Global June 30, 2015 Last updated June 27th, 2015 2,005 Reads share

5 Unusual Ways to Drive Repeat Business

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It’s every business owner’s dream. A large client base that loves your brand, buys big ticket items from you, and keeps coming back for more. Unfortunately, few businesses fulfill that pipe dream. Mostly, it’s just one vain attempt to grab eyeballs followed by another. Customer retention and repeat business are faraway lands.

You probably know by now that acquiring new customers is

The site offers mouthwatering deals for $39.99 only to their VIP members. The catch is, whether they make a purchase or not, these VIP members will be charged $39.99 every month. If you’re going to be charged anyway, you might as well just buy some great new kicks each month, right?

#2. Build Repeat Purchase Incentives into the Original Purchase

Why wait till the user makes his first purchase and goes home to start targeting them for repeat purchase communication? Why not make the user reserve a purchase for a future date and pay for it right now with the first purchase. Of course, making a user buy for now and for later all in one go requires some extra nudge from your end, but it’s not going to hurt you any.

Take a look at Petco for instance. The pet supply store has hit upon an ingenious way to lock in one time customers. Petco offers users a special discount when they opt to schedule a repeat delivery for a later date for any item on the site.


Not only does the Petco get an assured repeat purchase, the customer gets an assured 15% off on the future purchase they just reserved. Win-win!

#3. Offer Subsidized Upgrades

Technology companies have turned the trick of making users buy newer models in the name of tech upgrades into a fine art. From Windows 3.1 to Windows 10, Microsoft built a whole empire on the concept of upgrading users to the “latest” technology. Ditto with Intel.

However, the award for mastering the upgrades concept and taking it a notch higher goes to Apple. Every new edition of the iPhone as we know is an incremental improvement over the previous one. Sometimes the only discernable changes are the screen size or handset colors. While new users can buy the annual new upgrades at regular retail prices, existing users are lured in to upgrading to the new model for a price that’s usually a third or less of the retail price. Now, which Apple fan boy can resist the temptation of a brand new Apple toy at bargain basement prices?


Notice how the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were priced at under a third of their full retail price when being sold to existing iPhone users? The result is predictable. Thousands of perfectly good iPhones get junked for the shinier, better, newer versions. Classic subsidized upgrades.

#4. Invest In Retargeting Campaigns for Repeat Customers

We discussed earlier in this article about how it was easier to convert an existing customer.

Technology now helps marketers a whole lot more than it did in the early days of the internet. Retargeted ads take the process of getting repeat business to the next level. Businesses can now target users who have visited their site at least once in the recent past with extremely targeted ads aimed at converting them into repeat customers.

retargeting - Copy

The highlighted banner ad in the screenshot above is an example of retargeted ads. I recently visited MarketingProfs to read up on an interesting article. The good marketing folks over at MarketingProfs recognized this fact and targeted me with this ad that invites me to go back for more marketing knowhow.

#5. Encourage Shopping by Appointment

Everyone who’s ever shopped in the US knows to wait with bated breath for the frenzy of great deals that are unleashed on Black Friday every year. Cyber Monday – Black Friday’s digital twin – is as eagerly awaited by online shopping geeks. Why am I bringing up some extremely obvious information? Because, Black Friday and Cyber Monday represent the biggest shopping days for US retailers throughout the entire year. By building enough hype around these specific days of the year, retailers – both online and offline – have struck upon a great formula for repeat purchases.

This same idea can be extended and turned into a more regular affair that draws in repeat buyers. A weekly “sale day” will mean that existing users who are aware about the promotion will make sure they return to your store to take a look at the goodies that lie in wait.

pricechopper - Copy

Grocery retailer Price Chopper makes a weekly event of their superb value meal deals. Regular customers know to expect a great deal on specific days of the week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – and make it a point to drop by to enjoy the special offers.

In Closing

Repeat purchases don’t have to be only about sending out boring email newsletters to existing buyers in the hope they’ll buy again. It’s about using your creativity to create occasions to come face to face with a user who’s bought from you before and trusts your brand already. After all, it’s a lot easier convincing an existing friend to hang out with you than to make a brand new friend altogether.

Know of any unusual tactics to drive repeat purchase? Share them in the comments section below. We’re all ears!

Images: Author’s Own


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Lori Wagoner

Lori Wagoner

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