What Is Customer Stickiness? Definition, Benefits and Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 8, 2021

Businesses are always looking for ways to increase sales, improve customer retention rates and build brand loyalty. By increasing their customer stickiness, business professionals can increase the likelihood that customers may purchase products from them again in the future. If you work in sales, marketing or customer service, learning how to increase your customer stickiness level may benefit you. In this article, we explain what customer stickiness is, share why it's important, list the benefits of increasing customer stickiness and explore steps and tips to help you do so.

What is customer stickiness?

Customer stickiness is a marketing term used to describe when a customer purchases a product from your store more than once. It is the measure of how likely your customers are to stick with your brand. The more you increase your customer stickiness, the more likely it is that your customers may return. Your product quality, pricing, convenience and engagement experience can impact customer stickiness.

Related: What Is Customer Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?

Why is increasing customer stickiness important?

It is important to increase customer stickiness because it can lead to more repeat customers, increased sales and improved revenue margins. Convincing customers to purchase from your store multiple times can also help you increase the lifetime value and longevity of your business. It can also help you turn new customers into loyal customers over time and provide you with opportunities to upsell customers in the future.

Related: Q&A: What Is Customer Retention Rate? Definition, Strategies and Tips

What are the benefits of increasing customer stickiness?

Marketers, sales professionals and customer service representatives strive to provide their customers with an excellent experience because they understand the many benefits of increasing customer stickiness and building customer loyalty. Increasing customer stickiness can help you:

  • Increase the lifetime value of your customers

  • Improve customer loyalty

  • Identify opportunities to upsell customers

  • Provide customers with more value

  • Increase customer referrals

  • Improve your ratings and reviews

  • Generate more sales

  • Increase revenue margins

  • Improve your return on investment from marketing campaigns

  • Build stronger customer relationships

Differences between customer stickiness and customer loyalty

While customer stickiness and customer loyalty are both valuable aspects of customer retention, they differ from each other in several ways. Here are some of the most common differences between customer stickiness and customer loyalty:

  • Customer stickiness focuses on the transactional value customers receive when making a purchase, while customer loyalty focuses on the emotional and relational value customers receive from your brand.

  • Customer stickiness tends to target newly acquired customers, while customer loyalty focuses on building long-term, trusting relationships between your customers and your brand.

  • Customer stickiness focuses on offering a high-value shopping experience, convenience and relevance, while customer loyalty focuses on building emotional ties with customers.

  • Customer stickiness focuses on developing new relationships with customers, while customer loyalty strengthens pre-existing relationships and develops after customer stickiness has already been established.

Read more: 11 Methods for Building Customer Loyalty

How to increase customer stickiness

While marketers, sales professionals and customer service representatives may use a wide variety of techniques to increase customer stickiness, there are some basic steps you can take to get started. Here are some guidelines to help you increase customer stickiness for your business:

1. Assess your current level of customer stickiness

First, establish a baseline for your level of customer stickiness by determining the average number of customers who make two or more purchases from your business. You can do this by analyzing a random sample of your customers over a set period of time. Use the formula below to calculate your average customer stickiness level:

Customer stickiness level = (repeat customers / all customers) x 100

For example, if you had 10,000 customers in the last 90 days and 3,000 of them returned to your store to make at least one additional purchase, your average customer stickiness level would be 30%. After you've established what your average customer stickiness level is, you can use it as a benchmark to measure your progress moving forward.

Read more: 7 Reasons Why Benchmarking in Business Is Important

2. Review your purchase data

Next, review the historical purchase data from your repeat customers to identify what preferences, shopping habits or interests they may have in common. This can help you determine what influences your customers to purchase from your store more than once. Some of the factors you can consider while you review the historical purchase data include:

  • What type of product or products they purchased

  • How many products they purchased

  • How much they spend per purchase

  • When they tend to make purchases

  • What reviews they've left about your products, brand or business

  • What advertisements they've engaged with

  • What sales or promotions have been the most successful

You can also review any data you have about your customers' hobbies, interests or goals from previous surveys. Analyzing your historical purchase data can help you understand your customers better, develop a stronger relationship with them and provide them with more value in the future.

Read more: What Is Customer Data?

3. Calculate time to next purchase

Next, use your historical purchase data to identify how much time typically passes between each customer's first and second purchase. This can help you establish a baseline for how frequently your repeat customers purchase new products from you. You can use this knowledge to determine when the best times to reach out to your customers are.

Then you can retarget them with advertisements, promotions or direct messages to increase the likelihood that they may make a purchase from you again. For example, if you realize that most of your repeat customers make a second purchase 30 days after shopping at your store, you might send new customers a text or email with a special discount code one month after they've made their first purchase with you to incentivize them and increase your customer stickiness.

Related: Frequency: What It Is and How To Calculate It

4. Identify affinities

You can predict which items customers may want to purchase next based on their first purchase by identifying product affinities. Use your historical purchase data to determine what category or type of product your customers typically purchase first. Many customers purchase a product from the same category for their second purchase, but you can use your historical purchase data to analyze whether this is true for your repeat customers.

For example, a company that sells beauty products may group their products into several categories, including makeup, skincare, fragrances and wellness. By analyzing their historical purchase data, they may find that new customers who purchase makeup from them tend to make their second purchase from the makeup category. Similarly, customers who purchase wellness products from them tend to make their second purchase from the wellness category. Identifying these trends in your customers' purchase habits can help you determine what products your customers may enjoy in the future so that you can provide them with suggestions.

5. Create personalized content

Once you've identified your average customer's time to next purchase and product affinities, you can use that information to personalize your marketing content. For example, if a new customer purchased a pair of athletic shoes, you might send them an email a week later to show them other types of athletic shoes previous customers who purchased similar products enjoyed. Review the contact information you have on file for your customers. You can create personalized content by:

  • Recommending additional products to complete a purchase: Consider what additional products a customer might purchase to complete a look or a set. These items may be from the same category, collection or aesthetic.

  • Suggesting new product categories: Consider what items your customers may enjoy from a different category or collection. For example, if a customer purchased a specific style of living room furniture, you might recommend decor items from your kitchen line that incorporate similar color schemes, styles or materials.

  • Sending reminders to replenish products: If your business sells products that need to be replaced or upgraded regularly, consider sending your customers reminders via text or email. Analyze your historical purchase data to determine how often your customers repurchase the same products and use this data to send them timely messages, discount codes or promotions for products they may need to repurchase.

Read more: 14 Examples of Personalized Marketing

Tips for increasing customer stickiness

Here are some additional tips to help you increase customer stickiness:

  • Be responsive. Answer customer inquiries promptly and actively listen to their needs. Helping your customers overcome challenges and purchase their products quickly can help you improve their overall shopping experience.

  • Share your unique value proposition. Use clear and concise language to highlight what your unique value proposition is. This can help you differentiate your business from competitors.

  • Provide excellent customer service. Make sure your customers feel valued by maintaining a positive and grateful attitude when you communicate with them. Focus on making every interaction they have with your product, store or brand as effortless and valuable as possible.

  • Create a loyalty program. Offering a customer loyalty program motivates customers to purchase from your store more often, which can increase your lifetime value per customer. It can also help you build trust and engagement with your customers and develop personalized suggestions for them.

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