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Quick Tips to Turn One-Timers Into Long-Term Customers 

While acquiring new customers is undeniably important for business growth, it's crucial to address the reality that a significant portion of these new customers often remain just that: one-time purchasers. How can you transform these "One-Timers" into loyal advocates? Read on!

It’s an undeniable fact of marketing life: while acquiring new customers is undoubtedly important, it’s the ability to convert these new customers into loyal, long-term customers that truly sets businesses apart.  

The thing is, new customers often remain just that – one-time purchasers that never make the leap to either long-term or loyal – and they make up a significant portion of every business’s customer base.  

A better offer elsewhere, lack of engagement, changing needs and preferences, “One-Timers” or “ones-and-dones” can be a challenging audience to convert, but it doesn’t have to be like that.  

As we’ve previously explored, there are quite a few elements of a first purchase that can increase the likelihood of the customer returning to make another; the number of items in the first purchase, the variety in the first purchase basket, the discount percentage on the first purchase and even making a return can all affect how you approach your strategy for increasing the likelihood of a One-Timer making future purchases. But what if all the above hasn’t helped you to convert these One-Timers into loyal customers? What’s your next step going to be? We thought you’d never ask! 

First Things First; Segmentation 

Segmentation. Crucial because it enables businesses to identify and understand distinct groups within their customer base, and build their campaigns around their specific needs. But you already know that, right? It’s no different when it comes to One-Timers – by understanding their unique needs, preferences, and barriers, you’ll stand a far better chance of jumping that second-purchase barrier.  

To get started with the segmentation of your One-Timers, we suggest a two-pronged approach that takes into consideration customer seniority (the time since the first purchase) and their value (purchase history): 

  • Customer Seniority:  

Knowing the average time between first and second purchases is crucial for optimizing your marketing efforts. As the window of time since a customer’s first purchase increases, their future value tends to decline – often corresponding to a decrease in the likelihood of a second purchase. For example, for one Optimove client, a top retail brand, 77% of customers will make their second purchase within a year of their first. Don’t forget, however, that the time frame between first and second purchases will differ across brands and verticals. 

  • Customer Value: Analyzing the purchase history and the value customers bring to your business helps identify the most valuable and loyal customers. By recognizing high-value customers, you can invest in building stronger relationships with them through exclusive rewards, VIP programs, or personalized experiences. It’ll also allow you to identify opportunities to re-engage customers who may have high potential but haven’t yet become loyal. 

OK. Once you’ve established purchase behavior and the average window before placing a second order, you can start segmenting your customers by their value, defined by their purchase history. By carefully analyzing the purchase patterns of One-Timers, you’ll be able to uncover valuable trends and patterns specific to different product categories within your brand, providing a deep understanding of customer preferences and interests.  

Armed with these insights, when a customer places their first order, you can strategically leverage cross-selling techniques by offering complementary items or categories or upselling additional products within their preferred category. Sounds good? Then let’s fine-tune your strategy … 

Tips for Building an Effective One-Timer Strategy  

The dimensions we defined above will be the backbone of your strategy’s setup and timeline.   

The next step? Reducing the frequency of communications and enhancing offers over time – and adopting a multi-channel approach. Let’s explore why … 

As the window of time since the first purchase increases, we recommend adjusting your communication strategy by striking a balance. Instead of bombarding one-times with campaigns, it’s crucial to be strategic and make each interaction count. While their interest levels may have declined, you have an opportunity to captivate these customers by offering increasingly compelling offers that reignite their enthusiasm. And by adopting a multi-channel approach, you can extend your reach and create a diverse customer experience that leaves a lasting impact. To automate the process (because customers can be One-Timers for an unlimited period of time) we suggest setting up a couple of campaigns, each with a distinct purpose and based on the customer’s purchase history to ensure campaign recurrence will decrease over time.  

Reaching the Unreachable 

Another thing to remember when building a strategy for One-Timers is the possibility of being unable to communicate with a portion of your customers who may be non-contactable, aka customers who haven’t opted in to receive communications from you. These non-contactable customers can make up a significant percentage, reaching as high as 50% for some Optimove clients. To meet this challenge, exploring alternative communication channels that don’t require opt-in – think social media or real-time communications such as in-app messages and website pop-ups is crucial. By utilizing these alternative channels, you can effectively engage with non-contactable customers, establish a presence in their digital environments, and increase the chances of converting them into loyal customers. Adaptability and versatility in communication methods are key to reaching and resonating with as many One-Timers as possible! 

A Final Word 

To sum things up, effectively targeting and converting One-Timers into repeat purchasers is crucial for driving revenue growth and you can make good headway by segmenting these customers based on time since their first order and purchase history. Doing so will provide the solid foundations for a robust One-Timer marketing strategy – one that allows you to personalize both upsell and cross-sell campaigns that increase the likelihood of repeat purchases. Now go forth and convert!

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