Successful eCommerce stores don’t just focus on attracting new customers—they also spend time nurturing one-time buyers to turn them into repeat customers.

According to MarketingProfs, once you secure a second purchase from a customer, they’ll be more than twice as likely to make a third purchase, and then even more likely to make a fourth. 

The same report also found that only 20 percent of first-time online buyers ever make a second purchase from an online store, however. So while it’s clear that getting customers to make another purchase from your store is a strategy that will pay dividends, it’s obviously not easy. 

Landing a new sale is great, but your work is only just beginning.

Getting a second order from just 10 percent more of your existing customers, could lead to doubling your revenue. So it’s a strategy worth investing in.

But how do you go about nurturing one-time customers into repeat buyers? Well, for WooCommerce store owners and developers, there are some very helpful strategies and extensions that provide lots of different ways to increase the number of customers who go on to make a second purchase.

Here are some strategies and tools to help you nurture customers and turn first-time buyers into repeat purchasers.

Contact customers after a sale

Getting a second purchase doesn’t happen very often—at least not if you don’t make an effort to encourage it.

Furthermore, of those customers that do make a second purchase, half of them do so within 16 days, according to Salesforce. So speed is important. The longer you wait to nurture customers, the less likely it is that you’ll score that second purchase. One of the best opportunities to encourage a second purchase is right after the first one.

AutomateWoo ($99/year at WooCommerce.com) is an extension that allows you to automate many processes at your eCommerce store, including the ability to send automated emails that are triggered by a wide range of actions. That means follow-up emails can automatically be sent to new customers shortly after a sale, giving you a hands-off way to keep in touch and start nurturing your relationship with each customer.

AutomateWoo allows merchants to send different follow-up emails to customers depending on which products they buy, so you can ensure your marketing content is optimized for the specific customer you’re contacting. You could also offer discounts based on the types of products they’ve purchased in the past.

Although it comes with lots of predefined triggers and actions for you to use, developers can also create their own.

You can create custom triggers in AutomateWoo.

Once you’ve created a new custom trigger in your WordPress dashboard, you then need to write the code that will control how it works. The do_action() function of WordPress can initiate your custom trigger. This will then parse a user to any workflows that are connected to the trigger. You can view an example of this in the AutomateWoo developer docs.

Developers can also extend AutomateWoo by creating custom order actions and custom functions. It’s also possible to create manual workflows to further personalize how this extension works.

Sending out automated post-purchase dripped emails is one of the best ways to keep your store top of mind for new customers and get first-time buyers immediately thinking about their next purchase.

Provide points and rewards

Loyalty programs that offer customers rewards for shopping are another effective way to get people back to your store to make repeat purchases. According to LoyaltyLion, a customer who joins your loyalty program is 47 percent more likely to make a second purchase than a customer who doesn’t.

Not only that, but an attractive points program could encourage visitors to become customers at your store in the first place. A survey by AICPA revealed that 12 percent of respondents had become a customer of a business in order to earn points.

So if you want to increase the chances of getting that initial sale, and also give those new customers a reason to make a second purchase at your store, setting up a points and rewards program is a solid option.

The WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension ($129/year at WooCommerce.com) makes setting up a loyalty program pretty straightforward. Not only does this add-on do what you expect right out of the box, but it also has plenty of options for configuring it to your specific needs.

The extension allows you to define how points can be earned, how much they’re worth, and the conditions for how they can be redeemed. You can even offer points outside of purchases, like for leaving reviews or creating an account at your store.

Define points however you want.

The global settings can be overridden at the product category and individual product levels. That means you can promote specific products by increasing the number of points that are earned when they’re purchased.

Give away points and rewards on a product-by-product basis.

One nice feature is the ability to add points to a customer’s account by adding an entry to the database (see the documentation for how). That’s a nice option for your customer support team to have as a way to keep customers happy in the event of an issue.

Developers can also customize how the points values are displayed on the product pages by targeting the appropriate CSS class.

WooCommerce Points and Rewards is a comprehensive extension for anyone who wants to turn one-time buyers into repeat customers by rewarding them for their loyalty. 

Offer subscriptions to generate recurring revenue

As we said earler, the data shows that only 20 percent of customers end up making a second purchase. But for recurring purchases (otherwise known as subscription products), that’s undoubtedly much higher. (It won’t be 100 percent, since a few people will likely cancel in the first month, but industry churn rates for B2C subscription products are about 7.05 percent, which is a far cry from the 80 percent of people who will never come back to make a second purchase on non-subscription products!)

While it’s probably not as easy to generate a recurring subscription purchase as a one-time sale, this type of purchase is becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to Invesp, 54 percent of online shoppers have subscribed to an eCommerce subscription box service, and over 50 percent of those shoppers have more than one active subscription.

Not only will you benefit from offering automatically recurring purchases or subscriptions, but you also have the opportunity to give your customers a more personalized experience, greater convenience, and better value for their money—three of the most common reasons why customers sign up for subscriptions. 

The WooCommerce Subscriptions extension ($199/year at WooCommerce.com) adds all the necessary functionality to sell recurring subscriptions from your eCommerce store.

Once the extension is active, you can start creating subscription products in WooCommerce. These products can be physical or virtual products, or you can sell services. You have lots of control over how the subscriptions work, with the ability to offer free trials, sign-up fees, and set expiration periods.

You have very granular control over how your subscriptions work.

Customers can manage their own subscriptions through their account area on your website, and you can use the [subscriptions] shortcode to output that information elsewhere on your site.

Create memberships to offer more value to your customers

Another way to generate sales and encourage new customers to become repeat spenders at your store is to offer them more value. One way to do this is to set up a membership program for your eCommerce store.

There are many ways to use memberships to drive repeat purchases on your site. For example, customers could sign up for a free membership that offers them discounts and access to other promotions. Or you could sell a paid membership program that gives your customers early or discounted access to your products in exchange for a recurring fee. The sky’s the limit in how you can structure your membership programs.

The WooCommerce Memberships extension ($199/year at WooCommerce.com) is a full-featured membership system that integrates with your WooCommerce store. 

Although similar to Subscriptions covered earlier, Memberships is a bit different. Subscriptions allows you to sell products at set intervals with recurring payments, while Memberships allows you to control access and offer perks. These extensions are often used together.

Along with restricting access to some of your content so that only members can access it, you can also drip content or products to your members over time. Creating a purchasing club is an option too, giving your members exclusive access to specific products. As you can control who can view and purchase a product, you can still display products to everyone but only let members buy them. You can even offer perks such as free shipping or exclusive content to your members, which is a popular model used by many large eCommerce retailers.

There’s a whole lot you can do with memberships for eCommerce stores by installing this extension, so be sure to check out the WooCommerce Memberships documentation.

Key takeaways

It’s unlikely that many of your new customers will make a second purchase at your store if you don’t do anything to nurture that relationship. However, if you do manage to get that second sale, there’s a good chance that customer will return to keep making additional purchases in the future.

Thankfully, there are a few different ways you can start cultivating first-time customers into repeat shoppers.

Our recommended strategies for nurturing repeat customers are:

  • Send follow-up emails. Use automated emails to contact new customers after their first purchase at your store.
  • Implement a points and rewards system. Award your customers with points and rewards that can be exchanged for a discount when they make a purchase or perform another action at your store.
  • Offer subscriptions to generate recurring revenue. Create subscription products and collect the recurring payments automatically to offer your customers a more personalized service.
  • Create membership products. Offer your customers the chance to sign up and join a free or paid program that gives them access to exclusive products, discounts, or protected content on your website.

The following extensions mentioned in this post are included at no additional charge in the GoDaddy Managed WordPress eCommerce hosting package:

  • AutomateWoo
  • WooCommerce Points and Rewards
  • WooCommerce Subscriptions
  • WooCommerce Memberships

Click here to learn more about GoDaddy’s WooCommerce hosting options.

Published by Joe Fylan

Joe is a freelance writer who has been using WordPress for years and enjoys sharing what he’s learned about building websites, choosing plugins, and customizing themes with other WordPress users. When not working, Joe enjoys traveling, hiking, and listening to podcasts.

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