If you’re in the D2C space, there’s no escaping conversations about Retention.com. It’s a fascinating story.
Rapid growth to SaaS prominence in D2C ✅
High profile customers and testimonials on their site ✅
Blurry lines of what visitor data is legal to collect without direct consent ✅
All of this cast with a backdrop of increasingly strict protection for internet consumer data (see iOS 17 updates). It’s all very popcorn worthy.
But most importantly, amidst all the buzz and undoubted gray area, you might be left wondering, should I use Retention.com for my Shopify store?
This becomes an even more important question as you realize that many of your direct competitors are likely using their services as you gear up for Black Friday and beyond.
We’ll help you out with the decision. Let’s take a look at what does, how they do it, and what it could mean for your brand.
How does Retention.com work?
Let’s dive right into the nitty gritty of what Retention.com does for D2C brands:
Problems they’re solving:
- 98% of your Shopify visitors are completely anonymous, making it difficult to track and deliver upon a curated customer journey.
- Apple continues dropping the ax on info gathering (again, see iOS 17) and cookies decay much faster meaning Klaviyo can only track your web visitors for 2 weeks.
- Traditional form capture is just not cutting it anymore in the face of these stricter measures.
How they solve these problems:
- They add their pixel to your Shopify store, which enables them to capture more of your visitors even if they aren’t logged into Shopify or switch devices between visits.
This is intended to help brands get more carts across the finish line, improve Klaviyo flow revenue by 2-3x and can help accelerate a 10x (or more) of your audience list.
In a landscape with the strictest protections and opt-in policies we’ve ever seen, this feels like wizardry that brands just aren’t accustomed to having anymore (think pre-2021 cookies).
If your eyebrows are raised with skepticism, you’re not alone. There’s lots of questions about legality, gray areas, and more.
Let’s jump into how Retention.com can identify your anonymous website visitors based on a little-known technicality.
Retention.com gray area for visitor privacy
If you watched/listened to Down to Chat’s August 3 episode, “You’re likely leaving money on the table,” Cody Plofker sat down with Retention.com’s founder and CEO, Adam Robinson.
During episode chat, Adam explains that Retention.com totally recognizes that they operate in a gray area when it comes to their product for Shopify Plus brands.
That’s because they use implicit consent rather than explicit consent directly on the brand’s website.
They leverage 3rd-party opt-ins from publishers who’s terms of service include that they are going to sell your data.
The million dollar question: Is Retention.com legal?
But their pixel product is not legal everywhere. In the US, you’re allowed to send emails to users as long as they have an opt-out link in the email. (*Note: this is not legal in Europe and Canada).
So, by Retention.com having these “implicit opt-ins” from 3rd parties, the brand using their service doesn’t need to have the direct opt-in.
This is so much faster and more efficient than banking on 1 of the 3 main ways that visitors become authenticated on Shopify sites: by purchasing, subscribing to a list, or logging into a store (relatively unheard of).
Another huge question (especially for you email marketers): Is Retention.com CAN-SPAM compliant?
That 3rd-party implicit consent permits Retention.com to pass the email to the brand using their service and the brand can then email that contact without breaking CAN-SPAM compliance guidelines.
Should I use Retention.com for my Shopify store?
Rather than offering a prescriptive “yes” or a “no” here, we’d rather provide you with guidelines to help you make the decision for your brand. Because Retention.com's main product operates in a gray area, it can’t be a catchall yes or no.
First, you have to decide how much you care about the risk involved with their method of obtaining visitors’ contact information. There’s an inherent risk of frustrating users when it appears that they’re being spammed by a company that they did not knowingly give their email to.
On the other hand, those users landed on your site, took interest in your products during that session and may just need that final push over the line to purchase. The ability to identify them even if they never added items to cart, never filled out a form, or took any action (other than browsing) is powerful.
Our take is that Retention.com is for small to midsize Shopify plus brands who are looking to hit growth goals by any means.
Will subscribers burn off at a higher rate? Probably.
Will many of them convert and help you ignite growth? Almost certainly.
This is Adam’s take from the Down to Chat episode:
“Typically what I’ve seen with the Shopify plus audience: if it helps them grow, it’s profitable, there is no noticeable brand damage, and it is legal, they are game.”
He goes on to explain that larger brands (top tiers of Shopify and enterprise) are too risk averse and that the pixel product may not be for them. We can’t help but agree there.
All that said, you can’t help but notice some of the big-name D2C players they feature on their site:
**It’s worth noting that they have a product in development that requires direct opt-ins and does not operate in that “gray area.” Likely more suitable for larger brands!
Final thoughts on Retention.com for Shopify brands
There’s no doubt that Retention.com provides an inherently valuable service for D2C brands. It’s never been harder for marketers to retarget visitors in their pre-purchase flows. When deciding whether or not to use Retention.com, it’s all about a risk analysis for your specific brand.
If you’re interested in powering post-purchase retention, then Peel can take care of your needs with data that illuminates your customer journey and provides deeper insights for your entire store and connected tech stack. You can try us free for 7 days by clicking here.
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