Turning the first order into an opportunity for repeat sales


Last weekend, I bought a new pair of dress pants. Before I headed to the register to check out, I asked the sales rep if they were running any specials. It turned out there was a promotion for 40% off anything in the store. So, I went right back to the area where the first pair of pants came from, and looked for another in the same size. Unfortunately, I was already holding the only pair in stock, so I settled for a single item at the sale price. Sure, I could have gone home and bought another pair online, but I doubt the sale price would have applied.

This experience made me wonder: why don’t retailers do a better job at turning the first purchase into a series of repeat purchases? In the case of clothing, for instance, anyone who buys a shirt or shoes or pants would probably benefit from having a second copy of that item. Even if they haven’t thought about buying more than one, a small reminder may be all it takes to generate a repeat purchase.

How do you get customers to think about buying another copy or pair or set of the thing they just purchased? For starters, include some messaging on the in-store receipt or order confirmation email, or inside the shipping box, that reminds them about the value of owning two or more copies. Then, offer a discount if they buy a second or third copy of that same product within a few days after the original purchase. Together, this messaging will help focus the customer’s attention on their satisfaction with the item they just bought, and make it easy for them to acquire more copies at a competitive price.

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