If Benjamin Franklin was alive today and operating a DTC business, he would no doubt add an 

additional entry to his famous idiom about the certainties in life: rising acquisition costs. This new entry would fit right along with “death” and “taxes”. Online advertising has often been referred to as the “Facebook tax” and the “death” of an online brand is sure to result if a company is paying rising acquisition costs without reducing the percentage of overall sales from marketing activities. One of the most efficient ways to increase overall sales is from improving your repeat customer purchase rate. 

On average, 27% of first-time customers will repeat purchase from a brand. One reason this percentage is so low is that brands focus all their attention on acquisition and very little on retention of new customers. Even a few percentage points improvement will drive improved leverage in your Marketing Efficiency Ratio (MER), defined as total sales volume divided by your marketing spend. The following tactics are some best practices for improving your repeat customer purchase rate.

Related: 10 Ways to Increase Your Average Order Value (AOV)

1. Offer a satisfaction guarantee

As a brand, you should lean into a solid satisfaction guarantee. Think of it as your brand's friendly promise to customers. This simple move not only boosts confidence but also turns every purchase into a risk-free delight. You can use a tool like Onward, which includes a 90-day Satisfaction Guarantee as part of a holistic purchase protection add-on, available in cart and at checkout.

2. Set Up a Branded Shipment Tracking Page

As an ecommerce founder, incorporating a branded tracking page like Narvar or AfterShip enhances your customer experience, extends your brand identity post-purchase, engages customers with promotions and personalized recommendations, and allows them to easily see the real-time status of their shipments. This not only fosters anticipation for future purchases but also boosts transparency, reducing inquiries and building trust throughout the shipping process.

3. Introduce an irresistible one-click upsell after purchase

There is no better time to try to upsell customers than right after they’ve made a purchase on your website. They’ve proven that they’re interested in what you have to offer. And they’re in buying mode at this moment. By putting a compelling offer in front of them, using a tool like Rebuy, you can increase your basket size and improve your overall return on ad spend easily.

4. Throw in a free gift with customer orders for the holidays

Offering your best customers something free is the best way to get them coming back for more. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive. Something as simple as a sticker pack or a sampler of some of your bestsellers will go a long way to create more affinity for your brand.

5. Send a follow-up email from the founder about the brand founding

If someone has bought from you, they’re bought in. This is the perfect opportunity to deepen the brand connection and, as Simon Sinek preaches, “Start with Why.” As in, why did you launch the brand, what is the larger mission or purpose you serve. As customers begin to know the humans behind your website and ads, they start to trust what you say and what you sell them.

6. Offer total package protection 

Customers have reservations when buying online. Stuff happens constantly. Packages get lost. Or stolen. Or broken. By offering your customers total package protection on their orders, you alleviate those mental reservations in their mind, and in turn, increase conversion for your site. With offerings like Onward, you can not only offer total package protection for customers for ~3% of their order, but it comes with a host of other great benefits like a satisfaction guarantee and carbon offsets.

7. Make it easy to chat with a human

If a customer does happen to have an issue, you have to make it easy for them to get the answers they need quickly. Whether that’s through phone, text or onsite chat, customers are looking for answers quickly. Now, with the power of AI, customer experience platforms like Siena.ai are allowing brands to use the power of learning language models to digest your brand’s knowledgebase and generate answers to frequently asked questions automatically. What a world we live in.

8. Make the return process headache-free

If for whatever reason your customer needs to return their order, you should strive to make it as seamless and headache-free as possible. Tremendous platforms like Loop Returns do a great job of automating the return process for customers and even offer premium features like the ability to offer 110% of the purchase price as store credit – so you encourage repeat business.

9. Show estimated delivery dates throughout the buying journey

Especially around the holidays, it’s vitally important for customers to understand when their package is likely to arrive. If you’re a giftable item, its doubly important. Tools like Shop Promise are using the power of big data to aggregate the transit times for millions of shipments to help Shopify merchants more intelligently predict their delivery dates, so their customers can buy with confidence.

10. Include a “handwritten thank you” with every order

A handwritten note just adds a personal touch that is hard to replicate. It feels much less transactional and adds a sense of sophistication to your unboxing experience. Using tools like handwrite.io, you can automate the note-writing process en masse.

11. Offer a compelling customer referral reward for sharing your brand

If a customer loves your product, they’re likely to tell their friends about it. Make it easy for them by incentivizing sharing through a customer referral program. Make the incentive worthwhile and you will see a strong uptick in sales. With tools like Friendbuy or Talkable, they’ve made the standard “Give X, Get Y” very easy and cost-effective to get up and running.

12. Send text updates throughout delivery

If you’re on Shopify, this will come out of the box with a little customization using the Shop App; but you should definitely have a service in place to allow text updates whenever possible. Customers are on their phones now more than ever, and meeting them where they are is a necessary evil to being world-class in CX.