Improve Your Customer Retention Rate: Swag Packs and Other Ideas for Turning One-time Shoppers Into Brand Loyalists

5 min read
Ashley Scorpio
Ashley Scorpio
Vice President of Partnerships at Hawke Media

Published: January 14, 2022

Did you know that 20% of your customers produce 80% of your sales? Boosting your customer retention rate is crucial for a successful business, especially since acquiring new customers is costlier than retaining existing ones. That’s not to say you shouldn’t focus on growth and work on generating new business, but you also want to make sure you’re recognizing your current customers, building and rewarding their loyalty, and even encouraging them to refer business your way. 

Over the years, marketers have devised several tactics to boost retention rates, such as creating subscription services for products, making sure to collect customer feedback to build the relationship with one-time buyers, and rewarding customers with perks like freebies or custom-branded swag. 

Consider these tips and tactics to boost your customer retention rate and build brand loyalty.

Offer a Subscription for Your Core Product 

If you want to ensure repeat customers month after month, offering an option for customers to purchase your product on a subscription or autoship basis can help. In the past decade, subscription box services have grown exceptionally — for everything from razors to snacks and even wine. Research shows that the subscription box industry has quadrupled its revenue in the past five years

Consider Customer Accounts To Build Loyalty

Even if customers don’t want to commit to a monthly shipment, you can still build your relationship by encouraging them to create a customer login and account. This makes it easy for them to place repeat orders and access records of what they’ve ordered in the past. 

However, many customers don’t want to take the time to set up an account just to shop on your eCommerce site. It’s best to offer the option to check out as a guest and then create an account after the first purchase has been made. Or enable logging in with Google, Facebook, or Apple social or plugins like Shop by Shopify. 

Once your customer has an account, you can entice them to sign up for autoship or a subscription through meaningful swag related to your product. For instance, stickers make a fun treat for virtually any business. If you sell workout drinks or protein shakes, you might consider a shaker bottle or, depending on the size of their order, a whole Fitness Favorites Swag Pack. A coffee or pastry company may include a branded coffee mug for new subscribers. 

Swag packs and custom swag items are simple, meaningful ways to encourage positive feelings about your company and keep your brand front and center whenever they see your branded merch fulfilling a function in their life. 

Collect Customer Feedback To Foster Your Relationship 

If you want to turn a one-time customer into a loyal brand evangelist, stay in touch with them. Follow up via email or text when they’ve received their order and ask if it met their expectations. If you want more in-depth responses, you might consider sending out a customer feedback survey. You may even offer customers a small perk — such as 10% off their next order or small swag item such as a water bottle or cell phone accessory— if they take the time to complete the survey.  

Give More Than You Ask For in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

Of course, you want to stay in touch with customers, but make sure you’re not reaching out only when you want something (such as their responses to a survey.) Consider a comprehensive email marketing campaign that delivers value with relevant tips or advice on how to use or enjoy your products. Think about ways you can give more to your customers without asking for anything in return most of the time. 

Welcome Customers and Celebrate Anniversaries With a swag pack 

It’s nice to be appreciated and recognized. Small business owners may be able to thank each of their customers personally with a handwritten note inside every order, but as your eCommerce website grows, it can be harder to offer that personal touch. That’s when you might consider welcoming new customers with a token of appreciation that strategically promotes your brand too. 

You can also celebrate customers’ birthdays, anniversaries, or milestone orders (such as customers who have logged in and spent $200, or whatever amount is relevant to your business) with a branded token of your appreciation. The items don’t have to be pricey, they just have to be relevant to your brand. Again, charging cables, T-shirts, a small plant, branded accessory items, and custom snacks all make thoughtful and useful swag pack ideas that are a perfect way to recognize your repeat customers. The best part? Whenever they use your custom swag, they are promoting your brand. 


Grow your eCommerce business with smart customer retention strategies that are proven to work. Your customer retention rate is a strong indicator of a healthy business, as existing customers tend to be more profitable than new business.

Some of the tactics you can use to retain customers and build loyalty include: 

  • Creating a subscription service for your most popular products or providing an autoship option 
  • Using customer surveys to get valuable feedback and show new customers you care
  • Delivering value in your email marketing campaigns
  • Recognizing repeat customers at certain spending milestones with creative swag pack ideas

Ashley Scorpio has worked with a variety of brands, organizations, startups, personalities, and public figures to meet their digital growth goals through full funnel performance marketing campaigns across multiple channels – in house, at agencies, and through her own consultancy. Ashley is a nationally-recognized woman in ecommerce by Ecommerce Magazine.

Sources – 6 Ways to Boost Your Customer Retention Rate – Customer Retention 101: Grow Your Business by Selling More to Current Customers – 4 simple strategies for improving customer retention – These Subscription Box Statistics for 2021 Will Inspire You to Start Your Own

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