Rev up your revenue: 3 tactics to improve repeat purchase rate

Profile photo of author erinaguilar
10min read
Email marketing
March 21, 2024
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Your customer placed their first order—time to celebrate.

Or maybe they’re a long-time brand enthusiast just coming back for more. Sometimes it seems like customer habits are randomized with no thought behind them.

But in reality, there’s a lot you can do to influence customer behavior and drive repeat purchases.

Your repeat purchase rate is your number of repeat purchase customers—those with at least 2 purchases—divided by your total number of active customers (those who have placed at least one order over all time).

There are several practical ways you can improve your repeat purchase rate. But before you begin crafting your repeat purchase rate strategy, here are some questions to think through:

Some questions to think through:

What is your current repeat purchase rate?

This will help you measure the success of your efforts moving forward.

Consider the nature of your product.

Are your products typically something people replace several times a year, such as makeup, hair care products, food and beverages, or other items people put on subscription or order repeatedly? Or are your products one-time purchases, something that is typically gifted, or more of a commodity?

Take your average order value (AOV) into account.

AOV may impact some of your timelines, including how quickly you retarget customers and the ideal wait times in flows. It can also help you measure customer lifetime value (CLV) and how much more revenue additional purchases will bring to your business.

Now that you’ve established some baselines, here are 3 concrete ways you can start improving your repeat purchase rate today. Hint: Using your data is key.

1. Let automations do the heavy lifting

Automations are a marketer’s best friend. It can take a little more work on the front end to get them up and running, but once you have them set up, automations can be a big revenue generator—and improve your engagement metrics, too.

Here are 3 ways you can leverage flows and automations to improve your repeat purchase rate:

Enable a replenishment flow

If you sell a product customers need to refill after an average number of days— makeup, shampoo, coffee, etc.—a replenishment flow is a must. This automation reminds customers to place their next order and is key to improving your repeat purchase rate.

Visit the Klaviyo Help Center to learn how to create an email replenishment flow and how to use SMS in replenishment flows.

Use Klaviyo AI’s predictive analytics

Klaviyo AI incorporates a number of predictive analytics that offer you unparalleled insight into your audience data. Want to see into the future for each of your customers? With Klaviyo AI, you basically can.

There are two key predictive analytics values that you can use to improve your repeat purchase rate:

Expected date of next order tells you approximately when the customer is going to buy next—the best thing that you can hope for when looking to improve your repeat purchase rate.

In Klaviyo, you can use this date field as a trigger for a flow that automatically targets people within days (or weeks) of that date to remind them to place another order. This is especially useful if you have different products that don’t always lend themselves to consistent buying cycles, or if you have customers buying things across different categories that don’t all fall into the same replenishment timelines.

Predicted CLV considers what a customer has already spent with your brand, and uses that to predict what they’re likely to spend across their entire lifetime.

In Klaviyo, use this value to create segments and conditional splits. Does a customer have a higher CLV? Push items of higher value or more frequent purchases. Lower CLV? Drive your tried-and-true best sellers and some sale items from time to time.

Visit our Help Center to learn more about Klaviyo’s predictive analytics.

Set up an up-sell/cross-sell flow

When someone places an order, you have the opportunity to sell them something else. Did they buy a dress? Recommend that cute pair of shoes. Did they buy a coffee mug? Highlight the latest flavor profile. Buy a piece of furniture? There’s a matching pillow for that.

Cross-selling different categories of your products, or up-selling larger sizes or higher-value items, is another great way to improve your repeat purchase rate. It empowers you land to another sale more quickly, and it helps you build a more solid relationship with your customers, too.

Using something like the “placed order” metric in Klaviyo, you can build a flow that sends an email recommending another item or set of products a few days after someone places an order. You can also use personalized product recommendations to promote other items someone might like that they didn’t even think about—another great way to use AI and impress your boss.

Visit our Help Center to get started with up- and cross-sell flows.

2. Use SMS to stay top of mind with loyal customers

If repeat purchase rate is on your mind, SMS is a channel to invest in.

Because sharing a phone number is more personal than sharing an email address, your SMS subscribers tend to be some of your most loyal customers—and that means they also tend to have a higher repeat purchase rate.

To increase your repeat purchase rate via SMS, “focus on delivering concise, compelling messages that offer clear value propositions and incentives,” advises Alex Boggie, strategic partner manager at Gorgias. “Personalize offers based on preferences and purchase history.”

To increase your repeat purchase rate via SMS, focus on delivering concise, compelling messages that offer clear value propositions and incentives.
Alex Boggie, strategic partner manager

3. Know your customers—and segment them

Automations and SMS are powerful. But if you’re trying to improve repeat purchase rate, segmentation is an absolute must.

Here are a few segments that are ripe for repeat purchases:

Segment example 1: First-time buyers

Image shows the criteria applied to a segment of first-time buyers.

Image source: Klaviyo

Customers who have only placed one order over all time are bursting with revenue potential. Send them a campaign or an offer to come back and place a second order.

You can also segment first-time buyers who have not purchased your most popular product and use that as a mini campaign up-sell opportunity to prompt a second purchase.

Ultimately, the content of the messaging you send first-time buyers will depend on your brand’s identity and what you’re trying to accomplish.

“We focus on driving repeat site traffic through providing valuable, entertaining content to our audience vs. focusing on forcing sales,” says Kelly Spencer, retention marketing manager at Death Wish Coffee shares a retention strategy.

“The residual effect of this strategy—in tandem with our releases and sales flows—is a more engaged, ready-to-buy audience,” Spencer explains. “When possible, we’re trying to offer added value in our releases that further bond us with our audience.”

We focus on driving repeat site traffic through providing valuable, entertaining content to our audience vs. focusing on forcing sales. The residual effect is a more engaged, ready-to-buy audience.
Kelly Spencer, retention marketing manager
Death Wish Coffee

Case in point: this fun, engaging email to leads who haven’t purchased yet. It links to a recipe and a quiz (that will collect valuable first-party data) in a zany tone that’s sure to charm the reader.

Image shows a marketing email to first-time buyers from Death Wish joking about the divide between people who drink their coffee black and those that take it with cream.

Image source: Death Wish

Segment example 2: Lapsed buyers

Image shows a segment example to target lapsed buyers.

Image source: Klaviyo

Customers who have purchased at least two times over all time, but haven’t purchased recently, comprise another audience segment you can target to improve your repeat purchase rate.

“The current market demands a focus on retention due to rising acquisition costs and economic uncertainty,” says Shoshana Ritzler, VP of marketing at Magnolia Boutique. “Win-back flows are powerful tools to re-engage lapsed customers, drive repeat purchases, and increase CLV.”

The current market demands a focus on retention due to rising acquisition costs and economic uncertainty. Win-back flows are powerful tools to re-engage lapsed customers, drive repeat purchases, and increase CLV.
Shoshana Ritzler, VP of marketing
Magnolia Boutique

Magnolia’s win-back email goes out to buyers who have bought at least 3 times, but haven’t bought recently. With a big discount and the offer to pay over time, the email is bound to catch the attention of a former customer who just needs a nudge to buy again.

Image shows a winback email from Magnolia Boutique offering a 25% discount.

Image source: Magnolia Boutique

Segment example 3: VIPs

Image shows a segment example to target VIP customers.

Image source: Klaviyo

Even the best customers can sometimes fall off the purchase wagon. Try creating a subset of your lapsed buyers who have either historically had a high CLV and/or have placed multiple orders, but haven’t purchased recently.

Alternatively, maybe they have purchased recently—try targeting a similar segment with up-sell messaging to push your highest-value, luxury items. Just remember to exclude those who have recently purchased whatever you’re selling.

Segment example 4: Expected date of next order

Image shows a segment example to target customers based on the expected date of their next order.

Image source: Klaviyo

This predictive analytics value is not just for flows. Create a segment of customers who were expected to purchase recently but didn’t, and add them to your normal campaign runs.

Or, create a campaign just for them that drives them to purchase faster than they would on their own.

Power smarter digital relationships.
Try Klaviyo

Repeat purchase rate FAQs

What are some ways I can improve my repeat purchase rate?

We recommend you lean into automations, know your audience (and segment them), and make sure to include SMS.

What if I have products that people only buy once? (e.g., furniture)

You can still drive repeat purchase rate by looking at what else you can prompt people to purchase. If you’re in an industry where people typically only purchase one item, promote what you can cross- or up-sell to them. What accessories can go with their purchase? What care products do you sell to treat their products?

Can I improve my repeat purchase rate without offering a discount?

You don’t have to use a discount to drive a repeat purchase. This is still true even if you offered an incentive in a welcome series, for example. Lead with your value proposition, and let your brand and products speak for themselves.

Erin Aguilar
Senior customer success manager
Erin Aguilar is a seasoned senior customer success manager at Klaviyo, where she combines her passion for technology with her dedication to ensuring client satisfaction. With over a decade of experience in customer success roles, Erin has honed her skills in building strong relationships, understanding client needs, and delivering tailored solutions. Her expertise lies in guiding clients through the intricacies of Klaviyo's platform, empowering them to leverage its full potential to achieve their business goals. Erin's commitment to excellence and her proactive approach make her a trusted advisor for her clients, driving mutual success and growth. Outside of work, Erin enjoys running, cooking, and playing legos with her two kids.