Apr 19 | 5 minutes read

How to convert customers into repeat buyers

Business owners get caught up in the exciting thrill of chasing more first-time buyers, which leaves them at the risk of missing a trick - tapping from their pool of already existing customers to drive sales exponentially. 

For retail businesses, repeat buyers are where the business is at, literally. Existing data has shown that repeat buyers produce greater than 50% of revenue for most small and medium businesses. Not only that, while the acquisition of new customers costs 5X more, loyal repeat customers are usually worth up to 10X what they spent on their first purchase. Bain & Co established that increasing customer retention by a mere 5% could raise profitability by 75%. 

For all of this, repeat business is not easily scored. And with ever-intense competition for the attention of retail customers, it's becoming more difficult than ever. However, in this article, we explore guidelines that you can apply to reduce churn and increase customer retention rates. 

How do you turn a customer into a repeat buyer? 

There’s not enough space in any single article to list all the things you can do to convert customers into repeat buyers. However, here, we have painstakingly selected a few that are guaranteed to deliver results for your business. 

Offer great products 

Competition in the retail business is cutthroat, and there are always 20 other retailers ready to snap up your customers at the slightest discomfort. So, the very best way to protect your retention rates and reduce churn is to ensure that all your products are of the best quality possible, at the best prices possible. 

Develop a compelling brand identity 

The retail business is not only delineated along products but also brand value. This is why H&M clothing is regarded very differently from Gucci, even though there might not be any fundamental differences in the constitution of these products. That’s the importance of brand identity. By developing a compelling brand identity, you attract customers who will continue to come back just for that experience rather than the products themselves. 

Make the purchase process as smooth and efficient as possible 

Another vital determinant is the smoothness of the purchase process. Retail businesses are increasingly turning to online shopping and delivery models, and on these, churn can very well be precipitated by a lagging website or narrow payment options. To keep churn as low as possible, your website must be fast, with as few clicks between the product and checkout as possible. Even traditional brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart and Target have begun experimenting with self-checkout machines. 

Customer service is always a primary determinant 

More important than the quality of your products, processes or infrastructure is the quality of your customer service. People will gravitate to businesses that they feel care the most about them. As such, it’s important to create mechanisms for robust communications with your customers to make sure that their concerns are always heard and attended to robustly. 

Discounts and loyalty rewards = repeat buyers  

At the very base of human behaviour is a constant tilt towards gratification and rewards. So, by creating programs whereby consumers can begin to receive special discounts and privileges following a set number of purchases, you create a pipeline that turns regular customers into loyal, repeat buyers.  

Retailers like Harold’s, have done this by creating membership cards. Even airlines reward regular flyers with so-called airline miles or frequent flyer miles. 

Give existing customers preferential access to new products 

Instead of suddenly dropping new products into the market, consider allowing existing customers to access and assess them first. They can enjoy these products and then offer constructive criticism where necessary.  

This does not only help create a strong sense of belonging from associating with your brand. It also helps you notice any flaws that need fixing before the product is exposed to a more critical general market. 


Anyone who knows anything about the luxury clothing and lifestyle industry would notice an attention to detail in packaging that borders on genius. These days, it’s not uncommon to find people stack their Louis Vuitton paper bags and Nike shoe boxes somewhere in their homes. They have been designed for that very purpose – an aesthetic appeal that boosts brand recall, then breeds loyalty. 

Everybody loves stress-free returns 

Returns are an inevitable aspect of retail. Every so often, customers purchase items that, for some reason, are not fit for purpose and end up returning them. If you intend to increase customer retention, design a return policy that allows your customers to purchase whatever they want without developing heartaches over returns. 

Keep in touch with your customers 

Personalisation is an increasingly ubiquitous phenomenon in business, and you can’t afford to get left behind. Depending on your business model, you can keep track of your customers’ birthdays and anniversaries and then send them gifts to commemorate those events. Macy’s, for example, gives birthday surprises to each of its members every year. 

However, it’s not just enough to remember your customers on their birthdays; you have to regularly reach out to them. Whether shortly after they make purchases, or in regular newsletters, customers love to know that you care about them enough. 

And not only that, these outreaches can be veritable avenues for collecting feedback. Customers who might be reluctant to contact your customer service department will be more likely to report on your products and service if you ask them directly, enabling you to improve where necessary. 

Wrap Up 

There’s no doubt that repeat buyers bring the most impact to the bottom line of any retail business. The acquisition cost is relatively less, and the ROI is tremendously higher. By securing as low as 20 – 30% customer retention, retail companies can ensure that they remain profitable. 


Book a demo for absolutely free today to see how these tools are poised to help your business unlock new growth and revenues.