Brands may be prematurely writing off customers who might wind up spending with them again depending on the experience they get, according to data released from Bluecore.
The New York-based provider of retail marketing technology drew upon data from more than 35.5 billion customer campaigns from last year to produce its 2022 Retail Ecommerce Benchmark report.
While the research showed that the majority of retail purchases come from first-time buyers, Bluecore said those who are at risk of pulling back on a buying decision or who wind up not buying might be misunderstood. While there may be a difference in how frequently they’re buying online, for example, at-risk buyers still highly engaged with brands. This includes activities such as clicking on e-mails (1.96 per cent) at rates that are neck-and-neck with so-called active shoppers, whose average click rate is 2.06 per cent.
In general, those who have purchased once are 37 per cent likely to do so again. In some categories there is even a cumulative effect. For example, Bluecore found beauty shoppers are 24 per cent more likely to buy after the first purchase and 34 per cent after the second. The jump within the consumer electronics category was even higher, where shoppers are 15 per cent more likely to buy after the first purchase and 29 per cent after the second.
“A retailer’s revenue lies with their existing shoppers. Seizing the opportunity to engage and convert shoppers at each moment in their lifecycle is critical to driving revenue,” the report’s authors wrote. “Although repeat purchasers are a smaller subset of total purchases for the year, they drive the most revenue across retail vertical and average order value.”
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Bluecore‘s report seems particularly relevant at a time when so much buying activity has shifted online, and where many brands might not have the depth of experience in e-commerce to accurately analyze shopper behavior through digital channels.
The ultimate takeaway from these stats is that brands need to recognize the true length of the customer journey, and the routes it may take. In some markets, for instance, Bluecore actually found that non-buyers are more engaged with their content than active buyers. This was true in sporting goods and outdoor services, where non-buyers had a click rate of nearly 10 per cent vs. active buyers at close to eight per cent.
For certain purchases there may be more time — and nurturing — necessary to give non-buyers the information and confidence they need to make a purchase. In other cases these non-buyers might need to consult other members of their household, or want input from a friend, before converting into an e-commerce customer again.
There might be a natural tendency to assume that if you get CX right, those first-time buyers will become besotted fans who eagerly ramp up their spending. Bluecore’s research is a good reminder that is not always the case. It means that long-term, CX leaders may need to double-down on the “awareness/consideration” phases of the journey to reinforce habits, and to plan promotions and incentives at a cadence which reflects their customers’ preferences.
Lots of great breakdowns across categories in this report, which is ungated and is the first of a three-part series the company will be releasing.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.