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Keep ‘Em Coming Back: 3 UX Tweaks to Increase Repeat Purchases

The UX design of your store is probably why you aren’t getting any sales.

Most people coming to your online store are there just to fulfill an immediate need, not build a relationship with your brand. After they fulfill that need, it’s difficult to get that buyer to come back again.

But, if you can convert even a small percentage of those one-time buyers to repeat customers you will increase your revenue substantially. In fact, upping customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits up to 95%.

What most ecommerce owners don’t realize is that the key to improving their repeat purchase rate lies in their user experience (UX).

Fortunately, there are 3 simple UX tweaks you can make to improve your repeat purchase rate (without breaking the bank on a complete site overhaul).

1. Personalize The User’s Experience With Dynamic Content

Personalizing the content customers see on your website can hugely impact the way they view your brand. 61% of consumers have a higher regard for a company that delivers custom content. (source)

‘Higher regard’ means they trust the brand more and are therefore more likely to buy.


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If a customer returns to your site after a purchase and sees products similar to what they recently purchased on the home page, chances are they are more likely to convert.

In fact, 74% of online shoppers are frustrated that the content they see online has nothing to do with their interests.

Considering that, it’s no surprise why Amazon is the clear frontrunner in online retail: Their personalization strategy is top-notch.

After an item is purchased from Amazon, the customer’s home page is updated to reflect similar products. For example, here’s my Amazon home page after I bought Ben Horowitz’s book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things.


There are two books displayed that I’m interested in reading, and they’ll probably turn me into a repeat purchaser.

Don’t worry: You don’t have to be an Amazon-sized online store to nail personalization. There are a couple of tools you can use to personalize your store without doing an extreme shop overhaul.

One tool that’s easy to get up and running is Dyno, which allows you to display different copy based on your traffic channels.


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For example, if you’re running a Facebook Ad campaign, you can create a specific version of your landing page to only show to visitors from Facebook.

Another tool I recommend is Unbounce. It allows you to create personalized landing pages and A/B test them so you can gather knowledge about your audience.

Once you judge what landing page is performing better, you can double-down on that ad channel and watch your conversion rate rise.

2. Make the Checkout as Painless as Possible

Problems during the payment process have forced two-thirds (66%) of shoppers to abandon their transactions.

The first problem with most checkout process? Too many steps.

People are impatient. You can’t expect them to complete a 10-step checkout process when Amazon has a one-click checkout feature.

You don’t have to be a large company to create an optimal checkout. Reducing the amount of steps in your checkout can be easily approached by asking a few questions:

  • Am I requiring account creation?
  • Am I saving customer information to auto-populate?
  • Do I offer a one-click payment option?

Your answers to the above questions will help highlight areas that, if changed, can speed up your customer’s checkout process dramatically.

The second major problem many brands struggle with is their mobile checkout design.

In comparison to desktop, viewing and understanding a mobile shopping cart are very different user requirements.

As the customer’s screen gets smaller, the elements of your store have to condense yet still remain important, visible, and usable. Take J.Crew’s mobile process compared to Bonobos:

When selecting a size on the J.Crew site, it’s very unclear that I’ve selected a medium. The size is outlined very subtly. The shopping cart (an element that should always be present) is nowhere to be seen on the screen.


In comparison, Bonobos’ product pages are optimized for mobile platforms. Size and color is chosen in a dropdown, so it’s clear what I’ve selected. The shopping cart remains present and large in the top right-hand corner, easy to select without scrolling.

To optimize your own checkout, start by going through the process yourself on your ecommerce site.

When you try to purchase something, where are you getting frustrated? Your customer is most likely feeling the same.

Assuming you have Google Analytics set up, take a look at both the percentage of mobile visitors (those arriving to your site using a phone or tablet) and the bounce rate of those visitors.

First, if the bounce rate is high on a product page, you need to address the user experience of your product page design. Like my comparison of the J.Crew and Bonobos product pages above, there are nuances in the design that can make a difference in the visitor purchasing that product.

Second, if you have funnel-tracking set up, look at your shopping cart abandonment rate for mobile users. If it’s high, there’s a good chance your overall mobile checkout process needs a redesign.

Ask yourself these questions to begin your analysis of your checkout user experience:

  • Are my product variations easy to view / select?
  • Does my user understand what options they have selected?
  • Are my products easily added to the shopping cart?
  • Does my user understand their products have been added to the cart?
  • Does my checkout process have unnecessary barriers?
  • Is my checkout process easy to complete?

Begin by reviewing your process with the above questions as a starting point. Your answers will arm you with a better idea of what specific elements need to be improved.

3. Optimize Your Digital Receipts

One of the most personal and effective channels is your customer’s inbox. Don’t hold it sacred for newsletter and informational mailings only – use your digital receipts to engage with your customer and give them an opportunity to purchase from you again.

Adii Peiner, founder of Receiptful, gives us a glimpse into the revenue that can be generated just by sending a digital receipt:

If you can recoup an average of more than $0.25 from just sending a receipt, imagine the sales you can capture once you begin optimizing that channel!

In the receipt, include links to items similar to what was purchased. Generate a one-time discount code with a nearing expiration date to encourage them to spend. Offer a referral incentive. The possibilities are vast.

Take Bonobos for example (again). The below image is an example of an email receipt from them. Along with my order details (not shown) the company offered me various ways to engage with the brand, including a blurb about their “Equateur” blog.


There are also links to two product categories that are different from the category I purchased from. This is a smart play.

Perhaps the customer is a woman unfamiliar with the brand, buying a product for her boyfriend. When she receives the receipt, she’ll most likely be inclined to take a look at Bonobos’ women’s clothing line (especially if she had a great experience).

To get started with your own digital receipts, I recommend looking at Receiptful.

If you’re on Shopify, you can check out ReferralCandy, which allows you to create referral campaigns for your store.

Most of all, make sure you know what your options are before you get started.


Every ecommerce owner I know wants to make more sales. Identifying one element of your user experience that needs improvement can kick start this process.

Your user experience is the lifeblood of your store. Happy users = more purchases. Apply this rule to your business and you’ll start seeing ways you can improve your customer happiness.

How have you tweaked the user experience of your online store to improve your repeat purchase rate?

About the Author: Allen Burt is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Blue Stout, a digital agency specializing in ecommerce solutions. He also heads up the Do It Better blog which delivers articles and in-depth case study analyses of ecommerce companies. You can keep up with Allen on Twitter to learn about his outdoor adventures and read up on his startup advice.

  1. Allen, great post. We follow a lot of these same principals with our crowdfunding platform for nonprofits as they hold true for donation processing. We found that having a few simple steps in the donation process actually appeals to donors versus a lengthy one-page form. One of our biggest conversions for optimization is whether the donor will cover the processing fees for the nonprofit organization and are seeing roughly 70% of folks do this.

    I like the one click idea but in our case it’s tough because we see few donors create a full account after making that initial donation. We try not to be intrusive on that but it does hinder our ability to build a relationship with our donors which typically see themselves tied to the organization and not our platform.

    Any ideas on how to build the case to donors that signing up benefits them as well?


    • Hi Aaron,

      Apologies for the delayed response!

      It’s difficult to say without analyzing your actual process. My first question would be: “Are they being presented with those benefits before / during the signup process?” If they aren’t following all the way through, it seems there is a bit of development needed on your value proposition.

      Donors feel compelled to donate to the cause, but why should they feel compelled to stay in touch with you? It seems the value of the actual cause to which they are donating outweighs the value you’ve established as a brand.

      A simple addition of a concise summary of benefits the donor will receive by maintaining a relationship with you can help reiterate your value to them. How will you provide value to them? List 3 quick things.

      Additionally, introducing a “sign up with facebook” or “sign in with Google” option can ease the barrier to entry and help create a full profile.

      We have a few articles on our blog about value proposition, but the most applicable would be or

      I hope that helps!

  2. In regards to #2, I have found that the options on an eCommerce site should definitely reflect how the product image renders as this makes a big impact on conversion. This also makes it more clear what they are picking, even though difficult to implement it is totally worth it according to my experiments. Even PPC banner ads that use flash in this manner are very very effective.

    Good Post.


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