The importance of repeat purchases in e-commerce
How many of your customers have bought from your e-commerce site more than once? Have you ever checked? Although the rate varies depending on what you sell online, you should be aiming for a 20-30% (according to Alex Schultz, VP at Facebook) repeat purchase rate. This article looks at how to calculate your current repeat purchase rate and what you can do to increase it, if you wish to.
What is your repeat purchase rate?
It is defined as someone who has bought two, or more, times from you. The easiest way to calculate your rate is:
No. of repeat customers/No. of paying customers X 100 = Repeat Purchase Rate.
Why you want this rate to increase
There are plenty of reasons why you should want more repeat purchases:
- More sales is always a good thing.
- People who have bought from you before are more likely to buy from you again, assuming they were happy with the first purchase.
- It is cheaper, get a customer to buy again that to get the first purchase.
- Repeat customers are far more likely to talk about you to their friends and network.
- Repeat purchasers are more likely to give reviews and testimonials, a vital part of your e-commerce marketing.
How to get people to buy again
This is the bit you really wanted when you started reading this article, so here are 13 ways to increase your repeat purchase rate.
1. Thank them for buying from you – every time
Most likely included within your order confirmation email, make sure you thank every customer for buying from you. There are plenty of other places they could have bought from. People appreciate the gesture, even when they know it is standard wording that will be on every confirmation email you send out.
2. Follow up with them to find out how satisfied they are with their purchase
Good customer service is, unfortunately, an increasingly rare thing. Showing that you care and want to help goes a long way to creating positive brand associations in the minds of your customers.
3. Talk to them regularly
Keep in touch with your customers. Whilst you may think that this is simply adding to their burgeoning inbox, emails that contain useful content will be appreciated and will keep your brand in their mind’s eye.
4. Tell them about other products you sell
You sell more than one product, so make sure you tell your customers about the products they haven’t bought. You cannot tell them about everything, but you can tell them about related products. If they bought a printer from your business, you can also sell them inks/toners and paper. If they were happy with your service around the printer, there’s no reason why they can’t buy accessories and consumables from you.
5. If your product only lasts a certain period, remind them they will need to buy again soon.
For products people buy regularly, what is the time gap between orders of the same things? Setting up an automated email based on purchases and this time gap can generate repeat purchases.
6. Can you offer a subscription?
Amazon has doggie poop bags available on subscription (Nigel has a subscription so he never runs out). Can you do the same thing? Products that people use frequently are ideal for subscriptions.
7. Help them to use your product, when appropriate.
If you’re selling complicated products, providing hints and tips that help them get the most from their purchase will be remembered. We built a whole series of these for a client. They increased both repeat purchase rates and their Feefo rating for the client. You can see the case study here.
8. Tell them about sales campaigns or special offers.
If you sell seasonal products, telling your customers about end of season sales, or simply reminding them that “the summer” is approaching will remind them of your brand and that they can buy more from you. The opportunity to save money on a purchase always gets people thinking…
9. Ask them to share pictures of them using your product.
In a social media dominated world, people love posting pictures. New furniture in the office, the latest clothing purchase, a piece of funky art in their home – are just some of the pictures they could share. Again, this reinforces your brand with them, proves they like your brand and can even generate new customers for you from their connections.
10. Find out more about them, so you can make better product suggestions.
The more you know about them , the more ways you can encourage more sales from them.
- Do you know their birthday? Giving them a discount, or small additional gift with their next purchase can encourage more sales.
- Can you collect more information about their homes or businesses or hobbies? Products that relate to important parts of their lives are great sales opportunities.
Surveys are a great way to collect this sort of information. Tools such as Mailchimp make is easy to collect survey responses and attach that information to your customer records. This makes it easy to run relevant email marketing campaigns.
11. Ask for reviews of the product, both shortly after purchase and after a decent period of time.
Some people do reviews just after they buy a product or service. Others do them once they’ve had a chance to use that product. If you sell birthday cakes, asking for a review a week after the purchase will give them to time to receive and use the cake. If you sell technology, asking quickly will get responses about their initial thoughts and their experience of your business. Asking them again 6 months later will get responses about how good the product is. These reviews can either go directly onto your e-commerce product pages, to Google Reviews or even tools such as TrustPilot or Feefo.
12. Consider a loyalty programme
David Sainsbury famously called Tesco’s Clubcard “green shield stamps”, but they transformed the food retail marketplace. As a small business, you may not be able to have that impact, but loyalty programmes can do what their name suggests, driving more sales.
13. Collect data from all sales sources
If you also sell through other channels, make sure you are collecting customer data from them too. A recent client was selling online, but also in markets. But they weren’t collecting customer information from markets. Those people can also buy from your e-commerce store, so make sure you encourage them to subscribe and keep in touch with them.
14. Don’t bombard them!
After 12 ways of increasing sales, here’s one to make sure you don’t kill any chance of increasing sales. Make sure that you’re not sending too much communication to your customers. Acceptable frequencies vary depending on what you are selling and how long that product lasts. Sending too much will annoy people, make them unsubscribe and you lose the opportunity to get more sales from them.
If you could get just 1 in 10 of your customers to buy again, it would transform your business. We can help you improve your marketing and your communication to do just that. Call us now on 020 8634 5911, or click here, and let’s talk about increasing your repeat purchases online.