The customer masterplan: 5 great tips to increase repeat buyers

9th Dec 2016

If you want to understand more about the Customer MasterPlan model be sure to read the first blog in this series: The customer masterplan: A new way to think about customer relationships

The majority of ecommerce businesses don’t make any money on the first purchase – it costs them to get the first order from a customer. That means that the second purchase is crucial in order to make a profit.

In their quarterly report for Q2 2016, Monetate revealed that revenue from returning visitors grew 20.5% YOY, so there’s lots of opportunity for those who choose to put the effort in. The question is – what actions are most likely to lead customers towards repeat buying?

1. Making the most of your parcels

When a customer places their first order, in some ways they are testing you out. Seeing if you’re going to deliver on your promise. To send the right products, to send the products safely, to send the products on time. To stand any chance of getting a repeat purchase you need to deliver on that promise (or if you fail, do a great job of fixing the problem).

Beauty retailer, Feelunique has recently undertaken a project to make their deliveries better meet their customers’ needs. The resulting changes have increased repeat purchases across the board – including a 50% uplift in repeat purchases from international buyers.

But you can do a lot more. Make the packaging and contents beat the customer’s expectations – include a free gift, use pretty on-brand tissue paper, a handwritten thank you note. Create some excitement about the arrival.

You can also directly encourage the next order – include a flyer featuring your top products, and offering a discount or free postage and packaging on follow-up purchases.

2. Remarketing lists for search advertising (Google Adwords RLSA)

RLSA is just like bidding on keywords in Google Adwords, except you set up the campaign so that the ads can only be seen by a specific remarketing list. In this case, people who’ve reached your order confirmation page.

Think about those keywords you’d love to bid on on Google Adwords, but it’s just too expensive. If you sell flowers – “flowers”, “bouquet”, etc.

Think about those keywords your existing customers would expect to find you under. If you sell flowers – “flowers”, “bouquet”, etc.

See the similarity?!

Well RLSA is a way to avoid the frustration of the former, and cash in on the latter. It’s a way you can afford to bid on those keywords for a group of people who expect to see you there.

You can afford it because:

You’ve limited the potential audience to just those who’ve already bought from you – that means that there aren’t many people to click, which means it can’t possibly cost you a lot.

The audience you have limited it to are HIGHLY likely to click, which means you’ll get a good click through rate – which means (in very simple terms) you’ll pay less per click.

The audience you have limited it to are also HIGHLY likely to buy – because they have bought with you before. Meaning you should achieve a positive return on investment.

One word of warning though – for an audience to work on RLSA you need at least 1,000 people in it and membership expires after 180 days. So if your sales aren’t high enough to get there with just buyers – extend the audience – maybe it’s everyone who’s visited a product page? Or even everyone who’s visited your site?

You’ll still get a much better performance than just running the ads without the RLSA audience restrictions.

3. Facebook CRM remarketing

With a Facebook advertising account you can upload a list of email addresses (or phone numbers) and Facebook will find all of those people they can within the privacy settings boundaries they have, giving you an audience you can put adverts in front of in the process.

If you take a list of your First Time Buyers and upload them you can then put adverts and offers directly in front of the people you want to buy for a second time. Make sure these match the messages and offers they are receiving in other marketing.

There are now also tools that will keep that list up to date for you – by syncing your selection in your CRM database with your Facebook Advertising account. Great news because it’s one less job for you to do, plus it means your advertising will be more accurate too.

4. Post-purchase email sequences

If someone’s bought – then you have their email address, and likely, you have permission to contact them too.

That means you can send them a sequence of emails specifically encouraging their next purchase.

What sort of sequence you build will depend on your products, but it could be one of these:

Anniversary of purchase

This works really well in the travel and gift sectors. Send a sequence of emails to encourage purchase 12 months after they last bought.


If you’re selling products that get consumed (shampoo, tea, vitamins) then send another email around the time the product should be about to run out.

Immediately post-purchase

Sometimes it pays to encourage another purchase straight away. This can work really well if there is helpful information you can send, and add-on products that work with the items they’ve already bought.

Not just batteries, but – you’ve bought an ebook reader, would you like a light and a cover?

5. Next order products

How you structure your product line can have a big impact on how likely someone is to buy again.

Miso Soup

To encourage the first order, Miso Tasty created a 2 soup product for just £3 (with free P&P) because they knew customers would like to try miso soup and experience the taste before they committed to a larger pack.

Therefore they needed a next step product to get the customer to buy again – so they have packs of a variety of miso soup flavours, and others that are 8 packs. Their entire emphasis is built on next order products, as opposed to introductory first purchases.

Read the first blog in this series: The customer masterplan: A new way to think about customer relationships 

Replies (1)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By Sahib1989
15th Dec 2016 06:45

Having good knowledge of your customer's behavior and choices plays a major role in retaining them in today's tough and competitive world. In retail sector specificaly, knowing which areas of your store the customers spend most time in helps your in better product placement.

It also helps if you can measure the effectiveness of your promotional offers as well. It is important to know this as it will assist in better planning for the future.

Thanks (0)