Awhile back the idea of “mobile-first” websites started to grow.

It meant a change in how websites are build. Instead of building a website for a regular desktop user and then trying to shrink it all down to fit on a phone, developers would build the phone-sized system first and then scale it up for the desktop.

Mobile-first ended up creating better mobile websites and made desktop websites quite usable as well.

With my head deep in customer analysis and retention, I’ve been wondering if Shopify stores should take on a “retention-first” mindset.

Get your base store started and take the time you’d spend on customer acquisition and move that into customer retention instead.

Instead of worrying about SEO, ads, and growing a social audience you’d focus on customer email campaigns, remarketing, and loyalty benefits.

Get your Repeat Purchase Rate or other retention metrics up near the high-end and only then start to focus on acquiring new customers.

If those new customers drive the retention down, say from low-quality traffic, optimize that channel or cut it back.

A store with a large existing customer acquisition flow might have a hard time switching to this mindset. Just like how website developer found it hard to bolt-on mobile first to existing websites.

You could still shift priorities though.

Replace any planned new customer acquisition projects with retention projects. Setup retention goals and metrics (using Repeat Customer Insights to get a baseline and track your progress). Put more resources and funding into maintaining retention campaigns.

Retention-first would be an interesting paradigm shift. Even if you can’t reach perfection, striving for better retention would pay-off in spades (and dollars too, or whatever your payout currency is).

Eric Davis

Use cohorts to find out who the best customers are in your Shopify store

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Repeat Customer Insights will automatically group your customers into cohorts based on when they first purchased. This will let you see how the date customers bought would impact their behavior.

Install Repeat Customer Insights for Shopify