How to Hack Customer Loyalty and Drive Up Repurchase Rate

While some stores are like leaky buckets, acquiring customers that never come back, profitable online stores work on their Repurchase Rate, keeping existing customers happy and coming back for more.

These top performers can have repurchase rates as high as 33%. This means that one in every three customers returns to the store to make a purchase, bringing costs per acquisition down and revenues up.

But how do you improve an underperforming Repurchase Rate?

We invited Bill Widmer from Bold to help us answer that. Bold develops some of the most popular ecommerce apps available for the Shopify ecommerce platform, designed to help store owners increase their sales. Bill has run several of his ecommerce sites on Shopify and WooCommerce and is going to tell you about a few strategies you can use to drive your Repurchase Rate (and therefore your revenue) way up. Check it out:


Repeat customers are like golden geese that keep laying golden eggs.

The more you have, the more money you make. You like money, right?

That begs the question… how do you increase ecommerce retention rates and drive repeat purchases?

This post answers that question with three hacks:

  1. Loyalty Programs
  2. Memberships
  3. Box subscriptions

Let’s start hacking!

Benchmark Your Repurchase Rate

Find out how your store compares with your peers:

1. Loyalty Programs

A 2016 study found that customers who are members of loyalty programs, such as frequent flier clubs, generate between 12 and 18 percent more revenue than non-members.

Repurchase Rate

Plus, loyalty programs cater to the 80/20 rule (almost). They’re designed for the top 20% of your customers, who generate 70% more revenue by spending more over a longer period of time.

The question isn’t “should I use loyalty programs” (that’s a resounding ‘yes!’), but rather “how do I improve my loyalty program?”

Don’t yet have a loyalty program? Get the Bold Loyalty Points app for Shopify!

Here are a few tips to amplify your loyalty program:

  • Match your program to your brand. If you’re fun and weird, shout it to the rooftops. If you’re conservative and professional, display that.
  • Reward customers who give referrals. They’re your brand advocates. Treat them like gold. For example, give them free gifts and hand-written thank you letters!
  • Follow in Nordstrom’s footsteps and give customers bonus points on certain days. That way you can boost revenues on slow days or holidays!
  • Use your program to get more reviews and survey answers. Feedback is incredibly valuable, and reviews increase sales! Reward those who add value to your business.
  • For bonus virality, give anyone who shares your store loyalty points. It’s cheap marketing, really. Plus, when someone shares something, they tend to like it more.
  • When launching your loyalty program, create different tiers for your programs. The more points a customer gets, the higher their tier. This capitalizes on gamification.

Gamification - Repurchase Rate

In the end, loyalty programs aren’t about spamming your customers with discounts.

They’re about customer appreciation and retention. Use them to tell your customers: “Hey, we care about you, and we’re putting our money on the line to show it! Take these discounts and free gifts, because you’ve earned them.”

But enough about that. Let’s discuss memberships.

2. Memberships

Memberships are a secret profit-driver for ecommerce stores.

Membership - Repurchase Rate

Most online store owners never even thought of the idea before. “We sell products, not memberships.”

This is a huge mistake. Memberships are massive opportunities for growth, ripe for the picking.

Here’s why:

When a customer signs up to become a member of your site (free or paid), they are prone to like your brand more.

Just like how we root for “our” favorite sports team, associating yourself with a brand through a membership plays on a phenomenon in psychology known as Cultural Cognition. Basically, we like those who we associate with, including brands.

So how do you launch a successful membership program?

It starts with actually having a membership program. If you’re ready to launch your membership, you can get Bold’s Recurring Membership app for Shopify.

Once you have the program in place, you need to actually… well… give them something for the membership.

Here are some ideas:

  • Exclusive pricing (members get 10% off EVERYTHING!)
  • Special content (such as an online course or tutorials to use your products)
  • Member-only products (like cool member-only shirts or mugs)

What are you waiting for? Go make a membership!

Then come back, because we’re not done yet.

3. Box Subscriptions

Subscription services are all the rage right now.

Just take a look at this Google Trends report:

It’s getting more popular over time. And it looks like we’re due for another spike!

Why do people want subscriptions so much? Is it because you can get bacon delivered to your doorstep every month?

Subscriptions - Repurchase Rate

I’m not sure. I know it’s incredibly convenient and pretty cool. And that it works.

How do you offer a subscription service on your store?

Easy! Just get Bold’s Recurring Orders app. You’ll love it.

Once you have it, you need something to sell. Here’s how to find a good fit:

  • Think about the stuff you sell. Is it consumable? Perfect fit. Can you offer nearly unlimited variations? That’s a winner.
  • Think about the stuff that compliments the stuff you sell. Maybe you can’t get people to subscribe to a laptop of the month. But you sure can get them to pay for mouse pads of the month!
  • Look for things that help people show their personality, and aren’t expensive to the point that they don’t realistically warrant an “of the month” title. (Then again, we’d both probably be surprised by what people are willing to buy.)

Easy peasy, right? Right!

Congratulations, you’re now well on your way to boosting customer loyalty through the roof. You’ll start seeing repeat purchases and referrals like crazy soon.

The Bottom Line

Loyal customers are the best customers – hands down.

Treating them right is a part of successful business. The better you treat them, the more they’ll spend. AND they’ll bring in other loyal customers with referrals! It’s a win-win.

One final tip: All the hacks in the world won’t make up for poor customer service. For maximum loyalty, hone your customer service skills.

Want to find out who your loyal customers are and how much they’re spending? Track your store’s data for two months for free.

  • Bill Widmer

    Hey, everyone! I’m here to answer any questions, so ask away! 🙂