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ReferralCandy Guest Blog Post: How To Turn Existing One-Time Customers Into Recurring Purchases


Amid a global recession, businesses are hyper-focused on getting new customers through their sales funnel. The real, more significant question is: are current customers coming back?

Rather than expanding your base, customer retention is key to increasing your business’s profitability in the long-term. Current customers already trust your brand – they will only need a small push to make their next purchase.

So, how can you encourage existing customers to buy more? Through this post, you’ll learn strategies for boosting recurring purchases and increasing customer loyalty.

1. Launch a referral program

A customer referral program offers customers rewards in exchange for successfully introducing their friends and family to a business and its products. Referral rewards and referral incentives come in the form of free products, discounts, and gift cards.

It works because consumers are more likely to trust word-of-mouth type referrals from their friends and family than a traditional marketing strategy like an email campaign or sponsored ad. A study found that referrals are trusted by 86% of customers, making word-of-mouth marketing the most trusted form of marketing.

Think about the last time you asked for a referral for a movie or a restaurant. Even if we’ve viewed tons of brand-related content, we are more likely to trust feedback from close friends that have our best interest at heart. More often than not, new business nowadays is heavily composed of referred customers.

These scenarios are what make successful referral programs able to snag repeat purchases from your loyal customers.

An example is Oola Tea's referral program. Their program encourages current customers to promote the brand among friends using a referral link. In exchange, the referred friend receives $10 off their first purchase, and the brand advocate receives $10 off their next purchase.

This type of referral marketing program allows you to acquire new business while keeping current customers happy as they can quickly receive rewards just by recommending something they may already recommend in the first place.

It’s the ideal win-win-win situation, and this is only one of many referral program ideas. Your referral program can include a pop-up box on your landing page or utilize a sharable SMS link. Even merchants on Amazon often offer a future discount in return for just leaving a product review–your routes to go here are virtually endless.

As an eCommerce business, especially in comparison to a brick-and-mortar retailer, you have many options for taking advantage of this type of program and utilizing your existing happy customers as marketers for products they already love.

oola tea

2. Launch a subscription-based model

A subscription model is the ultimate business tactic that ensures recurring purchases from your current customers.

Convenience is the main perk of this sales strategy. Busy customers prefer automation, with their goods automatically shipped to their homes every month.

For your business, the main perk is that you can ensure recurring revenue and profitability. Instead of worrying about conversion rates and selling potential customers on your products every month, you can be confident in an almost guaranteed number of customers and a specific revenue.

For example, Playstation's PS Plus launched a subscription service for its gamers. Users can access exclusive discounts, two premium games per month, and online game streaming from an attractive pricing model of £4.17/month to get the most out of their device. They even occasionally offer a free first month to incentivize potential subscribers.


3. Create a loyalty program

Many shoppers try your products and never return to your online store. However, a loyalty program lets you stay connected with your customers.

Having a loyalty program enables members to receive deals or snag rewards to purchase with a brand continuously. Over time, customers will be able to build a long-term relationship with your business, especially when you give your rewards system lifetime value by not implementing expiration dates on points or excessively short date ranges for discounts and promotions.

Another benefit of this is your option to take advantage of A/B testing. You can always utilize your rewards-group customers as an A group and the rest of your customers as a B group when you're trying to explore new marketing strategies, product preferences, and more.

Forbes reports that around 18% of consumers engage with every loyalty program that they join.

For example, Red Robin previously offered a punch card style rewards program that incentivizes customers to make more purchases; every 10th item ordered is free.

This strategy enables customers to develop the habit of returning to your online store. Plus, the gamification aspect also motivates customers to order more or bring their friends to attain their reward.


4. Create shareable content

Think about the brands that you follow on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. Besides having a good consumer experience, we bet their content entices you to return to their online store and make a purchase. Their social media posts continuously remind you of their latest product line or your positive experiences, so you unconsciously build a long-term relationship.

Lush Cosmetics builds hype for its ethically-sourced, cruelty-free, and effective beauty products through great content. Their captions tell stories about how their products are sourced and their alignment with their brand and consumer values.

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Boost recurring purchases for your business

Repeat purchases play a significant role in your businesses’ profitability in the long-run.

Fortunately, launching a subscription-based business model, creating quality content, and starting a loyalty program can ensure your business success.

referral marketing,
loyalty program

This article originally appeared by our friends at MuteSix.

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