Repeat customers are a key way to determine the sustainability of a business. That is why you will typically hear investors ask about the lifetime value of a customer from business owners. If a customer only purchases from your store once and never returns, it signals that the customer did not develop an engagement with your brand.

In this post, we’ll look at the value of repeat customers, how to figure out how many customers make repeat purchases on your WordPress eCommerce store, and some plugins to improve customer retention.

Repeat customers: Increase lifetime value of customers


More loyal customers can benefit your store in a number of ways. These customers not only bring repeat business, but are also engaged with your brand, and therefore, are less likely to shop with your competitors. One way to build customer loyalty is by rewarding repeat customers.

Here are a few more ways repeat customers benefit your brand.

Bottom line

According to a Harvard Business Review article, getting repeat business from existing customers is cheaper than the cost of acquiring new customers.

Acquiring new customers is up to 25 times more expensive than to retain existing ones. In addition, increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Existing customers can grow your profits through more purchases since they already trust your store. The biggest hurdle in online purchases is for a customer to trust your store and business enough to give you money. Existing customers have overcome this hurdle, and if they’ve had a good experience, may purchase more or higher priced items.

Engagement

Existing customers can help build a community for your products and your brand. These customers have owned and experienced your store and products. They are much better positioned for you to gain testimonials for your store, feedback for your products, and an audience for your brand.

You can use lifecycle emails to make sure you have enough touch-points with your customers to build the engagement. You can then continue this engagement through emails, or social networks where they can easily share your products with their friends and followers.

Referrals

Engaged and loyal customers can be your brand ambassadors. Since they have experienced your products and trust your store, they can drive more traffic and business by referring their friends and followers.

Repeat customers: Measure the number of returning customers


For both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads you can measure the customers who have made more than one purchase or order.

For WooCommerce, go to WooCommerce > Reports > Customers > Customer List

customer list repeat customers

See number of orders for each customer

You can see the number of orders made by each customer. This can help you determine who your most loyal customers are. You can also target one-time customers for promotions or rewards to turn them into repeat customers.

For Easy Digital Downloads, go to Downloads > Customers

edd repeat customers

Number of purchases in Easy Digital Downloads (Source)

You will get a list of customers and the number of purchases they’ve made. Note that you can sort this list by number of purchases.

You can also export this list to a CSV file for more extensive sorting by going to Downloads > Reports > Exports

Repeat customers: Plugins

Customer loyalty

You can reward customers with points and rewards for purchases and other actions on your store. You can use the Points and Rewards extension for your WooCommerce store, or the Points and Rewards extension for your Easy Digital Downloads store.

Read more about these in our previous post.

Sort WooCommerce customers by number of orders

By default, you cannot sort the WooCommerce customer list by number of orders. Instead, you can use the free WooCommerce Loyal Customers extension to do so.

sort wc repeat customers

Sort WooCommerce customers (Source)

The extension also color-codes customers by range of orders so that you can quickly see your most loyal customers.

Calculate lifetime value of customer

You can use the Customer History extension for WooCommerce to dig deeper into an individual customer’s order history. At the bottom of the customer report, the extension also calculates the lifetime value of the customer.

Repeat customers: Summary


A bigger number of repeat customers means a higher lifetime value of a customer. Lifetime value is an important metric in determining how sustainable a business will be, as higher lifetime value typically means higher profits and a lower cost of sale.

Repeat customers not only help your business by their own purchases, they are also more engaged with your brand and provide the most referrals. This can help build a community of loyal customers for your brand, and drive conversion even higher. There are a number of plugins to help you reward customers, and measure repeat business from existing customers for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.

What do you do to encourage repeat customers? Please tell us in the comments below.

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Posted by Jai Sangha

Jai is a regular contributor to Sell with WP, and helps merchants improve their WordPress eCommerce businesses with plugin reviews, marketing or customer service tips, and tutorials.

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