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How To Get Repeat E-commerce Customers: Encourage Them To Return For More

Naziba Ali Naziba Ali

Naziba Ali

 17 November, 2021
 8 min read

Do you have a one-time buyer problem? If you are an e-commerce store owner, we hear you saying yes. Here's how you can convert one-time buyers into repeat customers.

In this article

You've already put in a lot of effort to get your e-commerce store up and running. You've probably spent a fortune marketing your business and getting people to walk through your door. However, often you find your customers — once gone, gone forever.

Ever asked yourself why customers aren’t coming back?

If you don’t have repeat customers, soon you’ll find yourself spinning the wheel to run your business. On this account, accelerating sustainable growth becomes a long shot.

The endless cycle of acquiring new customers and losing them right after the first purchase isn’t a feasible process to run your e-commerce business.

In this way, you’re ditching the golden goose of recurring revenue.

Research from Adobe Experience Cloud says — repeat customers account for more than 40% of an E-commerce site's revenue, despite accounting for only 8% of total shoppers. These are the 20% of customers who provide 80 percent of your revenue.

But the payoff from repeat buyers doesn’t stop there because down the line; they are primed to become your brand’s best advocates.

If you examine closely, how you deal with customers after their first purchase is either making your valuable customers stay or driving them away and discouraging them from coming back.

So, before we begin with the steps to follow to bring back your customers, let us take you across the mistakes you’re making unknowingly.

Mistakes businesses make when it comes to dealing with new customers.

Here are some commonly overlooked mistakes that are preventing you from cultivating a strong customer relationship. Not building customer relationships is a deal-breaker for any e-commerce brand. The stronger your relationship is with your customers, the better chances of them coming back to your brand.

1. Not Thinking Past The First Sale:

Knowing what your customers want from your business is the key to increasing sales. However, a single purchase will not reveal the secret. And this is where most businesses go wrong. They become hyper-focused on landing the first deal.

Once this happens, companies don’t make an effort to sustain the relationship, as reported by Reveal. This, in turn, makes a business vulnerable to losing a large chunk of potential repeat customers.

Retention-of-E-commerce-customers
Customer Retention

The bottom line is, your loyal customers bring you a higher Customer Lifetime Value.

And repeat purchases are a good indicator of customer loyalty.

The happier the consumers are with a brand, the longer they stick with it and make more purchases.

Customer-experience-for-gaining-repeat customers
Customer Experience and Brand Loyalty

2. Not Being Customer-Focused:

In easier words, customer-focused means putting customers in the limelight. By being customer-focused, you put customers, their wants, and needs first before anything else.

Often business owners assume this responsibility falls on the shoulder of the customer support team. However, part of it is true. But the reality is customer-centricity should be built around the company’s core purpose, and thereby they should foster a culture dedicated to customer satisfaction.

In 2007, Netflix realized that its users wanted something different: low-cost, easy-to-access entertainment that they could watch on demand. As a result, the company launched a video streaming service, which revolutionized watching television and movies.

Netflix is now our go-to source for catching up on our favorite movies or shows.

On the other hand, rival DVD rental company Blockbuster failed to adapt to the shifting market, and the rest is history.  

Another example could be our love affair with Amazon. It’s the first place we think of shopping from whenever we need to buy some essentials. The reason?

Amazon never failed to live up to customers’ expectations; in fact, they strived to exceed them. This became possible because they put customers at the center of their business.

Meeting-customer-expectations-to-retain-customers
Customer Expectation Vs. Reality

The more focus you put in your customers' needs, the easier it is to boost customer satisfaction.  

If your business wants to boost loyalty, try shifting your focus to the customer, you might be surprised at what you can do with a simple mindset shift. This includes:

  • Listening actively to your customers and acting on their feedback
  • Encouraging collaboration across departments
  • Being available across all customer-facing channels
  • Leveraging AI to provide an excellent customer service

3. Not Listening To The Customers:

Listening to customers is not about picking up the phone call at the customer service desk or answering back to customers’ emails. It involves understanding them and paying close attention to their problem, which they need your help for.

Poor customer service is one of the reasons customers switch to other providers. Because they don’t feel valued and heard by the customer reps, their questions remain unanswered.

Customers don’t want any service; they want to overcome objections, they need a great solution to their problems. So, If you want to build your brand’s position in your customer’s mind, you should give your best to overcome their objections.

“Customers' questions are customers' objections. And we all know that objections play a super important role in the path to conversion.”

- Lorenzo Carreri, CRO and User Research Expert

Lorenzo states 6 ways to discover your customers’ objections.

  • Run a post-purchase survey asking: "Did you have any question you didn't find the answer to?"
  • Have an exit popup that says: "What questions do you have that are not answered on this page?"
  • Look into customer support tickets and chat logs
  • Q&A section on product pages
  • "People also ask" section in Google Search results.
  • Use 3rd party resources like Quora, subreddits, aHrefs, etc.
Answer-FAQs-to-gain-repeat-customers
Popular Customer Queries

Whether you run a boutique or an E-commerce store, your customers keep the lights on. So their query should never go unanswered.  Now comes the most important step.

Why should you prioritize returning customers over attracting new ones?

Let’s start with crunching the numbers. According to Invesp, the cost of acquiring a new customer is 5x higher than retaining an existing one. Increasing customer retention rates by 5%, increase in profits by 25% to 95%.

The number speaks the value of why e-commerce businesses should put all their focus on returning (aka retainer) customers. Funds are better off spent on cultivating existing customer relationships.

Here are some other reasons why repeat customers are worth the investment:

⸺ Repeat Customers Facilitate Word-of-mouth Marketing

Satisfied customers not only stick around, but they also recommend your product or service to others. This, when amplified by social media, can result in a lot of free marketing. In the words of Jay Desai, Founder at Swpely and GrowthKit:

“Word of mouth marketing is 10X better than any marketing team out there. If you want to grow fast, activate your customers. Make them feel special and give them everything they need.”

⸺ It is easier to sell to returning customers

According to Invesp research, you're 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer than a new prospect. Although this benchmark can vary from business to business. Existing customers buy more from your brand because they have had positive experiences with you.

⸺ Consistent revenue comes from repeat customers

It takes 5-7 new customers to generate the same amount of revenue as one repeat buyer. Repeat customers tend to come back to your store and purchase more items over time.

⸺ Returning customers generate greater lifetime value

These customers have a strong attachment to your brand and are eager to try new products. Consequently, they yield a greater value over their lifetime.

4 Effective Ways to Increase Your Existing Customers' Spending

Every business desires recurring revenue, repeat purchases from customers. Repeat purchases reflect customer satisfaction, retention, and a great customer experience.

"If you can get 20-30% of customers returning every month and making a purchase from your store, you are pretty sorted."

- Alex Schultz, VP of Growth at Facebook/Meta

Before looking for the best solutions to bring customers back, you need to determine why customers aren’t returning in the first place. To state the obvious facts, if customers are constantly having a bad experience when buying from your store, there’s no chance for them to come back.

The mantra is simple: Place your customer first, and repeat sales will inevitably follow. Now, the question is, how can you entice a customer to return to your shop?

We have jotted down 4 tried-and-true tips that any brand can use to encourage repeat purchases. Here are a couple of ideas for gaining your customers' trust and, hopefully, repeat sales:

  1. Provide an Enhanced Customer Experience
  2. 24/7 Availability with Automated Conversation
  3. Offer discounts and incentives
  4. Share Customer Testimonials

1. Provide an Enhanced Customer Experience:

Customer experience encompasses every interaction a customer has with a brand, starting from the sales experience and ending with the post-purchase experience.

A report from PwC says, 1 in 3 customers will leave even their favorite brand after just one negative experience. On the contrary, they are willing to spend more if a brand provides top-rated service.

Here's how you can provide a delightful customer experience:

⸺ Omnichannel support: Customers expect seamless communication across all touchpoints. They want a personalized experience. Customers buying your product should have the same experience on the website, communication channels, or brick-and-mortar store.

⸺ Personalized customer journey: We all appreciate it when someone remembers our personalities and preferences. We expect the same being customer. Companies are more likely to generate higher sales if they provide personalized offers and recommendations.

⸺ Great after-sales service: There could be several scenarios in which your customers require assistance after their purchase, e.g. order cancellation, return, refund, etc. Getting such assistance ensures customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of a first-time buyer returning.

2. 24/7 Availability with Automated Conversation:

Customers won’t check the time before knocking at your door. And the truth is:  40% of consumers expect brands to respond within an hour of reaching out on social media. Otherwise, they risk losing those customers.

Here automated tools come to the rescue. An AI-powered chatbot can reduce the pressure of handling common, repetitive questions of customers.

3. Incentivize a Second Purchase:

Everyone loves freebies. Offering incentives like discounts, coupons, or free shipping to first-time customers can be quite profitable for your company.

If you identify consumers who haven't purchased in a while or abandoned their cart, you can take advantage of the power of incentives to bring them back to avail.

However, providing such incentives frequently can annoy your customers. Make sure not to bombard them excessively with offers. Overflowing their inbox with others is surely not the right way to win them back. In fact, it can have a counterproductive effect on your valuable customers.

4. Leverage Customer Testimonials:

Reviews enhance your site’s credibility. 93%  of customers check the reviews before purchasing something. So, after customers have completed their transaction, you may ask them to leave a review without being pushy.

Reviews act as a magnet to draw in new customers. Based on reviews, they take a leap of faith to put their trust in your brand and buy from you.

Want To Win Back Your Customers ?


The e-commerce industry is becoming more competitive every month. Brands must get innovative when designing repeat buy techniques that result in customer retention.

Begin with simple things like customer experience. Improving customer experience can amplify the results of other marketing efforts you’re putting in.

Flashy discount codes may not be sustainable in the long run. However, offering incentives to your first customers may act as a nudge for repeat purchases. Encourage user-generated content and keep it easy for your customers to leave online reviews.

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