Repeat Customers: What Are They & How to Acquire Them?

Repeat Customers: What Are They & How to Acquire Them?

Acquiring new customers is more expensive than retaining existing ones. Therefore, companies need to impress first-time customers so they come back for more.

Every online business struggles to systematically acquire repeat customers. However, there are tools and strategies that help raise the repeat customer rate.

In this article, we’ll explain what repeat customers are and how to acquire them.

What is a repeat customer

A repeat customer is anyone who has made at least two purchases from a company. The time between the purchases isn’t important. Whenever someone makes a second purchase from a store, they’re considered a repeat customer.

Why Are Repeat Customers Important?

Repeat customers are important because customer retention costs less than customer acquisition.

The customer acquisition cost (CAC) shows how much each acquired customer has cost the organization. For instance, if a merchant has spent $500 on marketing in one month and acquired 50 first-time customers, the CAC is $50 per client for that month.

When an existing customer makes their second purchase from a business, the CAC is $0. What’s more, repeat customers are more likely to keep buying from a business they know and trust.

On average, 27% of first-time buyers return to make a second purchase. Likewise, about 55% of customers that have purchased twice from a merchant will make a third purchase. The more purchases a customer makes, the higher the likelihood that they’ll make another one.

How to Measure Repeat Customers (Repeat Customer Rate - RCP)?

How to measure repeat customers

The repeat customer rate (RCR) shows how many repeat customers a business has within a specific period of time.

Calculating the repeat customer rate is useful because business owners can see how many buyers have made an additional purchase from their business. The RCR is a reliable indicator of customers’ loyalty to a brand.

Knowing how many repeat customers a business has within one year, month, or week helps a business evaluate their marketing activities. Merchants also use this info to measure customers satisfaction and determine how to improve the customer experience altogether.

The formula for calculating the repeat customer rate goes as follows:

(Number of Repeat Customers / Total Number of Customers) x 100 = Repeat Customer Rate

So, if 1,000 customers made a purchase last month and 800 of them are repeat customers, the RCR is 80% (800/1000 x 100).

Subscription businesses use a similar metric to track customer retention. The subscription renewal rate indicates the number of customers that have resubscribed to a service.

What Is a Good Repeat Customer Rate?

What is considered a good repeat customer rate varies from business to business.

For a recently launched startup, having any repeat customers is a good sign. Shops that have been in business longer usually have higher expectations.

On average, a RCR ranging from 27% to 32% is considered a healthy repeat customer rate. It means that 27-32 out of 100 customers buy from the business again.

How to Create Repeat Customers?

Every business owner wants to increase the repeat purchase rate and turn every customer into a repeat customer. We’ll explain how to do this in the sections below.

Entice Them to Create a Customer Account

When a customer makes a first purchase, it means that they like what you offer. You’ve earned their trust.

That’s the right moment to keep them interested in your products and services. It’s also the perfect time for them to create a customer account.

Ask first-time customers whether they want to create a customer account before they’ve completed their purchase. That way, the first purchase is listed on their account and they potentially get qualified for future discounts or can review the product.

Keep it concise and highlight the benefits of becoming a member of your online community, such as freebies, loyalty discounts, special offers, tracking their purchases, etc.

Provide Strong Customer Support

Provide strong customer support

Strong customer support increases the chance of winning over more repeat customers. No matter if they have a problem, a complaint, or a positive comment, customers deserve constant assistance.

It’s crucial to ensure the best possible customer service so that customers know that the business looks after them and appreciates their loyalty.

Here are the most effective practices for excellent customer support:

  • Personalized supervision. When a customer contacts you, let them feel appreciated. The customer account mentioned above is a powerful feature here because it contains valuable data on every registered customer.
  • Prompt responsiveness. Don’t make customers wait. Answer their questions quickly. Think about using chatbots to handle simpler customer complaints. Also, serious merchants should have call center agents available 24/7.
  • Customer-friendly return policy. Remember that the customer is always right. Allow product replacements and refunds.
  • Anticipation. Analyze and compare data from one-time buyers and repeat customers to see if there are any common patterns among shoppers who haven’t come back after the first purchase. This helps anticipate issues and improve customer support.  

Provide Excellent Customer Experience

From the moment a customer visits your online store until they make a purchase, everything needs to go as smoothly as possible.

Keep landing pages simple and free of any potential distractors (no ads here).

Highlight what online payment options you accept. This prevents customers from getting to the checkout only to find out that their preferred payment options aren’t accepted.

Offering relevant and actionable content that resolves common issues also pays off in the long run. Use this as a way to generate repeat customers.

Give Customers Options

Many businesses offer incentives and options to attract new and retain old customers.

Make the extra effort to provide the following options:

  • Different payment methods. Accept the most popular payment methods to reduce cart abandonment rate and increase sales.
  • Several pricing tiers. Tiered pricing model allows customers to find the right balance between the prices they pay and services they use. They can easily upgrade/downgrade to other tiers in line with their current needs.
  • Various subscription models. Offer monthly and annual subscriptions and let customers decide which one better suits their needs and budget.
  • Product return options. When customers aren’t satisfied with a product or service, let them choose between a product replacement and a refund.

Use Customer Feedback

Use customer feedback

Customer feedback is an invaluable well of information for customer retention.

Divide the complaints received via email into several groups and analyze what bothers non-repeat customers. Identify problematic patterns and find a way to resolve the issues.

Follow what customers write about your store on social media and other relevant online places like Google Reviews. Provide a friendly explanation and offer support after negative feedback. Approach dissatisfied first-time shoppers appropriately, and they might change their mind and make repeat purchases.

Develop Strong Brand Values and Identity

Building strong brand values and identity is equally important for customer acquisition and retention.

Customers appreciate businesses that have a positive attitude towards the community. They can tell when a company wants to make a deeper impact than just selling goods.

Some companies donate a certain percentage of their sales to charity. Others organize sports events for kids or prepare food for the underprivileged.

Find out what the local community needs and see how your business can make a difference. Then, show your customers who you are and what you stand for.

Offer Loyalty Programs

Merchants use loyalty programs to enrich their customer retention strategy and increase the number of repeat customers.

With loyalty programs, buyers save money by receiving rewards such as vouchers, discounts, points on loyalty cards, and limited-edition products as well as other incentives to stay with the brand.

Develop several loyalty programs to turn leads into buyers and, consequently, repeat customers.

Some of the popular loyalty options are:

  • Loyalty cards. Encourage buyers to collect points through purchases. Let them know how many points they need to get discounts or other customer rewards.
  • Free products or VIP cards. Set certain expenditure thresholds at which customers qualify for free products or VIP cards.
  • Pricing tiers benefits. Offer incentives to customers in specific tiers (free products and services or related items at lower costs).
  • High discounts for top-spending customers. Give top-spending customers high discounts, together with coupons, vouchers, and referral bonuses. 

Use Engaging Email Strategies

Use engaging email strategies

When a prospect leaves their email address, it’s a clear sign that they like what they see.

Having customers’ email addresses enables you to apply engaging email marketing strategies to acquire repeat customers.

The most valuable types of emails to make repeat customers are as follows:

  • Welcome email. Send welcome emails to make a positive first impression by offering incentives to entice the customer to make another purchase.
  • Discount email. Encourage customers to buy more by sending them an email offering a discount. Make several types of discount emails to respond to different groups of buyers.
  • Thank-you email. Treat customers with respect and show sincere gratitude for their business. Send them thank-you emails for their birthday, New Year, or after a special purchase.
  • Newsletter email. Increase brand awareness via newsletter emails. Include the latest news about your business, relevant current affairs in the niche, and promotional codes/discounts.  

Analyze how customers react to each email type to measure their effectiveness. If necessary, eliminate some of them and add new ones to convert as many buyers as possible to repeat buyers.

Learn what recurring customers are and how they differ from repeat customers.


Merchants that manage to acquire more repeat customers can count on stronger consumer commitment, enhanced loyalty, and higher revenue.

Follow the strategies and tips explained in this guide and your revenue and repeat customer rate will keep growing.