How to Turn 1st-Time Buyers into Subscribers

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Mariah Parsons

Head of Marketing

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Rising customer acquisition costs have brands focusing on improving retention in 2022. With ad costs growing, getting customers to purchase again from your brand is a great way to grow your brand while optimizing marketing budgets. Turning one-time customers into loyal fans is every business’s dream!

Attracting new customers might seem more exciting because you can always come up with new and exciting marketing campaigns. But repeat customers spend more and they’re more likely to refer your products to friends and family. These customers are also more likely to sign up for your subscription program which ensures you’ll get guaranteed sales for a period of time (assuming they don’t cancel).

One thing to note is that you shouldn’t try to upsell customers into starting a subscription on their first purchase. Instead, wait until they make 2 or 3 purchases from you. This shows they’re more trusting of your brand and are open to a subscription after they’ve made a few purchases.

So why should you focus on turning first-time buyers into loyal customers? Here are some of the benefits:

  • It’s more cost-effective to retain existing customers than find new ones

  • Marketing costs to existing customers are lower

  • Returning customers are proven to spend more money and have a higher AOV

  • Repeat customers are more likely to join your subscription program

Here are some tips to turn first-time buyers into loyal subscribers:

Offer a Personalized Shopping Experience

80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences and 44% of consumers say they are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalized experience.

No one does this better than Amazon. By providing customers with a personalized shopping experience every time they visit the site or check their emails, customers know they’re getting recommendations that are relevant to their interests. The best part is you don’t need an army of engineers to set up personalization for your store. There are apps like Rebuy that make it easy to set up personalized shopping experiences in minutes.

You can also use the data you have from past customer purchases to serve personalized recommendations. Recommend items relevant to a shopper’s last purchase or products they regularly buy. Even better, deliver them straight to shoppers’ inboxes for a truly personalized experience.

Customer Winback Emails

Customer winback emails help you get those 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and additional purchases. These take minutes to set up and are the perfect emails to send either 30, 45, or 60 days after a customer's last purchase. You can even segment these emails based on what product your customer bought, letting you cross-sell other products in your catalog.

To get the best results from these emails, we recommend mentioning your loyalty and subscription programs in separate emails. You can begin by mentioning the benefits of your loyalty program to entice customers into signing up. Once they’re signed up, you can send emails about your subscription program to show them the benefits they’ll get from being a subscriber.

Early Access To New Products

You don’t always have to rely on discounts to get customers to come back. Sometimes, you need to make them feel special. Offering early access to new products shows your brand is thinking about them and that they have a special status for your brand.

Plus, the exclusiveness of early access is a great way to drive new and almost guaranteed revenue for your new products.

Better Sales For Existing Customers

Want to truly reward your customers? Give them access to better sales & coupon offers. We saw this happen a lot during the holiday shopping season in 2021 when brands would offer 20% off to first-time buyers and 35% off to their existing customers.

What’s great about offering better discounts to existing customers is that you actually aren’t harming your profits. Since these are customers you already have, you don’t have to spend money on ads to re-acquire them. So better discounts ensure customers are going to come back while keeping your profits the same (or higher).

Communicate shipping times and provide delivery updates

After you’ve told your new customer that their order has been placed and a few days have gone by, they’re going to start to wonder when it will arrive.

Some online retailers provide order tracking information, while many lean on their customer service teams to answer “Where is my order” tickets. This is another chance to break away from the herd.

Rather than relying on customers to locate packages themselves, you can provide proactive updates on the status of their order.

Use Branded Tracking Pages

Customers check tracking pages an average of 4.6 times per order. Instead of taking them to a carrier’s tracking page, send them to your website instead. With branded tracking pages, you can notify customers in real-time about their order status and prevent unnecessary customer service tickets.

Even better, branded tracking pages can be used to upsell products to customers while they’re waiting for their orders. So when a customer checks their order, they can receive personalized product recommendations based on their purchase history to get them to make more purchases.

First buyers


Your business depends on existing customers. They spend more and marketing to them is much easier. Make sure to engage with them and show them how valuable they are by sharing discounts and coupons, sending personalized emails, and keeping them up-to-date with new launches.

To learn how Malomo improves the post-purchase experience and improves customer loyalty, request a demo or request a 30-day free trial.

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