Consumer retention is a very important goal and objective that will make or break your eCommerce site.  I think though that attraction is a much better word for the goal and objective.  Retention implies that you have the consumer on your site and you are working to make sure that the consumer does not leave the site.  Attraction however implies that the consumer has not reached your site, either left or has never been on your site, and you are working to give the consumer a reason to visit your site.  I think one of the key differences between the two phrases is that retention is the act of interesting the consumer in remaining on the site until they make a purchase and attracting is the act of luring the consumer to return to the site. 

I understand, and agree, that this can be a much too simplistic view of the two actions, and I am providing and defining this view to make a point.  My point is that the success and continued growth of your eCommerce site depends on both acts; of interesting the consumer to remain until they complete a purchase and then luring the consumer back for future purchases.  The attraction aspect requires a great deal of imagination and creativity to continuously keep your name in the view of consumers and generate the interest to shop.  Let’s face it, the price is probably the initial lure and then the collaborative social aspect and the value of the services will keep the consumer returning. 

There are two aspects to the consumer attraction that you must also take into account:

  1. The initial attraction, or lure, that brings the consumer to the site.  This is generally achieved via advertising of some sort such as Google ad spaces, or email, or Groupon even.  The method of initial attraction must be easy to act upon and also interesting and timely for the consumer.  This means a regular ‘grind’ of advertising to catch the consumer at the point when the consumer realizes the need.  After the need is identified by the consumer it must be easy for them to act on that ad and purchase.
  2. The on-going attraction that encourages the consumer to return to the site.  This is where the collaborative and social aspects must be incorporated on top of the base advertising activities to encourage the consumer to return.  Maybe these are requests for product ratings, or maybe these are requests to respond to other consumer questions, or maybe these are points memberships programs that provide added value after so many purchases.  The objective is to create the habit for the consumer to return to your site.

You can see that both of these retention activities are closely related and enhancing the other’s actions.  This is the point, you must encourage and attract the consumer to return and frankly the consumer has been educated to react to these value added activities.             


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?