eCommerce: How to Turn Your First-Time Buyers Into Life-Time Purchasers

Posted by Murray Sye

on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 @ 08:57 AM

eCommerce: How to turn your first-time buyers into lif-time purchasersWe all know that the first time you do something it's a novelty, and the chances that you'll do it again tend to be quite low.

The second time you do something – like purchasing from a store for instance – you're establishing a pattern.

But the third time you do something, you're at the beginning of a new habit.

As marketers, we want to make sure that our customers go from first-timers to lifers (or at least "third-timers"). Of course, your business itself needs to provide the kind of value that would cause someone to become a lifelong customer, but your marketing can certainly help the process.

Are you focusing on your first-time customers that haven't reconverted? Try to find out why they didn't make it to the next purchase. Can you tweak your marketing in order to spur them towards that new habit? Test aspects of the follow-up such as timing, messaging, visuals, channels, etc. Moving the needle at this crucial stage of the process – when people are still engaged with you but haven't yet established their long-term allegiance – will yield tremendous benefits.

Winning customers back

Win-back emails are a good time to offer a surprise coupon. Set up your workflow so that if they haven't purchased another item from you after 60 days, they get a little reminder and a reason to do so. This email form Crocs is a good example of how to reach out with humor and value.


Of course, you win-back emails can also be effective simply by reaching out and reminding people why they purchased your product in the first place. As always, let that personality shine!

Capitalize with breakup email

Let's face it, if a contact hasn't opened or clicked any of your emails in the past three months, they might never come around. In that case, you'd be better off focusing on your contacts who are engaged that sending messages to people who don't want to hear from you (even if their presence is stated passively).

This "break-up" email from NTEN is lighthearted yet focused, and can often spur dormant contacts back to life.


Why not a contest?

Contests can be a good way to get people excited and reenergize a sleepy section of your email list. the warning here is that just because someone signs up for something free doesn't mean they're necessarily interested in your product. So the action you see around contests might be a false indicator as to people's engagement with your brand. That being said, for the relatively small investment in a prize or reward, you may be able to generate outsized buzz amongst your target audience, and bring some of those lapsed customers back to the checkout page.


Connect socially

Find a tool that integrates with a list of contacts to see which of your customers are active on social media (yes, HubSpot does this). If you have a large volume of customers, you can focus this list only on your most valuable, or those who are most influential online. Nurture them via Twitter a few weeks after their purchase to surprise and delight these VIP customers.

Here are a few tips to remove some of the manual aspect of this process:

  • Send an automated internal email to the person at your company responsible for social media letting them know about the new customer to be contacted.

  • Include the contact's Twitter Username (ideally this will be automatically populated via a user token).

  • Provide a draft tweet for your social media person to copy and customize when reaching out to the new customer.

  • Include any other relevant data about the contact (products purchased, etc).

Dynamic content:
There are a good number of systems that provide product recommendations based on past purchase or browsing behavior (yes, including HubSpot). Setting this up on your site can turn your pages themselves into effective reorder marketing tools. By offering an option to sign up and receive promotions and personalized on-site recommendations, you also turn this feature into a lead generation too, increasing your conversion rate for new visitors who become contacts in your database.

By offering insight into which products go best with other products, beyond the standard "related items" list at the bottom of a product page, you're adding value to a customer's shopping process. You're helping them become a more educated consumer and see more value form your business as a whole. 

Other related articles you might find helpful:
4 Ways to get your eCommerce customers coming back for more
The real reason your eCommerce website visitors aren't buying
eCommerce Marketer: How well do you know your buyer persona?
What is upselling and how can it help you grow your eCommerce business?

Get a FREE Marketing Evaluation with WhiteSpace Is your business taking advantage of these essential eCommerce marketing strategies? Get a FREE Online Marketing Evaluation and find out how to improve your website sales and eCommerce strategy today!

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Written by Murray Sye

Murray is the CEO and Creative Director with the award-winning
Toronto HubSpot agency partner, WhiteSpace. You can
connect with Murray on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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