rethinking retail how to tackle customer reactivation


Rethinking Retail: How to Tackle Customer Reactivation

By Ben Kruger

Welcome to the first edition of Bluecore’s Rethinking Retail video series. I’m Ben Kruger from our Data Insights and Strategy team, and throughout this series we’ll take you through advanced uses of the Bluecore AI-driven retail marketing platform to arm you with tips to make your marketing program more efficient and effective and hopefully inspire you to rethink the way you approach retail marketing.

Check out the video here or read the full text below:

Why Customer Reactivation is So Important

We’ll be starting the series with advice on how to tackle customer reactivation and retention. This is really important because for any given retailer, we see that about a third of annual revenue comes from repeat buyers. That’s mainly because these repeat shoppers will spend close to three times more than new shoppers.

It’s also a lot easier to drive an additional purchase from an existing buyer than to go out and try to acquire a new one, and that’s mainly because you know a lot about your existing customers. You know the types of products they purchased in the past, the number of times they have shopped and when and how often they tend to shop. You also see when they are on your website, how often they browse and the types of products and content with which they engage.

Why Customer Reactivation is So Challenging

With all that you know about your existing customers, you’d think it would be really easy to create personalized email communications to retain those customers and keep them in their active buying cycles. Unfortunately, that’s actually quite difficult to accomplish, and that’s mainly because it’s hard for marketers to access all of this rich customer data. As a result, we typically see most marketers use the average behaviors of their customers to dictate the different times to engage shoppers and the content to share with them.

Let’s walk through this a little bit. Let’s say you have two loyal shoppers: Mark, who purchases every 30 days, and Jamie, who purchases every 90 days. If you were to use the average buying time frame of 60 days, you can see that a reactivation message would deploy way too late for Mark, who’s probably gone on to another competitor of yours and made his purchase elsewhere. And for Jamie, this message is way too early. We expect Jamie to make a purchase every 90 days, so she is acting exactly as we’d expect her to. That means sending Jamie a “we miss you” message and offer to come back is going to give away a margin and potentially send the wrong signal to Jamie.

How to Improve Your Customer Reactivation Efforts

Instead of taking the average of all your customers’ buying cadences, you should set an individual cadence for each of your customers. Mark would be flagged as a 30 day shopper and Jamie would be flagged as a 90 day shopper, allowing you to react to any deviations from each customer’s normal behaviors in real time. You can do this in Bluecore easily by setting up an at-risk trigger that can deploy every one, seven or 30 days and send to customers who have deviated from their individual buying cadence within that time frame.

Now let’s talk about what should be in that message. Starting with Mark, let’s look at his past behavior. His last purchase was a pair of shoes and he typically buys every 30 days. However, it’s now been 45 days since his last purchase, so you should definitely reach out to get him back on your site to make another purchase. And using the information about his past behavior, you can personalize the content that you send in the following ways:

  • You know Mark bought a pair of shoes last, so maybe he’s a runner. You can send him products that other people who have purchased this pair of shoes have also purchased, such as a shirt or running shorts.
  • Next, you can personalize a promotion for Mark. Maybe that’s a certain percentage off or free shipping — something to get him to see the value in coming back to your store.
  • Finally, you can round out the email with additional personalized content, such as running tips or additional products like best sellers or new arrivals in Mark’s favorite product categories.

With all of that complete, you have relevant content going to Mark at just the right time, and hopefully he opens that email, clicks through and makes another purchase from your store.

Turning our attention to Jamie, we know that she typically purchases every 90 days, so you don’t need to send her a reactivation message at 45 days since her last purchase. But you can take the opportunity to personalize a message to Jamie to perhaps increase her lifetime value and decrease the time between purchases. Here’s how this personalized outreach might look:

  • Knowing that Jamie bought a shirt last, you can send her products that would complete the look, so maybe a pair of pants or a sweater to wear over that shirt.
  • Then, you can send additional style guides or content to get Jamie to click through and make yet another purchase to remain in an active buying state.

Are You Ready to Rethink Customer Reactivation?

There you have it: A look at why customer reactivation and retention is so important, why it’s challenging for marketers to do and ways to do it better by thinking about individual buying cadences and product preferences. Hopefully you can use these tips to increase the effectiveness of your reactivation campaigns and make your workflows a lot more efficient.

For more on what it takes to build a loyal relationship with customers, check out our take on the email personalization problem.

ben kruger headshot

Ben Kruger

As the Senior Manager of Data & Insights, Ben helps retailers maximize their value of the Bluecore platform by identifying trends and opportunities within their datasets.

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