s why it’s important to test and find the strategies that generate qualified leads and make your business thrive.

Hopefully this blog has helped you better evaluate customer acquisition vs retention. If you have any questions about eCommerce marketing or lead generation, please reach out to our team through the form below. We’ll be in touch!

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About the author
Internal Marketing Manager

Spencer Flaherty is an eCommerce blogger who loves exploring the latest trends and technologies in the industry. From chatbots to virtual reality, they cover it all.

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