5 Things to Know About E-Commerce Customer Retention

July 31, 2017

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer-Centric | Digital | Email | Featured | Industries | Personalization | Retail & E-Commerce | Search Engine Optimization | Social Media

Monetate has released its latest quarterly e-commerce benchmarks report [download page] covering Q1 2017, and this edition is packed full of intriguing data about e-commerce customer retention. Here are 5 takeaways from the report, which is based on an analysis of 2.5 million e-commerce sessions.

1. Close to 1 in 4 New Visitors Will Return

Turning to new visitors into repeat purchasers is crucial, as further data will outline. On average, Monetate’s report finds that 23.2% of new visitors will return at some point.

Not surprisingly, the most loyal shoppers (those with a history of multiple purchases) are not only the most likely to return (95% will) but also the most likely to do so quickly. In fact, it only takes 1 day until 50% of this segment returns at least once.

2. Almost 7 in 10 Returning Visitors Will Come Back Within A Week of Their Initial Visit

You don’t have to wait long for returning visitors: most will come back within a week of their initial visit. In other words, of those 23.2% of new visitors who return at some point, some 69% (or 16% overall) will return within 7 days.

Of course, that means that there’s an opportunity to re-engage about 30% of returning shoppers through direct outreach (more on that to come).

SPONSORED: Please Don’t Go – Tips for Improving Customer Retention

3. Most Loyal Shoppers Are Worth 5X More Than First-Time Purchasers

Why is it important to engender loyalty?

On a revenue-per-session basis, customers with a history of multiple purchases spend more than 5 times as much as new shoppers ($10.67 vs. $1.73).

Loyal customers also sport conversion rates more than 5 times higher than new shoppers (8.55% vs. 1.6%) and add-to-cart rates that are more than 4 times higher (23.15% vs. 5.29%).

Worth noting is that mere familiarity counts. Visitors with just previous browsing history (not a purchase history) have greater conversion rates and revenue-per-session than new shoppers.

4. Email is the Best Referring Channel

It’s clear from the data that email outperforms social and search as a referrer.

Consider that:

  • Almost 70% of shoppers who initially visit a site from an email return within a 60-day window, compared to 48% who initially visit from social media and 39% who initially visit from search.
  • Almost half (48%) of shoppers who initially visit a site from an email return within 7 days, compared to 33% who are initially referred from social media and 27% from search.

Where email underperforms is in its reach. While Monetate no longer provides website visit share by referring channel, past data has shown that email only referred around 2-3% of all visits, far below search, which was in the 30% range.

Also worth noting is that nothing beats a direct visit from shoppers themselves: more than half of all returning visitors come to the site directly.

5. Key Metrics Soar When New Visitors Return; Behavioral Data is Key

Monetate’s analysis shows that add-to-cart rates, conversion rates, and revenue-per-session are all much higher when going from a new shopper’s initial to return visit. The difference is particularly acute for revenue-per-session, which jumps from around $1.75 to more than $3.

Monetate attributes this to the behavioral data that retailers accumulate from the initial visit which they are then able to put to work personalizing the return visit.

See here for previous survey data from Monetate demonstrating how retailers are using data to personalize experiences.

The full e-commerce quarterly report from Monetate can be downloaded here.


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