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ecommerce shopper transforming into a repeat customer

How to Get More Repeat Customers in Ecommerce?

When you’re in the ecommerce space, getting a shopper to click ‘Buy’ feels like a major accomplishment. But acquiring new customers is both time consuming and costly. If you want to grow your ecommerce business by leaps and bounds, you MUST shift your focus from acquisition to retention. In other words, you need to focus on turning customers into repeat customers in ecommerce—the people who:

  • Purchase consumable goods from you on a regular cadence (e.g., every 30 days)
  • Buy multiple times a year (e.g., seasonal apparel from your brand)
  • Shop annually for updated items (e.g., updated electronics)
  • Rebuy the same items as they wear out from use (e.g., lint rollers)
  • Buy multiple versions of a single item they like (e.g., bracketing)

Why do repeat customers matter?

Repeat customers create more revenue for your business long-term—their lifetime value is usually multiples higher than a one-and-done shopper. Moreover, it’s less expensive to get an existing customer to buy again than it is to win a first-time purchase—as much as five times cheaper.

So…how do you get more repeat customers in ecommerce?

Start by identify your customers’ recurring purchase patterns

Building an effective strategy for repeat business starts with understanding recurring purchase patterns. 

Seasonality, average product lifespan, customer personas—these and other factors should be used to shape your customer retention strategy. 

Segment out your top customers

Once you’ve identified the natural recurring-purchase patterns, segment your customer list into those who:

  • Already make repeat purchases
  • Have not but are likely to make repeat purchases
  • Have not and are unlikely to make repeat purchases

The more accurately you segment and target your customers, the more likely you are to see positive results from your marketing and advertising. 

Start your segmentation by identifying all your repeat customers, which products they purchased, and what their lifetime value is. Depending on the size and depth of your data, you can also segment your customer list by location, shipping preferences, payment method, and more, to obtain even more clues about who you should target for repeat purchases. 

Develop a promotional plan that attracts repeat purchases

Use the insights obtained from segmentation to build an intelligent advertising plan for your business. 

Some common promotional ideas include:

  • Email repurchase reminders at specific intervals.
  • Investing in seasonal campaigns for weather-specific goods. 
  • Offering exclusive discounts or tiered loyalty programs to top spenders.
  • Extending discounts to former top spenders whose buying frequency is lapsing.
  • Creating subscription purchase plans that minimize shoppers’ effort when repurchasing.
  • Expanding product lines to include new items that mitigate seasonality and encourage year-round purchasing.

Invest in returns technology 

Another area to invest in when it comes to retaining customers is your return solution

More than 90% of first-time customers who rated their return experience as either ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ are willing to make a repeat purchase. 

But your brand can’t have an ‘easy’ returns process without a great platform and a strong policy. So get started by taking action today—refine your strategy as you go—and watch as your repeat business grows and grows.



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