22 Proven Strategies to Increase Customer Retention

Kanishka Thakur
July 10, 2024
16 mins


Have you ever wondered why some brands manage to keep their customers coming back? It's not just luck—it's strategy.

Successful customer retention hinges on more than just meeting basic expectations; it's about creating exceptional, memorable experiences that resonate deeply with consumers.  

Implementing various strategies such as gamification, personalized experiences, and effective communication can turn occasional users into lifelong customers. Let’s learn these 22 proven strategies to discover how you can turn every purchase into an opportunity for lasting loyalty.

Why is Customer Retention Important for Your Business?

Customer retention is vital for any business because it ensures long-term success and profitability. Keeping existing customers is often more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, as loyal customers are more likely to make repeat purchases and spend more over time. They also become brand advocates, spreading positive word-of-mouth and attracting new customers organically. 

Research by Neil Patel reveals that the probability of selling to an existing customer ranges between 60% to 70%, while the chance of converting a new prospect stands at a mere 5% to 20%. 

This indicates that businesses are at least 40% more likely to secure repeat purchases from existing customers compared to first-time buyers. Additionally, existing customers are 50% more inclined to try new products than new or prospective customers. Significantly, 80% of future profits are expected to come from just 20% of current customers, underscoring the importance of nurturing and retaining your existing customer base. 

Strategies to Increase Customer Retention

1. Create a Strong Onboarding Experience

Nudge’s onboarding feature

Creating a strong onboarding experience is key when learning how to retain customers. It makes new users feel welcome and helps them understand how to use your product right from the start. The aim is to make this learning process interesting and reassuring, showing users that your product will make their lives easier or solve their problems.

Example: The popular fitness app Strava excels at onboarding. When new users sign up, Strava uses a series of engaging, easy-to-understand prompts that help them start tracking their workouts immediately. 

This approach not only simplifies the setup process but also quickly shows new users how Strava can enhance their fitness routines, making them feel supported and motivated right from the beginning.

Also read: 25 best user onboarding examples with best practices

2. Walkthroughs for Feature Introduction

Nudge’s walkthrough feature

Introducing features through walkthroughs helps in understanding how to retain customers and help them fully understand and fully utilize your product's capabilities. This approach involves guiding users step-by-step through the various functionalities of your product, ensuring they know how to use them effectively right from the beginning.

Example: When new users join, Duolingo presents walkthroughs for each of its features, such as setting daily goals and engaging in language exercises. 

These walkthroughs methodically demonstrate how to maximize the app’s functionalities, allowing users to quickly understand and utilize the tools available. By clearly showing new learners the ropes from the get-go, Duolingo ensures that users feel equipped and confident, fostering ongoing engagement and retention.

This method not only educates users about the product but also reduces the initial overwhelm of learning a new tool, encouraging them to explore its full potential on their own.

3. Provide a Personalized Customer Experience

"Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers. It’s all about personalizing the experience to meet their needs, not the other way around."

—--Seth Godin, Author and Entrepreneur

Providing a personalized customer experience means tailoring interactions and content to meet the specific needs and preferences of each user. This strategy can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by making users feel understood and valued.

Example: Consider Netflix, which personalizes viewing experiences by recommending shows and movies based on each user's preferences. 

This approach makes users feel valued and understood, increasing satisfaction and loyalty. Netflix's tailored recommendations keep viewers engaged and more likely to continue their subscriptions.

4. Use Gamification and Referral Programs

Incorporating gamification and referral programs into your customer retention strategy can greatly enhance engagement and loyalty. Gamification involves using game-like elements in non-game contexts, such as earning points, badges, or rewards for completing certain activities. Referral programs, on the other hand, reward existing customers for bringing new users to your service or product.

Example: Take Starbucks as a prime example. Their "Starbucks Rewards" program effectively incorporates gamification by allowing customers to earn stars for purchases, which can be redeemed for free drinks and other perks. 

Additionally, Starbucks enhances customer engagement through referral incentives, offering rewards like bonus stars when a referred friend makes their first purchase. This combination of gamification and referral rewards not only boosts customer loyalty but also encourages continuous interaction with the brand.

5. Implementing Challenges to Boost Activity

Challenges example screenshot from Nudge

Implementing challenges within your product is an effective way to boost user activity and engagement. Challenges motivate users by setting goals

For instance, daily reminders can nudge users to log in and participate, while progress trackers visually show how close they are to achieving their goals, enhancing their commitment and enthusiasm.

Example: Fitbit excels in this approach by offering challenges that motivate users to meet daily or weekly fitness goals. 

With progress trackers and daily reminders, Fitbit keeps users engaged by showing their achievements and nudging them towards new milestones. This strategy not only boosts activity but also enhances user loyalty through a continuous sense of accomplishment.

6. Encouraging Streaks to Build Habits


Encouraging streaks is a powerful strategy to build user habits by rewarding continuous engagement. This method leverages the psychological principle that consistency in an activity can foster habit formation, making it more likely for users to stick to your product.

Example: Snapchat effectively employs this strategy by rewarding users for maintaining daily communication streaks with their friends. The app encourages users to send snaps to their friends every day and tracks their progress with a visual streak counter. 

As users extend their streaks, they earn rewards and unlock special emojis, reinforcing their commitment to daily interaction. This consistent engagement helps solidify communication habits, enhancing user retention and deepening their connection to the app.

7. Gamified Referrals to Expand Reach

Gamified referrals

Using gamified referrals is a strategy that makes sharing your product fun and rewarding. This involves adding game-like elements to the referral process, such as earning points, unlocking achievements, or gaining access to exclusive features when users invite friends to join.

Example: Trello is a standout example of using gamified referrals to expand its reach. By offering a free month of Trello Gold for every friend a user invites who then signs up, Trello turns the referral process into a rewarding game. 

Each successful referral not only benefits the user with additional features but also brings a sense of achievement and progress, encouraging more sharing. This strategy effectively increases user engagement and rapidly grows Trello's user base.

8. Awarding Coins for Various Actions

Collection of coins on task completion

Awarding coins for various actions is a straightforward way to engage users and encourage them to interact with your product more frequently. This strategy involves giving virtual currency for actions such as completing tasks, achieving goals, or participating in events, which users can then redeem for rewards.

Example: The mobile fitness app Sweatcoin exemplifies this strategy by converting user’s physical steps into virtual coins. Each step a user takes is tracked and rewarded with coins, which can then be redeemed for goods, services, or donations to charity.

This incentivizes users to remain active and engage with the app consistently, turning routine activities like walking into rewarding opportunities. Sweatcoin's approach not only boosts user interaction but also promotes a healthier lifestyle, enhancing the overall value of the app.

9. Interactive Quizzes to Increase Knowledge

Engaging quizzes for customers

Interactive quizzes are an effective way to increase knowledge and engagement among users. By incorporating quizzes related to your product or industry, you can make learning about your offerings fun and interactive, while also reinforcing important information.

Example: BuzzFeed effectively uses interactive quizzes to boost engagement and knowledge. Their quizzes cover topics from pop culture to personal preferences, making learning fun and engaging. This strategy not only retains users but also subtly educates them, enhancing their connection to the brand.

This approach not only makes the learning process more engaging but also helps users feel more confident about the information they are acquiring, which can enhance their overall satisfaction with your product. In turn, this satisfaction is key to how to retain customers in the long run.

10. Using Surveys to Understand Customer Needs

Nudge’s In-app survey feature

Using surveys is a strategic way to understand and respond to customer needs, which can significantly enhance customer retention. By regularly soliciting feedback through surveys, you can gather valuable insights about user preferences, pain points, and expectations, allowing you to tailor your offerings accordingly.

Example: Airbnb uses surveys effectively to understand and meet customer needs. After each stay, guests are invited to complete a survey about their experience. 

This feedback helps Airbnb identify what’s working and what could be improved, ensuring that future offerings are better aligned with guest expectations. By continuously adapting to customer feedback, Airbnb enhances user satisfaction and loyalty.

11. Scratch Cards for Instant Rewards

Scratchcards and rewards

"People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what better way to show your 'why' than making someone's day a little better with a scratch card for an instant reward?" —-------Simon Sinek, Author and Inspirational Speaker

Scratch cards are a fun and exciting way to give instant rewards to your customers. They add an element of surprise and can be used to encourage users to complete specific actions like making a purchase or engaging with a new feature.

Example: Starbucks incorporates scratch cards in their "Star Days" promotions, offering instant rewards like free drinks or bonus stars through a digital scratch card after a purchase. 

This exciting approach not only enhances the customer's experience by adding a surprise element but also encourages further engagement and purchases, effectively boosting customer retention and satisfaction.

12. Distributing Coupons to Encourage Purchases

Coupons offered with in-app message display

Distributing coupons is a classic and effective strategy to encourage purchases and enhance customer retention. Coupons provide a direct incentive for customers to buy by offering discounts or special deals, making them more likely to return to your product or service.

Example: The retail giant Walmart successfully uses coupons to drive purchases and enhance customer loyalty. By offering targeted discounts on a wide range of products, Walmart incentivizes repeat visits and purchases. Customers feel they are getting more value for their money, which not only encourages them to buy more but also to keep coming back, boosting both immediate sales and long-term retention.

13. Spotlights on Key Features or Offers

Highlighting feature by Nudge

Spotlighting key features or offers is a way to draw attention to specific aspects of your product that may be particularly beneficial to your customers. By highlighting these features, you can enhance user engagement and help customers understand the full value of what you offer.

14. In-app messages to Communicate Effectively

Example screenshot of Nudge’s in-app messages

Using in-app messages to communicate effectively with your users can significantly enhance their experience by providing timely and relevant information. This strategy helps to keep users informed about new features, updates, or promotional offers directly within the app, ensuring that they don't miss out on any benefits.

Example: Slack effectively uses in-app messages to enhance user communication. By sending timely notifications about new features or updates, Slack ensures users are well-informed and can take full advantage of the app’s capabilities. This not only improves the overall user experience by keeping everyone up-to-date but also encourages the usage of new features, increasing user engagement and retention.

If you want to know more about in-app messaging, check this out.

15. Creating Engaging Stories and Videos         

Creating engaging stories and videos is an excellent strategy to capture the attention of your customers and keep them interested in your brand. This approach involves crafting compelling content that highlights your product's features, benefits, or user experiences in a way that resonates emotionally with viewers.

Example: Meta is particularly known for its extensive use of stories and video features across its platforms. Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories allow users to post ephemeral content that disappears after 24 hours, a feature that has become extremely popular for personal updates and business promotions.

16. Checklists for User Achievement


Using checklists for user achievement is a straightforward and effective method to help users track their progress and accomplishments within your product or service. This strategy encourages users to complete specific tasks or milestones, providing a clear path toward achieving their goals.

Example: Trello utilizes checklists effectively to enhance user achievement. Within the app, users can create task-specific checklists on their project boards, tracking their progress towards completion. 

This feature not only helps users stay organized and motivated but also provides a satisfying visual representation of their achievements as they check off completed tasks. This clear pathway to accomplishment keeps users engaged and committed to their projects.

17. Communication Calendar

A Communication Calendar is a helpful strategy to keep your customers coming back by planning and scheduling regular interactions with them. This method ensures you stay in touch consistently and at the right times, making your communication more effective. Using features like automated reminders and personalized messages, you can keep your customers engaged without overwhelming them.

Example: Amazon uses a communication calendar to send personalized product recommendations, updates on orders, and reminders for items left in the cart. This regular contact keeps customers informed and encourages them to buy again, boosting customer loyalty. By using a similar approach, businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers and keep them coming back.

18. Educate Your Customers

Educating your customers about your product or industry helps them understand how to get the most out of your offerings, which can lead to higher satisfaction and customer retention. This strategy involves providing valuable information that empowers users to use your product more effectively.

Example: The New York Times educates its readers through in-depth analytical articles, infographics, and explanatory journalism. They also offer a learning section aimed at students and educators, providing teaching materials that utilize current news stories to create learning opportunities.

19. Start a Customer Retention Program

Starting a customer retention program is an effective way to systematically enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction. Such programs often include various incentives and rewards designed to keep customers engaged and coming back.

Example: Sephora's Beauty Insider program is a great example of an effective customer retention program. It rewards customers with points for every purchase, which can be redeemed for discounts or exclusive products. 

This program not only encourages repeated purchases but also makes customers feel valued and appreciated, enhancing their loyalty and encouraging them to keep shopping at Sephora.

20. Offering Flexible Payment Options

Offering flexible payment options can significantly enhance customer retention and satisfaction by making it easier for customers to purchase your product or service. Flexibility in payment methods and plans shows that you understand and accommodate different financial situations.

Example: Amazon demonstrates the effectiveness of offering flexible payment options through its "Amazon Pay Later" service. This feature allows customers to buy products and pay in installments without interest, making purchases more manageable financially. By accommodating different budget needs, Amazon not only enhances customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of repeat purchases, catering to a broader range of shoppers.

21. Re-engagement Strategies for Inactive Users

"Sometimes you have to 're-romance' your customers. It's not just about getting them back—it's about reminding them why they fell in love with your brand in the first place." —-------Ann Handley, Digital Marketing Pioneer 

Re-engagement strategies aim to bring back users who have become inactive. By reaching out and reminding them of the value your product offers, you can re-capture their interest and encourage them to return.

Example: Spotify excels with its re-engagement strategies for inactive users. The music streaming service sends personalized emails showcasing new features, curated playlists, and updates tailored to users' previous listening habits. 

This approach not only reminds users of the unique, personalized experience Spotify offers but also entices them to come back and explore new content, effectively reigniting their interest and connection with the brand.

22. Transparently Manage Customer Data to Build Trust and Security

Managing customer data transparently is crucial for building trust and ensuring long-term customer loyalty. This involves being clear about how you collect, use, and protect customer data, and providing assurances about their privacy and security.

Example: Apple sets a high standard for transparent management of customer data, emphasizing privacy as a core feature of its products. They provide detailed privacy policies and easy-to-understand settings that allow users to control their personal information. 

This transparency not only builds trust but also reassures customers about the security of their data, fostering loyalty and encouraging continued use of Apple products.


Understanding how to retain customers is essential. Implementing these 22 proven strategies will help you build stronger relationships, boost loyalty, and increase profits. Start applying these methods today to see a significant impact on your customer retention. 

Take the first step by booking a demo with us and watch your customer retention soar!

Kanishka Thakur
July 10, 2024