Acquisition vs. retention

Exploring the balance between customer acquisition and retention

Exploring the balance between customer acquisition and retention

Seb Harris

10 minute read02 Feb 2023

Everyone in the industry knows that CAC is on the rise, but what’s the best response to the situation? And are there any positives to be found in today’s market environment?

Closing The D2C Summit: Future Commerce, Gorgias’ Neil Forrest held a panel discussion between three hugely successful D2C brands on the topic of customer acquisition and retention. Here we’ll highlight some of the key conversation points from the discussion, but for all the information find the full video recording at the end of this article.

The panel

First, let’s introduce the 4 brands represented in the panel:


A multichannel helpdesk software to help e-commerce businesses improve their customer support and deliver exceptional customer experiences that consistently convert inquiries into sales.

Filling Pieces

Amsterdam’s footwear brand that went international. From selling shoes out the back of a car to releasing full clothing and apparel collections to global acclaim, Filling Pieces is the brand creating a space between streetwear and high fashion.


The UK’s sustainable care brand on a mission to banish single use plastic from your bathroom. Beginning life with a refillable deodorant, they have big plans to scale across all personal care products with a view to revolutionising the industry.

Love Stories

Amsterdam lingerie brand that breaks out of the male-dominated rules and expectations for what women’s underwear should look and feel like. Always putting comfort first, Love Stories began with its now iconic bralettes and has since moved on to swimwear, PJs and cover-ups.

General state of e-commerce

The biggest issue for a lot of e-commerce brands over the last 12 months has been soaring CAC. With the acquisition costs for new customers rising and showing little sign of slowing down, is the answer to focus all efforts on retaining your existing customers?

Fussy founder Matt Kennedy suggests that you shouldn’t look at CAC and retention as a battle between two opposing philosophies. Rather than a versus, instead it’s more helpful to consider finding the balance between the two.

Because ultimately you can’t have one without the other, right? You can’t retain customers if you don’t have any in the first place, and a business can’t survive on a stream of consistently new, non-returning customers. You need to find a balance.

He calls for e-commerce brands to have total and undivided focus on two areas: their product and their customer experience. These are the secrets to customer acquisition and retention, and if you get them both right, you’ll be well on your way to success. Check the video below for more details.

Customer service

Love Stories’ head of e-commerce, Claudia Moron gave great insight on how the brand listens to its customers for a deeper understanding of what’s going on with their store functionality. A great example is the e-commerce team will watch Hotjar recordings to see their customers’ struggles when navigating the store.

Claudia says this visualisation hurts much more than having a data analyst tell them that ‘X page has Y bounce rate’. And with a greater understanding of the issue(s) at hand, they then get to work putting things right in a much more efficient and effective manner. 

The Love Stories head of e-commerce also suggests other tips to expose yourself to what’s really going on at customer level in your e-commerce business. From jumping on the direct chat, to answering emails and interacting with customers in store. These are hugely effective ways of making customers feel heard and valued, which will help boost retention.

Check the video below for the full details.

Customer reviews

It’s widely agreed that reviews and feedback are necessary for customer acquisition. They add social proof to your website, which has unparalleled effectiveness in building trust with potential buyers.

However, not all reviews are good. Filling Pieces’ e-commerce manager Paulinho Chin points out that customers with a bad experience are far more likely to leave feedback. This is a pertinent reminder for any brand that might feel like the negative reviews outweigh the positive.

Don’t get down about it. If you don't actively ask your customers for feedback, and instead leave it up to them to leave reviews when they feel the need, it’s actually quite normal to receive more negative reviews than positive.

To boost some positivity, it’s important to instead actively reach out and ask your customers for some reviews - either on the product, their store experience or both. That’s why Love Stories ask for feedback from all customers that have made a purchase. In this situation you’re more likely to get a balance of positive and negative feedback, which you can use to improve your processes and optimise products and/or user experience for future customers.

The key takeaway is that it’s important to see all reviews, both good and bad, as an opportunity to learn something about your brand, your product or your website. For more info, watch the video below.

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