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How to Make the Most of Your Second Purchase Strategy

By Ben Kruger

Pop quiz: What’s the most important purchase your marketing team can prompt customers to make?

The second purchase.

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of the second purchase due to the fact that it delivers the biggest increase in the likelihood that shoppers will return again and the biggest increase in customer lifetime value, but not all second purchases are created equal.

Not All Second Purchases Are Created Equal

What if you could take the already all-important second purchase and make it even more valuable?

It turns out you can — and it’s all about increasing the size and order value of customers’ first purchases.

Looking at one apparel retailer, we found that the more items in a customer’s first purchase, the more likely that customer was to make a second purchase.

And the same held true for the order value of the first purchase, including cases in which customers bought fewer, but more expensive items.

Equally as noteworthy, customers whose first purchase included multiple items were more likely to purchase multiple items again, setting the stage for an ongoing pattern of higher value orders.

How to Increase the Size and Order Value of Customers’ First Purchases and Beyond

If the bigger a customers’ first purchase — in terms of both number of items and order value — the more likely they are to purchase again and the bigger that next purchase is likely to be, how can you increase order values for those first purchases?

Two Ways to Increase Order Values Before the First Purchase

First, you can take steps to increase customers’ order values before they even make their first purchase. Ideally, you want to get customers to buy more than one product or have an order value totaling more than $100. To achieve this goal, you can use:

1) Onsite pop-ups: As shoppers exhibit buying behaviors, such as viewing the same product multiple times or adding that product to their cart, trigger an onsite pop-up that encourages them to add a related item to their order.

2) Triggered emails: Bring the onsite experience into shoppers’ inboxes by including similar messaging about adding related items to their order in triggered emails. This approach is especially effective in cart abandonment emails, as these bottom of the funnel messages present a valuable opportunity to get customers to make a purchase and to increase the value of that purchase.

Two Ways to Increase Order Values Immediately After the First Purchase

Second, you can also try to increase the order value immediately after the first purchase for customers who only purchased one item or whose order value was under $100. To do so, you can use:

1) Checkout modals: Once shoppers hit the checkout page, if they still only have one item in their cart or their cart value is under $100, include an on-page modal advertising other products in which they might be interested that they can add on to their order.

2) Post-purchase triggered emails: Finally, you can give customers the opportunity to add on to their order by featuring targeted messaging in your post-purchase triggered email. For instance, you might include a related product recommendation and offer to let customers add that item to their existing order for 24 hours. In this case, you can even sweeten the deal by offering to waive shipping or take 10% off the existing order if shoppers do add on that new item.

Go From Bigger First Purchases to More Second Purchases

Once you get customers to increase the size of their first purchase, your chances of securing that second purchase — and beyond — should increase.

That said, you still can’t leave the second purchase up to chance. You should continue to tap your customer data to provide insight on the optimal time to drive shoppers toward a second purchase and the best products to recommend to them as you do so.

For more on what it takes to unlock your second purchase opportunity, check out our eBook on the one-and-done buyer problem.

Ben Kruger

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.