By George • February 20, 2019

Retain your customers with the three-step rule

We all know the drill when it comes to customer retention. You get a customer through your door & provide them with a great experience, yet the tricky part of ensuring they return again always remains elusive. It’s here that the difficult question with customer retention lies; what else can you do to turn a one-time sale into a customer for life? 

This is where the three-step rule comes into play.

The three-step rule in customer retention is the idea that if you can attract a customer to your store three times, you’ll have their custom for life. Achieving this increases the chances of them continuing to visit your business significantly. According to Sumall, the chances of a 1st-time customer making the 2nd purchase is about 27%, but a 3rd time customer has a 54% of making a 4th. The stat speaks for itself, get a customer past the third visit and you double your choices of seeing them again.

The benefits that occur from getting a customer past the 3-step rule don't stop there either, with adobe reporting that repeat shoppers spend around 25% more than the average buyer.

How can you ensure they complete three visits to your business?

Creating a loyal customer is often about more than simply providing a product or service that gets customers returning to visit your business. Shoppers will pass through your store who, despite having had a positive experience, might not visit again. With this in mind, there are two great ways that help ensure customers complete three purchases at your store, win-back offers and regular communication. 

Incentivising customers to return to your store after their first visit might seem counter-productive. At first glance it might seem like you’re cutting profits off individual sales to keep them returning, but long term the benefits are far greater. If you offer a number of welcome offers or discounts that encourage customers to return to your store, the increased chances of earning their loyalty will boost your profits in the future. Whilst it isn’t a guarantee that everyone you offer a reward to will become a loyal customer, the increase in returning customers will still have a big impact on your sales, especially as these customers are likely to spend more.

Constant communication offers a similar benefit, as customers are less likely to visit competitors or forget to return if they have your business at the front of their minds. The simplest way is through social media, where you can offer a constant stream of content, offers and updates in a way that consumers will love. This is your best tool for ensuring that you're not forgotten by new customers. New tools such as push notifications offer a similar but more targeted approach to communication, allowing you to send useful reminders to customers that encourage them to revisit. Tools like these come as part of our reward schemes, which you can read more about here.

The best tool for using the three-step rule ultimately depends on your business and the tools at your disposal. Whatever approach you take, it’s a sure fire way to ensure that you don't lose track on first-time customers.