This is a guest post from Alex McEachern of Sweet Tooth.

The majority of ecommerce stores out there are focused on two things, traffic and conversion rates! While these are important metrics they are no longer the be all end all of ecommerce. These two metrics focus on creating shoppers, but today’s best ecommerce sites focus on creating repeat customers.

These stores focus on repeat customers because they are worth more to your business. A repeat customer is 3x to 5x more valuable in terms of revenue, is about 54% more likely to convert than a regular shopper, and is more likely to share your site. The icing on the cake is a repeat customer costs 7x less to retain than a shopper costs to acquire.

So, why are so few sites concerned about creating repeat customers? They just aren’t informed. But you are about to be! Here are 3 ways to create more repeat customers and increase your sales.

1. Focus on Different Metrics

Like I said before, traffic and conversion are important; without them your store would cease to exist. However, if you are only focused on these metrics you will only ever have one time shoppers. If you want to create repeat customers you should monitor two different metrics. You need retention metrics.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value or (CLV) is the predicted value a customer will provide you over their entire shopping life. This allows you to place a value on keeping your shoppers longer and getting them to buy more regularly. Monitoring your CLV is a great way to track if your are gaining more repeat customers. You can easily start tracking your CLV with this simple equation!

Repeat Purchase Rate

Your repeat purchase rate is the percentage of your customers who have made more than one purchase with you. This is a fantastic way to see how well your store currently does at retaining shoppers, and lets you keep track of it moving forward. No matter how you use it just be sure you are calculating it correctly.

These two metrics are the traffic and conversion of the retention world. If you want to get serious about gaining repeat customers you need to know what to track and monitor. These are the best place to start.

2. Invest in Retention Marketing

If your goal is to increase repeat customers you need to invest in the right tools! You use Adwords, social media, and retargeting to acquire customers you need the right tools to get them returning as well.

There are a ton of retention tools at your disposal, but the most important factor is to strike the right balance of acquisition and retention. Just because repeat customers are more valuable does not mean you can ignore your acquisition channels completely.

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To get the most out of your store you need to know where to invest your time and money. The ideal balance for you depends on both on where your store is in its life (above) as well as the type of products you sell. You can discover the right balance in the “Ultimate Guide to Customer Retention.”

Some of the best customer retention tools include personalization tools (like Beeketing), live chat software, and customer loyalty programs. If you want to know which retention tool is best for you just take a look at this retention tool guide.

The tools you use are not as important as just getting started. The average ecommerce store gets 41% of its sales from returning customers but only devotes 19% of its budget to retention marketing. You can really stand out with a solid retention marketing strategy.

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3. You Need Personalization

Everyone has that restaurant or store that they always go to. You usually go to this place because they know you on a personal level. They know your order or know your size they know something about you!

This personal touch was lost in ecommerce when stores first started going online. It was difficult to know anything about your shoppers and it was even harder to provide that personal touch and feel. Those days are long gone and merchants have a ton of options to provide customers with amazing personalization.

Here are a few ways you can create a personal feel to create more repeat customers.

Product recommendations

Your shoppers love when you know what they like! Tools that allow you make recommendations based on predictive modeling or past purchases make you much more likely to create a repeat customer.

(do you have an image of these recommendations from your tool?)

A customer is much more likely to come back when you can help recommend products and provide that personal touch and added value they are not getting anywhere else.

Personalized emails

When a customer receives an email from you that uses their name and other personalized information it is like going in to your favorite store and having them greet you by name. It makes you feel special! When a customer feels special and valued they are much more likely to return as a repeat customer. Check out this guideline on how to use predictive analytics to level up your email marketing.

Hand written notes

Hand written notes take personalization to the next level! In a world where things have become much more virtual it is often a welcomed change when a customer sees something done by hand.

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The same emotions a customer feels when they see personalization in an email applies to handwritten notes, but the emotions felt are often much stronger. Like the example above from Trunk Club. The stylist sends a handwritten note with each order to wow the customer.

You can learn more about shipping notes in this great post from Shopify “5 Ways to use Packaging Inserts to Increase Customer Loyalty.

Gaining Repeat Customers

These three tips have now given you the knowledge to start focusing on the most profitable group of people on your site. When you start actively trying to increase your repeat customers you put your store at a significant advantage above your competitors.

Start creating more repeat customers by: focusing on retention metrics like CLV and repeat purchase rate, invest the needed resources into retention marketing, and provide a personalized and memorable experience.
You are now armed with everything you need to get customer retention working for your site, now get out there and make it happen!

 


Alex McEachern About the author: Alex McEachern is a Customer Loyalty Specialist and the primary author on the Sweet Tooth Blog. He blogs frequently on the ecommerce industry, customer retention, and consumer loyalty.

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