20 Smart Ways to Drive Repeat Business (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from 20 Smart Ways to Drive Repeat Business (Part 1 of 2)

11. Play Favorites

You might wonder why I’m advocating discrimination to win over customers. No, I’m not being a bigot. By ‘playing favorites’, I mean tell your users how special they are. This special feeling only happens when they see a class of customers who get plain vanilla treatment and they themselves get a certain level of exclusivity.

Gold Rewards Card

Gold Rewards Card

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This exclusivity is the secret behind all those platinum memberships that we see flying around. This was tested empirically by professors Nunes and Dreze in their study on consumers’ perception of their own status in loyalty marketing programs. Their research showed that customers love being members of exclusive VIP programs. Their participation in the program goes up significantly when a lower category of members comes into being.

Whether you set up your own loyalty program or simply segment customers internally, make sure you offer your privileged customers clear benefits of being a repeat customer with you.


12. Retargeting Campaigns

Try searching for a product on Amazon or Walmart.com and rest assured you’ll end up being stalked all over the web by display ads featuring the item you searched, for the next week at least. That’s retargeting for you. Retargeting reaches out to users who visited your site, shopped around and left without making a purchase. However, retargeting campaigns are not just for acquiring new customers.

Want to stay top-of-mind for your first-time buyers? Set up dedicated campaigns targeting them for new purchases. Set up specific audience parameters in your retargeting tool and connect with your buyers at the exact time when they’d be in the market for a replenishment purchase. Retargeting for repeat customers can follow the same channels that you use for new users.

  • Display retargeting
  • Retargeting on social media
  • Personalized content targeting
  • Mobile offers
  • App push notifications and
  • Email retargeting

are some of the channels that you can explore for your retargeting campaigns.

Predictive marketing company AgilOne, describes how it helped skincare brand 100% Pure in its retargeting efforts. One of 100% Pure’s flagship products is a coffee bean eye cream with a replenishment cycle of 60 days. Using the AgilOne platform, the company identified customers who had purchased the item 45 days ago and sent them reminder purchase emails at the 45 day mark. This simple email campaign alone offered the brand a sales lift of 200%.


13. Appointment Shopping Days

Why wait for your customers to come to you when they feel like it? Create opportunities to shop and entice customers into your stores even when they don’t really need to buy anything. At the risk of sounding like I get paid by Amazon for this (I don’t!), I am going to pull one last Amazon example here.

Amazon recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in style with Prime Day, or as the retail behemoth called it, ‘Black Friday in July’. Billed as a one-day only, deep discount shopping event, Prime Day was heavily promoted by Amazon and equally anticipated by shoppers.

Amazon Prime Day, repeat purchase, customer retention

Amazon Prime Day

The results were not disappointing either. Amazon sold over 34.4 million items globally in a single day or 398 items per second – topping Black Friday sales by 18%!


14. Upsell and Cross Sell

Did your gym ask you to upgrade to a platinum membership in return for a free month of membership? That’s classic upsell for you. Upselling to an existing customer is a great way to grow revenues without spending big on acquisition costs. The fact that there already exists a relationship between you and your customer, makes it easier to convince them to splurge on a bigger ticket item than they did previously. This is provided of course, that the customer had a great experience with your brand to begin with.

On the other hand, cross sell depends on your customers’ fear of missing out or FOMO.

Cross-sell example

Cross-sell example

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Cross selling items that complement something your customer has already bought is a safer conversion bet than selling the same item to a completely new user. Crate and Barrel cross sells items complementary to the customer’s purchase on its ‘Thank You’ page above. You could alternately opt for email campaigns or personalized site content on the user’s next visit to cross sell items effectively.


15. Offer a Personal Touch

There’s a reason why people prefer muffins from the local bakery than a big box retailer. They’re usually fresher, don’t contain half as many preservatives needed to last for weeks inside warehouses and store shelves and most importantly, they come accompanied by the personal touch of the bakery owner herself. That personal touch is a fast vanishing commodity in today’s world of organized retail.

A great way to distinguish yourself from competition is by showing your customers you really care. Because more often than not, even a single customer can mean the difference between a good month and a bad one for a small business. A handwritten thank you note leaves behind warm memories about your business in your customers’ minds – something that will be triggered the next time they want to buy the product your business sells.

Handwritten Customer Note

Handwritten Customer Note

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High-end technology accessory maker Hex, built its brand and fended off competition like Tumi and Michael Kors with the simplest of tools – over 13,000 handwritten thank you notes. The note you see above is an example shared by a user, complete with the customer’s name, the item he purchased and warm wishes from the company. Nicely done.


16. Remind them of your value

A customer who has made a purchase from your business obviously saw some value in your offering, prompting her to buy in the first place. However, this sense of ‘value’ can get diluted over time, especially when the user is not actively in the market to buy another similar product.

So what do you do in such a case? Maintain top of mind recall and ensure your customer knows how your brand adds value to their lives through gentle reminders. Len Markidan cites personal assistant service Fancy Hands as a great example of how to do this right. Now, Fancy Hands runs errands for its customers that they are too busy to do themselves. They remind their existing users of the value they bring to the table in a clear (but not sales-y) way.

reinforce value

Reinforcing Value in Users’ Minds

Seeing those all those savings made and tasks completed in black and white, makes the user value the service more and makes them more inclined to stick with the business


17. Be a Friend

No one spares a second thought about a business that only turns up to hard sell their wares and disappears once the sale is complete. When a customer has not emotional attachment to your brand, getting them to buy again from you is almost as hard as trying to convince a first-time user to buy from you.

Building a thriving friendship with your customer is the essence of relationship marketing. This could take various forms. From being nice to your customers while they shop with you, to wishing them on birthdays and anniversaries, to greeting them on special holidays to even reaching out to say a ‘Hi’ when there’s no special occasion underfoot are all legit and effective ways to grow your bond.

A good friend helps out without being asked. Share valuable information related to your product or industry with your customers to help them in their daily lives. Offer them first dibs on original research that they will value. Make sure your customer care is warm and available easily when your customer needs it. It’s quite simple actually. Saying ‘No’ to a friend is tougher than rejecting a stranger. Choose to be a friend in that case.


18. Use Social Proof

Social proof performs two critical roles in keeping a first-time buyer interested in your business. Firstly, the recommendations and positive proof about your business that a customer sees coming from other buyers bolsters their confidence in your business and reassures them that they made a sound financial decision by buying from you. As every marketer knows, customers trust the opinions of other users any day over marketing claims made by the brands themselves.

Social referral, repeat customers

Social referral

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In the screenshot above, by offering an existing user a referral incentive, the brand turns her into a brand evangelist on her social networks.

Secondly, by showing your first-time buyers what else others bought, or how they are using their new products, you tap into their deeply ingrained need to keep up with the Jones’s. Social proof in this case works as a catalyst pushing users towards another purchase.


19. Create Goals and Guide Users Towards Them

Even though our culture prizes individuality and freedom as two of its highest principles, the fact remains that we’re often too lazy to decide what to do. We prefer a readymade plan of action over one that we have to create from scratch.

Businesses can capitalize on this inertia and gently guide users towards purchase driven goals by offering them rewards in return. Offers like ‘Buy twice to get 50% off on your third purchase’ are a tempting motivator for customers who seek value in their purchases.


20. Revive and reactivate dormant customers

Lastly, dig deep and revive old relationships with customers who have stopped buying from you. In “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got”, Joy Abraham writes that about half of all customers who stopped buying from a business tend to be satisfied with the business and its products or services. The reason they stop buying is that they stopped hearing from the business. Out of sight is truly out of mind.

You were missed!, churn prevention email,

You were missed!

Reach out to your lapsed customers with the right offer and messaging that seeks to revive the old bond that you shared with them. Human nature makes us stick with the familiar than experiment with the unknown. Give them a reason to come back to your business. More often than not, come back they will.


Wrapping Up

Data from Adobe is clear in its stand on which customer type is more valuable. It reports that it will take you 5 new shoppers to match the revenue brought in by a single repeat customer. Upgrading just 1% of your first time buyers into repeat buyers can bring your business $39 million of additional revenue.

The question is, are you game for it?

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