Using Email To Drive That All-Important Second Purchase

Getting a customer to buy from you a second time is one of the most common challenges that online retailers and ecommerce companies face.

Landing that first purchase is tough enough, although email offers, paid search and display ads increase your chances, as do sign-up discounts, onboarding offers and browse and cart-abandonment retargeting. 

Many first purchases are seasonal buys, gifts or one-time solutions. Your challenge is to motivate these customers to come back in a different season, to buy gifts for a different person, or find something that complements their first purchases.

Capture and Leverage Customer Behavior

Your new customers leave tracks, including email links they've clicked, Web pages browsed, and products purchased or added to carts and wish lists.

Following are a few things to consider:

  • Use site and purchase behavior to score customers and slot them into segments or personas.
  • Ask for birth dates and anniversaries, and use survey emails to solicit basic profile and interests.
  • Build a scoring model based on post-purchase surveys, call center interactions and other satisfaction measures to vary a second-purchase offer.
  • In purchase anniversary and lapsed-customer emails, ask a profile question or two in exchange for a compelling discount or free-shipping offer.



Programs That Drive Repeat Purchases

Use data points to deploy programs that can turn one-and-done buyers into loyal repeat purchasers.

Incentivize: Discounts or free-shipping offers are popular tactics. Examples include:

  • Bounceback offers several days after the first purchase. 
  • Cross-sell recommendations with incentives in purchase confirmation and shipping transactional messages.

Post-purchase: A great customer experience is one of the best motivators to bring first-time shoppers back:  

  • Send content-based emails with tips and videos showing how to assemble the product or use it correctly.
  • Use ratings or reviews to trigger emails. Ask customers who rate purchases highest to share photos and stories on social media. Refer poor reviews to executives for follow-up, including apologies and significant discounts.
  • Trigger standalone recommendation emails after the initial purchase.
  • Set up replenishment or repurchase emails.
  • Incorporate a separate onboarding email or series for new customers.
  • Invite customers to register and set up an account. List the benefits, such as stored billing and address information for faster checkout next time.                           

Promote reward/loyalty programs: Include these in post-purchase messages:

  • Add a membership invitation to transactional messages.
  • Outline membership benefits in a standalone message in your post-purchase series. Include customer testimonials and links to membership videos.
  • Add dynamic copy blocks to promotional emails that show point status and how close they are to the next round of benefits.

Surprise and delight:  Showing your one-time purchasers some love can turn them into lifetime customers.

  • Surprise selected customers, using profile or purchase amount, with a meaningful benefit, such as additional loyalty points, 30-day free shipping or invitations to in-store events.
  • Package exclusive or insider information into an e-book or video, such as an e-book for cyclists on the best mountain-biking trails.

Promote other channels: Use email to promote communications via other channels:

  • If you mail catalogs, invite new customers in post-purchase messages and packaging to sign up for them.
  • Ask customers to download your mobile app and follow your brand on your social channels for additional content, offers, etc.

Birthday/Purchase anniversary: Incorporate offers, rewards points and recommendations based on customers' purchase, browse and cart behavior.

  • Don't wait 12 months to send a purchase anniversary message. Try different intervals such as three, six and nine months, too.
  • Ask for family members' birthday and wedding anniversaries. These can provide touchpoints and purchase triggers.
  • Use reminder emails to drive family gift purchases.

First-time buyers have a different relationship with your brand. Special treatment can encourage them to graduate into high-value repeat customers.

Until next time, take it up a notch.

Next story loading loading..