Quiz: For an average e-commerce and/or catalog-centric business, what percentage of last year's buyer will purchase again this year?
The answer, of course, is (a). Sure, Amazon retains more than 90% of last year's buyers, but they are Amazon, and you are not Amazon.
When you retain fewer than 40 of 100 buyers from last year, you are in Acquisition Mode. The focus of your business must, and I repeat must be focused on finding as many new customers as possible, at as low a cost as possible.
Of course, everything you read says the exact opposite. Trade journals, consultants, conferences, gurus, vendors, they all make money when you do the opposite. They want you to spend money to encourage customers to become more loyal, even though the odds of the customer becoming "more loyal" are maybe one in ten, if you are lucky.
I've worked with more than 200 brands since founding my consultancy way back in 2007. The most successful clients I've worked with have low-cost customer acquisition programs that continually fuel the growth of the business at a profitable rate. The least successful clients I've worked with spend money with ever vendor imaginable in an effort to manufacture growth.