For Business

How to maintain lasting customer relationships through data

Tap into the power of analytics to turn shoppers into your loyal customers.


With the proliferation of tools available to collect customer and traffic data, analyzing and acting on the insights captured can feel a bit overwhelming. Deciding what to do with all that data and where to dig deeper to find new opportunities to engage customers is a common pain point for many online brands.

On the Springboard blog, we’ve covered topics to help you better understand how to connect with customers on your site. Some helpful articles include tapping into the needs of common shopper archetypes, building brand loyalty, and customer segmentation strategies to help you engage shoppers more effectively.

So, how do you turn data and insights into new techniques to cultivate customer relationships? We asked ecommerce expert Katie Davis, Associate Director for Retail Marketing at Buy with Prime Partner agency Power Digital, to outline some easy and effective strategies for using data to build lasting customer relationships.

Step 1: Start triangulating all your data.

Most ecommerce businesses have multiple data sources, whether it’s information from Google Analytics, third-party plug-ins, platforms like Shopify, or integrations like Buy with Prime, so you need to start by triangulating all your data in one place. Once you have it gathered centrally, you can begin the critical process of separating it out into different cohorts.

“The biggest opportunity—and also the biggest miss—for some brands is treating all customers the same,” says Katie. “Without that data, what you’re doing is really just throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks.”

Step 2: Separate new users from return users.

Katie recommends separating your data into “two of the most simple and straightforward customer cohorts there are: new users and returning users.”

Knowing whether a shopper is visiting your site for the first time or is a repeat customer and where they’re coming from, is critical to strengthening customer relationships over time.

Step 3: Understand new and return user behaviors.

Once you’ve identified new shoppers and returning customers, take a look at how long they stay on your site, what pages they explore, and where they exit. These are useful signals to help inform your site optimization strategies.

“Clicks are great and impressions are great, but if you’re getting tons of traffic to the site that bounces immediately either because they didn’t intend to be there or didn’t like what they saw, that’s not impactful for the brand overall,” Katie explains. “You might be getting a lot of eyeballs, but you’re not getting eyeballs that matter and move the brand forward.”

Step 4: Dial in on conversion rates for new and return customers.

“We know that to grow a business over time, you either need to have more customers that buy the same products or need to grow the volume of customers that buy more products,” Katie says. “So, there are two paths forward.”

When it comes to developing marketing programs designed to serve the needs of your customers, you need to learn the nuances between these two cohorts and track behavioral changes over time.

“When customers interact with your brand or make a purchase, whether it’s the first time or the 85th time, what are they buying? How often are they buying, and in what quantities are they buying?” Katie asks. “If you can understand your first-time customer compared to somebody who’s bought before, that’s when you can start to develop a strategy across different marketing channels that speaks to the unique needs of different customers, increasing the potential to turn a new customer into a returning one.”

As you dig into the data and improve your understanding of the types of customers coming to your site, you’ll have a better sense of how to improve the way all types of customers experience your brand.

“If we’re engaging a full marketing program that has four or five different channels, whether they’re paid or organic channels, we want to understand how that new customer cohort compares to the returning customer cohort across each of those channels,” Katie says.

Step 5: Engage cohorts across channels.

Once you’ve turned a new shopper into a customer, the next step is to get them to come back. “That’s where you really want to understand feedback,” she explains. “Find out if they liked the product, if they had a good experience or not.”

Katie recommends sending a follow-up email to see if they enjoyed the product or experience. “Hopefully everybody who purchases from your brand loves it right away, but we know that sometimes it isn’t the reality,” Katie notes. “Shoppers can be a bit less brand-loyal these days than we hope they’d be.”

To drive a second purchase, you can incentivize customers with loyalty programs that are built into your site. For example, subscription programs, unique discounts or rewards, coupons and promotions, and offers like free shipping specifically tailored to customers who’ve only made one purchase can be a great way to drive second orders.

Through data, you can find a sweet spot for maintaining a relationship with loyal, repeat customers by identifying and repeating the most effective tactics of your email and social marketing efforts.

Step 6: Build and nurture relationships.

Buy with Prime gives you control of your customer data on all Buy with Prime purchases, empowering you to build and nurture direct relationships with customers. Using customer and order information, including email addresses, you can run powerful remarketing campaigns and deliver better customer service.

“With the ability to incorporate customer emails captured from Buy with Prime orders into a larger customer relationship management (CRM) system, for example, you can add them into a wider customer list for subscriptions and notifications, and things like universal holidays, including Prime Day and Cyber Monday,” Katie says.

Katie points out that Prime members tend to exhibit slightly different purchasing behavior and interactions than other shoppers, so using synced metadata to tailor your messaging with familiar signals like Buy with Prime badging on social ads is a great way to remind potential customers what you offer.

“It’s a great capability,” Katie says. “Buy with Prime offers a familiar shopping experience. It can have a positive impact on customer lifetime value, and we’ve seen a significant increase in click-through rates, engagement, and conversions with the badging.”

You can also use Buy with Prime data to enhance your Google or Meta ads through lookalike targeting. You can take that information about customers who have been exposed to or purchased through Buy with Prime and adapt it into a wider social strategy. “With that base audience you can create lookalike audiences through these different platforms and attract people that have similar attributes to the Buy with Prime customers on your site,” Katies says. “It’s a great way to expand your audience even further by bridging the gap between people who may be interested in Prime and people who might be interested in your brand.”

Step 7: Optimize your omnichannel marketing.

You can make more strategic decisions when you understand how your customers are engaging across different marketing channels.

“Rather than running siloed campaigns across organic and paid channels and hoping for the best, use your data to understand the click paths or conversion paths between your sales channels so you can make incremental, granular optimizations that improve engagement and conversions,” Katie says.

Try to find out whether your customer is new or returning, how much time they spend on your site, what they buy, how often they buy, and how much they buy. This information can give you actionable insights that you need to cultivate long-term relationships.

Knowing the touch points of how customers engage with your brand across marketing channels provides insights to help you to refine your strategy for acquiring new customers and keeping them.

Learn more about Buy with Prime.

Kelby Johnson