Repeat Purchases: A Definitive Guide With 10 Strategies

Updated February 3, 2023

A person wearing a store clerk's apron consults a tablet while stocking shelves in a store.

Repeat purchases can be a significant part of a company's revenue. The ability to increase these purchases can be a valuable skill in sales and marketing positions. Regardless of your role within an organization, knowing how to measure and increase repeat purchases can positively impact profits.

In this article, we discuss repeat purchases, list strategies for encouraging them, describe how repeat customers influence them and explain how to measure this type of purchase in three steps.

What are repeat purchases?

Repeat purchases are when customers purchase certain goods or services to replace the same object or service they bought previously. Repeating purchases can show a customer's loyalty toward a brand and may reduce the brand's costs for acquiring new customers. There may also be opportunities for brands to establish long-term relationships with customers, ensuring they continue buying their goods or services. This means that encouraging repeat purchasing can increase a company's overall profits.

Companies may use a volume metric to determine the sales resulting from repeating purchases. It represents the number of times a customer makes the same purchase. Knowing this may help management:

  • Identify loyal customers

  • Determine the best-selling products and services

  • Discover a need to restock certain products

  • Organize marketing efforts to focus on specific products and services

Related: Understanding Customer Retention With Strategies

10 strategies for encouraging repeating purchases

You can consider these tips for increasing the repeat purchase rate for your brand:

1. Create referral programs

While creating referral programs can help generate new business, it may also improve the repeat purchase rate. Existing customers can earn incentives, such as discounts, to promote a business. Repeat customers may be more likely to recommend your brand to others and it can be a very effective marketing tool.

Related: Referral Marketing: Definition, Benefits and Strategies

2. Create loyalty point programs

Introducing loyalty point programs can be an effective way to motivate customers to repeat their purchases. Consider giving points with every purchase. You can allow customers to redeem those points for special prizes or discounts to encourage them to return.

3. Personalize product recommendations

Recording every customer interaction can produce relevant data about their shopping habits. You can then use the data to send them personalized product recommendations. These may be more likely to engage the customer and encourage them to make another purchase.

Related: How To Write a Product Review To Get Readers' Attention

4. Create a helpful customer service experience

Good customer service may also be important in creating a repeat customer because it can help create a positive customer experience. A helpful and positive customer service team can facilitate fast and effective interactions that may leave customers feeling satisfied. This experience can reinforce a customer's loyalty to a brand and encourage them to make repetitive purchases.

Read more: Providing Great Customer Service (With Tips and Examples)

5. Use your customer feedback to improve

You can improve how customers and potential customers perceive a brand by making changes using their feedback. Consider offering opportunities for feedback and adapting to customer demands. This can show the customer base that the business is flexible and can accommodate their needs, which may lead to higher repeat purchase rates.

Related: How To Gather Customer Feedback (And Tips To Improve It)

6. Make the experience memorable

Companies can improve their customers' purchasing experience to increase their repeat purchase rate. The tactics for doing so may vary depending on the goods or services the company sells. For example, businesses might invest in marketing techniques like creating memorable packaging or offering a promotional product.

7. Improve brand status by taking social action

A significant portion of customers expects the brands they do business with to align with their same beliefs. Social activities like encouraging team members to volunteer for local communities can help create a positive relationship with customers. Brands may also promote healthy living habits or invest in environmentally friendly products to help convince customers to purchase from them again.

Related: What Is a Brand Story and How To Create One

8. Promote product updates

If a customer enjoys a product, they may be excited to hear about a new version of that same product. This may be the case, especially when they want to replace that product. Consider promoting product improvements and updates to past clients in case they're in this category.

9. Remind customers when it's time to buy more

It can be useful to run advertisements that remind previous customers when it's time to return to the store. For example, products that require replenishing, like toothpaste, and products that expire, like fresh food, may require frequent replenishing. Customers might appreciate and follow through on a reminder if it comes at the right time.

10. Continue to engage with customers

Knowing when a customer might return to make another purchase can be hard. Factors in their own life might make buying more products challenging, even if they want to. This means that maintaining contact with customers and creating a relationship can result in return purchases months, or even years, in the future.

Related: How To Effectively Implement Customer Engagement Planning

How do repeat customers influence repeating purchases?

Repeat customers can influence repeating purchases by:

  • Being more likely to return: As the number of times a customer buys from a company increases, the likelihood of them returning in the future to make another purchase may also increase.

  • Spending more in the future: The amount of money a repeat customer spends on one purchase typically increases, along with the number of purchases made from the same brand. A customer's trust in a brand may increase with each successful purchase, encouraging them to make future purchases.

  • Spending more during sales peaks: Repeat customers may spend more money specifically during busy sales periods. While average shoppers spend more at peak selling times, such as the holiday season, repeat customers usually outspend them during those times.

  • Recommending the business: A repeat customer may be more likely to advertise products and services to others. This can generate more sales and reduce marketing costs.

Related: How To Sell To Existing Customers (With Tips)

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How to measure repeat customer purchases

You can measure your repeat sales by calculating the repeat purchase rate. Here are some steps you can follow to do so:

1. Learn the formula

The repeat purchase rate is the proportion of customers who purchase from a company more than once. You can measure it as a percentage. The formula looks like this:

Repeat sales rate = (number of repeating customers / total number of customers) x 100

Related: Sales Negotiation: Definition, Skills and Tips

2. Collect relevant data

You can use the formula to identify relevant data. This includes the total number of customers who purchase more than once from the company for which you work within a specific time frame and the total number of customers during the same time frame. Then, use company records to determine the number for each.

Related: Relationship Marketing: Definition, Benefits and Examples

3. Perform your calculation

To perform the calculation, apply your data to the formula. Divide the total number of repeat customers by the total number of customers. Next, multiply by 100 for the repeat sales rate in percent.

Example: Robert's Fine Shoes wants to find its repeat sales rate for the previous year. The company had 3,000 total customers for the year, with 500 making repeat purchases. It divides 500 by 3,000 using the formula and finds it had a 16.67% repeat sales rate for the year:

Repeat sales rate = (500 / 3,000) x 100 = 16.67

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