One of the great obsessions that falls under the umbrella of retention is getting customers who buy from you to buy from you more frequently.
This is often expressed as getting non-subscription customers to buy at the frequency of subscription customers.
On its face, this seems reasonable:
Only a certain percentage of customers are going to buy again, anyway, and there’s a ceiling to how much any efforts can improve repurchase rates overall; you might as well get those who are going to buy again to do it more often, right?
There is, though, a ceiling here, too.
When we look at data around repurchase intervals, we find that the distribution curve of when repeat purchases happens doesn’t change much, no matter what number order you’re looking at. In other words, the distribution of time between purchase one and two doesn’t look that different than the distribution of time between purchase five and six.
There is, however, one place this looks different: lighter frequency buyers become slightly more frequent in their purchases, but not to the degree that they begin looking like higher frequency buyers.
(Take a look at this in your own data. It is law-like in its persistence across brands.)
The question, then, is whether our obsession with getting all customers to behave like a highest frequency customers is actually hurting retention: If the most compelling offers and the heaviest promotion of your brand and product is concentrated in a time frame that the majority of your customers aren’t looking to buy, how effective could those efforts be?