First-time customers feel like a “win,” since marketing dollars are often directed their way. But, for most retailers, it’s recurring customers that keep the doors open. The probability of selling to an existing customer is about 60-70% higher than selling to a new one (Marketing Metrics)—and 6-7 times less expensive (Bain & Company). Which is why it’s important to engage them even after their initial purchase.

If you want to build compelling, lasting relationships rather than one-off interactions, post-purchase engagement is the way to do it. Here’s how you can use automation and analytics to arrive at the insight you need to create more meaningful interactions with your most loyal customers.

cisco retail post purchase

1- Automate without sounding automated

Treating a repeat buyer like a first-time customer is like re-introducing yourself to a someone you’ve met a dozen times. Harnessing available customer data can provide valuable insights into who they are, how they buy, and what they buy. From here, automate the personalization process for seamless interaction across every channel. This scalable approach enables retailers to continually improve the relationship, instead of starting at square one for every interaction.


2- Turn to analytics to give customers what they want

Tailored communications in retail should go beyond sending an email with a first name populated. The right analytics can help curate more impactful marketing that reaches customers at just the right time, in just the right way. Relevant content carries not just the immediate benefit for consumers—but long-term brand affinity. Key IT-enabled insights such as which customers will likely purchase more when offered a timely promotion can bring significant increases to a retailer’s bottom line.


3- Use AI to proactively increase basket size

Often, retailers engage with existing customers by asking them to buy the same product again and again. And many times this is valuable. For instance, smart appliances are increasingly using AI in a timely manner for the purchasing convenience of the consumer, such as detergent after a certain number of runs by a smart washing machine. But many purchases are made less frequently. AI and machine learning can help think two steps ahead—like suggesting a promotion on socks after a purchase on running shoes, or throw pillows after a sofa purchase.


4- Digitize your value chain to keep customers engaged

More and more companies are strengthening their value chains with digital solutions, which enables the ownership required to go direct-to-consumer. These solutions open the doors for retailers to explore new models that promote repeat purchases—like subscriptions, promotions, and loyalty programs.


5- Bring in digital tools to see how you’re doing

Social media listening tools can provide a better understanding about the public sentiment surrounding your brand. Additionally, application performance management systems are crucial for visibility into what the user experience is across omnichannel retail platforms. And analyzing this information allows you to directly catch what the less-than-positive experiences are—and get ahead of them.


Bringing these insights together puts you as the retailer ahead of the curve when it comes to delivering frictionless, curated, and compelling experiences for customers that ultimately drives loyalty. To learn more about Cisco’s solutions for retail visit our website


Nicki Vereschagin

Global Retail Marketing Content Strategist

Global Industries Marketing