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A Customer’s Second Purchase Is More Important Than Their First

Few things are as satisfying to a marketer as a new customer making their first purchase—it’s basically the marketing equivalent of winning an Oscar.

But what happens if that customer buys once, and only once?

If you’re not careful, a first purchase could be a one-time purchase. And with it, your chances of getting buyers to return and make a repeat purchase go out the window, leaving you with a non-existent customer loyalty strategy.

The sad truth is that a majority of first-time buyers will never engage with your brand again. Yet despite this, many marketers still celebrate their customer acquisition rates as if gaining one-time buyers is what matters most.

Although it may be a milestone worth celebrating, there’s a problem with this approach: Brand new customers haven’t yet formed a strong association with your brand after making a single purchase. They need to be carefully nurtured beyond that initial purchase. In order to do that, you have to focus on keeping them happy while delivering more value so that they’ll buy again.

That’s why the end goal in ecommerce marketing shouldn’t be the first purchase—it should be the second purchase. It’s after this point that customers are more likely to return for additional purchases.

Consider the fact that loyal, repeat customers spend up to three times as much as one-time customers. If marketers aren’t recognizing the fact that the second purchase is the most important purchase in terms of driving customer loyalty, they aren’t taking advantage of their biggest opportunity to maximize customer lifetime value.

Make targeted recommendations for second purchases

Get this: Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the value of their first purchase. While a customer’s initial purchase is no guarantee of customer loyalty, it is a signal of engagement and interest. Thus, it’s critical for marketers to take advantage of that window of opportunity to keep communicating with the buyer after they’ve purchased.

In this case, that means sourcing information from your customer’s initial purchase, then using that customer data to drive targeted upsell and cross-sell marketing campaigns with recommended products to encourage a second purchase. (If you’re not sure how to do this, using a B2C CRM is a great place to start.)

When you can understand the customer lifecycle across different devices and channels, you can stitch together a more complete profile of each customer and their unique needs, then tailor your recommendations accordingly. It’s a more segmented, personalized way to give your buyers the best customer experience possible.

Work in real-time for maximum relevance

The moments leading up to and immediately following a first purchase are crucial checkpoints in the customer lifecycle. Interest is at its peak, and existing customers are more likely to respond to recommendations for future engagement and repeat purchases. If you as a marketer aren’t able to source customer insights the moment they happen and act in real-time, you’ll miss out on the biggest opportunities to engage your customers in relevant ways.

In our email marketing-saturated culture, it’s probably no surprise that 56 percent of customers unsubscribe from emails that are no longer relevant to their immediate needs. In other words, once that window of peak interest right after a first purchase has passed, your marketing emails immediately start losing their value.

By creating triggered marketing campaigns that encourage one-time buyers to make a second and third purchase, you can rest assured that you’re giving your brand the best chance to engage with buyers when it matters most.

Optimize your marketing content to stand out

You may have all the pieces in place to send targeted emails in real-time to give you an ideal shot at encouraging the repeat purchase. But all the marketing automation in the world won’t be able to save you if your customers aren’t convinced by the information you’re feeding them.

From your email subject lines to the copy that details how your loyalty program works, every marketing touchpoint must be tested. Every time your customers interact with your ecommerce site, it’s a chance to not only communicate your brand value, but also sell your products.

The trick here is not to come across too aggressive. After all, your goal is to nudge customers gradually along their customer lifecycle journey, not push them off a cliff. You wouldn’t expect them to become die-hard fans after only the first purchase, so let that easygoing attitude reflect in your interactions with them.

Do you have a product you can upsell them on, but that also will make them fall in love with your brand even more? Tell your customers about it without making the thrust of your content focused on how great your brand is, just like Moo does so well here.

second purchase

The benefit is clear: Give your business cards an upgrade that makes them—and ultimately you as a customer—stand out. With copy that makes such a simple ask while still being subtly convincing, who wouldn’t want to try them on for size?

When you show how your customers can actually benefit (instead of how your brand can sell more products), you’re on your way to welcoming repeat buyers into your fold who eventually will turn into loyal customers.

Two purchases are better than one

Ultimately, what’s the key takeaway here for B2C marketers? Yes, getting a customer to make a first purchase is great. Go on, ring that bell, put on a party hat, and raise a glass to another new acquisition.

But before the celebration gets out of hand, it’s of utmost importance to make sure the customer journey doesn’t end there. It may sound counterintuitive, but your repeat purchase strategy matters even more than your customer acquisition strategy.

Too often marketers fail to effectively engage with buyers after they’ve made their first purchase, allowing potentially high-value customers to slowly fade away. But when your marketing strategy is focused on driving that second purchase, you’re able to take a more active role in maximizing their lifetime value.

Repeat purchases and more loyal customers are within reach. So what are you waiting for?

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