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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : October 22, 2015

Number of items in a first-time shopper's cart can tell online retailers much about future behavior

New research from customer retention software firm Optimove provides marketers with an insight into how a first-time customer's purchase behavior can be an indicator of their likelihood to return to make further purchases.

by Helen Leggatt

According to Optimove's analysis of more than one million online shopping transactions over the course of two years, almost two-thirds of first-time customers (62%) never return to make a second purchase - a significant proportion. Furthermore, just 16% will return to make more than three orders.

However, Optimove did notice a trend relating to the number of items a first-time customer makes. The more items purchased in the first visit to a website, the more likely a shopper is to go on to make a second order. Half of shoppers made a purchase of just one item during their first visit. Those shoppers who purchased two or three items were found to be 36% more likely to place a future order. In fact, the more items purchased in a first-time order, the higher the likelihood of them becoming a return customer.

The challenge, then, is for retailers to maximize the number of items a first-time shopper makes on their website. To do this, Optimove suggests a variety of strategies including personalized recommendations presented to the shopper before check-out, offering "impulse items", offering free shipping on additional items or steep discounts such as buy one get one free, encouraging social sharing and gamifying the experience.

"Crossing the second-order barrier is one of the biggest challenges for online retailers; even if a retailer wasn't successful at getting the customer to increase the number of items in their first order, they should still invest effort in encouraging customers to return for a second purchase," writes Varda Tirosh, chief customer officer at Optimove, on the company blog.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: customer retention, ecommerce

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