How to Identify and Reward Loyal Customers - Tools and Processes

“Anyone can see the reason to focus on getting customers to buy. It’s obvious profit. But it takes some wisdom, experience, and long-term thinking to understand that keeping your existing customers thrilled is even more profitable.”

- Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby, one of the most respected ecommerce stores. -


How much do you value a loyal customers?

Well for many ecommerce stores, loyal customers are a big deal. Loyal customers are significantly more likely to buy from you again in comparison to the likelihood of a new prospect buying from you.

The loyalty of your customer is one of your business’ intangible assets and it is always a smart move to be able to quickly identify who they are and give them that loyal, or I should say that royal, treatment!

In this article, I will show you why you would want to do so, and how.

There are many ways to acquire new customers, these are some of the channels through which you could do so:

  1. Advertising

  2. Social media

  3. Customer referrals

  4. Email marketing

  5. Organic traffic from content marketing

To reap the desired results, each of the above channels requires a lot time or monetary investment. A smart store owner would calculate the cost incurred through the chosen channel(s) to acquire a new customer; often known as the Cost of Acquisition.  

If the balance between the cost of acquisition and the sale value of the purchases made by the customer is positive; this means the business model is heading in the right direction.

Sometimes you can strike that balance really well. However, overtime some of these channels become more expensive causing slimmer margins. This makes the model a little risky.

So what if I told you, that (in this age of connection), sometimes it is a smarter choice to focus less on ‘getting’ new customers and more on nurturing your existing customers; increasing the value of the customers you already have.  This could well be a much more cost effective option, especially if you’re starting out.

It all starts with knowing your customer. Really knowing them! And being able to identify who those loyal customers are.

Before we can explore this, let’s first define what a loyal customer really is.

It turns out there are many ways to identify a loyal customer; including:

  •    A customer who makes repeat purchases

  •    A customer who follows your brand

  •    A customer who refers their friends

  •    A customer who subscribes to a product

You will have to work out which of the above customer attributes are the most important to you, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll show you how you can leverage technology to make the process, of identifying the customers who do fit under those criteria, a breeze.

A customer who makes repeat purchases


Using an app like Mailchimp or Dotmailer  for Shopify, you can automatically know who your repeat customers are, through smart segmentation and integrations with, for example, you Shopify store.

You can then send specific messaging to those customers, perhaps rewarding them with discount codes that are based on the products they are interested in.

This a laser focused approach and has huge benefits over generic - one size fits all - messaging.

A customer who subscribes to a product

In addition to using Mailchimp or Dotmailer, as a way to know who your repeat customers are, and specifically communicate with them, you can use another app to make it easy for your customers to subscribe to a product that they may need on recurring basis.

This is more applicable if your store's products aren’t one time purchases; personal care products for example.

For example, Both The Recurring Orders and Subscriptions app by Bold (for Shopify) and the Recurring Billing & Subscriptions by ReCharge (for Shopify) are sophisticated solutions that facilitate recurring orders, using multiple payment gateways.

Using these apps, you can identify which and how many of your customers subscribe to your products, and how much in orders they have made so far.

You’ll be able then to perhaps delight them with exclusive promotions, slowly turning them into fans of your brand.

A customer who follows your brand


Following your brand could take the form for a customer subscribing to your newsletter, liking your Facebook page or following you on Instagram.

Whilst Facebook and Instagram give you insights as to who is connecting with your brand on Social Media, a tool like Gather helps you increase the number of email subscribers you have, which is a direct channel to your customers.

Customers who follow, and better still, interact with your newsletter would naturally be interested in what you have to offer.

As this case study  indicates, newsletter subscribers form  one of the main channels for repeat purchases.

A customer who refers their friends

Customer to customer referrals is an effective way to acquire new business, and in many cases, is cheaper than advertising.

After many trials, the standard, proven, way to incentivise referrals is by rewarding both the referring customer and their referred friends. The reward could be granted for a certain desired action, like your customer’s friend making a purchase or joining your store’s email list.

A tool like Gather automatically facilitates friend to friend referral campaigns, where the app rewards your customer, with a coupon, for referring their friend to your mailing list. Their friend also gets rewarded with a coupon upon joining.

Putting it all Together

Combining insights from the above tools gives you the power to make smart decisions about rewarding your loyal customers.

If your customer joined your newsletter, then made repeat purchases, then successfully referred her friends and connected with your  brand on social media; she is a super loyal customer.

You would want to make those customers feel special, as they could perhaps become an ambassador to your brand.

So how do we combine the data from all the above tools?

Generally speaking, you can  connect apps together or aggregate data from multiple apps using connecting tools like Zapier & Gekoboard. They both integrate with Shopify.

For example, a new email lead acquired by Gather can be synced to Shopify, which will in tern sync it to Mailchimp.

Gather sends shopify tags to identify the source of the email leads, as well as the page from which they were acquired. This gives you a good indication as to what would products would interest your customer.

In Summary

You have learned here the importance of marketing through your existing customer base, by identifying and rewarding your loyal customers.  We have also touched on multiple ways and the tools you can use to identify who those awesome customers are.

Finally we suggested a few ways you can combine data on your loyal customers to help you identify the super loyal customers; those who have demonstrated loyalty in more than one way.

Over to you

How else do you manage to track customer loyalty and take action on it?

How else can you marked through your existing customer base?

Would love to learn from you in the comments :)

To find out more about how, a successful ecommerce store, has used Gather to add 2300 customer emails and generated over $100,000 worth of orders. Get the case study here.