Customer Stickiness


Customer Stickiness Guide: What is It? Why Is It Important?

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Team Storyly
May 22, 2023
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What is Customer Stickiness?

Customer stickiness is a business's ability to retain customers over time, encouraging them to purchase or engage with its products or services repeatedly. It's a measure of customer loyalty and the strength of the relationship between a business and its customers. 

High customer stickiness indicates that a business has successfully created a value proposition that encourages customers to return repeatedly, rather than switching to competitors.

The concept is rooted in creating a positive, engaging, and valuable experience for the customer, making the process of purchasing or using a service so convenient, enjoyable, or beneficial that customers have little reason to look elsewhere.

Several factors contribute to customer stickiness, including:

  • Quality of Product or Service: Ensuring that the offering meets or exceeds customer expectations in terms of functionality, reliability, and value.
  • Customer Experience: Providing a seamless, hassle-free, and enjoyable experience throughout all customer interactions, from browsing and purchasing to post-purchase support.
  • Personalization: Tailoring interactions, communications, and offerings to individual customer preferences and behaviors, making them feel valued and understood.
  • Customer Service: Offering prompt, helpful, and empathetic support to address issues, answer questions, and assist, thereby building trust and satisfaction.
  • Engagement: Keeping customers involved and interested through relevant communication, updates, and content, helping to maintain a connection with the brand.
  • Loyalty Programs: Rewarding repeat business with incentives, discounts, or exclusive benefits, encouraging continuous engagement and purchases.

The goal of increasing customer stickiness is to develop a loyal customer base that not only continues to buy but also advocates for the brand through word-of-mouth and social proof. This loyalty becomes a competitive advantage, as acquiring new customers is generally more expensive than retaining existing ones. In essence, customer stickiness reflects the depth of the relationship between a business and its customers, signifying not just repeat business but a preference for the brand that is resistant to competitors' efforts to lure customers away.

Why is Customer Stickiness Important?

Customer stickiness is fundamentally important for several reasons, all of which contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of a business. At its core, customer stickiness is a reflection of customer loyalty and satisfaction, indicating that a business has successfully met or exceeded the expectations of its customers in a way that encourages them to return. This loyal customer base is crucial for sustained revenue growth and profitability.

Firstly, retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. Studies have shown that attracting new customers can cost five to twenty-five times more than retaining existing ones. Businesses with high customer stickiness benefit from lower marketing and acquisition costs, allowing them to allocate resources more efficiently or invest in further improving the customer experience.

Secondly, sticky customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, contributing to a steady flow of revenue. Over time, these customers can also increase their spending, as trust and familiarity with the brand grow. This phenomenon, known as the customer lifetime value (CLV), is a critical metric for assessing the long-term value a business can expect from its customer relationships. High CLV is often a direct result of increased customer stickiness.

Another aspect where customer stickiness proves vital is in the generation of word-of-mouth referrals. Satisfied and loyal customers are more likely to recommend a brand to friends and family, effectively serving as ambassadors for the brand. This organic form of marketing is not only cost-effective but also highly credible, as people tend to trust personal recommendations more than traditional advertising.

Moreover, a sticky customer base can offer valuable feedback and insights, helping businesses innovate and improve. Loyal customers are typically more engaged and willing to share their experiences and suggestions, providing businesses with actionable intelligence to refine their offerings and address any shortcomings. This feedback loop can drive continuous improvement and innovation, keeping the business relevant and competitive.

Finally, in a competitive market, customer stickiness can serve as a significant differentiator. Businesses that manage to cultivate a loyal and engaged customer base can withstand competitive pressures more effectively, maintaining market share even when new entrants try to disrupt the market. In essence, customer stickiness is not just about retaining customers; it's about building a durable, enduring brand that resonates with its audience over the long term.

In summary, customer stickiness is crucial for reducing costs, driving revenue, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing, fostering innovation, and securing a competitive advantage. It encapsulates the essence of a successful business strategy focused on long-term customer relationships rather than short-term transactions.

Difference Between Customer Loyalty and Customer Stickiness

Customer loyalty and customer stickiness are closely related concepts in the realm of customer relationship management and marketing, but they have distinct nuances that set them apart.

Customer loyalty is rooted in an emotional commitment to a brand due to satisfaction and positive experiences, whereas customer stickiness is a customer's likelihood to continue using a brand's products or services based on convenience or cost barriers, making switching less appealing.

Customer Loyalty is primarily about the emotional connection and commitment a customer has towards a brand. This emotional bond is built over time through consistent positive experiences, superior product or service quality, and the values or image the brand represents, which resonate with the customer. Loyal customers are those who prefer a particular brand over competitors, even when faced with similar offerings or potentially lower prices elsewhere. They are also more likely to recommend the brand to others, contributing to word-of-mouth marketing. The essence of customer loyalty lies in the customer's active choice to continue doing business with a brand because of a deep-seated preference.

Customer Stickiness, on the other hand, refers to a customer's likelihood of remaining with a brand based on factors that make switching to a competitor inconvenient, costly, or less appealing. While customer loyalty is built on an emotional connection, customer stickiness can be influenced by practical or situational factors. These can include exclusive features, unique value propositions, loyalty programs, personalized experiences, or the sheer convenience of using a particular service. The sticky aspect of a customer relationship might also be bolstered by high switching costs — either in terms of money, time, or effort — that discourage customers from looking for alternatives.

The key difference between the two concepts lies in their foundation: loyalty is emotionally driven, while stickiness is more about convenience, cost, and effort. A customer might be sticky without being deeply loyal if they continue to use the service because it's too inconvenient to switch, even if they have no strong emotional attachment to the brand. Conversely, a loyal customer might stick with a brand despite the conveniences offered by competitors because of a deep-seated emotional connection or alignment with the brand's values.

In practical terms, businesses strive to achieve both loyalty and stickiness among their customer base. While customer loyalty helps in building a strong, positive brand image and ensuring continuous patronage, customer stickiness ensures that customers remain engaged and continue purchasing from the brand, even in the face of competition. Ideally, a combination of both leads to a robust, enduring customer relationship, with emotional bonds complemented by practical reasons to stay with the brand.

How to Measure Customer Stickiness?

Measuring customer stickiness is essential for understanding how effectively your business retains customers and fosters loyalty. It involves analyzing various metrics that give insights into customer behavior, preferences, and engagement levels. Here are key metrics and approaches to measure customer stickiness:

1. Retention Rate

This metric indicates the percentage of customers who continue to do business with you over a specific period. A high retention rate is a strong indicator of customer stickiness.

2. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV measures the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account throughout their relationship. Increasing CLV suggests that customers are sticking around and spending more over time.

3. Repeat Purchase Rate

Repeat Purchase Rate metric shows the proportion of customers who have made more than one purchase. A high repeat purchase rate signals that customers find value in your offerings and are loyal to your brand.

4. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS assesses customer loyalty by asking customers how likely they are to recommend your business to others. It helps gauge the overall satisfaction and loyalty of your customer base.

5. Customer Engagement Score

This composite metric considers various customer actions, such as website visits, social media interactions, and email opens, to evaluate engagement levels. Higher customer engagement score often correlates with increased stickiness.

6. Churn Rate

The churn rate calculates the percentage of customers who stop using your products or services over a given period. A low churn rate indicates high customer stickiness, as fewer customers are leaving for competitors.

7. Average Order Value (AOV)

AOV tracks the average amount spent each time a customer makes a purchase. An increasing AOV suggests customers are finding more value in your offerings and are more engaged.

8. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

CSAT scores measure customer satisfaction with your product or service through direct surveys. High satisfaction levels can be a precursor to higher stickiness.

9. Time Spent on Website or App

Monitoring the amount of time customers spend engaging with your online platforms can indicate interest and satisfaction, key components of stickiness.

10. Social Media Engagement

Engagement metrics on social media platforms (likes, shares, comments) can also provide insights into customer loyalty and the effectiveness of your community-building efforts.

How to Increase Customer Stickiness?

Increasing customer stickiness is essential for businesses looking to foster loyalty, reduce churn, and drive sustainable growth. This involves implementing strategies that enhance the value customers get from your products or services and creating barriers (positive ones) that make leaving for a competitor less attractive. 

Here are several effective strategies to increase customer stickiness:

  • Enhancing Customer Experience for Greater Retention
  • Consistency in Quality: The Key to Customer Loyalty
  • Personalization: Crafting Individual Customer Journeys
  • Loyalty Programs: Rewarding Repeat Business
  • Building a Community Around Your Brand
  • Exceptional Customer Support as a Differentiator
  • Leveraging Customer Feedback for Continuous Improvement
  • Simplifying the Path to Purchase: The Convenience Factor
  • Creating Exclusivity to Foster Brand Loyalty
  • Educating Customers to Enhance Product Value

1. Enhance the Customer Experience

Focus on providing a seamless, hassle-free customer experience across all touchpoints. This includes user-friendly website navigation, efficient customer service, and a smooth purchasing process. The easier and more enjoyable it is to interact with your brand, the more likely customers are to stick around.

2. Deliver Consistent Quality

Ensure that your products or services consistently meet or exceed customer expectations. High-quality offerings are a fundamental reason customers become sticky, as they come to rely on your brand for their needs.

3. Personalize Interactions

Use customer data to personalize interactions, recommendations, and communications. Personalization shows customers that you understand their needs and preferences, making your brand more relevant and valuable to them.

4. Implement Loyalty Programs

Design loyalty programs that reward customers for repeat business. Rewards can include discounts, exclusive access, or special offers. Such programs not only incentivize continued business but also build a sense of belonging among your customer base.

5. Foster Community

Build a community around your brand by engaging with customers on social media, forums, or through events. A strong sense of community can increase emotional attachment to your brand, making customers more likely to stick around.

6. Provide Exceptional Customer Support

Offer proactive and helpful customer support to address issues and answer questions promptly. Outstanding support can turn potentially negative experiences into positive ones, reinforcing customer trust and stickiness.

7. Utilize Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Actively seek out and listen to customer feedback, using it to continuously improve your offerings. Customers who see that their opinions are valued and lead to real changes are more likely to remain loyal.

8. Offer Convenience

Make it easy for customers to do business with you. This can include offering multiple channels for purchasing and support, streamlining the checkout process, and ensuring your products or services are easily accessible.

9. Create Exclusivity

Offer exclusive products, services, or content that customers can't find elsewhere. Exclusivity can make customers feel valued and less inclined to switch to a competitor.

10. Educate Your Customers

Provide valuable information, tutorials, and resources that help customers get the most out of your products or services. Educated customers are more likely to appreciate the full value of what you offer, increasing their stickiness.

Implementing these strategies requires a deep understanding of your customer base and a commitment to putting their needs and experiences first. By focusing on the value and experience you deliver, you can significantly increase customer stickiness, driving loyalty and long-term success for your business.

Overcoming Obstacles to Enhance Customer Stickiness

When trying to increase customer stickiness, businesses often face a variety of challenges that can hinder their efforts to build a loyal customer base. Addressing these challenges requires strategic thinking and innovative solutions. Here are some common challenges and potential solutions:

Challenge 1: Evolving Customer Expectations

Solution: Stay ahead by regularly researching and anticipating changes in customer preferences. Use customer feedback and market research to innovate and adapt your offerings. Personalize the customer experience using data analytics to meet individual preferences and needs.

Challenge 2: Intense Competition

Solution: Differentiate your brand through unique value propositions, exceptional customer service, and by cultivating a strong brand identity. Focus on what makes your business stand out and communicate this effectively to your audience.

Challenge 3: Maintaining Product/Service Quality

Solution: Implement strict quality control processes and continuously seek ways to improve your offerings. Listen to customer feedback for insights on areas of improvement and act swiftly to address any issues.

Challenge 4: Building Emotional Connections

Solution: Create authentic brand stories and engage customers through content that resonates on a personal level. Encourage user-generated content and community involvement to foster a sense of belonging among your customers.

Challenge 5: Achieving Personalization at Scale

Solution: Leverage technology such as AI and machine learning to analyze customer data and deliver personalized experiences efficiently. Automation tools can help scale personalized communications without losing the personal touch.

Challenge 6: Technology and Integration Issues

Solution: Invest in robust and scalable technology solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing systems. Stay updated on technological advancements and be willing to invest in upgrades that enhance the customer experience.

Challenge 7: Measuring the Right Metrics

Solution: Identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that accurately reflect customer stickiness and loyalty. Use a balanced scorecard approach to track a combination of financial, customer satisfaction, and engagement metrics.

Challenge 8: Overcoming Customer Inertia

Solution: Encourage trial and usage of your products/services through free samples, demonstrations, or limited-time offers. Use educational content to show the value and benefits of your offerings, deciding to switch easier for customers.

Challenge 9: Developing Effective Loyalty Programs

Solution: Design loyalty programs that offer real value to your customers. Beyond discounts and rewards, consider offering exclusive experiences, early access to new products, or opportunities to provide feedback on future offerings.

Challenge 10: Creating a Consistent Experience Across Channels

Solution: Ensure brand consistency across all customer touchpoints, including online, in-store, and customer service interactions. Train your team to deliver a uniform level of service and use technology to provide a seamless omnichannel experience.


In conclusion, customer stickiness is a crucial element for any business aiming to sustain and grow in today's highly competitive market landscape. It embodies the essence of customer loyalty and satisfaction, going beyond mere transactions to forge deep, meaningful connections between a brand and its customers. By focusing on quality, personalization, exceptional service, and engaging experiences, businesses can enhance customer stickiness, ensuring customers not only return but also become vocal advocates for the brand.

Moreover, understanding the nuanced difference between customer loyalty and stickiness empowers businesses to tailor their strategies effectively, addressing both the emotional and practical facets of customer retention. Implementing targeted strategies to increase customer stickiness, while also navigating the challenges with innovative solutions, sets the foundation for a thriving business.

Measuring customer stickiness through key metrics provides the insights needed to continually refine and adapt strategies, ensuring that efforts to enhance customer engagement and loyalty are grounded in concrete data. The ultimate goal is to create a brand that customers feel intrinsically connected to, one that they return to not just out of convenience or habit, but because of a genuine preference and loyalty.

Embracing the challenge of increasing customer stickiness, therefore, is not just about securing repeat business; it's about building a lasting legacy in the marketplace. By cultivating strong, sticky customer relationships, businesses can achieve greater resilience, profitability, and a competitive edge that stands the test of time.


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Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.